HPV Vaccines: Oncology And STD Medical Breakthroughs
Merck and GlaxoSmithKline are global leaders in HPV vaccine innovation
…A research study by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), estimates 11.5 million men and 3.2 million women have oral HPV infections at any given time; the highest risk strain, HPV-16, was found in 1.8% of men and 0.3% of women between ages 18–69 — approximately 1.7 million men and 270,000 women…
Options to immunize against HPV…
Gardasil, Gardasil 9 and Cervarix: your table is ready. Each of these products is FDA-approved to prevent HPV infection; Gardasil is a Merck (NYSE: MRK) product, Cervarix is produced by GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK).
They are all effective against HPV types 16 and 18, the two high-risk HPVs which cause about 70% of cervical cancers and a greater percentage of some of the other HPV-associated cancers. The HPV immunizations are the second vaccines developed that can prevent certain cancers; the first is Hepatitis B (HBV) immunizations.
Cervical cancer is the 4th most common cancer in women worldwide…
HPV is a virus passed through sexual contact; some strains cause genital warts; others can cause cancer. The most common cancer caused by it is cervical cancer, but anal cancer and some mouth / throat cancers are associated with HPV.
What is largely overlooked is cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide — fatal to roughly a quarter of a million women each year. The ongoing safety of the vaccines is monitored and the clinical evidence is positive; strongly supporting not only safety but efficacy as well.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States; over 40 HPV types can be spread through direct sexual contact. About a dozen of these (including HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, 58) are of particular concern as persistent infection with these can trigger cellular changes that could progress to cancer.
They include anal, cervical, oropharyngeal, penile, vaginal and vulvar cancers. While HPV types 16 and 18 are responsible for approximately 70 percent of all cervical cancers, HPV types 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58 are responsible for another 20 percent of cervical cancers.
According to the CDC, each year about 39,800 new cases of cancer are found in parts of the body where human papillomavirus (HPV) is often found; HPV causes approximately 31,500 of these cancers.
Two immunization options…
Initially, the FDA had approved two immunizations to protect against HPV infection: Cervarix (a bivalent vaccine that protects against HPV types 16 and 18) and Gardasil (a quadrivalent immunization that protects against HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18). The 6 and 11 HPV types are less impactful as they do not trigger cancer but are known to cause anal, genital, mouth and throat warts.
And then Merck pluses itself…
Merck pursued and was successful in an encore Gardasil product. It later introduced Gardasil 9 (9-valent immunization). Gardasil 9 protects against HPV type 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58.
HPV immunizations are overachievers…
Oncology is an extraordinarily complex and costly global healthcare challenge. All preventative measures and treatment options are valuable. Through prevention, HPV immunizations reduce sexually-transmitted disease (STD), prevent cancer and free up clinician, financial, institutional and other resources to be applied elsewhere in cancer treatment and other healthcare sectors.
HPV challenges remain…
Clinician dedication, depth of medical research and incredible accomplishments of immunization development cannot be overstated; to couple immunizations with cancer prevention attributes is a paramount achievement.
…Four challenges, in particular, are present in the practice of HPV vaccine administration…
- One, access to the HPV immunization products, especially in under-developed global locations, is not always favorable
- Two, conversely, in more developed industrialized regions, HPV vaccination is challenged by naysayers accusing the products of being dangerous and ineffective
- Three, HPV is commonly thought of as a women’s immunization when in fact it is equally important for males and females
- Four, not all physicians strongly endorse HPV immunization and it typically is not part of any required immunization series
In the short term, clinicians are building the chapters of success stories in terms of plummeting HPV and related cancer cases due to the vaccines. This reduces global healthcare costs by hundreds of millions of dollars and contributes equally to the wellness of women and men.
For the long-term, these chapters and stories will complete a volume of clinician / research excellence, product performance and solid outcomes. This will propel HPV immunization standards through adversarial headwinds leading to standard practice, ready access and acceptance worldwide.
The research and results of HPV vaccine product development and administration continue to contribute to other global immunization and oncology treatment initiatives.
Thank you for reading this story
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Hi, my name is John Baresky ( pronounced “ buh — ress — key “) and I have over 25 years of experience in healthcare.
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