Immunisation and Hajj Research

Lab head: Robert Booy
Location: NCIRS, Kids Researach Institute, Children's Hospital at Westmead

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine: long term protection against infection and cancer

Primary supervisor: Robert Booy

Australia was the first country to introduce the human papilloma vaccine (HPV) and it has proven very successful in preventing early stages of cervical cancer and other long term complications of HPV. 

There are two special epidemiological projects available using available data.  One addresses whether people born during the world wars are at increased risk of HPV-related cancers (including ano-genital and oro-pharyngeal) compared to cohorts born before and after.  This relates to newborns catching HPV infection through the birth process.  Incidence and death rates of relevant cancers will be examined and compared with control cancers not caused by HPV.  Oro-pharyngeal cancer incidence has been increasing in recent decades, but HPV vaccination of young women may change this and vaccination of newborns could be considered.

Secondly, vaccination studies addressing immunogenicity suggest that there is good medium term sustained protection over five or more years.  These data, however, were mostly collected before vaccine introduction and now that HPV vaccine has been widely implemented, there is both direct and indirect protection.  Because of much reduced transmission of viral infection through reduced "personal contact" with virus, there will be much less natural boosting and the question arises as to whether long term protection will be maintained after vaccination or whether a booster dose will be required in the medium to long term.

There are excellent immunological data available to analyse from pharma to address the question of longevity of protection by comparing studies done in the "noughties" (2000-2009) with those that include follow-up later on when herd immunity and reduced transmission are more apparent.  This study too has reliable methodology and we have already had access to some individual level pharma data from immunogenicity studies.  This work is highly suitable for publication and the student will learn a lot about clinical epidemiology and statistics.


Publication:  Novakovic D, Cheung At, Zurynski Y, Booy R, Walker P, Berkowitz R, et al.  A prospective study of the Incidence of Juvenile Onset Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis after implementation of a National HPV Vaccination Program.  J Infect Dis 2017  (in press)

Discipline: Applied Medical Sciences, Westmead
Co-supervisors: Jean Li-Kim-Moy, Rachel Skinner
Keywords: Evidence-based medicine, Immune response, Vaccination