Rutgers study examines using lubricant made with seaweed extracts to protect against HPV infection
While great progress has been made in creating HPV vaccines, current approaches to prevent infection have limitations. Three HPV vaccines currently on the market provide strong protection against infection. However, the vaccines are effective only in those ages 26 and younger. “Carrageenans in a lubricant is a totally new approach to prevent HPV infection in those of any age,” says Einstein. Because HPV is a sexually transmitted infection, finding protection from a topical product used during sexual activity is a logical approach.The concept of using the topical gel as an infection barrier has its roots in a 2006 study in which carrageenan was found to offer infection-inhibiting protection against a wide range of HPV types, including those that are known to cause cancer. All personal lubricants marketed and sold in the U.S. must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Einstein, who is also assistant dean of the clinical research unit at New Jersey Medical School, has been an investigator on a number of HPV vaccine clinical trials and was on the guidelines writing group for the American Cancer Society and a consultant to the World Health Organization. “If effective, this approach can be a cheap, women-controlled way that can empower women to protect themselves from HPV and cervical cancer,” says Einstein.
For more information about the HPV study, contact Randall Teeter at [email protected].