Press release | 11.6.2015
11 June 2015 - The
invention of the vaccine Gardasil today earned Ian Frazer and his late Chinese
colleague Jian Zhou the Popular Prize at the European Inventor Award 2015. The
public's choice was clear, with the Australian-Chinese research team receiving more
than 32% percent of the 47 000 votes cast online. Ian
Frazer and Xiao Yi Sun, the widow of his late co-inventor, received the prize
at an award ceremony at the Palais Brongniart
in Paris, attended by more than 400 international guests. Now in its 10th
year, the European Inventor Award is presented annually by the European Patent
Office to outstanding inventors in five categories. An international jury selects three finalists before
choosing a winner in each category. In addition, the Popular Prize winner is decided by the
public, who pick their favourite from among the 15 finalists in an online vote.
Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women, and one of the deadliest. But thanks to the Australian-Chinese research team there is hope: the two researchers developed Gardasil, the first vaccine against cervical cancer. Their approach is based on the research of German physician and Nobel Prize winner Harald zur Hausen, who first established the link between human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and cervical cancer more than 35 years ago. The vaccine is ground-breaking because it focuses on prevention, helping to protect girls and women against various types of HPV, which are the cause of most cases of cervical cancer. This can be life-saving, in particular for women without regular access to healthcare.
"Developing a vaccine has saved countless lives and also saved many women from a protracted and painful course of treatment, involving surgery and chemotherapy," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "The award shows how grateful people are to Ian Frazer and Jian Zhou for this pioneering invention," he said. "Gardasil brings hope and assurance. The Popular Prize thus takes on a very special meaning this year."
Gardasil is now used in 121 countries and has been administered more than 125 million times. The WHO and public health agencies in Australia, Canada, Europe and the US recommend vaccination against HPV for young women aged nine to 25. The vaccine signifies a vital step forward in the fight against cancer, in particular for regions without basic healthcare and no preventive diagnostic procedures.
Note to editors: availability of AV and photo materials on 11 June
More information about all 15 European Inventor Award finalists (including AV, photo and text materials) is available in the EPO Media Centre.
Director Media Relations
European Patent Office
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European Patent Office
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Cicero / Shepard Fox Communications
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