Cervical Cancer Vaccine Benefit Lasts
Studies Show Long-Term Protection From Gardasil and Cervarix
Cervical Cancer Vaccine Debate Heats Up continued...
Texas is the only state to mandate the vaccine. Debates in several states on whether to join it have been faced with a backlash, with critics charging that the vaccine promotes promiscuity and denies parents their rights.
Gall, who backs state mandates, says the backlash is appalling given that more than 11,000 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed in 2007, with more than 3,600 deaths, according to figures from the American Cancer Society.
"Patients are always asking, 'Why isn't there a vaccine to prevent cancer?' Well, now you have a cancer vaccine. The whole idea is to use it," he says.
Gall also thinks states should offer the vaccine for free. "This would really help us make headway in getting into the population that needs it," he says.
Brown says he doesn't support mandates. "What we need to do is educate families about the high level of safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Once they understand that, I think very few would not want their daughters to be immunized," he says.
Noting that Gardasil is also being tested in males -- who spread HPV to their sexual partners - Brown says, "If we ever get FDA approval for use in males, I'd make sure my boy got it."
Duke University's H. Kim Lyerly, MD, moderator of a news conference on the findings, says the medical community is still trying to figure out whether state mandates or education is the best way to ensure all girls get vaccinated.
Vaccines Protect Against Other HPV Subtypes, Too
The new research presented at the meeting also showed that both Gardasil and Cervarix protect against HPV types 45 and 31, which are together responsible for 10% of cervical cancers, Gall says.
"It's not a surprise that the vaccine offers protection against additional types of HPV, as they are all related genetically," he explains.
Both vaccines also appeared to prevent abnormal, precancerous cell growths found in the cervix, he says.
The Cervarix study, funded by GlaxoSmithKline, which makes the vaccine, included 1,113 women aged 15 to 25 in North America and Brazil who were given either three doses of the vaccine or a placebo.
The Gardasil study, sponsored by maker Merck & Co., involved 12,167 women aged 16 to 23.