Oklahoma begins HPV, meningitis study

The Lynn Institute in Oklahoma City and Norman are studying a new meningitis vaccine and the HPV vaccine, Gardasil.

The Oklahoman
December 3, 2011
By Sonya Colberg
Copyright © 2011, The Oklahoma Publishing Company

Kids are rolling up their sleeves and gritting their teeth over a study on a meningitis vaccine and the HPV vaccine Gardasil. The study looks at whether a new meningitis vaccine and Gardasil can be effectively given at the same time.

So far, 19 children are participating in the study at The Lynn Institute’s Oklahoma City and Norman offices. Re-searchers expect to enroll up to 40 patients from 11 to 17 years old through the end of January.

“As far as I know we are the only two sites in the state of Oklahoma doing these studies,” said Karen Hames, Lynn Institute of Norman clinical director.

Researchers also are studying the same new meningitis vaccine in combination with TDaP (combined tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccine.

Those studies are funded by pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc., which has developed the vaccine designed to prevent meningococcal serogroup B, which causes about one-third of the cases.

A dangerous disease
Young people with meningococcal disease have a high risk of death. Survivors often suffer serious medical problems such as brain damage, kidney damage, psychological problems and loss of limbs or hearing.

So far this year, Oklahoma has had 10 cases of the disease, including four in group B.

Oklahoma’s most recent outbreak was in the Oologah-Talala school district in 2010, resulting in five cases, two of which ended in death. All were group C, said state Health Department official Laurence Burnsed.

Gardasil is the cervical cancer vaccine recommended for girls 11 to 12 years old, before they become sexually active. It’s approved for use in girls and women ages 9 through 26.

A federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee also has recommended the vaccine for 11- and 12-year-old boys. Gardasil is given in three doses at a total cost of about $360.

“I am excited about this, mainly for the reason that we’re getting to offer this vaccination for free to people. Because it is very expensive to get,” Hames said.

Hames said all participants – even those given a placebo – will get free vaccinations at the end of the study.

The first child was enrolled Oct. 24 in the study. Patients get $50 per visit, with a total of five or six visits required. Hames said no one has reported any serious side effects.

The one-year study involves more than 5,000 patients at sites across the United States.

Parents interested in enrolling their child in the meningitis vaccine study can call The Lynn Institute at 701-2828.