Heading Off HPV-16

March 1, 2003

The recent news that a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is well on its way to being a reality has dermatologists pricking up their ears. The vaccine, which is in development by Merck & Co. to target HPV-16, could facilitate a 40-percent reduction of intraepithelial cancer of the cervix within 10 years of widespread distribution to women and men, according to Ulrich R. Hengge, M.D., department of dermatology, University of Essen, Germany. More importantly to dermatologists who see histologically benign recalcitrant vaginal warts every day, the science behind the HPV-16 vaccine is virtually the same as that behind similar investigational therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines for condylomata.