Douglas Lowy, M.D., acting director of the National Cancer Institute (Courtesy Photo)
On Friday May 12, 2017, Douglas Lowy, M.D., acting director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), will visit the University of Vermont (UVM) Cancer Center and deliver a J. Walter Juckett Distinguished lecture on the development and future of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The visit comes just a week after Congress voted, approved and the President signed, an Omnibus bill that includes funding for the Cancer Research Moonshot initiative
In addition to attracting cancer researchers and clinicians from the UVM Cancer Center, Lowy’s presentation will bring community and state health professionals and HPV vaccination advocates from throughout Vermont to campus.
“Part of our mission is to serve as the nexus for reducing the burden of cancer here in Vermont and beyond,” says UVM Cancer Center Director Gary Stein, Ph.D. “Dr. Lowy’s visit is a chance to both highlight the importance of research and to bring together the very many in our state who are working on cancer prevention through HPV vaccination.”
Lowy’s decades-long research, in partnership with John Schiller in the NCI’s Laboratory of Cellular Oncology (LCO), has advanced understanding of the human papillomavirus, and developed technology leading to the FDA-approved HPV vaccines, as well as improved efficacy of the vaccines. HPV is known to cause many types of cancer, including cervical cancer and cancers of the head and neck. Vaccination for HPV has been in use for 10 years, and can safely guard against the types of HPV linked to most cervical and anal cancers, as well as genital warts. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends that all 11- to 12-year-old children receive the two-dose vaccine.
Lowy’s lecture brings attention not only to the importance of HPV vaccination in Vermont, but the critical role of cancer research in improving the lives of Vermonters. According to the Vermont Department of Health’s most recent Immunization Program Annual Report (2016), HPV vaccination rates by county in Vermont (for teens in ages 13-15) range from 25% to 43%. Mark Levine, MD, Vermont Commissioner for Health and a Vermont HPV vaccination coalition member, is expected to attend the event.
For more information about the lecture, visit www.vermontcancer.org .