CANCER vaccines could save thousands of lives in future after scientists identified viruses that may trigger the disease.
Jabs could be developed to attack the 11 newly-discovered pathogens the experts say play a role in one in eight tumours.
Around 47,000 Brits a year could benefit as there are 363,000 cancer diagnoses annually.
Experts arrived at the findings by analysing tumour DNA.
It was the first study of most types of cancer for viruses.
University of East Anglia expert Dr Daniel Brewer said: “There is strong evidence that viruses play a role in the development of cancer.
“If there is a virus, then you can develop a vaccine to prevent it or slow it down.”
The HPV vaccine, introduced in 2008 to protect against cervical cancer, is predicted to eliminate the disease.
The findings were part of a major project into cancers.
It also found that the mutations behind a fifth of tumours can occur decades in advance.
It means tests could be developed to pick up the disease long before symptoms occur, Nature magazine reported.
Professor Peter Johnson, NHS national clinical director for cancer, said: “The earliest possible detection of cancer remains the best chance of surviving the disease.
“Finding ways to turn research like this into tests we can use could revolutionise when and how we diagnose cancer.”