URMC Virologists Lauded for Contribution to HPV Vaccine in New Book

Sep. 9, 2013

William Bonnez, Richard Reichman and Robert C. RoseURMC virologists William Bonnez, M.D., Richard Reichman, M.D., and Robert C. Rose, Ph.D. are listed alongside Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Francis Crick and other visionaries who’ve made a lasting impact in their respective fields and beyond in a Spanish book called 40 + 1 Innovators Who Have Changed the World of the 21st Century. Bonnez, Reichman and Rose are featured for their pioneering work on the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which protects against the precursors of most cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers, and is also expected to offer protection against some penile and oropharyngeal cancers.

The trio was first to produce HPV virus-like particles, a harmless mimic of the infectious virus with no risk of infection, and to demonstrate that they provoke a protective immune response against the HPV types included in the current vaccines – Gardasil, made by Merck & Co., and Cervarix, made by GlaxoSmithKline. They were also first to test an HPV vaccine in people. They have obtained controlling patents for their discovery in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada, underscoring their key role in the worldwide effort to develop an HPV vaccine.

Note: The book incorrectly states that Bonnez, Reichman and Rose discovered that HPV causes cervical cancer. Their work focused exclusively on development of the HPV vaccine.