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The military and the production of an adenovirus vaccine


My work was not supported by either a grant or a contract
Leonard Hayflick Scientist
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The second point that I need to emphasize that I don't think I mentioned, and that needs to be discussed at this point, is a practical one, and that is that when I did my work with the WI-25 and published the most important paper on this principle, the work was conducted without a grant or a contract assigned to me. I had neither. The difference between the two is important. A grant is a sum of money given to a researcher by a company, or the government in most cases, that is initiated by the recipient. The recipient, the scientist proposes the research project. It's submitted, for example, to the National Institute of Health. If it's successful you get a grant of money, and you do the research that you described in the grant application.

A contract, on the other hand, is a device by which the government scientists, often with the advice of academic scientists – or more often than not – have decided that some element of either aircraft manufacture, military, or biology is needed, but no one has proposed from outside of that institution to do that work or make that product. So the government now initiates a proposal for someone to come forth with a plan to produce or do the work that the government scientists say is needed, and usually there are obvious things that are needed. In this case, it must be emphasized that I had neither. I did not have direct government support for my work on the discovery of the finite lifetime of cultured normal human cells. That is very important, in respect to what happened about a decade later.

Leonard Hayflick (b. 1928), the recipient of several research prizes and awards, including the 1991 Sandoz Prize for Gerontological Research, is known for his research in cell biology, virus vaccine development, and mycoplasmology. He also has studied the ageing process for more than thirty years. Hayflick is known for discovering that human cells divide for a limited number of times in vitro (refuting the contention by Alexis Carrel that normal body cells are immortal), which is known as the Hayflick limit, as well as developing the first normal human diploid cell strains for studies on human ageing and for research use throughout the world. He also made the first oral polio vaccine produced in a continuously propogated cell strain - work which contributed to significant virus vaccine development.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: research, grant, contract, government scientist

Duration: 2 minutes, 25 seconds

Date story recorded: July 2011

Date story went live: 08 August 2012