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HPV Vaccine Exceeds Expectations

Gardasil Gives Extra Degree of Protection Against Strains of HPV That Cause Cervical Cancer
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 19, 2007 (Chicago) -- Researchers report that Gardasil protects against 10 additional strains of HPV that are leading causes of cervical cancer.

Gardasil came on the market last year for preventing infection with two strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), 16 and 18, that are responsible for up to 70% of all cervical cancers, and HPV 6 and 11, which account for 90% of genital warts.

The new study, which involved about 11,000 young women aged 15 to 26, shows that the vaccine is also 38% effective against 10 additional HPV types, which are responsible for an additional 20% of cervical cancers.

“The new study shows that Gardasil affords an extra degree of protection for young women,” says researcher Darren R. Brown, MD, professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

Gardasil Guards Against 10 More HPV Strains

Brown’s previous research, presented at a major cancer meeting earlier this year, showed that Gardasil continues to offer nearly 100% protection against HPV types 16 and 18 five years following administration.

The new study, presented here at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, shows that the vaccine also:

  • Is 38% effective against 10 additional strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer
  • Provides 45% protection against persistent infection from types 45 and 31, two other HPV strains linked to cervical cancer
  • Is 62% effective in preventing serious precancerous lesions from those two strains

Brown says that it’s not a surprise that the vaccine offers protection against additional types of HPV, as they are all close cousins.

“They’re related genetically, so you would expect some, but not complete, protection against additional subtypes, which is what we found," he tells WebMD.

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