Born May 23 1923 - Died Apr 17 2012
Vaccine Against Viral Hepatitis and Process; Process of Viral Diagnosis and Reagent
Vaccine for Hepatitis B
Patent Number(s) 3,636,191; 3,872,225
In 1963, Baruch Blumberg discovered an antigen that detected the presence of hepatitis B in blood samples. Hepatitis B is a potentially fatal disease often transmitted through blood transfusions. This hepatitis antigen, 'the Australia Antigen,' was found frequently in the blood serum of viral hepatitis sufferers. The antigen was named for an aborigine blood sample that reacted with an antibody in the serum of an American hemophilia patient. Working with Blumberg, microbiologist Irving Millman developed a test that identified hepatitis B in blood samples. The blood test screened out carriers of this infectious disease, and after blood banks began using the test in 1971, hepatitis B after blood transfusions decreased by 25 percent. The test also became the first method for screening blood donations for the hepatitis B virus.
Together, Blumberg and Millman developed a vaccine against the virus.
This vaccine protects people exposed to hepatitis B from infection and has been a dministered to millions, particularly in Asia and Africa. Since hepatitis B is an unknown factor associated with the development of liver cancer, the vaccine was the first against a major form of cancer.
Irving Millman was born in New York City. He received a B.S. in 1948 from City College in New York, an M.S. in 1951 from the University of Kentucky, and a Ph.D. in 1954 from the Northwestern University Medical School, where he was appointed assistant professor. He joined Fox in 1967 after having previously held positions with Armour & Company, the Public Health Research Institute of the City of New York Inc., and the Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research.
He is an adjunct professor of biology at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. He has been a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Society of Microbiology and is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.