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Archive for Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Study: HPV vaccine may benefit males

November 12, 2008

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— For the first time, an expensive vaccine aimed at preventing cervical cancer in women has proven successful at preventing a disease in men, according to a new study.

The disease? It's genital warts, a sexually transmitted problem that is embarrassing and uncomfortable but not life-threatening.

Still, the results are expected to bolster a likely bid by the vaccine's manufacturer - Merck & Co. Inc. - to begin marketing the vaccine to boys, experts said. Merck plans to ask the government for that approval later this year.

"This opens the door to a wonderful opportunity to prevent illness," said Anna Giuliano, a Tampa-based researcher who worked on the Merck-funded study. She is an epidemiologist at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.

The results of the study were to be presented today at a medical conference in Europe.

The focus was Merck's vaccine, Gardasil, which is given in three doses over six months and is priced at about $375.

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