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Australians encouraged to join available clinical trials

Photo: Joining a medical trial can save lives
Professor Ian Frazer, the 2006 Australian of the Year, has encouraged Australians to ask about available clinical trials every time they visit the doctor.

Meg Viskovich knows what it's like, with a baby on the way, to spend time fearing for the health of her unborn child.

So in an attempt to spare other type 1 diabetic women the same anxiety, the Sydneysider has placed daughter Leila into a clinical trial on the condition.

Now aged three, Leila is participating in a National Health and Medical Research Council trial looking for any environmental factors that may trigger the onset of type 1 diabetes in at-risk children.

Thanks to the trial, Ms Viskovich has been able to determine that her daughter is yet to show the early signs of type 1 diabetes - taking a mental load off.
The trial will also help the family spot symptoms early and take action.

"We participated because, at the end of the day, we don't want any more kids getting type 1 diabetes," the 35-year-old Ms Viskovich said.

"It's just like living on a rollercoaster, trying to keep it under control."

This week the NHMRC launched the "Helping Our Health" campaign to raise awareness of the value and benefits of clinical trials in developing life-saving treatments for everyday Australians.

Professor Ian Frazer - 2006 Australian of the Year - co-invented the HPV vaccine that has largely eliminated the threat of cervical cancer in Australia.

This followed a large, successful clinical trial of the vaccine.

The new life-saving immunotherapy drugs have also been made available to many Australian cancer patients because they were shown to work in trials.

Professor Frazer encouraged every Australian to ask about - and participate in - clinical trials every time they visit the doctor.

"It may or may not benefit them but they will generally benefit people around the world who are in need of better care," Professor Frazer said.

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