Miriam Glaser Heston Miriam_Glaser_Heston at
Tue Jan 6 15:32:23 EST 2004

NAS Sackler Colloquium on "Therapeutic Vaccines - Realities of Today and Hopes
for Tomorrow"
Organized by Michael Sela (Weizmann Institute of Science) and Maurice Hilleman
(Merck Institute for Vaccinology)
April 1-3, 2004; Washington, DC

The very notion of vaccines is prophylactic in the sense that the vaccine is
administered to healthy people to keep them from getting sick.  Nevertheless,
there is a growing trend to enlarge the notion of vaccine to therapy.  We are
striving to prepare vaccines that will alleviate the suffering of those who are
already diseased.  A great effort is being devoted to vaccines against tumors,
and so is the endeavour to fight in patients AIDS, hepatitis, or tuberculosis by
vaccines.  Copolymer 1, used today as a drug/vaccine against multiple sclerosis,
is the first example of successful treatment of this disease, based on its
relatedness to the myelin basic protein, one of the putative causes of this
autoimmune disease. This finding may lead to therapeutic vaccines against other
autoimmune diseases such as myasthenia gravis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Most recent studies in which antibodies against prions have been prepared,
raised hopes for a vaccine against mad cow disease.  Similarly, antibodies to a
peptide derived from the 
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?-amyloid dissolve plaques and may lead to a
therapeutic vaccine against Alzheimer's disease.  Vaccines against Huntington
disease are also under development and the same is true for hypersensitivity
diseases and allergy.  Dramatic recent results concern neurodegenerative
diseases and the hope for nerve regeneration.

By definition a preventive vaccine is sufficiently similar in its chemistry to
the molecule provoking the disease so that the immune response directed against
it can act against the "troublemaker."  The situation is analogous in the case
of therapeutic vaccines.

To the best of our knowledge, these topics have never been discussed together,
within the frame of one colloquium, and thus an opportunity is presented for
mutual cross-fertilization and collaborations.Registration is now open; for
further information, go to

Contact Information:

Miriam Glaser Heston
Program Officer for the Colloquium Series
National Acadmey of Sciences
500 Fifth Street NW, NAS146
Washington, DC  20001
Fax:  202.334.1927
E-mail:  colloquia at

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