Three Europeans recognized for linking viruses to AIDS, cervical cancer
The 2008 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine will be shared among three European researchers for their pivotal work in identifying the roles of sexually transmitted viruses in causing cervical cancer and AIDS.
Half of the $1.4 million prize goes to Harald zur Hausen of the GermanCancerResearchCenter in Heidelberg for his discovery that the human papillomavirus, or HPV, causes cervical cancer. His work in the 1970s and 1980s laid the foundation for a full onslaught against HPV. In recent years, scientists have developed and made available for commercial use two vaccines against HPV, one marketed by Merck as Gardasil and the other marketed by GlaxoSmithKline as Cervarix. The vaccines are the first to guard against a cancer, preventing key strains of HPV infection that cause most cervical cancers. HPV has since been linked to other cancers as well.
The other half of the 2008 medical Nobel prize will be split by Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier