Cervical cancer vaccine may benefit older women

In collaboration with the Press Association

Gardasil, the cervical cancer vaccine licensed for use within the European Union last year, may benefit women between the ages of 24 and 45 in addition to younger women, according to Gardasil manufacturer Merck.

Gardasil has previously been shown to protect women aged between 16 and 26 against strains 16 and 18 of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which cause 70 per cent of cervical cancer cases, and against strains 6 and 11, which cause 90 per cent of genital warts.

A new study involving women between the ages of 24 and 45 has revealed that the vaccine also prevents over nine out of ten cases of persistent infection, low-grade cervical abnormalities, pre-cancers and external genital lesions.

The findings were presented at the 24th International Papillomavirus Conference in China yesterday (November 5th).

Dr Eliav Barr, head of the HPV Vaccine Programme at Merck Research Laboratories, commented: "Women remain at significant risk for acquiring HPV infections and developing HPV-related diseases throughout their lifetime.

"These data build on the clinical programme for Gardasil and will help us to understand the potential benefit that Gardasil may have in women through age 45."