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Vaccine inventor nominated for major honour

THE Queensland scientist who co-invented a medical marvel has been nominated for a prestigious award.

University of Queensland Professor Ian Frazer AC, with his late colleague Jian Zhou, invented the preventive vaccine for the human papilloma virus, which is the leading cause of cervical cancer in women.

The vaccine has since been distributed worldwide.

In a statement this morning, UQ announced that the researcher was one of three people nominated for the Outstanding Contribution to Cancer Control Award by the Union of International Cancer Control.

Speaking with The Courier-Mail, Mr Frazer said he was surprised and humbled to be on the list of nominees.

"It's been a global effort to get cervical cancer under control," he said.

"Obviously it's an unusual thing for a scientist to see something they developed in the lab become something that is practically used and making a real difference globally in terms of control of disease."

Mr Frazer said his former colleague Mr Zhou was critical to developing the vaccine and would be the first person he'd thank.

Mr Frazer shares the nomination with the presidents of Uruguay, Dr Tabaré Vázquez and Zambia, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, both of whom have expanded health coverage in their native countries.

Immunologist and former Australian of the Year Ian Frazer has been nominated for an award celebrating those who make a difference in the fight against cancer. Picture: File.
Immunologist and former Australian of the Year Ian Frazer has been nominated for an award celebrating those who make a difference in the fight against cancer. Picture: File.

In addition to world leaders, Mr Frazer will also share the stage with royalty.

Jordanian princess and UICC president Dina Mired said the three nominees, drawn from a pool of 28 candidates, were examples of individuals making a global difference in the fight against cancer.

"It is impressive to see that the cancer community includes such dedicated and forward-thinking people who are willing and able to take the fight against cancer to the next level," Princess Dina said.

"Our three short-listed nominees have distinguished themselves through true excellence in this field, and their work has had a positive impact on millions of people worldwide."

It's the first time the UICC has held an award ceremony since being founded in 1933.

Mr Frazer, who continues to work at the University of Queensland, said his current focus was on finding cures for head and neck cancers using immune system.

The award ceremony will be held mid-October in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.



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