If you knew you were at increased risk of developing a particular form of cancer, and there was a vaccine that could help prevent it, wouldn’t you want to receive it?
Yet for people with lupus, in some cases, vaccines can trigger a lupus flare. Or perhaps the vaccine may not be effective for those with a compromised immune system. A drug manufacturer would have to take additional time and expense to study the safety and effectiveness of vaccines specifically for people with complex immune system diseases, such as lupus.
Sometimes it takes a person with a passion to accept this kind of challenge. Rheumatologist Patricia Dhar, MD, at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, is that kind of person.
Guarding against HPV
The human papillomavirus, or HPV, can cause cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancers; precancerous lesions; and genital warts. There are many cancer-causing types of HPV; types 16 and 18 cause 70 percent of cases of cervical cancer, while types 6 and 11 cause 90 percent of cases of genital warts. The Gardasil® vaccine—called a “quadrivalent vaccine” because it protects against four HPV types (6, 11, 16, and 18)—was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006 for girls and young women ages 9 to 26 and boys and young men ages 9 to 26.