Nobel prize winner comes to Birmingham

Posted on Wednesday 1st September 2010

One of the world’s leading virologists will be speaking at the International Epstein-Barr Virus Conference, which takes place at the University of Birmingham from September 4-7.

Professor Harald zur Hausen, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2008, is special guest at the biennial conference, which brings together experts and researchers on Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) from around the world.

A leader in his field, Professor zur Hausen was awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering that papilloma virus was the cause of cervical cancer.  His work has had an enormous impact on the treatment and understanding of cervical cancer, which has included the development of a vaccine.  Professor zur Hausen’s research has also influenced work on other virus-associated cancers, such as Hodgkins Lymphoma and Burkitt’s Lymphoma, which can be triggered by EBV.

Birmingham has one of the largest teams in the country researching EBV.  The research is led by Professor Lawrence Young, Head of the University’s College of Medical and Dental Sciences, alongside Professors Alan Rickinson, Paul Murray and Martin Rowe.  Work at the University of Birmingham has led to the first clinical trials of an EBV vaccination in patients with cancer of the nose and throat.

Professor Lawrence Young said:

“We are delighted to welcome such a prestigious international event as the Epstein-Barr Virus Conference to the University of Birmingham, where EBV research has been such a major focus for more than 25 years.

“The attendance of Professor zur Hausen at the event underlines the importance of research into the virus, as we strive to find solutions to serious conditions such as cancer, which can be triggered by EBV.”

Ian Taylor, Commercial Director at Marketing Birmingham, who are supporting the event, added:

“Birmingham is well-established as a centre of excellence for clinical trials and innovative healthcare and it is very fitting that an event such as this is being hosted by the University.

“We welcome Professor zur Hausen to Birmingham, in addition to the other delegates from around the world who are making the trip to the Midlands for the conference.”