A Black female’s genetic make-up may reduce the effectiveness of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in curbing rates of cervical cancer among that population, according to preliminary findings by researchers at Duke University School of Medicine and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Epidemiology Department.

Cautioning that more research is needed before these early findings can be fully confirmed—HPV researchers elsewhere say it’s not been proven that other regions are witnessing the same patterns as those shown in this new study—the North Carolina research team investigated the potential interplay between the vaccine and different types of HPV diagnosed among the 572 Durham County, N.C. women who enrolled in the study.

“It was a single population from a single clinic. All of these women came a small geographic area, and we know that women tend to have sex partners in the area where they live,” Dr. Rebecca Perkins, a Boston University researcher of HPV in poor and under-served communities and gynecologist told the Grio. “It’s hard to [apply] take this to any other states or, for that matter, to a health center outside of Duke.”