The winner of the 2017 Lasker Awards have been announced, with immunology featuring strongly. The 2017 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award has been given to two scientists from the National Cancer Institute in the USA - Douglas R Lowy and John T Schiller - in recognition of 'their technological advances that enabled the development of HPV vaccines for prevention of cervical cancer and other tumours caused by human papillomaviruses'.
The judges recognised that the pair took a bold but calculated approach toward this major public-health problem. While researching how HPV is able to cause cancer, Lowy and Schiller discovered how to fold the proteins on the outer surface of the virus so that they did not cause cancer but could be used in a vaccine to induce an immune response against infections. The introduction of the HPV vaccine has been a major step forward in public health, enabling us to protect future generations from contracting cancers initiated by this virus.
The Lasker Prizes are the United States's most prestigious biomedical research awards and are often seen as precursors to the Nobel Prizes. The British Society for Immunology sends our congratuations to Douglas Lowy and John Schiller. More information on the work that led to them being awarded this prize can be found on the Lasker Foundation website.