Hanid Audish, DO Performs Critical HPV Vaccine Trial
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. There are over 150 strains of the virus and, although most infections either go away or become undetectable over time with no treatment, HPV can cause infections in the mouth and lead to cancerous tumors in the head and neck. Part of the complication with HPV is that there is not currently an approved vaccine for the prevention of head and neck cancer stemming from the viral infection. Hanid Audish, a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, has recognized the importance of a viable HPV vaccine to prevent oropharyngeal cancer in patients and is currently performing a trial for a study vaccine that may serve that purpose.
HPV is known to be able to infect the mouth and throat, causing oropharyngeal cancer. There are an estimated 53,000 cases of oropharyngeal cancer that are expected to occur in 2020, with 38,000 impacted men and 14,800 women. HPV is believed to be the cause of as much as 70% of oropharyngeal cancer cases in the US. There has been a rise in cases of oropharyngeal cancer linked to HPV in men and women, however, rates of oropharyngeal cancer are more than twice as high in men.
Hanid Audish and his team at Encompass Clinical Research’s current trial is sponsored by Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. The trial is meant to evaluate a study vaccine to ascertain if it will lower the chances of contracting a mouth infection caused by some of the types of HPV, and will effectively test the safety of the vaccine by evaluating the ways in which the body handles it. While the study vaccine has already been approved in multiple countries as a means to protect against anal and genital diseases as well as cancers caused by some types of HPV, it has not yet been approved for the prevention of HPV-related head and neck cancer by protecting mouth infections.
For the study, Hanid Audish and his team have had healthy men between the ages of 20 and 45 and have had at least one sexual partner, have not already taken an HPV vaccine, and have no history of an HPV related head anal lesion or head and neck cancer evaluated to make sure that they qualify. Those that qualified and agreed to be participants were randomly placed into treatment groups. One group receives three doses of the study vaccine (9vHPV), while the other group receives three doses of a placebo injection. The placebo does not contain any active medicine. The hypothesis that Hanid Audish is testing in the study is that the 3-dose trial of 9vHPV vaccine will reduce incidence of HPV-related oral persistent infection compared with the placebo. This trial, currently in process, will last 42 months with participants visiting the study site 10 times over that time span.