Washington, DC --
University recognized one of its own today, awarding the President's Medal to Dr. Richard Schlegel for his outstanding contributions to medical science and to improving and saving human lives. Dr. Schlegel, Chair of the Department of Pathology at Georgetown’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, directed the groundbreaking research that led to the world’s first cervical cancer vaccine.
“Dick Schlegel is a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher, an outstanding mentor, and a leader in the University community," said Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia. "He provides an invaluable example of the kind of achievement we are working to sustain and advance.”
Schlegel and his team of
Georgetown researchers developed the vaccine technology in the early 1990’s and then licensed it for commercial development. On June 8, 2006 the Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine, called Gardasil, and recommended it for females between the ages of nine and 26.
Cervical cancer develops from certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus that affects both men and women. Gardasil blocks the two strains of HPV responsible for about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases.
Every year, nearly 470,000 women develop cervical cancer and 233,000 die from the illness worldwide. It is the most common form of cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in developing nations.
Schlegel came to
Georgetown from the National Institutes of Health in 1990 to join forces with immunology and pathology experts who were researching the connection between cervical cancer and HPV. After nearly 20 years of work on HPV, he continues to advance cancer research at
Georgetown today. Schlegel and team of colleagues were recently awarded a $3.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health to work on second and third-generation HPV vaccines that are both preventive and therapeutic.
Center , part of
Hospital , seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future. Lombardi is one of only 39 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute, and the only one in the
Washington, DC , area. For more information, visit lombardi.georgetown.edu.
University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in , founded in 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll.
Georgetown today is a major student-centered, international, research university offering respected undergraduate, graduate and professional programs on its three campuses. For more information about
University , visit www.georgetown.edu.