Archive for January, 2012

HPV vaccine not linked to autoimmune disorders

Saturday, January 28th, 2012 (last updated)

A two-year study of nearly 190,000 girls and women, finds that Gardasil, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine made by Merck & Co, does not trigger autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. The results are published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Study lead author Dr Chun Chao, a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Department of Research & Evaluation in Pasadena, California, said in a statement released on Friday, that:

“This kind of safety information may help parents with vaccination decisions.”

“”These findings offer some assurance that among a large and generalizable female population, no safety signal for autoimmune conditions was found following HPV4 vaccination in routine clinical use,” said Chao.

Gardasil is a “quadrivalent” vaccine because it helps protect against 4 types of HPV. In girls and young women age 9 to 26, it targets 2 types that cause about 75% of cervical cancers, and 2 other types that cause 90% of cases of genital warts.

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Medical News Today & Journal of Internal Medicine

The Roswell Park Cancer Insitute may have found a cancer vaccine

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 (last updated)

The Center for Immunotherapy at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) has launched a phase I clinical research study of a dendritic cell vaccine designed to both eradicate cancer cells and prevent disease relapse. Developed at RPCI, the NY-ESO-1 dendritic cell vaccine will be manufactured in the Institute’s new Therapeutic Cell Production Facility using a unique FDA-approved process — making RPCI the first research facility in the U.S. to use a custom-made barrier isolator for vaccine cell production, and the first in the world to use this system in an approved, government-regulated study.

The new study is also unique in that it’s the first to test a dendritic vaccine given in combination with rapamycin, a compound used to prevent rejection of solid-organ transplant. The study just launched will capitalize on a striking recent scientific discovery by Protul Shrikant, PhD, of the Department of Immunology at RPCI, who found that in low doses, rapamycin confers a previously unknown benefit — it prevents the immune system from using up its cancer-killing T-cells in one quick burst. “We have shown for the first time that rapamycin has the capacity to produce immune cells that have memory attributes,” explains Dr. Odunsi, who is also Chair of RPCI’s Department of Gynecologic Oncology. “The immune cells are trained to live longer and to always remember that cancer cells are bad and should be attacked and killed.”

The ability to stretch out the attack for a long-term, durable response suggests that the vaccine may be effective in preventing disease recurrence. The new NY-ESO-1 dendritic cell vaccine is expected to show great promise in patients with bladder, brain, breast, esophageal, gastrointestinal, hepatocellular, kidney, lung, melanoma, ovarian, prostate, sarcoma and uterine tumors.

Roswell Park Cancer Institute & WIVBTV

HPV vaccine for boys recommended in Canada

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 (last updated)

The HPV vaccine for young males has been endorsed by a federal panel, but that doesn’t necessarily mean provinces and territories will pick up the tab.

This week, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended the use of HPV vaccine to protect males against genital warts, pre-cancerous lesions and anal cancer.

The group of experts said there is good evidence to recommend the use of Gardasil in males aged nine to 26. Gardasil is the only HPV vaccine indicated and recommended for boys and men in Canada.

“Both genders contribute to the spread of HPV and develop diseases as a result of HPV infection,” Dr. Franziska Baltzer, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Adolescent Health and head of adolescent medicine at Montreal Children’s Hospital.

“To eliminate those diseases, we need to vaccinate males as well as females,” he added in a statement.

The panel also said there is good evidence to recommend Gardasil in males who have sex with males, who have a disproportionately high burden of some HPV infections.

Cost effectiveness also needs to be considered, the committee acknowledged.

“Provinces and territories will need to compare the impact of vaccinating males with that of vaccinating additional female cohorts,” the panel wrote.

The federal government announced funding to support a national HPV vaccination program in its March 2007 budget.

Dr. Perry Kendall, British Columbia’s chief medical officer of health, said his province has not yet had a chance to review the NACI statement or do the economic evaluation needed to determine whether it should offer the vaccine for free to males.

The HPV vaccine will be competing for provincial and territorial funding with other vaccines that are not currently covered, said Dr. Allison McGeer, an infectious diseases specialist in Toronto and a former member of the committee.

CBC News Health

Flu vaccine important for pregnant women

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 (last updated)

Dr. Rosa Moreno explains why the flu vaccination is especially important for pregnant women and answers common flu vaccine questions.

MyARCchannel – Texas Department of State Health Services

Antibody persistence & immune memory after vaccination with combined hepatitis A and B vaccine last up to more than 15 years

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 (last updated)

A combined hepatitis A and B vaccine (Twinrix) is available since 1996. Two separate open-label primary studies evaluated the immunogenicity and safety of this hepatitis A and B vaccine (720 EI.U of HAV and 20 µg of HBsAg) in 306 healthy subjects aged 17-43 years who received three doses of the vaccine following a 0, 1, and 6 months schedule.
These subjects were followed up annually for the next 15 years to evaluate long-term persistence of anti-HAV and anti-HBs antibodies. The subjects whose antibody concentrations fell below the cut-offs between Year 11 and Year 15 (anti-HAV: <15 mIU/ml; anti-HBs: <10 mIU/ml) were offered an additional dose of the appropriate monovalent hepatitis A and/or B vaccine. In subjects who received the additional vaccine dose, a blood sample was collected 1 month after vaccination.
At the Year 15 time point, all subjects in Study A and Study B were seropositive for anti-HAV antibodies and 89.3% and 92.9% of subjects in the respective studies had anti-HBs antibody concentrations ≥10 mIU/ml. Four subjects (two in each study) received an additional dose of monovalent hepatitis B vaccine and mounted anamnestic responses to vaccination. No vaccine-related serious adverse events were reported.
This study confirms the long-term immunogenicity of the three-dose regimen of the combined hepatitis A and B vaccine, as eliciting long-term persistence of antibodies and immune memory against hepatitis A and B for up to at least 15 years after a primary vaccination.

Van Damme P, et al. Antibody persistence and immune memory in adults, 15 years after a three-dose schedule of a combined hepatitis A and B vaccine. J Med Virol 2012; 84 (1): 11-17.

Stem cells which ‘fool immune system’ may provide vaccination for cancer

Monday, January 16th, 2012 (last updated)

Scientists from the United States and China have revealed the potential for human stem cells to provide a vaccination against colon cancer,

The development, led by experts in immunology, Dr. Bei Liu and Dr. Zihai Li, builds upon a century old theory that immunizing with embryonic materials may generate an anti-tumor response. However, this theory has never before been advanced beyond animal research so the discovery that human stem cells are able to immunize against colon cancer is both new and unexpected.

“This finding potentially opens up a new paradigm for cancer vaccine research,” said Dr. Zihai Li. “Cancer and stem cells share many molecular and biological features. By immunizing the host with stem cells, we are able to ‘fool’ the immune system to believe that cancer cells are present and thus to initiate a tumor-combating immune program.”


Pertussis: a parent’s story

Sunday, January 15th, 2012 (last updated)

Danny Darche tells the tragic story of his daughter, Lore, who died of whooping cough just 83 days after she was born. Now Danny and his family are sharing their story in an effort to spare other parents the same pain.


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India celebrates a milestone in the fight against polio

Friday, January 13th, 2012 (last updated)

India will celebrate a full year since its last reported case of polio on Friday, a major victory in a global eradication effort that seemed stalled just a few years ago.

If no previously undisclosed cases of the crippling disease are discovered, India will no longer be considered polio endemic, leaving only Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria on that list.

“This is a game changer in a huge way,” said Bruce Aylward, head of the World Health Organization’s global polio campaign.

The achievement gives a major morale boost to health advocates and donors who had begun to lose hope of ever defeating the stubborn disease that the world had promised to eradicate by 2000.

It also helps India, which bills itself as one of the world’s emerging powers, shed the embarrassing link to a disease associated with poverty and chaos, one that had been conquered long ago by most of the globe.

The government cautiously welcomed the milestone as a confirmation of its commitment to fighting the disease and the 120 billion rupees ($2.4 billion) it has spent on the program.

“We are excited and hopeful. At the same time, vigilant and alert,” Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said in a statement. Azad warned that India needed to push forward with its vaccination campaign to ensure the elimination of any residual virus and to prevent the import and spread of virus from abroad.

The polio virus, which usually infects children in unsanitary conditions, attacks the central nervous system, sometimes causing paralysis, muscular atrophy, deformation and, in some cases, death.

With its dense population, poor sanitation, high levels of migration and weak public health system, India had been seen as “the perfect storm of polio,” Aylward said. Even some vaccinated children fell ill with the virus because malnutrition and chronic diarrhea made their bodies too weak to properly process the oral vaccine.

In 2009, India had 741 cases. That plunged to 42 in 2010. Last year, there was a single case, an 18-month-old girl named Ruksana Khatun who fell ill in West Bengal state Jan. 13. She was the country’s last reported polio victim.

Part of the sudden success is credited to tighter monitoring that allowed health officials to quickly hit areas of outbreaks with emergency vaccinations. Part is also attributed to the rollout of a new vaccine in 2010 that more powerfully targeted the two remaining strains of the disease.

CBSNews &

January is cervical cancer awareness month: a pap test and a HPV vaccine may save your life

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 (last updated)

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and the Tennessee Department of Health is urging all women to get screened for cervical cancer in 2012. Cervical cancer is a silent killer that strikes without symptoms or pain until the disease is in the most advanced stage.

“The survival rate is almost 100 percent for women whose cervical cancer is found at an early stage. Deaths from cervical cancer could be decreased dramatically through the combination of vaccination and regular Pap testing,” Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, said. “We urge all women to get screened for cervical cancer and talk to their health care providers about ways to prevent and reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer.”

Almost all cervical cancer is caused by infection with certain dangerous strains of Human Papillomavirus, a virus so common that about half of all sexually active people will be infected by one or more different strains in their lifetime. HPV vaccines can prevent infection with the kinds of HPV that cause most cervical cancer. These vaccines are available from many healthcare providers and through the Vaccines for Children program in Tennessee’s public health department clinics for anyone under age 19 with TennCare or without insurance coverage. Even though the vaccine works very well, it cannot prevent every case of cervical cancer, so vaccinated women also need regular Pap smears.

”The HPV vaccine is quite safe and very effective at preventing infections that can lead to cervical cancer and other kinds of cancer in both men and women. For this reason, it is now recommended for both young women and men,” according to Kelly Moore, MD, MPH, medical director of the Tennessee Immunization Program. “Because the vaccines prevent infections but cannot treat pre-existing infections, they work best when given well before sexual activity begins. They are typically given at age 11 or 12, along with other routine pre-teen vaccinations, but they are recommended for every woman under age 27 who has not yet been vaccinated.”

All women are at risk for developing cervical cancer, especially as they age. Screening and early diagnosis are the best ways to ensure a cervical cancer diagnosis is not fatal. The American Cancer Society reports that in the United States, about 12,701 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed this year and about 4,290 women will die from cervical cancer. Among American women diagnosed with cervical cancer, 60 to 80 percent had not had a Pap test in the past five years.

Clarksville online & Cancer has Cancer Foundation

Military’s Groundbreaking Vaccine Targets Breast Cancer

Monday, January 9th, 2012 (last updated)

Military researchers here have developed a cutting-edge cancer vaccine that’s slashing breast cancer recurrence rates and giving some survivors a better shot at a cancer-free future.

After more than a decade of research and testing, the cancer vaccine, dubbed E-75, soon will move on to its final phase of testing to earn Food and Drug Administration approval, said Army Col. (Dr.) George E. Peoples, director and principal investigator for the Cancer Vaccine Development Program at San Antonio Military Medical Center here.

The team has high hopes for this vaccine and its lifesaving potential for breast cancer survivors, particularly since breast cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer seen among military beneficiaries in the hospital here, said Peoples, who also serves as the deputy director of the U.S. Military Cancer Institute and the medical center’s chief of surgical oncology.

“We’ve made a commitment to take care of active-duty personnel, spouses and retirees,” the colonel said. “And cancer is a notable problem among beneficiaries.”

The vaccine, Peoples explained, targets a protein commonly over-expressed in breast cancer cells called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, or HER2/neu.

U.S. Department of Defense