Cancer is one disease that has enjoyed a lot of research that is bearing fruits as scientists have come up with an anticancer vaccine which was originally approved only for younger people could protect millions of older people too.
In 2006, science gained a distinct advantage over the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus known to cause cancer and other diseases in both men and women as the first anti-HPV vaccine Gardasil went into the market.
In the ten years that followed, even greater strides were made in the form of Gardasil 9, which is effective against nine different HPV strains. Until now, Gardasil 9 had been available only for people between the ages of 9 and 26, but in an exciting new development, the drug has been approved for adults between the ages of 27 and 45.
HPV is a widespread public health issue. Men not only can pass the virus, but they can also face the risk of anal and oesophageal cancer, among other types of cancer. Women on the other hand run the risk of getting cervical cancer.
Originally, the drug Gardasil 9 was restricted to people between the ages of 9 and 26 because research suggested that the vaccine was most effective for that age group, in which HPV infection was less likely. However, medical professionals had begun to suspect that Gardasil might benefit people older than 26.
In a groundbreaking study that followed 3,200 women between the ages of 27 and 46 for an average of 3.5 years, Gardasil was found to be 88 percent effective in preventing the infection.
Follow-up research confirmed the results—and revealed that men could benefit too. The recent approval represents an important opportunity to help prevent HPV-related diseases and cancers in a broader age range.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that HPV vaccination prior to becoming infected has the potential to prevent more than 90 percent of these cancers, or 31,200 cases every year, from ever developing.
Although the vaccine does not protect you from an HPV strain if you are already infected with it, it will still protect against other strains.