Discovering the World’s First Cancer Vaccine
Richard Schlegel, M.D., Ph.D., Oscar B. Hunter Chair in pathology
A Medical Breakthrough
In June 2006, the FDA approved the world's first cancer vaccine. The vaccine blocks two strains of the virus responsible for nearly 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. This medical breakthrough was discovered and developed at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center by a team led by Dr. Richard Schlegel, who has worked on the virus for nearly two decades.
Efforts are now underway to develop new generations of the vaccine that will make it more affordable and stable, which will allow for greater distribution to developing countries.
Achieving Worldwide Impact
But traditional sources of funding for such work are no longer as reliable. "With the shrinking pool of National Institutes of Health dollars, competition for the limited resources is tough," Schlegel says. "Gifts to the university would allow our group to expand and speed up our development of new vaccines and therapeutics."
With nearly half a million women diagnosed annually with cervical cancer worldwide, Schlegel and his colleagues' commitment to preventing this deadly disease is having a global impact.