Can an HPV vaccine help if I'm already infected with HPV?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Though the currently available human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix can protect you from HPV, they are only available for those ages 9 to 26 and aren’t effective in those who may have already been infected with the targeted HPV types. A new vaccine may one day help those over 26 who already show signs of precancerous lesions. This new vaccine, VGX-3100, may create a similar revolution in HPV treatment as Gardasil produced back in 2006.

HPV-preventive vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix protect you from the cancer-causing types of HPV by having your body form antibodies against proteins on the virus itself -- proteins L1 and L2. This would allow for your immune system to target and eliminate the HPV virus before it can cause dangerous cancer-causing changes in your body. However, the vaccines are useless when it comes to those who may have already been infected with the cancerous HPV types. This is because after the virus attacks, it hides in your cells in a way that renders the vaccine’s protection ineffective.

VGX-3100 targets different proteins, E6 and E7, which are found in precancerous cells and biopsies of cervical cancer specimens. Therefore, with this vaccine, your body can be trained to target precancerous cells and eliminate them from your body.
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