Professor Ian Frazer,the person who designed the Gardasil vaccination , is currently working on a new version of the vaccine.

The current Gardasil vaccination is a so called preventative vaccine. This means the best time to have it is before you become sexually active . It is designed to protect against the 4 most common strains of HPV ( Human Papilloma Virus), types 6,11,16 and 18.

Types 16 and 18 are implicated in around 95% of cervical cancers and also causes anal and throat cancer. Type 6 and 11 are the most common causes of genital warts. Sadly the vaccine is not therapeutic, in other words if you already have one of these strains, it won’t cure you and will not prevent progression to cancer.

The good news is that Dr Frazer is currently working on a new version of the vaccine, specifically designed to help treat people who are already infected with HPV and to try and prevent progression to cancer. An initial study of the new vaccine, was shown to prevent tumour development in mice, thereby displaying a therapeutic effect.

The team are planning to start phase 1 trials in humans this year and if succesful we might get another weapon in our arsenal against HPV and HPV related cancers

I will keep you updated on the progress.