Advances in Treating Vulvar Cancer
Researchers are currently exploring new ways to prevent and treat vulvar cancer. Scientists are learning how certain genes control cell growth and how changes in these genes cause normal vulvar cells to become cancerous. These special genes are called oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. The goal of this research is to develop gene therapy for replacing damaged genes in cancer cells with normal genes. This may help to stop the abnormal behavior of these cells.
Researchers are also working on vaccines to prevent and treat vulvar and cervical cancer. There are two HPV vaccines (Gardasil and Cervarix) now available. This virus may make women more likely to develop certain types of cancer, to include vulvar cancer. Researchers are also testing vaccines on women with established HPV infections. These help their immune systems destroy the virus and cure or prevent the infection before a cancer develops. Other vaccines are being developed for women who have recurrent cancer or cancer that has spread. The goal of these vaccines is to produce an immune reaction in the parts of the virus that contribute to the abnormal growth of cancer cells.