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Determining the best dosing schedule for the HPV vaccine: Preventing cervical cancer

July 05, 2013
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A recent CFRI-led study with over 800 Canadian girls found that two doses of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was associated with an immune response similar to that with three doses. 

This important finding arose from an ongoing national research project to determine the best dosing schedule for the HPV vaccine. Led by Dr. Simon Dobson of CFRI’s Vaccine Evaluation Centre (VEC), the national research team is recruiting over 8500 teenage girls across Canada to participate in the 10-year study, with the VEC seeking more than 3500 participants in British Columbia. Girls joining the study will have already received the vaccines from the provincial public immunization programs.

HPV infections cause nearly all cases of cervical cancer, which is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women worldwide. The HPV vaccine is very effective at providing immunity against the disease. If researchers find that two doses are effective, then it would mean fewer needles for girls receiving the vaccine, as well as cost savings for the health care system. This research will demonstrate whether over the longer term, two doses remain as effective as three doses. 

Led by Dr. Simon Dobson of CFRI’s Vaccine Evaluation Centre (VEC), the study was published in the April 2013 issue of the influential Journal of the American Medical Association and profiled in the journal’s international media briefing. Dr. Dobson is a CFRI Clinical Investigator, an Attending Physician in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at BC Children’s Hospital, and a Clinical Associate Professor in the UBC Department of Pediatrics.

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