Centre for Immunology & Cancer Research

  • Research Institute: Diamantina Institute, University of Queensland

  • Amount granted: $1 million

  • Year granted: 1999

The ACRF grant was awarded as initial seed funding for the development of a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.

As cervical cancer is entirely caused by persistent papillomavirus infection, it seems likely that cervical cancer should now be preventable through vaccination. This vaccine is very important as five million women worldwide will develop cervical cancer as a result of an existing papillomavirus infection.

Further Key Outcomes:

  • The papillomavirus vaccine developed in 1991 continues in 3rd phase clinical trial. It is likely a product will be available on the market in 2005.
  • Professor Thomas’s Immunology team is believed to be the first in the world to find a mechanism to turn off auto-immune disease. The work, published in the journal ‘Immunity’ in January 2003, provides a possible basis for a vaccine against auto-immune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile diabetes; where the body’s immune system inappropriately attacks healthy cells.
  • This preliminary work also has implications for making allografts safer as well as treating allergic diseases such as asthma.

This update was provided in 2002 by Director, Professor Ian Frazer:

  •  The centre was delighted to hear in 2002 that the papillomavirus vaccine we developed in 1991 had recently successfully completed a major clinical trial in the US and Europe, in which it demonstrated 100% efficacy in preventing persistent papillomavirus infection.
  • As cervical cancer is entirely caused by persistent papillomavirus infection, it seems likely that cervical cancer should now be preventable through vaccination, and this will be only the second cancer for which a vaccine is available. In the centre, a clinical trial of a vaccine to treat existing persistent papillomavirus infection was undertaken. The results of this study were reported at a major international meeting in May.
  • The new vaccine, developed in conjunction with CSL Ltd, proved safe and immunogenic, and there was preliminary data suggesting efficacy against persistent papillomavirus infection. This vaccine is important because worldwide there are five million women who will develop cervical cancer as a result of an existing papillomavirus infection, and the first vaccine we developed could prevent infection but not treat it. In the laboratory, substantial progress has been made towards understanding how tumours evade the immune system by pretending to be normal tissue, and this information is now being used to develop novel immunotherapies for cancer.
Other ACRF grants awarded to Diamantina Institute, University of Queensland
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    Cervical cancer vaccine

    We gave initial seed funding to Professor Ian Frazer’s research into the cervical cancer (HPV). Over 150 million doses of vaccine have been delivered worldwide to date.

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    The pill that melts away cancer

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    Personalised cancer diagnosis

    In 2015, we awarded $10 million seed funding to an ambitious cancer proteome project that aims to provide each cancer patient a personalised treatment plan within 36 hours. This will improve treatment outcomes and help avoid unnecessary treatments.

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    Zero childhood cancer

    We are one of the founding partners of the initiative that will tackle the most serious cases of infant, childhood and adolescent cancer in Australia. It is a key step towards the program vision of one day helping to cure 100% of children with cancer.

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