Cervical cancer vaccine celebrates 10-years of saving lives

Ground-breaking UQ research has given young women around the world confidence that cervical cancer is in retreat.

It is ten years since the introduction of the UQ developed Gardasil® vaccine, cutting the rate of cervical cancer-causing infections in Australian women by almost 90 per cent.

Gardasil was created from technology first developed by UQ researchers Professor Ian Frazer and the late Dr Jian Zhou with the support of an international network of scientists.

It works by immunising against certain strains of cervical cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV).

Professor Frazer said the success of Gardasil was promising.

“The early figures are very encouraging; the vaccine is safe, as effective as we expected and can be delivered worldwide. The real success will be with universal adoption of immunisation,” he said.

Hard work and philanthropic funding helped transform his vision into a life-saving reality.

“The work was greatly helped by the generous gifts to the laboratory I ran from visionary individuals and charities, and by the start-up support for my research programs, made possible by UQ and the Princess Alexandra Hospital,” Dr Fraser said.

In 1986 the young medical researcher received a phone call from a Cairns woman seeking to give some of her family inheritance to his work with the human papillomavirus.
The donation was larger than most and allowed Dr Fraser to buy equipment that had hitherto been beyond the allocations for his lab. 

It led to the discovery of Gardasil which is now available in 120 countries.

Professor Frazer is now working on new vaccines that fight infection with infection, including herpes and HPV; and also on using our knowledge about skin immunology to help better prevent skin cancer.

Breakthroughs like Gardasil have only been possible through the generous support offered by donors to researchers at the University of Queensland. Your donation could help support the next big medical breakthrough and save millions of lives worldwide.

Help support the next big medical breakthrough.