publication date: Feb. 16, 2018

In Brief

NCI’s Lowy and Schiller win Szent-Györgyi Prize

The 2018 Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research will be awarded Douglas Lowy and John Schiller, of the NCI Center for Cancer Research for their contributions toward the development of vaccines for the human papillomavirus.

Schiller and Lowy “have made monumental impacts in the field of cancer sciences and could not be more deserving of this award,” said Sujuan Ba, co-chair of the 2018 prize selection committee and president of the National Foundation for Cancer Research, which awards the annual prize.

Lowy, who is also deputy director of NCI, and Schiller have co-authored more than 150 papers over the last 30 years. Most notably, their work to understand and prevent HPV infection has led to the approval of three preventive HPV vaccines by FDA.

HPV infection causes almost all cases of cervical cancer, the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide, as well as several other cancers.

Every year, more than 500,000 women around the world are diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 275,000 women die from the disease. HPV infection also causes other types of cancer, including about 70 percent of oropharyngeal cancers in the U.S., about 95 percent of anal cancers, and many cases of vulvar, vaginal, and penile cancer.

In the 1990s, a team led by Schiller and Lowy discovered that proteins that form the outer shell of HPV can assemble into noninfectious virus-like particles. They found that VLPs could trigger the immune system to produce high levels of protective antibodies. The VLPs became the basis of three FDA-approved vaccines: Gardisil, Gardisil 9, and Cervarix.

Lowy and Schiller attribute their breakthrough to building on … Continue reading NCI’s Lowy and Schiller win Szent-Györgyi Prize

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