NAM member Douglas R. Lowy has received this year’s Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for pioneering technological advances that led to the creation of HPV vaccines for prevention of cervical cancer and other tumors caused by human papillomaviruses. He shares the award with John T. Schiller.
Each year, more than 500,000 news cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed and more than 250,000 women die from the malignancy. Human papillomavirus (HPV) underlies many cancers and in the early 1990s, researchers began to consider a vaccine that would block persistent infection with HPV.
Lowy and Schiller have led pioneering vaccine work for HPV over the last several decades. In 1996, they, along with scientists at Johns Hopkins University, conducted the first clinical trial of an HPV vaccine. By 2001, they had shown it was safe and that it worked. Over the next several years, clinical trials were conducted that further confirmed their efficacy and safety and it gained FDA approval in 2006. Millions of people from around the globe now receive the vaccine.
The 2017 Lasker Awards, which carry an honorarium of $250,000 for each category, were presented on September 15, 2017. Click here to watch the award presentation.