Sunday, November 16, 2008

HPV vaccine can protect men too

Soon girls may not be the only ones getting Gardasil injections.

Merck Frosst is moving ahead with plans to extend the use of its controversial Gardasil vaccine to boys and young men.

The cancer vaccine for women could be just as effective for men, Universite de Montreal professor and microbiologist Francois Coutlee said Thursday in a telephone interview at a scientific meeting in Nice, France.

Coutlee was part of the team reporting early results of a Merck-sponsored study showing that 90 per cent fewer men ages 16 to 26 years old developed genital warts and other lesions after receiving Gardasil, a vaccine that targets four human papillomavirus strains that can lead to cancer.

But HPV isn't just a problem for women, Coutlee said. In men, HPV can lead to genital warts, anal cancer, and penile cancer.

"The study is still ongoing, but we're relieved to know that it is as effective in men as it is in women," said Coutlee, who was involved in recruiting test subjects in Montreal. ...more

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