Praise for the new HPV vaccine and its power to prevent cancer
MD ANDERSON STAFF
The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of a new vaccine that targets five additional strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) fortifies a proven cancer-prevention weapon, according to Ronald DePinho, M.D., president of MD Anderson Cancer Center.
The FDA greenlighted use of Gardasil 9 for the prevention of certain cancers caused by nine HPV strains – five more than its predecessor, Gardasil. The FDA said Gardasil 9 has the potential to prevent the vast majority of cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers.
“This is an incredible step forward in our fight to end cancer,” said DePinho. “Up to 80 percent of the world will be infected with HPV at some point, according to estimates. MD Anderson hopes the vaccine approval will change the conversation about HPV vaccination from sex to saving lives.”
Vaccination of HPV in children has been at the center of the discussions leading to today’s FDA announcement. DePinho, the father of three young children, believes MD Anderson can help lead the way in protecting children through HPV vaccination. He considers HPV vaccination a “national child welfare priority and major parental responsibility.”
MD Anderson clinicians and researchers are spearheading an institution-wide approach to addressing HPV-related cancers. Programs already are underway for parents, educators, clergy, policy makers and the general public to increase HPV vaccination rates in Texas and across the nation, improve early screening and detection and develop novel therapies.
MD Anderson’s priorities include efforts to improve screening capabilities and move biomedical research findings from the laboratory to the bedside in a timely manner. Clinical research efforts using high-resolution microendoscopy (HRME), a low-cost alternative to colposcopy and biopsies, may prove especially valuable in low-resource settings. A community outreach program to improve screening and prevention in Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley on the Texas-Mexico border will benefit patients in an area where cervical cancer rates are up to 30% higher than the state average.
“In addition, we are developing a national partnership with peer institutions in 18 states to increase HPV vaccination rates,” said DePinho. “One initiative funded for $1.5 million will result in an unparalleled effort to accelerate the conversion of scientific discoveries into clinical advances.”