case western reserve university



Public Affairs Discussion Group

"The Search for an AIDS Vaccine"

January 28, 2004
Aldelbert Hall, Toepfer Room

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Dr. Michael Lederman

Dr. Michael Lederman

Professor of Medicine and Director of the Case-University Hospitals Center for AIDS Research


Dear Colleagues:

Some of the most dread diseases have been thwarted, and in the case of smallpox eradicated, by the development of vaccines. But, two decades after the HIV virus (and variants) were identified as the cause of AIDS, the search for a vaccine against that plague still faces great obstacles.

The challenges are not only scientific, but ethical and practical. How, on whom, should vaccines be tested? What kind of hope for success is necessary to justify testing? These are not just theoretical questions. A year ago, a highly distinguished group of researchers editorialized in SCIENCE (January 16, 2004, p. 316) against a trial the United States government had begun to sponsor in Thailand. Among their objections was that a trial of similar design had been scheduled in the United States but canceled. Why, they asked, should a trial in Thailand be allowed instead? What about the “adverse consequences to conducting large-scale trials of inadequate” vaccines?

In responses printed in SCIENCE (9 July 2004, 177-180), defenders of the Thai trial argued that it would develop some new information, had been approved by a range of bodies, and was supported by “Thai officials and community groups.” There was talk of a credibility gap: “Cancellation of the trial at this point would send a message to other countries and vaccine developers that the U.S. government does not keep its commitments.” The authors of the original article responded by emphasizing the need for better decision-making about how vaccine research should go forward.

One of the authors of the original article was Michael M. Lederman MD, Scott R. Inkley Professor of Medicine and Director of the Case/UHC Center for AIDS Research. The Center is one of 11 funded by the National Institutes of Health to conduct cutting-edge basic and clinical research on AIDS; its five-year grant from NIH was renewed this past April with a 39 percent increase in funding over the previous five years. We are lucky to have Dr. Lederman on campus and very pleased that he has agreed to come to the Friday lunch to lead discussion about the difficult but crucial issues involved in designing and testing AIDS vaccines.

We will gather on January 28, 2005, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Toepfer Room of Adelbert Hall. As usual, cookies and beverages will be provided. Please join us for what should be a fascinating discussion in which everyone’s perspectives are important.

Best regards,
Joe White

About Our Guest

Dr. Lederman has served as intern, resident, chief resident in Medicine and fellow in Infectious Diseases at Case Western Reserve University where he joined the faculty in 1980.  is a member of the American Association of Immunologists, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the HIV Medicine Association and is a councilor of the Clinical Immunology Society. He is on the editorial boards of AIDS, the Journal of AIDS and Clinical Immunology.

Spring 2005 Semester Schedule

February 4: Toepfer Room in Adelbert Hall: Professor Peter J. Haas, Chair of Department of Religion and Director, Samuel Rosenthal Center for Judaic Studies: "Mahmoud Abbas and Prospects for Israel and Palestine"

February 11, Crawford Hall 14: Steven Litt, Art and Architecture Critic for the Cleveland Plain Dealer,  “Rebuilding Cincy: The Architectural Makeover of the University of Cincinnati Campus”

February 18, Crawford Hall 14: Lee Fisher, CEO, Center for Families and Children and former Attorney General, State of Ohio,  “Life at the Intersection: Perspectives and Lessons Learned From a Life Lived at the Intersection of the Public, Private, and Nonprofit Sectors.”

February 25, Crawford Hall 14: Zev Garber, Rosenthal Visiting Professor of Judaic Studies, “Forty Years Since Nostro Actate: Reappraising a Generation of Catholic-Jewish Dialogue.”

March: 4: TBA

March 11: Spring Break

March 18, Crawford Hall 14: Dick Baznik, Director, Case Western Reserve University Institute for the Study of the University in Society, “Notes on the History of Case Western Reserve University.”

March 25, Crawford Hall 14: Amos Guiora, Visiting Professor of Law and Lt. Colonel, Israeli Defense Forces,  “Morality in Armed Conflict"

April 1: TBA

April 8: TBA

April 15: TBA

April 22: TBA

April 29: TBA

Parking: People who due to mobility concerns need to make special arrangements for parking for the Public Affairs Discussion Group Friday Lunch Series can send their request for parking to, or you can call 216-368-4440 and speak to Pat or Fay to make arrangements.

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