FDA Approves Vaccine that Prevents Cervical Cancer
NEW YORK, NY – June 8, 2006 – Federal drug officials announced today the approval of a vaccine against cervical cancer that could eventually save thousands of lives in the United States and hundreds of thousands in the rest of the world each year. Called Gardasil and developed by Merck & Co., the vaccine targets several types of human papillomavirus (HPV) known to cause cervical cancer.
The vaccine uses non-infectious virus like particles (VLPs), a technology discovered by Dr. Ian Frazer of the University in Queensland, to stimulate an immune response against HPV. CRI began providing financial support to Dr. Frazer's research in 1999, allowing him to develop methods to measure immunity elicited by the vaccine, thus providing valuable information on the specific immune responses taking place. CRI is currently supporting Dr. Frazer's research into ways to protect individuals who have already been infected with HPV.
For his discovery of the VLP technology, Dr. Frazer will receive the 2006 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology at the Cancer Research Institute's 20th Annual Award Dinner on June 27, 2006, in New York City. He will share the award with Harald zur Hausen, M.D., of the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany, who first discovered the link between the HPV virus and cervical cancer. Read the New York Times article on the vaccine approval here.
About the Cancer Research Institute
The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), established in 1953, is the world’s only nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to transforming cancer patient care by advancing scientific efforts to develop new and effective immune system-based strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat, and eventually cure all cancers. Guided by a world-renowned Scientific Advisory Council that includes three Nobel laureates and 25 members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI has invested $263 million in support of research conducted by immunologists and tumor immunologists at the world’s leading medical centers and universities, and has contributed to many of the key scientific advances that demonstrate the potential for immunotherapy to change the face of cancer treatment. To learn more, go to www.cancerresearch.org