Strides in Vaccine Development

Week in Review: Vaccines for a Healthy Future

09.13.13 | By Kaelan Hollon

Despite some tremendous strides in vaccine development over the years, vaccines remain a major public health challenge for patients and their families throughout the world. This week we released our Medicines in Development: Vaccines report, which shows there are more than 270 vaccines in the pipeline to prevent and/or treat a wide array of diseases, including various forms of cancer and neurological disorders. 

As our President and CEO John Castellani said at the time the report was released, “To say vaccines have changed the world for the better is a dramatic understatement.” Vaccines have attributed to the elimination and reduction of major illnesses such as smallpox and polio, and the future remains bright.

Wednesday night’s 2013 Research & Hope Awards provided us an opportunity to recognize some of the amazing research that has gone into vaccine development. The award recipients have spent years creating and cultivating vaccines in order to improve the health of patients around the world, and we see the direct impact of their work everyday. Drs. Doug Lowy and John Schiller, for example, were recognized for 20 years of research that resulted in the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, and its impact was reflected on our “Conversation” forum this week. In her response, Robyn Swirling of Advocates for Youth shared that she has cervical cancer as a result of HPV, and encourages others to get vaccinated against the disease so they don’t have to endure the biopsies, surgeries and chemotherapy that she had to.

In addition to recognizing the present achievements in vaccine research, both the Research and Hope Awards and our “Conversations” forum also addressed an important focus for the future: ensuring that the vaccines we already have are being used to their full effect is essential. Not only was Dr. Linda Yu-Sing Fu recognized for her work in the field at the awards ceremony, but the topic was addressed on “Conversations” by Christophe Weber, President of Vaccines at GSK; Marla Weston, CEO of the American Nurses Association; and Roberta DeBiasi, a faculty member at Children’s National Medical Center.

Unfortunately, more and more patients are hearing incorrect information about negative effects  vaccines could have on children’s health. This leads to a reduction in the number of children immunized, and creates an opportunity to make a comeback for diseases we have spent years fighting. Researchers work hard to develop treatments that help patients live longer, healthier lives, and we urge everyone to learn the facts about immunization. For more information on the progress being made by the Research and Hope Award winners, check out these videos:

To learn more about the vaccines available to you, check out PhRMA on Twitter and Facebook.

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