Monday, September 14, 2009
Gardasil is Now Recommended for Males to Fight Against HPV
Soon, boys may also be eligible to obtain the Gardasil vaccine, which is currently given to girls and young women to help prevent infection by four types of human papillomavirus. An advisory committee from the Food and Drug Administration voted Wednesday to recommend that the vaccine be made available to boys and young men between the ages of 9 and 26 to help protect against genital warts that are caused by HPV.
The Gardasil vaccine helps protect against four type of HPV, and two of those are believed to be responsible for approximately 70 percent of anal and cervical cancers, as well as HPV-associated penile and throat-and-neck cancers. Researchers say that the other two types cause approximately 90 percent of all cases of genital warts.
At Wednesday’s meeting for the advisory committee, pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., maker of the Gardasil vaccine, presented data from three clinical trials that the company claims supports broadening the distribution of the vaccine to include boys and young men. The three trials included more than 5,400 boys and men that were from 23 countries and 6 continents.
According to Anna Giuilano, who is an independent scientist at Moffit Cancer Center located in Tampa, Florida, and the trials’ principal investigator, “The data clearly demonstrates that there was a benefit to men in receiving Gardasil. Overall, we saw a 90 percent reduction in disease—genital warts and pre-cancerous lesions—caused by HPV in men and an 89 percent reduction in genital warts incidence.