New vaccine against HPV infections can prevent 90% of conditions caused by HPV

A new vaccine against HPV infections has the potential to prevent 90 per cent of all of the conditions triggered by the human papillomavirus. These are the findings of a randomized, controlled, international study involving a new, 9-component vaccine against HPV used on more than 14,000 young women aged between 16 and 26 years. The study was led by Elmar Joura from the University Department of Gynecology at the MedUni Vienna. The study has now been published in the “New England Journal of Medicine”.

Nine sub-types of the human papillomavirus are responsible for 85 per cent of pre-cancerous cells of the cervix. The new, highly effective vaccine now means that these can largely be prevented. The new vaccine is 20 per cent more effective against cervical cancer than the previous 4-component vaccine, up to 30 per cent more effective against the early stages of cervical cancer and up to five to 15 per cent more effective against other types of cancer (such as vaginal or anal carcinoma).

Human papillomaviruses (HPV) infect epithelial cells in the skin and mucosal tissue and can cause tumour-like growth. Some of these viruses also develop malignant tumours, especially cervical cancer in women. Men too can develop cancer caused by HPV infections, however. Over a hundred HPV sub-types have now been identified.

In Austria, up to 400 women a year develop invasive cervical cancer. In more than 90 per cent of the cases human papillomaviruses are responsible. According to Statistik Austria, around 150 to 180 women die from the condition. In Austria, around 6,000 women are admitted to hospital every year for treatment of the early stages of cervical cancer.
The paper has also been featured in the New England Journal of Medicine’s editorial, which is a major honour. “This issue of the journal reports on a milestone in research into cancers associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV)”, it says.

There has been a quadruple HPV vaccine since 2006 which protects against the most dangerous oncogenic HPV strains that cause cervical cancer and other types of cancer in the genital and throat area, but which also cause genital warts. The MedUni Vienna takes its responsibility in this area very seriously, and has not only initiated an HPV action day but has also provided a reasonably priced vaccination campaign for employees and students.

A 9-Valent HPV Vaccine against Infection and Intraepithelial Neoplasia in Women. E. A. Joura, A. Giuliano, et al. N Engl J Med 2015;372:711-23.


Medical University of Vienna