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First results of a massive epidemiological investigation indicate that batches of polio vaccine contaminated with simian virus 40 so far have brought no increase of cancer or cancer deaths among adults.
The study follows 780,000 men and women for 2 1/2 years. Of these subjects, 202,947 took polio vaccine during the period when much of it was contaminated.
The investigation, which began shortly after virologists found that SV 40 caused cancer in hamsters, will continue for at least 12 more years, said E. Cuyler Hammond, ScD, director, statistical research, American Cancer Society. He reported the early results at the society's seminar for science writers in Phoenix.
The negative results are similar to those found by others in an earlier study of possible increases of cancer incidence, particularly leukemia, among children 6 to 8 years of age who took polio vaccine during the period of contamination.
Dr. Hammond's figures, however, indicate
Polio Vaccine, SV 40, Cancer: A Report. JAMA. 1966;196(2):37. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100150025009