Monday, June 12, 2006



Excerpts from article by Gardiner Harris of the New York Times.

Federal drug officials on Thursday announced the approval of a vaccine against cervical cancer that could eventually save thousands of lives each year in the United States and hundreds of thousands in the rest of the world.

The vaccine, called Gardasil, guards against cancer and genital warts caused by the human papillomavirus, the most common sexually transmitted disease. It is the culmination of a 15-year effort that began at the National Cancer Institute and a research center in Australia, and health officials described the vaccine as a landmark.

Federal vaccine experts are widely expected to recommend that all 11- to 12-year-old girls get the vaccine, but its reach could be limited by its high price and religious objections to its use.

Merck, Gardasil's maker, said a full, three-shot course would cost $360, making Gardasil among the most expensive vaccines ever made.

"This is a huge advance," said Dr. Jesse Goodman, director of the Food and Drug Administration's biologics center. "It demonstrates that vaccines can work beyond childhood diseases to protect the health of adults."

The vaccine prevents lasting infections with two human papillomavirus strains that cause 70 percent of cancers and another two strains that cause 90 percent of genital warts. But if girls have already been exposed to those strains, the vaccine has no effect, so health experts want the vaccine given before girls have sex. The median age at which girls have sex is 15.

Cervical cancer is the second-leading cause of death in women across the globe, affecting an estimated 470,000 women and killing 233,000 each year. Widespread use of Pap smears has reduced its toll in richer nations. In the United States, about 9,710 women contract cervical cancer each year, and some 3,700 die.

Hopefully,soon a day will dawn when cancer can be cured.Well,a girl can dream for a second,right?

I treat many patients (male and female) with genital warts. I welcome the vaccine. Since it helps prevent both genital warts and cervical carcinoma, I would recommend that not only girls but boys get it as well, as they do get the genital warts also.

It is very pricey though. I will need to do some research of my own on this.
"but its reach could be limited by its high price and religious objections to its use."

*Bangs head against desk*
i guess its a start
I saw this coming. The human papillomavirus RARELY causes cervical cancer, but recently they're ben trying to scare everyone about it. This is another attempt by the pharmaceutical companies to make millions curing minor things.
The human papillomavirus RARELY causes cervical cancer

Not sure rarely is the correct word to use.
From Wikipedia:

High-risk HPV types 16 and 18 are together responsible for over 70% of cervical cancer cases (Baseman and Koutsky, 2005; Cohen, 2005). Type 16 causes 41 to 54% of cervical cancers (Noel et al., 2001; Baseman and Koutsky, 2005) and accounts for an even greater majority of HPV-induced vaginal/vulvar cancers (Edwards et al., 2005), penile cancers, anal cancers and head and neck cancers (Bolt et al., 2005).
Yeah, Leon, I am sure Doctor D would have clued us in to the hype if this was indeed what it was. I am sure that since he didn't dispute these claims, then they are more true than false.

As for giving these young girls the drug, I say :

Give it to dem!
The full article did mention about giving boys/men the vaccine.

Chris,am really at a loss as to what the religious objections could be...sigh
I believe the religious objection is that having your child vaccinated for a std would be synonymous as saying it's ok to have premarital sex. I would wonder if the vaccine was to prevent HIV that the same people would have religious objections but given that the previous pope (not the current hitler youth pope) would tell people that condoms didn't prevent against HIV infections, it would probably be safe to assume that there would be people who were against that as well.

I can't understand that line of thinking at all. I just can't see how there can be a vaccine out there that could help prevent my daughter from developing a form of cancer and I would object to it because I want to dictate her sex life.
I don't know where Leon got his information. Just now seeing the comment about HPV rarely causing cervical carcinoma. HPV of certain types are well known to predispose to cervical carcinoma. This was taught to me when I was a medical student over twelve years ago.

I am not saying that pharmaceutical companies are not out there to make money, but I would recommend that every young sexually active female who can afford to get this vaccine, should. HPV is very easily contracted.
And, there are many patients for whom the affliction of genital warts is by no means minor!
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