MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Hepatitis B research center renamed for co-founder Baruch Blumberg

The Doylestown, Pennsylvania-based Hepatitis B Foundation announced on Wednesday the renaming of its research institute to honor the scientific legacy of the foundation's co-founder, the late Baruch Blumberg.

Blumberg won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1976 for his discovery of the hepatitis B virus. With his colleagues, Blumberg discovered the virus in 1967, developed a blood test to detect the virus and invented the first vaccine in 1969. The institute was officially renamed the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute during a ceremony on Monday at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center.

"Dr. Blumberg believed that the elimination of hepatitis B was entirely possible in our lifetime, and so do I," Timothy Block, the president of the Hepatitis B Foundation, said. "To honor him, the Hepatitis B Foundation is proud to rename its research center the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute. This new name will continue to inspire our researchers to pursue the search for a cure."

The Baruch S. Blumberg Institute gathers the largest concentration of nonprofit scientists working on liver cancer and hepatitis B in the U.S. The facility engages in work on drug discovery and early detection biomarkers for the two deadly diseases. The mission of the institute is to continue Blumberg's work on finding a cure and eliminating hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B is the most common serious liver infection and the main cause of liver cancer around the world. Approximately 400 million people around the world are chronically infected with hepatitis B. One million people prematurely die from hepatitis B-related liver disease and liver cancer annually.