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Higher Education
University of Texas Medical Branch
News Release
Friday, February 03, 2012

UTMB symposium focuses on vaccines for chronic diseases 

GALVESTON, Texas — An international vaccine symposium sponsored by the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and scheduled for Feb. 7-9 will reflect a dramatic shift in the world of vaccinology, according to Alan Barrett, director of UTMB’s Sealy Center for Vaccine Development.

“In the 20th century, vaccination was about helping children survive to adulthood by protecting them from infectious diseases,” Barrett said. “In the 21st century, vaccination will be about helping adults live longer by stopping chronic diseases, and we’ve organized this conference around that theme.”

About 130 researchers are expected to attend the symposium, which will be held at Galveston’s Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center. Conference speakers will discuss the development of vaccines for addiction, cancer, chronic infectious diseases and neurodegenerative diseases.

“We’re going to have presentations by leaders in a wide variety of fields — experts on vaccines against addiction to tobacco and other drugs, a representative from the CDC to talk about progress on HIV vaccines, investigators working on cancer vaccines, and researchers developing vaccines to protect against Alzheimer’s disease,” Barrett said. “Chronic diseases are the new frontier for vaccines, and this symposium will give us a really exciting opportunity to explore this area in depth.”

The conference is being presented by the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development, the James W. McLaughlin Endowment, the UTMB Comprehensive Cancer Center, the UTMB Center for Addiction Research and the George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases at UTMB, in conjunction with the World Health Organization Initiative for Vaccine Research, the journal Vaccine, and the British Consulate-General Houston. More information on the symposium can be found at

ABOUT UTMB HEALTH: Established in 1891, Texas' academic health center comprises four health sciences schools, three institutes for advanced study, a research enterprise that includes one of only two national laboratories dedicated to the safe study of infectious threats to human health, and a health system offering a full range of primary and specialized medical services throughout Galveston County and the Texas Gulf Coast region. UTMB Health is a component of the University of Texas System and a member of the Texas Medical Center.

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