Weill Cornell Medicine in the US has secured funding to investigate ways to prevent cancers related to human papillomavirus (HPV) in people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

The National Cancer Institute awarded the five-year, $8.3m grant to Weill Cornell in partnership with the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and the Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil.

The grant will be used to fund work related to the design and implementation of three clinical trials at the University of São Paulo, University of Puerto Rico and the Mexico National Institute of Public Health.

Together, they will focus on two forms of cancer associated with HPV.

Weill Cornell Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases associate professor of medicine Dr Timothy Wilkin said: “What we learn and discover through this collaboration will be very beneficial for the Latin American and Caribbean populations that we’re studying, but it will also translate to a much broader area.”

The first clinical trial will assess whether an existing HPV vaccine known by the brand name Gardasil-9 is capable of preventing oral HPV infections in men with HIV.

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According to the investigators, the study is expected to lead to a new use for the vaccine for oropharyngeal cancer.

The focus of the second trial will be on rapid ‘point-of-care’ screening tests that occur at the time and place of patient care. This will help to identify cervical premalignant lesions.

As part of the third clinical trial, the effectiveness of a novel therapeutic HPV vaccine will be evaluated for the treatment of premalignant lesions of the cervix.

Dr Wilkin further added: “The results of our clinical trials could help form new methods and interventions that can decrease the incidence cervical cancer in these countries, and around the globe.”