The Creation of the Cervical Cancer Vaccine
The scientific breakthrough that saved the lives of thousands of women
How a scientific breakthrough led to the invention of the revolutionary cancer vaccine. In the 1980s, it was established that cervical cancer was caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is usually spread through sexual intercourse. In 1989, scientists Ian Frazer and Jian Zhou at the University of Queensland began working on the basis of a possible vaccine for HPV Their solution was to use parts of the virus's own genetic code to create a virus like particle (vlp) which would trigger an immune response.
Alex Last has been speaking to Professor Ian Frazer about their discovery.
(Photo: Electron micrograph of virus like particles formed from the outer protein coat of the human papillomavirus (HPV). The proteins form a virus-like particle that does not contain any genetic material. Credit: Science Photo Library)