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Maurice Hilleman, at 85; was pioneer in vaccine research

TRENTON, N.J. -- Maurice Hilleman, a pioneer in vaccine research who developed vaccines for mumps, measles, chicken pox, and other childhood scourges, died yesterday of cancer. He was 85.

A longtime resident of the Philadelphia area, he died at Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia.

Dr. Hilleman worked for Whitehouse Station-based Merck & Co. Inc. for nearly 30 years before retiring in 1984 as senior vice president of Merck Research Labs in West Point, Pa., the pharmaceutical company said.

During his career, the Miles City, Mont., native led or began the development of vaccines against diseases that once killed or hospitalized millions, including measles, German measles, meningitis, pneumonia and hepatitis A and B. He began work on the mumps vaccine after his daughter, Jeryl Lynn, contracted the illness at age 5 in 1963.

''Maurice Hilleman will be historically remembered as the vaccinologist of the 20th century," Dr. Robert C. Gallo, director of the Institute of Human Virology at University of Maryland, said in a prepared statement. ''His name will be joined forever with people like Pasteur and Koch in the story of man's strivings against pathogens."

Dr. Hilleman joined Merck in 1957 as head of its new virus and cell biology research department, after a decade as chief of respiratory diseases at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.

''His work has saved literally millions of lives and has protected many millions more from disease," said Dr. Adel F. Mahmoud, president of Merck Vaccines.

Dr. Hilleman was a longtime adviser to the World Health Organization, the US National Vaccine Program and the National Institutes of Health's Office of AIDS Research Program Evaluation. He was a member of several prestigious scientific groups, including the US National Academy of Science, and was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Reagan in July 1988.

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