A recent study showed supporting evidence of a vaccine that can eliminate the majority of cervical cancer cases. The primary author of the study, Dr. Huh, is the professor and director of the UAB Division of Gynecologic Oncology.
Warner Huh, M.D., is also a senior scientist at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The study examined 14,125 women in 18 countries. The effectiveness and safety of the vaccine were followed for up to 6 years. The results solidify the “initial phase 3 efficacy” (97.4%) and safety trial of the nine-valent human papilloma virus vaccine, Gardasil 9.
In other words, “There is no question that the vaccine works,” said Warner Huh, M.D. of UAB.
“We’re on the verge of a dramatic change that will positively affect all individuals, particularly women, in the United States. The challenge is to get the new vaccine into widespread use among young women.”
If you’re interested in reading the full study, then it can be found here.
Last year, the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and other Alabama health groups launched a campaign urging Alabama parents to get their children vaccinated against HPV. The abbreviation stands for human papillomavirus, and the disease is sexually transmitted.
However, the vaccine is unique in its ability to prevent certain cancers.
HPV infections cause global disease, including an estimated 266,000 deaths from cervical cancer worldwide in 2012.
The vaccine, Gardasil 9, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2014. It immunizes against nine genotypes of HPV known to cause cervical cancer, as well as vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers and genital warts caused by HPV.
Confused? Check out this video from UAB Medicine explaining the vaccine’s importance.
More thoughts from Dr. Huh
“Nationwide, 40 percent of girls and boys do not receive the HPV vaccine, and in the state of Alabama, almost half of girls and boys do not receive the HPV vaccine,” Huh said. “With this new vaccine, there is a very legitimate opportunity to wipe out cancers that are caused by HPV, particularly cervical cancer in women.
“Seventy-five years ago, cervical cancer was a very common cause of mortality in the United States. Looking forward, with widespread vaccination, it is highly likely that cervical cancer will evolve into historical interest only, and screening, like Pap smears, might go away altogether. HPV vaccines are one of the most scrutinized vaccines ever, but multiple studies have demonstrated the vaccine to be safe and well-tolerated.”
The vaccine has now been licensed in over 60 countries. Not surprisingly, UAB continues to make a name for itself in the medical field.