Cervical cancers start in the cells on the surface of the cervix. There are two types of cells on the cervix's surface: squamous and columnar. Most cervical cancers are from squamous cells.
A vaccine against cervical cancer, being developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Blue Bell, produced positive results in a small sample of 18 women.
The vaccine prompted their bodies to produce T cells -- a type of white blood cells -- that, in a separate lab test, recognized cells with tumor proteins, and killed them.
The researchers, including a team from the University of Pennsylvania, say the paper in the journal Science is the first to show that a DNA vaccine alone produced a high level of immunity in people. At the same time, the researchers acknowledged that a working vaccine faces more trials and remains years away from an actual product.