A vaccine for genital warts could be one of the first products to come out of the new multi-million dollar medical research base built in Brisbane.
A clinical trial treating the papillomaviruses responsible for genital warts was on target at the halfway mark, according to Australian of the Year 2006 Professor Ian Frazer and trial manager, sexual health specialist Dr David Jardine.
More than 200 patients in China and Australia have taken part in the trial so far run from the Princess Alexandra (PA) Hospital.
“The new treatment has so far proven safe, and we want to know if it improves the outcome after conventional therapy, which all patients also receive,” Dr Jardine said.
Trial researchers aim to use a tweaked version of Professor Frazer’s cervical cancer vaccine to treat genital warts.
Professor Frazer said this vaccine could be one of the first made locally at the biopharmaceutical production centre, which received $100 million in last night’s Federal Budget.
The centre, called the Translational Research Institute, is planned to be a one-stop shop at the PA Hospital for medical research and health care, catering for medical discoveries, clinical trials and drug manufacture.
“Conducting trials in Australia gives Australians the chance to help develop new treatments,” Professor Frazer said.
“Should the product under trial be effective, it also gives them the chance to be amongst the first to benefit.”
A vaccine would complement both the pap smear program and currently available vaccines to prevent infections.
Genital warts are transmitted by skin contact and the 2003 Australian Study of Sex and Relationships of 20,000 adults revealed four percent of people had had visible genital warts.
Dr Jardine said men and women with genital warts who would like to take part in the trial could call 3240 5881 to learn more. All calls are handled in confidence.
Media: Dr Jardine (0404 826 537) or Miguel Holland at UQ Communications (3365 2619).