The Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo (USP) is recruiting volunteers to test whether the vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) reduces the incidence of head and neck cancer. These types of cancer develop from oral infections, caused by HPV, and acquired in oral sex without a condom.
HPV is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. Most types – there are more than 200 – disappear by the body’s autoimmune action. If not, warts (condylomas) may appear on the penis and vagina, for example, and even cancerous tumors. For more common cases, vaccines already exist, but not for the prevention of neck and head cancers.
According to the National Cancer Institute (Inca), Brazil registers about 41 thousand new cases of head and neck cancer each year. In the past, the disease was more related to smoking and drinking and was more common among the elderly. However, in recent years, these types of cancer have affected young people more, who are more exposed to risky behaviors, such as unprotected oral sex and intercourse with multiple partners, according to the Cancer Association of Mouth and Throat (ACBG).
The vaccine under test by the Center for Clinical Research Unit II, of the USP School of Medicine, has approval from the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa). 6,000 volunteers are expected to participate, all cisgender men (most affected by the disease), who will be followed for 42 months, according to text by the infectious disease physician and researcher on the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases Rico Vasconcelos, on UOL.
To receive the three doses of the vaccine or placebo, the volunteer must be between 20 and 45 years old, healthy, have had at least one sexual partner in life, have not received an HPV vaccine, and have no history of anal injury related to HPV and HPV-related head or neck cancer.
How to participate
The volunteers are pre-screened by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is also provided by WhatsApp number (11) 93278-6719.