Australian of the Year award to Ian Frazer salutes important win in the war against cancer

Professor Ian Frazer's selection as Australian of the Year 2006 recognises that while cancer is an increasingly serious global health issue, scientists can significantly reduce cancer mortality through hard work and innovation, the President of The Cancer Council Australia, Mrs Judith Roberts AO, said today.

Mrs Roberts said Professor Frazer's development of a vaccine shown to prevent cervical cancer could save the 250,000 lives lost to the disease worldwide each year, especially in developing countries without screening programs.

She said The Cancer Council Australia was particularly supportive of the award – not only because it helped to raise the profile of Professor Frazer's groundbreaking work, but also because he was The Cancer Council Australia's Vice President.

"Professor Frazer has worked tirelessly for 20 years on the development of the vaccine, which is shown to be 100 per cent effective in preventing persistent infection or disease associated with the subtypes of human papilloma virus that cause almost all cervical cancers," Mrs Roberts said.

"The fact that Professor Frazer also finds time to make an important contribution as Vice President of The Cancer Council Australia, a not-for-profit, community-based organisation, demonstrates the breadth of his commitment to reducing the impact of cancer."

Mrs Roberts said The Cancer Council Australia continued to encourage Australians to be optimistic about the prospect of eventually defeating cancer.

"Despite occasional claims of 'miracle cancer cures', evidence suggests that if we are to win the battle against cancer, it will be through a wide range of prevention, detection and treatment measures that target its many varied and complex forms," she said.

"By developing a vaccine against a cancer that claims so many lives, many of them women in developing countries who are integral to the wellbeing of their communities, Professor Frazer will be acknowledged as having made one of history's most significant contributions to cancer control."

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www.cancer.org.au


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