Researchers behind a new human papillomavirus (HPV) study are looking to examine the long-term impact of the vaccine in Alberta girls as part of a national comparison of doses.
The QUEST study will look at girls from from five provinces that offer differing dosage schedules. Some provinces offer the vaccine in three doses while others offer it in two.
"If we can come to understand that giving two doses is as effective as three doses in preventing both the short- and long-term consequences, that would be a really good piece of information," said Dr. Jim Kellner, the lead investigator in Alberta.
If both dosages are found to be equally effective, that could lead to a two-dose program being implemented across Canada.
For provinces like Alberta, which gives the vaccine in three doses, such a finding could save a lot of money and lead to higher compliance rates.
Researchers are hoping roughly 9,000 girls across Canada will participate.
The HPV virus is best known for causing cervical cancer, but a study conducted in 2011 also suggested HPV-positive tumours account for a majority of oropharyngeal cancer cases in the upper throat
"Cancer research is important to me," said 15-year-old Kyra Winstanley, who was motivated to sign up for the study because of her grandmother's death from cancer.
"If I'm not going to be part of this, who is?"
So far, fewer than 900 girls have volunteered to take part.