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UAE, first country in the Middle East to introduce vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer

United Arab Emirates: Saturday, January 06 - 2007 @ 13:39

Professor Ian Frazer, Director of the University of Queensland’s Centre for Immunology and Cancer Research (CICR), Australia, has been announced as a potential candidate for the Noble Prize Awards, due to his recent creation of the first and only vaccine against cervical cancer – Gardasil. Gardasil, which is distributed by Merck Sharp & Dohme, is now available in over 33 countries around the world.

“We are proud to have placed the UAE on the map with leading countries such as the US, Australia and EU to approve Gardasil, the first breakthrough vaccine that prevents cancer” said Dr. Wisam Haddadin, Franchise Manger, Gulf Region, Merck Sharp & Dohme.

“We hope to partner with health institutions to educate females on ways to prevent Cervical Cancer, which is the second leading cancer among women worldwide”.

Cervical cancer is primarily caused by HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) infection. Approximately 2.3 million women are currently diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide and 800 women die daily due to cervical cancers. The annual average of reported cervical cancer cases in UAE has tripled in 2005 compared to reported cases from 1998 to 2004 (Source: Cancer Registry Program).

Following the steps of many leading countries, Australia have recently announced the inclusion of Gardasil in its National Immunization Program (NIP). Gardasil will be administered to all females, 12 to 13-year-old girls will be vaccinated through schools from as early as April next 2007. The Government will also fund a two-year catch-up program for 13 to 18-year-old girls in schools and 18 to 26-year-old women to be delivered through GPs.

“I’m delighted the Federal Government has decided to adopt the recommendation of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC), to implement a comprehensive program for introduction of the HPV vaccine that Dr Jian Zhou and I helped develop to prevent cervical cancer,” said Professor Frazer, Director of the University of Queensland’s Centre for Immunology and Cancer Research. “I’m pleased that the appropriate processes have been followed in reaching this decision. The government’s decision, combined with an ongoing cervical cancer-screening program, will be a significant step towards further reduction of cervical cancer risk for Australian women.”

Professor Frazer and his late research partner, Dr Jian Zhou who passed away before Gardasil was made public, have been working on the creation of the vaccine for almost two decades, before receiving approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) in June of 2006.

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Saturday, January 6- 2007 @ 13:39 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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