BC research informs global HPV vaccine guidelines

3 December 2014

MSFHR-supported research underpins a key policy document for controlling cervical cancer issued today by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The new WHO guidelines recommend vaccinating 9- to 13-year-old girls with two doses of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, instead of the standard three-dose regimen. Two doses have been found to be just as effective as three at conferring immunity to HPV infection, based on a growing body of research evidence that includes MSFHR-funded studies by researchers at the Child & Family Research Institute and the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Compared to the three-dose regimen, a two-dose HPV vaccine is less costly and easier to administer, offering significant advantages in developing countries where resources are most scarce and the need is greatest.

Despite being easily preventable, cervical cancer kills more than 270,000 women annually, 85 per cent of whom are in developing countries. HPV infections cause nearly all cases of cervical cancer, which is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women worldwide.

A new study by the MSFHR-funded research team seeks to determine if a two-dose vaccine provides equivalent long-term protection over a 10-year period. The researchers are in the process of recruiting more than 8,600 teenage girls from across Canada to take part in the study.

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