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New vaccine gives cause for HPV testing

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a second vaccine to combat the effects of the human papillomavirus (HPV) in women.

Cervarix, which is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, was approved on Friday for the prevention of cervical cancer and pre-cancerous lesions in girls and women between the ages of 10 and 25. Though intended for HPV types 16 and 18, the manufactures claim the vaccine is 70 percent effective against pre-cancerous lesions regardless of HPV type.

"The licensure of Cervarix adds another option in the prevention of cervical cancer," said Dr Karen Midthun, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. "It has the potential to save lives from cervical cancer as well as reduce the need for biopsies and invasive procedures associated with the necessary follow-up from abnormal Pap tests."

The new vaccine will compete with Gardasil, which was approved by the FDA in June 2006 to defend against cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers and certain types of HPV. The vaccine also prevents genital warts in boys and men between 9- and 26-years-old.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is currently no STD testing approved for finding HPV in men; the only approved HPV exam is a cervical cancer testing for women.

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