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Medical research needs complex answers


The development of vaccines against cancer
Baruch Blumberg Physician
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They did an excellent study to show that the... they can only look at childhood cancer because that was the impacted, to see the effects of vaccination. But there's so much primary cancer of the liver in Taiwan. It's… in the 50, 40-60 age range, it's the most second most common cause of death — not death from cancer, but death in… in Taiwanese males, and Chinese in Taiwan. But they did show a significant two-thirds drop in the incidence of cancer of the liver in Taiwan. There was a similar study done in Korea with… with the, in the same direction. And I believe there's been another study since then. Okay, so if those things are substantiated, that means there’s - other than theoretical prediction - there's actual evidence, that it’s a cancer vaccine. Well, we suspected that, we had no way to predict that would be the case, the data of course, is what really counts, and I have… have been trying to advocate, since then, the use, the development of vaccines against cancer. Now, the second cancer vaccine was just introduced last year by Merck, and the data looked very good on that. And that's... it will be in use, you know, they kind of got into a little bit of trouble — they kind of pushed it a little, a little harder they pushed, you know, there was that kind of back — but I think in the long-run, it will be widely used. And what I'm trying to advocate now, what I'm trying to tell people, you know, talk to people at Fox Chase here, is to find other infectious agents that cause cancers, and give, and use preventative measures. You know, we know a lot about preventing bacteria and viruses. Vaccines is, you know, probably the best solution, but there are others also. So there are a whole bunch of cancers that are caused by… by viruses.

American research physician Baruch Blumberg (1925-2011) was co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1976 along with D Carleton Gajdusek for their work on the origins and spread of infectious viral diseases that led to the discovery of the hepatitis B virus. Blumberg’s work covered many areas including clinical research, epidemiology, virology, genetics and anthropology.

Listeners: Rebecca Blanchard

Dr Rebecca Blanchard is Director of Clinical Pharmacology at Merck & Co., Inc. in Upper Gwynedd, Pennsylvania. Her education includes a BSc in Pharmacy from Albany College of Pharmacy and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. While at Utah, she studied in the laboratories of Dr Raymond Galinsky and Dr Michael Franklin with an emphasis on drug metabolism pathways. After receiving her PhD, Dr Blanchard completed postdoctoral studies with Dr Richard Weinshilboum at the Mayo Clinic with a focus on human pharmacogenetics. While at Mayo, she cloned the human sulfotransferase gene SULT1A1 and identified and functionally characterized common genetic polymorphisms in the SULT1A1 gene. From 1998 to 2004 Dr Blanchard was an Assistant Professor at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. In 2005 she joined the Clinical Pharmacology Department at Merck & Co., Inc. where her work today continues in the early and late development of several novel drugs. At Merck, she has contributed as Clinical Pharmacology Representative on CGRP, Renin, Losartan, Lurasidone and TRPV1 programs and serves as chair of the TRPV1 development team. Dr Blanchard is also Co-chair of the Neurology Pharmacogenomics Working Group at Merck. Nationally, she has served the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics on the Strategic Task Force and the Board of Directors. Dr Blanchard has also served on NIH study sections, and several Foundation Scientific Advisory Boards.

Tags: Taiwan

Duration: 2 minutes, 5 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2007

Date story went live: 28 September 2009