2002 Judson Daland Prize
James E. Crowe, Jr., of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center for his work on "neonatal immune responses to virus infection or immunization."
Dr. James Crowe has made outstanding contributions in the areas of immunity to, and prevention of, infectious diseases of children, including the understanding of immunological immaturity in infants and the development of vaccines. His work is an excellent example of taking original basic research from the bench to the patient.
His first major contribution was the demonstration that recombined monovalent fragments of antibody molecules (Fab fragments) produced in bacteria could neutralize viruses. This opened the way for further studies of the usefulness of antibodies prepared in the laboratory for use in the therapy and prevention of infectious diseases.
His studies elucidated the roles of cellular, humoral, and mucusal immunity in resistance to infection by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and showed that maternal antibodies in newborns suppress the development of antibodies in the infant to RSV infection.
His most important contribution from the standpoint of clinical medicine was the development of a large number of RSV strains as live attenuated vaccine candidates. These vaccines are now in large scale clinical trials on several continents. In the developing of these vaccines, he first examined the genetic basis for the attenuation of the virus.
His work has thus spanned the spectrum from basic virology and immunology to the development of a vaccine that should play a major role in the control of one of the most severe respiratory diseases of infants and young children.