Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gardasil - Risky Business

Haven't posted a lot lately... the summer's been crazy!   I'm actually glad school will be starting for my little one next week and we'll all be back to our routines.

For now, I wanted to share with y'all that none other than the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine came out with an article criticizing the lack of safety and efficacy research on Gardasil, which the American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends for young girls.   Sad that the NEJM is more concerned than the AAP.

"Despite great expectations and promising results of clinical trials, we still lack sufficient evidence of an effective vaccine against cervical cancer. Several strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cervical cancer, and two vaccines directed against the currently most important oncogenic strains (i.e., the HPV-16 and HPV-18 serotypes) have been developed. That is the good news. The bad news is that the overall effect of the vaccines on cervical cancer remains unknown. 

How will the vaccine affect preadolescent girls, given that the only trials conducted in this cohort have been on the immune response?  

Vaccinated women may feel protected from cervical cancer and may be less likely than unvaccinated women to pursue screening.

How will the vaccine affect other oncogenic strains of HPV? If HPV-16 and HPV-18 are effectively suppressed, will there be selective pressure on the remaining strains of HPV? Other strains may emerge as significant oncogenic serotypes." 

For the full text of the article in the NEJM, click here.

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