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ADA among sponsors of consultation meeting about HPV-associated cancer

July 22, 2015

By Michelle Manchir

Washington – Oropharyngeal cancer associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) and its implications for research, education and public health policy in the Americas is the topic of an international consultation meeting July 27-28 in Washington, D.C.

The Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Americas, in addition to the ADA, ADA Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) are sponsoring the meeting.

"This is a timely consultation meeting which brings together experts from a variety of health communities, including the medical and dental disciplines," said Dr. Dan Meyer, chief science officer of the ADA Science Institute. "One of the key objectives is to provide state-of-the-art professional guidance to develop effective health policies which help minimize risks, prevent, manage and treat HPV-associated cancers."

The PAHO and WHO called the meeting because "significant gaps exist in available epidemiological data on HPV persistence in the general population and in HIV-infected individuals, and evidence on the cross-efficacy of HPV vaccines to prevent HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer is lacking," according to the health organizations.

While oral cavity cancer incidence has decreased in most parts of the world consistent with declining tobacco use, trend studies suggest an increase in the incidence of oropharyngeal cancers in several developed countries, according to PAHO/WHO.

The convened experts are expected to provide prioritized recommendations to address identified science gaps and gather key recommendations to enhance HPV public policies to include HPV-related oral cancer.

"Having a regional plan will be crucial in moving forward to prevent and treat oropharyngeal cancers associated with HPV," said Dr. Saskia Estupinan-Day, head of the oral health program at PAHO/WHO.

Participants in the meeting include leaders from the ADA, PAHO/WHO, IADR, NIH/NIC/NIDCR, the U.S. Public Health Service, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the International agency for Research on Cancer, and the International HPV Society, along with academicians and researchers from Australia, Canada, the United States and representatives from the ministries of health of the Bahamas, Chile and Jamaica.

"Developing public health policy for the Americas that embrace HPV-OPC signifies prominent collaborative work between PAHO/WHO, NIDCR, ADA, ADA Foundation, IADR, the global biomedical community and health authorities of countries in the Americas,"  said Dr. Isaac Rodriguez-Chavez, director of the AIDS and Immunosuppression Program at NIDCR, NIH.

For more information on the International Consultation Meeting, contact Dr. Meyer at meyerd@ada.org.