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Local OB-GYN Practice Helps Study Potential New Treatment for HPV and Cervical Cancer

Published: Friday, December 07, 2012
Last Updated: Friday, December 07, 2012
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Clinical research study at Richmond-based women’s health practice, Virginia Women’s Center, examines the potential of a new vaccine to treat women who have been diagnosed with HPV and to prevent the further development of cervical cancer.

Virginia Women’s Center has been selected to participate in a nationwide clinical trial, one that will ultimately hope to prevent the human papillomavirus virus (HPV) from progressing into cervical cancer and treat women who have HPV and the precancerous lesions associated with it. The Richmond-area OB-GYN practice has participated in over 50 clinical research studies since 1997, all of which have contributed to the future of safe and effective medicine for women.

“We feel honored to be able to participate in this study and to play a role in helping further advance medicine for women,” said Dr. Peter Zedler, gynecologist and Director of Clinical Research at Virginia Women’s Center. “In addition, we feel fortunate that we can offer this potentially life-saving treatment in our local Richmond community.”

Gardasil, the first vaccine developed to prevent HPV, was approved by the FDA in 2006 and is now approved for females and males ages nine to 26. Gardasil protects against four strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV).  In females, Gardasil helps protect against the two types of HPV that cause about 75 percent of cervical cancer cases and two additional types that cause 90 percent of genital warts cases. In males, Gardasil helps protect against 90 percent of genital warts cases. Gardasil is ideally given to patients before they become sexually active. Virginia Women’s Center was the only research site in the Richmond area involved in the clinical trial leading the approval of Gardasil.

While the Gardasil vaccine has proven to be a safe and effective preventative vaccine, there is still an opportunity to improve treatment for women who have already been exposed to HPV. Dr. Peter Zedler, and his team are currently enrolling participants in a clinical research study to evaluate the effectiveness of a new vaccine that would treat women who have HPV and the precancerous lesions associated with it. The hope is that the vaccine will stimulate the woman’s immune system to fight the precancerous lesions and resolve the process, before it progresses to cervical cancer. Currently, for women who have HPV and precancerous lesions, a surgical procedure that removes the tissue is the only option to keep the disease from progressing to cervical cancer. The vaccine may also serve as an alternative to having this surgical procedure.

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