New HPV vaccine to be tested in a clinical trial

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The broadest vaccine yet that could clear up persistent HPV infections and reduce the risk of women developing cervical cancer is to be tested in a clinical trial. The Guardian reports that human papillomavirus infections are common and are generally cleared by the body. However, about 10% of infections are not cleared, with persistent infections of certain types of HPV known to increase the risk of a number of cancers, including cervical cancer.

Now experts say they are about to conduct a trial of the broadest vaccine yet that could clear up persistent HPV infections.

Dr Karin Hellner a consultant gynaecologist at Oxford University and lead investigator for the trial, said: “In a big picture world we would test for infection with high-risk HPV to identify the women with a persistent high-risk HPV infection… (and) we would give the therapeutic vaccine (so) this woman would never develop any pre-cancerous changes or cervical cancer.” The new trial, which is planned to begin in March, is an international endeavour expected to involve 15 hospitals in the UK and Belgium.

The report says the team hopes to recruit 105 women aged 25 to 55 with a persistent high-risk HPV infection. While 73 will be given two shots of a particular dose of the vaccine, the rest receive a placebo. They will then be tested for the presence of HPV over a period of 12 months. The team says the new vaccine could be particularly beneficial in low- and middle-income countries which do not have strong cervical screening programmes or preventive vaccines for HPV.

The Guardian report

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