History

Raymond L Woosley, MD, PhD, associate dean for clinical research at Georgetown University Medical Center conducted groundbreaking research on the medication Seldane—a popular antihistamine introduced in 1985 that was withdrawn from the market after reports that taking it in conjunction with certain drugs could cause potentially fatal irregular heartbeats. His work led to the discovery of fexofenadine, a safer version of Seldane that is now marketed under the brand name Allegra® (fexofenadine). Allegra was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1996.

Richard Schlegel, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Pathology at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center directed the pioneering research that led to the world’s first cervical cancer vaccine. Dr. Schlegel and his team of Georgetown University researchers developed the vaccine technology in the early 1990’s and then licensed it for commercial development. Cervical cancer develops from certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus that affects both men and women. The vaccine blocks the two strains of HPV responsible for about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. On June 8, 2006 the Food and Drug Administration approved the first of two HPV vaccines, called Gardasil, and recommended it for women between the ages of nine and 26.

Our comprehensive translational research program is capable of developing new drugs to early clinical testing (phase I) in cancer, CNS and cardiovascular diseases. Program members have expertise ranging from discovery of new therapeutic targets and agents, drug design and synthesis, validation of the effective targets, and clinical trial design and execution - the full continuum from bench to bedside. The goal is to produce high quality, mechanistically-based, translational research ultimately leading to the development of first in class medicines. (contributions by Allison Whitney)