Cervarix Study Funded By Maker
GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s (GSK) Cervarix is more effective than its rival, Gardasil in fighting the most common cervical cancer-causing viruses, says its maker.
GSK is heralding a study published in today’s issue of The Lancet as it awaits U.S. approval for the drug in girls, women, and down the line in men and boys.
The Lancet study finds Cervarix is effective against five viruses, two most common virus types that cause HPV or human papillomavirus (types 16 and 18), as well as three of the next most common cancer causers ( HPV virus types 31, 33, and 45).
HPV -16/18 cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers. The cross protection could add an additional 11 to 16 percent protection against cervical cancer.
HPVs are a group of more than 100 related viruses, some that cause warts, few of which are high-risk and cause cancer.
It is also the first time any cervical cancer vaccine has shown significant protection against pre-cancerous lesions not containing the two most common virus types, reports Reuters.
The Lancet study, was multi-center and double-blind and involved 18,644 women between the ages of 15 and 25 from 14 countries, reports the Wall Street Journal.
It was funded by GlaxoSmsithKline Biologicals, maker of the Cervarix vaccine.
The drug is already approved in Europe and more than 90 countries. Researchers behind the Lancet article conclude that the only way to stop the spread of sexually transmitted disease is to also vaccinate boys and men.
"Women have shouldered responsibility for contraception since its inception. The goal to eradicate sexually transmitted carcinogenic viruses can be jointly carried by women and men and could be accomplished within a few decades," said Karin Michels from the Harvard Medical School in Boston and Harald zur Hausen from the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg.
About one in four teenage girls ages 13 to 17 have reportedly received the Gardasil vaccine, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of last year.
According to Judicial Watch, a Washington D.C. based nonprofit public interest group, there have been nearly 9,000 adverse health events reported to the government concerning the drug, including a number of deaths reported since September 2007 and at least 18 deaths total.
Of those 18, eleven occurred less than one week after receiving the vaccine and seven in less than two days.
The approval could also translate into a revenue generator for GSK. So far it generated $231 million in sales in 2008. Rival Gardasil, made by Merck & Co. generated more than 4400 million in revenue in 2008, but forecasters say sales are trending downward. #