Dr. Lawrence Corey is president and director of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. His appointment became effective Jan. 1, 2011.
An internationally renowned expert in virology, immunology and vaccine development, Corey’s research focuses on herpes viruses, HIV and other viral infections, particularly those associated with cancer.
Corey is the director of the Fred Hutchinson/ University of Washington Cancer Consortium, a research collaboration between the Hutchinson Center, University of Washington, Seattle Children’s and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. The Consortium supports the research of over 500 faculty and is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the northwest.
He also is principal investigator of the Hutchinson Center-based HIV Vaccine Trials Network, an international collaboration of scientists and institutions that combines clinical trials and laboratory-based studies to accelerate the development of HIV vaccines. Under Corey’s leadership at the Hutchinson Center, the HVTN has become the model for global collaborative research; the network involves scientists on four continents and nine countries.
Prior to assuming the leadership of the Hutchinson Center, Corey directed the Hutchinson Center’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, which is dedicated to developing and implementing prevention strategies for globally important infectious diseases, including HIV and viruses and bacteria that can result in cancer. He also headed the Program in Infectious Diseases at the Hutchinson Center and the Virology Division in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
At UW, Corey is a professor of laboratory medicine and medicine, adjunct professor of pediatrics and microbiology, and holder of the Lawrence Corey Endowed Chair in Medical Virology. He is also an infectious disease physician at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
Corey has been a pioneer in the development of antiviral therapy. In the early 1980s he worked with Nobel Prize-winning biochemist and pharmacologist Dr. Gertrude Elion to demonstrate that an antiviral that was selective and specific for a viral-specified enzyme could be safely and effectively administered to control a chronic viral infection (herpes simplex virus-2). These studies were directly responsible for the subsequent successful quest of the pharmaceutical and medical sciences communities to develop effective antiviral therapy for hepatitis B and HIV.
In 1987 he directed the AIDS Clinical Trials Group, or ACTG, and under his leadership the use of the retroviral drug AZT to reduce maternal-fetal transmission of HIV and the concept of HAART, or highly active retroviral therapy, were developed. His research group also was the first to identify an association between the virus that causes genital herpes (herpes simplex virus) and HIV. Through the ACTG he also was the first to lead the integration of community members into clinical research activities.
In the mid-1990s Corey increasingly concentrated his scientific and leadership skills into the area of vaccine development, and in 1998 he worked with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to develop a global clinical trials group to speed the development of HIV vaccines.
In 2002, Corey recognized the need to further integrate research efforts in HIV vaccine development and became the major driver in conceiving of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. The Enterprise is one of the few scientific programs that is overseen by leaders of the major industrialized countries of the world.
Corey also conceived and led an international study that demonstrated that a daily dose of an antiviral drug cuts the transmission of the genital herpes virus by half. He currently is working to define how host immune cells, called T cells, control the herpes simplex virus and whether it will be possible to develop a vaccine to reduce reactivations of the infection.
In 2008, with funding from the Washington Life Sciences Discovery Fund, Corey founded the Hutchinson Center-based Washington Vaccine Alliance, or WAVA – a virtual biotechnology coalition of nonprofit research institutions dedicated to developing novel vaccines for the prevention of human diseases ranging from typhoid to syphilis to salmonella poisoning.
Besides his leadership role, Corey is recognized as one of the most highly cited and funded investigators in the United States. He has authored 12 books and more than 600 scientific publications and is a member of numerous scientific committees and editorial boards, including the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Counselors for Basic Sciences.
His honors and awards include election in 2012 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and independent policy-research centers; and election in 2008 to the Institute of Medicine, a prestigious branch of the National Academy of Sciences. In addition, he is the recipient of the American Society for Microbiology’s 2012 Cubist-ICAAC Award, the Pan American Society’s Clinical Virology Award and the Parran Award of the American Society for STD Research. He is a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Epidemiological Society and the Association of American Physicians.
Corey earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees from the University of Michigan and in 1999 received the U-M Medical School’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. He received his infectious diseases training at the University of Washington School of Medicine, where he joined the faculty in 1978. He moved his laboratory to the Hutchinson Center in 1997.
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