Acclaimed scientist preps first skin cancer vax trial

Australia's Ian Frazer has been using his knowledge of human papilloma virus to create an experimental jab to prevent skin cancer. And now he says he's ready to launch the first human trial of a new vaccine that has already proven effective in preventing skin cancer in animals.

In the study, researchers will vaccinate girls aged 10 to 12 and track its effectiveness in preventing skin cancer as they age. Sunny Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with 1,600 people dying from the cancer each year. As with the HOV vaccine Gardasil, the vaccine targets the papilloma virus, which spurs abnormal cells to turn cancerous.

"My entire career has been focused on understanding the interaction between papillomavirus and the cancers they affect,'' Prof Frazer told the Daily Telegraph. "We know it causes at least five per cent of all cancers globally so one in 20 of the cancers that people get is caused by papilloma virus. It's a huge issue.''

- read the report from the Daily Telegraph