Cancer Vaccine: February 2007 Archives

Lovaxin helps cancer fight


advaxisDrug development company Advaxis, has created a family of vaccines, Lovaxin, which encourages the immune system to attack cancer in the same way it would a flu vaccine.

Dr. Vafa Shahabi, Advaxis' Director of Research and Development, reports that because the human immune system is not designed to fight cancer on its own, she and her colleagues are trying to harness its power through a new kind of life form: specifically a family of vaccines, which they call Lovaxin. The vaccines are comprised of new strains of bacteria created in Advaxis' laboratory that are programmed to kill off specific cancers.

Central to this startling discovery is the microbe Listeria monocytogenes, a common bacterium found in milk, cheese and other dairy products. This microorganism apparently aids in fighting cancer by activating the body's own killer (cytotoxic T) cells to elicit a stronger than normal immune response to the presence of cancer cells. The vaccines "teach" the immune system to mount a specialized, targeted response that is lethal to cancer.

Merck suspends lobbying for vaccine


merckPediatricians, gynecologists and even health insurers all call Gardasil, the first vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, a big medical advance.

But medical groups, politicians and parents began rebelling after disclosure of a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign by Gardasil's maker, Merck & Co., to get state legislatures to require 11- and 12-year-old girls to get the three-dose vaccine as a requirement for school attendance.

Some parents' groups and doctors particularly objected because the vaccine protects against a sexually transmitted disease, human papilloma virus, which causes cervical cancer. Vaccines mandated for school attendance usually are for diseases easily spread through casual contact, such as measles and mumps.

Vaccine Safety Group Releases GARDASIL Reaction Report

NATIONAL VACCINE INFORMATION CENTERWashington, D.C. - The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) today released a new analysis of the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) reports of serious health problems following HPV vaccination (Merck's GARDASIL) during the last six months of 2006. Out of the 385 individual GARDASIL adverse event reports made to VAERS, two-thirds required additional medical care and about one-third of all reports were for children 16-years-old and under, with nearly 25 percent of those children having received simultaneously one or more of the 18 vaccines that Merck did not study in combination with GARDASIL. NVIC is calling on the FDA and CDC to warn parents and doctors that GARDASIL should not be combined with other vaccines and that young girls should be monitored for at least 24 hours for syncopal (collapse/fainting) episodes that can be accompanied by seizure activity, as well as symptoms of tingling, numbness and loss of sensation in the fingers and limbs, all of which should be reported to VAERS immediately.

USA stunned by Texas' mandatory Gardasil vaccination plan

gardasylThe debate in the USA over the use of Merck & Co's cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil is reaching boiling point after the Governor of Texas announced plans for mandatory vaccination programmes for girls aged 11 and 12.

Republican Governor Rick Perry last week chose to employ an executive order, thus bypassing any opposition in the legislature, which makes Texas the first state to require that girls receive the human papillomavirus vaccine that causes cervical cancer before they can enter the sixth grade at school, beginning September 2008. The order does not specifically mention Gardasil but Merck's vaccine is the only HPV treatment on the market at the moment, although GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix is expected to be filed for approval in the USA by April.

Vaccine a good idea, just don't mandate it


Medical advancements, parental concerns, government clout and the powerful drug industry are facing off in what promises to be vigorous nationwide debate over vaccination of young girls against the sexually transmitted human papillomarivus virus, often a precusor to cervical cancer.

Sen. Richard T. Moore (D-Uxbridge), co-chairman of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, would like to see administration of the HPV vaccine Gardasil to sixth-grade girls become requisite to school attendance, much like shots for other childhood illnesses.

He just proposed legislation based on American Cancer Society recommendations that females as young as nine be vaccinated against HPV, which disproportionately affects minority communities.

CDCThis is a quote from a post on Mothering.comn forums:


  • Most women who develop invasive cervical cancer have not had regular cervical cancer screening.
  • Cervical cancer is an uncommon consequence of HPV infection in women, especially if they are screened for cancer regularly with Pap tests and have appropriate follow-up of abnormalities.
  • But over the last 40 years, widespread cervical cancer screening using the Pap test and treatment of pre-cancerous cervical abnormalities have resulted in a marked reduction in the incidence of and mortality due to cervical cancer in the U.S. (70%)

Ten reasons why HPV vaccine is 'murky' issue

gardasilThe word "cancer" triggers emotions ranging from fear to empathy to panic. But we cannot let our emotions cause us to spend money or create mandates without careful research. We need to evaluate claims of drugmakers, lobbyists and lawmakers when they seek money for cancer prevention efforts.

Here are 10 reasons why we are skeptical about efforts to mandate for school girls the HPV vaccine against the sexually transmitted cervical-cancer virus.

10. Merck and Co. (the manufacturer of the vaccine) has funneled money through Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country.

Weigh vaccine carefully


gardasilAn interesting opinion from Canada.

As a father of three daughters I have certainly taken notice of the announcement and promotion of a vaccine to treat the human papilloma virus. This virus has a strong connection to and may be the largest factor in the cause of cervical cancer.

Statistically, most women will become infected in their lifetime, 80 percent by some estimates.

But there is preliminary talk of making this vaccination mandatory for our school-aged daughters in the 11- to 16-year-old bracket. I'm afraid I must protest.