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Young Scholar Honored for Role in Saving Women from Cervical Cancer

February 1, 2013 by Eric G. Bing

Dr. Vikrant Sahasrabuddhe is well known for his pioneering work on cervical cancer among HIV positive women.  I caught up with him at the recent International AIDS Meeting in Washington DC.  In our interview, he discusses his groundbreaking research the he conducted with a $25,000 grant as a graduate student.  For his doctoral dissertation, he worked with Dr. Groesbeck Parham and found that among 150 HIV positive women studied in Zambia, more than 50% had cervical cancer or pre-cancerous cervical lesion – among the highest rates ever documented at the time.  This ground breaking work helped lead to the development of the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), which is now the key focal point of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon activities through the Ministry of Health in Zambia. Since the program was launched in Zambia in 2006 as PEPFARs flagship cervical cancer prevention program almost 85,000 women have been screened. Over 175 healthcare professionals from 10 African countries have been trained in Zambia and the program has been replicated in 8 of these.  I traveled with President and Mrs. Bush in July to witness the dedication of CIDRZ as the African Center of Excellence for Women's Cancer Control. On July 27, 2012, Dr. Sahasrabuddhe received the Young Investigator Award at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC for his HIV-related cancer research.  This award is given to exemplary young scientists “who demonstrate innovation, originality, rationale and quality in the field of HIV/AIDS research.” Dr. Sahasrabuddhe is currently an Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University and research fellow at the National Cancer Institute.  

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