29 September 2009

UQ’s Professor Ian Frazer has been awarded the 2009 Honda Prize for his contribution to the development of the world’s first cervical cancer vaccines.

Professor Frazer, director of UQ’s Diamantina Institute for Cancer, Immunology and Metabolic Medicine is the 30th laureate of the prize, and will donate the 10 million yen (approximately AU$125,000) prize money to UQ research.

Fatalities from cervical cancer are second only to breast cancer, with 500,000 women developing the disease and 270,000 losing their lives each year.

Eighty percent of deaths occur in developing countries where regular health checks are not systematically available.

The cervical cancer prevention vaccines developed by Professor Frazer and the late Dr Jian Zhou are now approved in 100 countries, with government sponsored immunisation programs for young women in place in the USA and Australia since 2007.

Recently, the Japanese government approved the vaccines for use.

The vaccines prevent four of dozens of strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) which cause genital warts and cervical cancer.

Merck & Co., Inc., N.J. USA and GlaxoSmithKline, UK adopted Professor Frazer’s basic technique and now produce the vaccines on a large scale.

Wide application of the vaccines will prevent tens of thousands of cases of cervical cancer each year – a massive contribution towards the health and well being of women across the world, both now and for future generations.

The 30th award ceremony for the Honda Prize will be held at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo on November 17, 2009.

The Honda foundation was co-founded by Soichiro Honda and his younger brother Benjiro, and is currently headed by Hiromori Kawashima.

The Honda prize is awarded annually to an individual or group in recognition of the recipient’s remarkable achievement in the field of ecotechnology – a concept that calls for harmonious development and use of technology with human beings and their environment.

For further information, please visit http://www.hondafoundation.jp.

Professor Frazer won the 2005 CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science, was named Australian of the Year for 2006, won the Howard Florey Medal for Medical Research in 2007, was recently made a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and was the recipient of the 2008 Prime Minister's Prize for Science.

Media: Honda Australia’s Public Relations (03 9285 5640 or 03 9285 5626) or Danielle Fischer at the Diamantina Institute (07 3240 6623, d.fischer@uq.edu.au)