HPV shot provides sustained protection against pre-cancerous growths

Vaccination against certain types of human papillomavirus provides sustained protection against genital warts and pre-cancerous growths of the cervix, according to a new study published on bmj.com.

Researchers studied 17,622 women between the ages of 16 and 26 enrolled in two studies between December 2001 and May 2003. The women were enrolled from primary care centers and university or hospital-associated health centers in 24 countries and territories. Results showed the vaccine was highly effective in previously unexposed women for preventing low-grade lesions attributable to HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18 for up to four years.

It also had considerable effectiveness against any lesion, with a reduction of 30 percent of cervical low-grade growths, 48 percent of vulvar and 75 percent of vaginal low-grade growths. Genital warts were reduced by 83 percent, according to a statement.

The study was funded by Merck Research Laboratories, maker of the HPV vaccine Gardasil, MSN notes. Dr. Clyde Crumpacker, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said in an interview that the study is useful because it shows the vaccine can do more than prevent the virus from spreading.

- see the BMJ release
- read the study
- check out MSN's coverage