Wistar Emeritus Professor Stanley A. Plotkin, M.D., Elected to Institute of Medicine

Wistar Emeritus Professor Stanley A. Plotkin, M.D., Elected to Institute of Medicine

October 23, 2005

(PHILADELPHIA – October 24, 2005) – The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies today announced the election of 64 new members, including Wistar emeritus professor of virology, Stanley A. Plotkin, M.D. Dr. Plotkin was a member of Wistar’s active research faculty from 1960 to 1991. Today, in addition to his emeritus appointment at Wistar, he is also emeritus professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania and an advisor to the European firm Sanofi Pasteur, which focuses on vaccine development. Dr. Plotkin has developed many vaccines, including the rubella vaccine, RA27/3 strain, created during his time at Wistar and now exclusively used in the United States and throughout the world. In March of this year, Centers for Disease Control head Dr. Julie Gerberding declared rubella eradicated in the U.S. thanks to this vaccine. Dr. Plotkin also developed experimental vaccines against cytomegalovirus, polio, and varicella and collaborated with former Wistar scientists Dr. Hilary Koprowski and Dr. Tadeusz Wiktor on a vaccine against rabies and with Dr. H. Fred Clark and Dr. Paul Offit on another against rotavirus, now awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration, with a decision expected from the agency in early 2006. Over the course of his career, Dr. Plotkin has served as senior assistant surgeon with the Epidemic Intelligence Service, U.S. Public Health Service; director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; associate chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania; and medical and scientific director of Aventis Pasteur. His professional awards include the Sabin Foundation Medal (2002); the French Legion Medal of Honor (1998); the Clinical Virology Award, Pan American Group for Rapid Viral Diagnosis (1995); the Distinguished Physician Award, Pediatric Infectious Disease Society (1993); and the Bruce Medal of the American College of Physicians (1987). The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to honor professional achievement in the health sciences and to serve as a national resource for independent analysis and recommendations on issues related to medicine, biomedical sciences, and health. With their election, members make a commitment to involve themselves in the work of the Institute, which conducts studies and other activities addressing a wide range of issues in medical science, health services, public health, and health policy. Some current studies are a project to recommend appropriate nutritional standards for foods sold in schools, an evaluation of the nation's system for ensuring the safety of prescription drugs after they have reached the market, and an assessment of emergency health care in the United States and recommendations for improving it.

The Wistar Institute is an independent nonprofit biomedical research institution dedicated to discovering the causes and cures for major diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases. Founded in 1892 as the first institution of its kind in the nation, The Wistar Institute today is a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center focused on basic and translational research. Discoveries at Wistar have led to the development of vaccines for such diseases as rabies and rubella, the identification of genes associated with breast, lung, and prostate cancer, and the development of monoclonal antibodies and other significant research technologies and tools. News releases from The Wistar Institute are available to reporters by direct e-mail upon request.

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