A new HPV vaccine may be available by the end of the year that protects against several strains of the human papillomavirus.
Dr. Kevin Ault, an obstetrician-gynecologist at The University of Kansas Hospital, is a leading expert on HPV. Ault said the improved vaccine will protect against seven of the 12 strains of HPV known to cause head and neck cancers, in addition to gynecological cancers. Current vaccines only provide protection against four strains.
HPV causes most cases of cervical cancer, and Ault said new research shows about 75 percent of head and neck cancers are also caused by HPV. He said this new vaccine will protect against about 73 percent of all HPV-related cancers.
Two HPV vaccines are currently on the market, Gardasil and Cervarix. Both protect against cervical cancer in women, but Gardasil offers protection against genital warts and cancers of the anus, vagina, and vulva. Gardasil is approved for use in males.
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