Tuberculosis Foundation selects Core Research Scientists

March 19, 2000

In an initial step towards the development of a new vaccine to prevent tuberculosis, the Sequella Global Tuberculosis Foundation has named 13 researchers to the Core Scientist Program of its Tuberculosis Vaccine Collaboration (TBVC) program. Acting as a focused research team, these core scientists will help to guide the Foundation as it supports new and innovative tuberculosis vaccine development.

"What we are trying to do in the Core Scientist Program is to accelerate the transition of experimental vaccines from the research bench to the clinic. The three major areas addressed by this program are clinical trial site development, new tools for vaccine assessment in clinical trials, and research supporting the eventual clinical evaluation of candidate tuberculosis vaccines," says Carol Nacy, Ph.D., President of the Foundation. "Our goal is not just the research, but an actual vaccine."

Once thought to be under control and nearly eradicated in industrialized countries, tuberculosis continues to be a threat in all countries because of increasing drug resistance. It is estimated that nearly a third of the world's population, approximately 2 billion people, are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes the disease. About 10% of these individuals will develop active tuberculosis disease within their lifetime. The antibiotics and the vaccine currently used to treat and prevent this disease are antiquated and have limited effectiveness.

The Core Scientists Program is the first step in the Foundation's TBVC, an international program designed to coordinate and facilitate the development of a vaccine. The scientists represent a variety of scientific, engineering and public health disciplines that are necessary to create a successful vaccine.

Later this year the Foundation will begin accepting investigator-initiated grant applications in its Vaccine Innovation Program, designed to fund novel tuberculosis vaccine research.
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Founded in 1997, the Sequella Global Tuberculosis Foundation is a non-profit organization devoted to providing resources, facilities and expertise to assist tuberculosis researchers across the world to move their discoveries in basic science through the laboratory, into the clinic and out to health care workers. It is funded by a number of corporate and philanthropic sources including a generous grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The TBVC core scientists are:

* Marcel A. Behr, MD, Assistant Professor, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal
* William Bishai, MD, Ph.D., Associate Professor of International Health and Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
* Barry R. Bloom, Ph.D., Dean, Harvard School of Public Health
* Anne S. De Groot, MD, CEO, EpiVax, Inc., Providence, Rhode Island
* Wafaa El Sadr, MD, MPH, Professor of Clinical Medicine, Columbia University, New York
* William R. Jacobs, Jr., Ph.D., Professor, The Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, New York
* Gilla Kaplan, Ph.D., Associate Professor, The Rockefeller University, New York
* Douglas B. Lowrie, Ph.D., St. Georges Hospital, London
* John D. McKinney, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, The Rockefeller University, New York
* Boris V. Nikonenko, Ph.D., Sequella, Inc., Rockville, Maryland
* Erwin Schurr, Ph.D., Associate Professor McGill Centre for the Study of Host Resistance at the McGill University Health Centre Research Institute, Montreal
* David R. Sherman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Seattle
* Zena Stein, M.A., MBBCh, Professor, Columbia University, New York

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