MANHASSET, NY – Bettie M. Steinberg, PhD, chief scientific officer and director of the Laboratory of Papillomavirus Research at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Papillomavirus Society for her research on recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP).
Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) cause a wide range of benign and malignant tumors ranging from common skin warts and genital warts, to cervical cancer and some cancers in the oral cavity. Nearly everyone is infected by HPV, but most infections are latent (silent), with no evidence of disease.
Dr. Steinberg’s research is primarily focused on diseases of the airway caused by HPV. One of the diseases she studies is RRP, a rare disease that affects both children and adults. The papillomas in RRP patients are benign, but the disease causes significant suffering and can even be fatal because the papillomas can block the airway. The only approved treatment is surgical removal, which is painful, but the papillomas often recur rapidly. In severe cases, surgery to clear the airway may be required as often as once a month. The papillomas are primarily located in the larynx, but approximately 17 percent of patients will have tracheal disease and 5 percent will have papillomas of the lung. There is no effective treatment for lung involvement, and the lung papillomas frequently convert to cancer.
Improved treatments, based on better knowledge of the biology of the disease, are badly needed. Dr. Steinberg and her research team are studying the interactions between HPV and its target cells, the role of the immune system in controlling HPV-induced diseases, activation of latent HPV infection, and studies on HPV-induced head and neck cancer.
“I am incredibly honored and humbled to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Papillomavirus Society,” said Dr. Steinberg, who has researched recurrent respiratory papillomatosis for 35 years. “I value the mission of the International Papillomavirus Society to facilitate research on papillomaviruses and their associated diseases, and to promote the translation of research results into new clinical applications and public health policies. I am motivated to continue my research program to find better treatments for those who suffer from recurrent respiratory papillomatosis.”
In addition to serving as chief scientific officer and director of the Laboratory of Papillomavirus Research at the Feinstein Institute, Dr. Steinberg is professor and dean of the Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine, and professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Medicine at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. Dr. Steinberg did her undergraduate work at the University of California, Riverside. She received her PhD in Microbiology from the State University of New York, Stony Brook in 1976, working on bacterial viruses. Dr. Steinberg went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at SUNY Stony Brook, studying tumor viruses. After two years at Columbia University as a senior research associate, Dr. Steinberg joined the Department of Otolaryngology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center where she began her studies of human papillomaviruses and their role in diseases of the head and neck, including recurrent respiratory papillomatosis and cancer. Those studies have been supported continuously by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 1983. Dr. Steinberg is the author or co-author of 98 peer-reviewed publications and 26 book chapters. Her research has received a number of awards, including the Robert K. Match Distinguished Scientist Award, the Long Island Achiever in Science Award from the Long Island Center for Business and Professional Women, the Elliot Osserman Award from the Israel Cancer Research Fund, the Karl Storz Award from the American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology, the Lorinda de Roulet Award for Excellence in Research, and the Israel Cancer Research Fund Award for Women of Excellence. She also served as President of the International Papillomavirus Society.
About The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
Headquartered in Manhasset, NY, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is home to international scientific leaders in many areas including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, psychiatric disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sepsis, human genetics, medicinal chemistry, and bioelectronic medicine. The Feinstein Institute, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, ranks in the top 6th percentile of all National Institutes of Health grants awarded to research centers. For more information, visit FeinsteinInstitute.org.