Epstein-Barr (EB) virus is one of the five herpesviruses of man. Strong links between this agent and the chain of events causing two human cancers, endemic Burkitt's lymphoma and undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma, have long been evident (reviewed in ref. 1). Because of this, and because of the very high incidence of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in certain large populations, it was suggested in 1976 that a vaccine should be developed against EB virus to prevent infection and thereby reduce tumour incidence amongst those at risk. The virus-determined membrane antigen (MA) was proposed as immunogen because it was known to elicit naturally occurring virus-neutralizing antibodies in man and because analogous antigens had been shown to act as effective experimental vaccines for preventing the herpesvirus-induced lymphomas of Marek's disease in chickens. Progress has been achieved in defining, quantifying and preparing MA molecules, and in enhancing their immunogenicity; a sensitive assay for antibodies to MA has been elaborated. Here we report that isolated cell membranes expressing MA, or purified MA glycoprotein of relative molecular mass (Mr) 340,000 (gp340), have been used to vaccinate cottontop tamarins (Saguinus oedipus oedipus), and that animals receiving either preparation were protected against the effects of a 100% tumour-inducing challenge dose of EB virus.