RhoGAM at 50: A Columbia Drug Still Saving Lives of Newborns
By Joe Neighbor
You’d be forgiven for having never heard of Rh disease. The disease has essentially been eradicated in high-income countries. But for centuries until the late 1960s, the disease was one of the most severe and devastating conditions for newborns. In the United States, it killed approximately 10,000 newborns a year and caused brain damage in many more.
Although the factors that cause Rh disease are still present, the disease is almost completely prevented by RhoGAM, a vaccine developed in the 1960s by physicians at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and still used today. On Feb. 5, Columbia researchers and physicians, along with guests from around the world, gathered at P&S to celebrate RhoGAM’s 50th anniversary.
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