IDID Pioneers

Copyright 2005
Jan T. Vilcek M.D. is a professor of medicine in the Department of Microbiology at the NYU School of Medicine Dr. Vilcek, a native of Bratislava, Slovakia, received his M.D. degree from Comenius University Medical School, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia in 1957; his medical degree from the Comenius University Medical School in Bratislava in 1957; and his Ph.D. in Virology from the Institute of Virology, Czechoslovak Academy of Science, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia 1962.

In 1965, he joined the faculty of NYU School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor of Microbiology, and has been a member of the NYU School of Medicine faculty for over 40 years. Dr. Vilcek devoted his scientific career to studies of soluble mediators (antibodies) that regulate the immune system, including interferon and tumor necrosis factor (TNF).

In 1989 Drs. Vilcek and a colleague, Adjunct Associate Professor of Microbiology Junming Le, Ph.D, created a monoclonal antibody against TNF, a powerful promoter of inflammation, and which is involved in the pathogenesis of numerous autoimmune diseases. The monoclonal antibody that they developed became the prototype for a commercially developed monoclonal antibody which today is the largest-selling anti-TNFa antibody in the world, Remicade®. Collaborating with the biotechnology company Centocor, Vilchek and Le developed the biologic drug initially termed CA2, and which is now known commercially as Remicade®.

Remicade® is a potent anti-inflammatory agent used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

The success of Remicade® encouraged the development of numerous other anti-TNF agents, two of which have been commerically approved (Humira and Enbrel), and all of which are being used to treat numerous inflammatory diseases of immune dysfunction (IDIDs).


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