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Posts tagged ‘HPV’

A dose of HPV vaccine may be all you need

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Researchers in the US say that a single dose of the HPV vaccine may be enough to ward off cervical cancer.

 

Early research shows that only one dose of the vaccine is needed to prevent cervical cancer.

 

A single dose – rather than the recommended three – of a vaccine against the sexually transmitted disease HPV may be enough to ward off cervical cancer, researchers said this week.

The findings may lead to simpler delivery and lower costs, possibly increasing the number of young people who get vaccinated, said the report in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys before they become sexually active, but US research from 2012 showed that only one third of US female teens and fewer than 7% of US boys got the recommended three doses.

“Our findings suggest promise for simplified vaccine administration schedules that might be cheaper, simpler, and more likely to be implemented around the world,” said Mahboobeh Safaeian, an investigator in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland, the United States.

The study focused on a population of nearly 7,500 women aged 18-25 in Costa Rica. Although all were supposed to get the recommended three doses of the HPV vaccine at different times, about 20% of participants did not.

So researchers analysed blood samples from a group of 78 who got one dose, compared to groups of 120 to 192 that received two or three doses as planned.

They found that all the women in all three groups had antibodies against virulent strains of HPV, known as 16 and 18.

These antibodies persisted in their blood for up to four years, which is about as long as researchers have expected the vaccine to be effective.

The levels of antibodies also appeared stable over time, even though they were slightly lower in the single dose group, suggesting “these are lasting responses”, said the study.

The vaccine used in the study was Cervarix, made by the British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

“GSK is continuing to review findings from this trial and is committed to ensuring regulatory authorities and public health officials have access to this information,” a company spokesman told AFP.

Study authors said antibody responses after a single dose have not been evaluated for Gardasil, the quadrivalent HPV vaccine made by Merck that is more widely used in the United States and many other countries.

More research is needed before any formal changes can be decided, but Safaeian said the findings could have far-reaching impact in low income nations.

“Vaccination with two doses, or even one dose, could simplify the logistics and reduce the cost of vaccination, which could be especially important in the developing world, where more than 85% of cervical cancers occur, and where cervical cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths,” she said.

HPV can cause oral, anal, and cervical cancer.

According to the World Health Organisation, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide, and causes 500,000 new cases and 250,000 deaths each year. — AFP Relaxnews

via A dose of HPV vaccine may be all you need – Health | The Star Online.

Anti-cancer vaccine for Laos

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Khonekham holds her health card showing she has received her first dose of the HPV vaccine

 

A programme to vaccinate girls against the virus that causes cervical cancer has begun in Laos, South East Asia.

It’s one of nearly a dozen developing nations where the HPV vaccine is being introduced in the coming year as part of a scheme to enable poorer countries to benefit from the newest vaccines.

It is five years since the jab was first offered to girls in the UK.

The project is being organised with the support of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi).

The HPV vaccine represents a very significant commitment to women’s health in the coming decades.”

Helen EvansGAVI Alliance

The vaccine protects against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus – preventing the infections that cause 70% of cases of cervical cancer.

‘Proud’ to be immunised

Khonekham Sirivong, 13, stood patiently in the queue of girls waiting for the HPV vaccine.

This was a poignant moment for her and Somsouk, her aunt, one of the nurses, under the shelter of trees in the school grounds.

Somsouk’s mother – Khonekham’s grandmother – died from cervical cancer. The two helped nurse her through years of illness.

“I remember she was in a lot of pain,” said Khonekham. “The family did everything it could, but she died. I am very proud to be immunised – and to have the HPV vaccine free of charge.”

Vaccine ‘crucial’

Cervical cancer is a far bigger cancer killer in developing countries because most lack a national screening programme, which can detect pre-cancerous changes in the cervix, enabling timely early treatment.

In Laos, most cases are discovered too late. Cancer treatment in the world’s poorest nations is also limited. Laos has no radiotherapy. Patients who can afford it are sent to Thailand.

“Approximately 275,000 women die every year from cervical cancer and over 85% of those deaths are in the developing world,” said Helen Evans, Gavi deputy chief executive.

“The number of deaths is projected to rise dramatically, so that’s why it is absolutely crucial that this vaccine is introduced.

“The HPV vaccine represents a very significant commitment to women’s health in the coming decades.”

survivor of cervical cancer
“I feel lucky to be alive,” said Sommay Khamkeomany

I have visited a lot of hospitals, in many of the world’s poorest countries – from Sierra Leone to Malawi and Bangladesh. But they have rarely been as crowded at Setthathirath hospital in Vientiane.

A senior oncologist, Dr Keokedthong Phongsavan, showed me round one of the wards, where the beds had spilled out into the corridor and were squeezed next to each other to accommodate more patients.

Sent home to die

However, it was not the overcrowding, but the limited treatment options that presented the biggest problem.

“I feel helpless,” said Dr Phongsavan. “Patients are often diagnosed very late, and then there is often very little I can do to help them. I have to send them home to die.”

The mortality rate for cervical cancer in Laos is six times that of the UK. But there are some success stories. Sommay Khamkeomany was diagnosed with cervical cancer last year when she was just 32.

She had surgery and has now been told she has a 95% chance that her cancer will not recur.

“I have two girls aged five and three,” said Mrs Khamkeomany. “When they are old enough I will ensure they have the HPV vaccine – and fortunately I should still be here to see that happen. I feel lucky to be alive.”

Milestone

The HPV jab is the most expensive of all childhood vaccines. A course of three injections can cost more than £200 privately in the UK and other wealthy countries. It was well beyond the reach of most developing nations until Gavi negotiated a price of less than £10.

Like other Gavi-supported countries, Laos has to make a token financial contribution, but also has to supply the nurses and organise distribution of the vaccine.

The two-year pilot project in Laos involves about 20,000 girls being immunised. If successful, it will lead to a national roll-out of the jab.

By 2020, Gavi hopes to have supported HPV immunisation of more 30 million girls in over 40 countries.

The benefits, in terms of lives saved, won’t be felt for decades, but it represents a milestone in the promotion of women’s health.

via BBC News – Anti-cancer vaccine for Laos.

Calls to give boys anti-cancer jab

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Schoolboys should be given the HPV vaccine to help protect them from some cancers, according to public and sexual health bodies.

 

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is linked to a range of cancers and a vaccine is already given to girls in the UK to prevent cervical cancer.

The Faculty of Public Health and the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV said boys should be vaccinated.

The Department of Health said there was no plan to extend the programme.

HPV infections are associated with cancer of the penis, vulva, vagina, anus, mouth and throat. It is spread by sexual contact.

In the UK, girls aged 12-13 are offered the HPV jab. Australia is the only country to routinely offer the vaccination to boys and girls.

Prof John Ashton, the head of the Faculty of Public Health, told the BBC: “It seems oral sex has become a very common part of the repertoire in young people and it does seem a likely part of the story of increases in oral cancer.

“We really need to discuss oral sex as part of sex education in schools and to look closely at extending the vaccine to all men.”

‘Little benefit’

He said the reduced cancer risk would benefit all men, but the strongest case was in gay men.

Reducing the prevalence of the virus in women would have knock-on effects for some men, but not for those having sex only with other men.

Dr Janet Wilson, the president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, said: “We need to take action to address the lack of protection men who have sex with men receive from the current all-girls HPV vaccination programme.

“It is unfair that they remain unprotected.”

However, a Department of Health official said there were “currently no plans to extend HPV vaccination to males, based on an assessment of currently available scientific evidence”.

They added: “Vaccination of boys was not recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation because once 80% coverage among girls has been achieved, there is little benefit in vaccinating boys to prevent cervical cancer in girls.”

via BBC News – Calls to give boys anti-cancer jab.

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