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Ian Frazer was working with AIDS patients in the early 1980s when he first noticed a correlation between the sexually transmitted papilloma virus and cervical cancer, one of the leading causes of cancer death among women, especially in the developing world. A young immunologist, newly arrived in Australia from Edinburgh, Scotland, he spent the next 20 years exploring the link between the virus and the cancer. "If it's caused by an infection," he reasoned, "maybe we could get a vaccine." The grueling process of creating a vaccine based on the papilloma virus was only part of the struggle. "Science is always about ups and downs," he says, "things that don't work, money that doesn't come in." Not only did Frazer have to prove the vaccine would work, he had to persuade the pharmaceutical companies that it would be profitable to manufacture. In worldwide trials, Frazer's vaccine, Gardasil, completely prevented papilloma infection and reduced Pap smear abnormalities by 90 percent. It has the potential to virtually eradicate cervical cancer within a generation. For the first time, we have the possibility of immunizing humanity against one form of cancer. Gardasil has now been approved for use in the United States and the European Union, but in a number of countries, programs to introduce the vaccine have met with resistance from those who believe that vaccination against a sexually transmitted virus will promote immorality. In Australia, a school-based vaccination program was rejected until the courts intervened. In the United States, legal struggles over instituting the vaccine have only begun. Still more conflicts are expected in the developing world. Controversy aside, Ian Frazer has had the experience other scientists dream of, discovering a vaccine against a deadly disease and seeing it tested and approved, saving lives around the world. "There are so many hardships in research," he reflects. "To see something come to fruition - into a product that is going to save lives - is tremendously satisfying."

Ian Frazer Academy of Achievement

    • 醫學

Ian Frazer was working with AIDS patients in the early 1980s when he first noticed a correlation between the sexually transmitted papilloma virus and cervical cancer, one of the leading causes of cancer death among women, especially in the developing world. A young immunologist, newly arrived in Australia from Edinburgh, Scotland, he spent the next 20 years exploring the link between the virus and the cancer. "If it's caused by an infection," he reasoned, "maybe we could get a vaccine." The grueling process of creating a vaccine based on the papilloma virus was only part of the struggle. "Science is always about ups and downs," he says, "things that don't work, money that doesn't come in." Not only did Frazer have to prove the vaccine would work, he had to persuade the pharmaceutical companies that it would be profitable to manufacture. In worldwide trials, Frazer's vaccine, Gardasil, completely prevented papilloma infection and reduced Pap smear abnormalities by 90 percent. It has the potential to virtually eradicate cervical cancer within a generation. For the first time, we have the possibility of immunizing humanity against one form of cancer. Gardasil has now been approved for use in the United States and the European Union, but in a number of countries, programs to introduce the vaccine have met with resistance from those who believe that vaccination against a sexually transmitted virus will promote immorality. In Australia, a school-based vaccination program was rejected until the courts intervened. In the United States, legal struggles over instituting the vaccine have only begun. Still more conflicts are expected in the developing world. Controversy aside, Ian Frazer has had the experience other scientists dream of, discovering a vaccine against a deadly disease and seeing it tested and approved, saving lives around the world. "There are so many hardships in research," he reflects. "To see something come to fruition - into a product that is going to save lives - is tremendously satisfying."

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