The cancer scientists behind the HPV vaccine win top medical prize

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Douglas Lowy and John Schiller, scientists from the National Cancer Institute, will be presented the prestigious Lasker Award on Sept. 15 for their research that led to the development of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. They're hopeful their approach could be used to produce more vaccines against other viral infections that cause cancers.

Why it's important: HPV vaccines are given to teens in an effort to thwart infections of the virus that can cause cervical and other cancers. While HPV is linked to cancers in both men and women, cervical cancer is one of its biggest possible consequences. More than 250,000 women die each year from cervical cancer worldwide, with the majority of cases happening in developing countries.

Schiller and Lowy, who is the acting NCI director, talked to Axios about the vaccine's use in the U.S. and cancer prevention efforts.