Merck vaccine protects men from wart virus, too

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A vaccine designed to protect women and girls from cervical cancer caused by a wart virus may protect men, too, maker Merck and Co reported on Thursday.

The Gardasil vaccine was 90 percent effective in preventing lesions, mostly sexually transmitted warts, caused by the virus in men, Anna Giuliano of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa, Florida and colleagues found.

It was about 45 percent effective in preventing infection with the four strains of HPV that it targets.

“We see 90.4 percent efficacy is reducing external genital lesions in males related to these 4 types of HPV — 6, 11, 16, 18,” Giuliano said in a telephone interview.

“These are the only data evaluating efficacy of any HPV vaccine in preventing disease in males, and were presented for the first time this week at the European Research Organization on Genital Infection and Neoplasia International Multidisciplinary Conference,” Merck said in a statement.

The human papilloma virus or HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the world. About 20 million Americans currently are infected with HPV, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is the main cause of cervical cancer, which kills 3,870 women a year in the United States and 300,000 globally.

It can also cause other types of cancer, including anal and penis cancer as well as mouth and neck cancer. The CDC estimates that HPV caused 25,000 cases of cancer a year in the United States between 1998 and 2003.

Gardasil and its rival, GlaxoSmithKline’s Cervarix, are only approved for use in girls and women but the companies are seeking new markets and some experts say it should be used in boys and men, to protect them and their future sexual partners.

Giuliano’s team tested 4,065 young men aged 16 to 26, giving them either vaccine or placebo and then checking them every six months. Evidence suggests the vaccine has to be given before a person is ever infected with HPV to be effective.

While it protected fewer than half the cases of HPV infection as detected in the blood, the vaccine appeared to prevent the development of genital warts and a pre-cancerous condition called penile/perineal/perianal intraepithelial neoplasia or PIN.

“This opens up some really important questions for further research,” Giuliano said. “The cancers in men which are HPV related are really only now being understood.”

It will also be important to study whether vaccinating men protects female sexual partners, she said.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Eric Walsh)


Related Posts:

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A quarter of girls aged 13-17 in the United States received Merck & Co’s Gardasil vaccine last year to protect against the human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer, the U.S. government said on Thursday. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided the first look at how many

Full Post: Quarter of adolescent U.S. girls received HPV vaccine

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Three studies published on Wednesday add to evidence that circumcision can protect men from the deadly AIDS virus and the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer. The reports in the Journal of Infectious Diseases are likely to add to the debate over whether men — and

Full Post: Male circumcision lowers cervical cancer risk: study

By Lewis Krauskopf and Ransdell Pierson NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. health regulators have again withheld approval for the use of Merck & Co Inc’s Gardasil cervical cancer vaccine by women aged 27 to 45, asking for longer-term clinical data, the drugmaker said on Friday. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended Merck submit data when a

Full Post: Gardasil again denied approval for women 27-45

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Instead of infiltrating breaks in the skin, HIV appears to attack normal, healthy genital tissue, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday in a study that offers new insight into how the AIDS virus spreads. They said researchers had assumed the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, sought out beaks in the skin, such

Full Post: HIV infects women through healthy tissue: U.S. study

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An experimental malaria vaccine is the most promising yet, protecting up to 65 percent of infants from infection in two studies in Africa, researchers reported on Monday. Separate tests in Kenya and Tanzania showed GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine called RTS,S could protect babies and toddlers from infection with malaria

Full Post: Glaxo malaria vaccine protects babies, children

Site Navigation

Most Read