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Experts converge at Arizona State University for first preventive cancer vaccine conference

World-leading scientists, ethicists, policymakers, and cancer patient advocates will gather at Arizona State University for the first-ever Prophylactic Cancer Vaccine Conference in Tempe, Ariz., March 16-18, 2011. The conference will be a premier forum to discuss the latest developments in a radical new approach to battling cancer: the development of cancer vaccines aimed at protecting healthy individuals from the disease.

Despite 40 years since the "War on Cancer" was declared, cancer remains a leading cause of death in the world. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, with an estimated 1.5 million cases of cancer diagnosed in 2010. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 569,000 Americans are expected to die from the disease in this year.

"Cancer's course is often long and devastating and, despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, far too many will succumb to cancer," said Stephen Albert Johnston, director of the Biodesign Institute at ASU's Center for Innovations in Medicine and host of the conference. "We are trying to stimulate the cancer community to fundamentally rethink how we approach this problem. The goal of the meeting is to have scientists and clinicians consider how we could parlay all our advances in technologies and basic knowledge into making a vaccine that would be given to all adults to prevent the occurrence of cancer."

Johnston was one of the recipients of the prestigious Innovator Awards from the Department of Defense's Breast Cancer Research Program. His group has been using the 5-year, $7.5 million award to advance the technology needed for a preventative breast cancer vaccine.

Johnston notes that the most successful medical intervention in history to save lives has been the development of vaccines against infectious disease. Vaccines against pathogens that cause cancer, such as the human papilloma virus that causes cervical cancer, have been successful. But viral caused cancers are only a small fraction of all cancers. "Developing a cancer vaccine against all cancers especially those not caused by pathogens would be the perfect solution, not only in eliminating cancer mortality, but also potentially some of the costs of diagnosis, treatment and personal suffering."

The conference will be the first forum to gather the scientific community in a cooperative effort to eradicate cancer through vaccines. Conference participants will have the opportunity to provide input to address current translational challenges and regulatory hurdles to bring the first prophylactic cancer vaccine to human clinical trials.

The conference sessions will be held at the Old Main building at 400 E. Tyler Mall on the Arizona State University Tempe Campus. The event is sponsored by the Biodesign Institute at ASU, Sigma Life Science and CPC Scientific. For more registration, hotel and travel information, visit


Contact: Joe Caspermeyer
Arizona State University

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