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Keerti Shah: HPV Pioneer

By Geoff Brown

Scientists had long suspected a link between cervical cancer and sexual activity. In 1999, Keerti Shah, professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, co-authored a paper that proved the link between cervical cancers and their cause: HPV. Less than a decade later, the HPV vaccine, based in part on his findings, now fights the types of the virus that are responsible for nearly 70 percent of all cervical cancer. "The results were so striking," says Shah, MBBS, DrPH '63, MPH '57, of the vaccine's success rate. "It provided 100 percent protection."

The vaccine, a series of injections approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006, has been well received by the public. And the next iteration of the vaccine, he says, will protect against even more varieties of HPV.