UQ scientist honoured for developing the world's first cancer vaccine

s designed for the developing world," he said.

"It will be sold first in the developed world, and of course there is a significant benefit for women in countries with effective Pap smear programs, as abnormal smears will be much less likely after vaccination, but the real need is for the developing world and to have this vaccine used routinely in young women to prevent cervical cancer in countries where there are no Pap smear programs to reduce the risk."

He said both companies involved in the development of the vaccine had indicated that they would introduce a differential pricing structure so developing countries could get the vaccine at a cheaper price.

"But cheaper isn't cheap. This is a vaccine which is technically quite difficult to make," he said.

"It will rely on the good graces of the Gates Foundation, the World Bank and the World Health Organisation's Expanded Vaccine Initiative to make sure this vaccine is made available as cheaply as possible to all the countries in the developing world that want to use it."

Final-stage clinical trials of the vaccine showed it to be 100 percent effective at preventing infection with the types of human papilloma virus (HPV) that are included in the vaccine, which are together responsible for about 70 percent of cervical cancer.

The results of the Phase III trials were announced in October 2005 by international pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. which is developing the product.

"It's very rare, almost unheard of, to achieve a 100 percent efficacy rate in any treatment, so the results are truly wonderful," Professor Frazer said.

"It's the first time in the world that a vaccine designed to prevent cancer has been developed, and it has happened right here in Australia.

"It's very encouraging to see such great results coming out of Australian research, and developed in conjunction with Australian company CSL, and international pharmaceutical compa

Contact: Chris Saxby
Research Australia

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