Deputy Director, U.S. National Cancer Institute
Chief, U.S. National Cancer Institute, Laboratory of Cellular Oncology
The Szent-Györgyi Prize selection committee was unanimous in its decision to recognize Dr. Lowy, who, in partnership with John T. Schiller, Ph.D., developed the vaccine for human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes 99% of cervical cancer cases. Collaborators for over 30 years at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, Doctors Lowy and Schiller developed the first Food and Drug Administration approved vaccines specifically targeting cancer.
The technology resulting from the tandem’s research, discovery and development efforts has been licensed to pharmaceutical corporations, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, and is marketed, respectively, as Gardasil®, Gardasil 9® and Cervarix®. According to NCI, widespread administration of any of these three vaccines could reduce the global incidence of new cervical cancer by two-thirds or more, representing at least 350,000 cases per year.
The vaccines are also effective against rarer HPV-associated cancers of the penis, vagina and vulva, among others.