Gates gives Stanford $50M for research to cure AIDS

Researchers hope to develop new approaches to vaccination

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded Stanford University $50 million dollars to research vaccines for some of the world's deadliest diseases, including AIDS and malaria.

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The grant will establish the Stanford Human Systems Immunology Center, which will be led by Mark Davis, a professor at Stanford's School of Medicine. The center will research how the immune system can be used to develop vaccines for currently unpreventable diseases.

"While illnesses like polio and measles are now readily preventable, scientists have been stymied in their efforts to fight diseases such as HIV and malaria," read a statement released by the university. Davis argues a "new generation of vaccines and new approaches to vaccination" is needed to stop the spread of those diseases.

The center will leverage faculty expertise in a number of areas, including microbiology, immunology, genetics, pediatrics, and health policy.

The university says that by better understanding the body's immune response to potential vaccines, researchers will better be able to prioritize clinical trials. "This grant will allow Stanford to leverage advances in technology and accelerate progress in this important area," says university president John Hennessy (Moore, Stanford Daily, 2/1; Cavaliere, Reuters, 1/30).

The takeaway: Stanford received a $50 million gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to open a research center focused on finding vaccines for deadly diseases such as AIDS and malaria.

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