View the Consensus Statement
Leaders of several cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute have united to support human papillomavirus vaccination. Among them is Cheryl Willman, MD, Director and CEO of the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center. A team of human papillomavirus experts drafted a consensus statement that advises widespread use of HPV vaccines to prevent cancer. The team included Cosette Wheeler, PhD, at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center. The NCI cancer centers distributed the call to action this morning at 10:00 a.m. Central time.
Human papillomavirus, or HPV, causes cancer of the cervix, anus and throat. The HPV vaccine can prevent most of these cancer cases but few girls and boys in the United States get the vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control reports that 27,000 men and women are diagnosed with an HPV-related cancer each year in the United States; that’s one new case of cancer every 20 minutes. The HPV vaccine can prevent most of these cancers but only 40 percent of girls and 21 percent of boys received the vaccine in 2015.
The CDC recommends three doses of the vaccine be given before 13 years of age. The series can be started as early as nine years of age. The CDC recommends giving the vaccine series to young men up to age 21 and to young women up to age 26. The earlier the vaccine is given, the more effective it can be.
In the consensus statement, the NCI-designated cancer center leaders encourage all parents and guardians to have their sons and daughters complete the three-dose vaccination by age 13. They also encourage young men and women who did not receive the vaccine to protect themselves by completing the vaccine series. And they encourage healthcare providers to strongly advocate for HPV vaccination.
Cheryl L. Willman, MD, has served as Director and CEO of the UNM Cancer Center since 1999. She is a Professor of Pathology and Internal Medicine at the UNM School of Medicine where she holds the Maurice and Marguerite Liberman Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research. Dr. Willman received her medical degree in 1981 from The Mayo School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota. Awarded one of the first NIH Physician Scientist Awards in 1984, Dr. Willman completed her residency and post-doctoral training in pathology and cancer research at the National Institutes of Health in Washington DC, UNM, and the University of Washington in Seattle. She is an internationally recognized leukemia researcher, whose work now focuses on the use of comprehensive genomic technologies to identify novel targets for improved diagnosis, risk classification, and therapy, and, the translation of these new targets to diagnostics, therapeutics, and clinical trials. She has played significant leadership roles in the leukemia translational medicine studies in two of the NCI Cooperative Groups, COG and SWOG and has been consistently funded by the NIH, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and HHMI for over 25 years.
Cosette Wheeler, PhD is a UNM Regents Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. She holds the Victor and Ruby Hansen Surface Endowed Chair in Translational Medicine and Public Health. Her New Mexico research group has contributed for over 20 years to understanding the molecular epidemiology of human papillomaviruses (HPV) in cervical precancer and cancer among Native American, Hispanic and non-Hispanic women of the southwest and on a global basis. She has overseen a number of large-scale multidisciplinary population-based projects that have ultimately enabled advances in primary (HPV vaccines) and secondary cervical cancer prevention (Pap and HPV tests). She has authored over 200 peer-reviewed articles a number in top tier journals. In 2008 Sciencewatch (Thomson Reuters http://sciencewatch.com/ana/st/hpv/08julHPVWheler/) ranked her global citation contributions over the past decade, 7th in human papillomavirus contributions and in the top 1% in the field of clinical medicine.
Read the consensus statement, “NCI-designated Cancer Centers Urge HPV Vaccination for the Prevention of Cancer,” online at http://cancer.unm.edu/cancer-centers-promote-hpv-vaccination-for-cancer-prevention
Learn more about human papillomavirus at the Centers for Disease Control website: http://www.cdc.gov/HPV/.
The University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of New Mexico and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center in a 400-mile radius. One of the premier cancer centers nationwide, the UNM CCC has 128 board-certified oncology physicians, forming New Mexico’s largest cancer care team. It treats about 60 percent of adults and virtually all the children in New Mexico diagnosed with cancer — more than 10,000 people— from every county in the state in more than 135,000 clinic visits each year. Through its partnership with the New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance, an “exemplary national model for cancer health care delivery,” the UNM CCC offers access to more than 160 clinical trials to New Mexicans in every part of the state. Annual research funding of more than $72 million supports the UNM CCC’s 132 cancer scientists. Working with partners at Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, and New Mexico State University, they have developed new diagnostics and drugs for leukemia, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, liver and pancreatic cancer, brain cancer, and melanoma; garnered 33 new patents and 117 patents pending; and launched 13 new biotechnology companies since 2010. Learn more at cancer.unm.edu.
Dorothy Hornbeck, JKPR, 505-340-5929, firstname.lastname@example.org
Michele Sequeira, UNM Cancer Center, 505-925-0486, email@example.com