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Cancer Treatment Pioneers Receive Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine

Albany, N.Y., May 17, 2013—Three physician scientists whose landmark research helped transform the treatment of cancer today were honored with the prestigious Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research at a ceremony in Albany, N.Y. 
This year’s prize recognizes groundbreaking research into the nature of cancer, which has led to the development of a new generation of cancer drugs, most notably Gleevec for chronic myeloid leukemia that, unlike chemotherapy, target specific genetic defects causing cancer. 

The recipients are:

• Peter C. Nowell, M.D., The Gaylord P. and Mary Louise Harnwell Professor Emeritus, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, whose discovery of the “Philadelphia chromosome” in chronic myeloid leukemia established that genetics could be responsible for cancer.
• Janet D. Rowley, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Blum-Riese Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago, a geneticist who The New York Times called “the matriarch of modern cancer genetics.”
• Brian J. Druker, M.D., Director, Knight Cancer Institute, Associate Dean for Oncology, Oregon Health & Science University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Portland, OR, an oncologist whose research to develop Gleevec saved countless lives and opened the door for more targeted cancer therapies.
They will share the $500,000 award, one of the largest prizes in medicine and science in the United States. Dr. Nowell, who was unable to attend the ceremony, has donated his portion of the money to the University of Pennsylvania.

James J. Barba, president and chief executive officer of Albany Medical Center and chairman of the National Selection Committee, said, “These individuals exemplify the extraordinary impact that painstaking research can have on the lives of countless individuals. These visionary scientists have advanced our understanding of cancer, vastly improved our ability to treat this devastating disease and given hope to so many around the world. On behalf of cancer survivors everywhere, I thank Drs. Druker, Nowell, and Rowley for their contributions in our fight to eradicate cancer.”

Joseph R. Testa, Ph.D., co-director of the Cancer Biology Program at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, called the trio’s work on chronic leukemia “one of the finest examples ever of translational research,” the process of making basic scientific research useful for practical applications. 

“Their collective achievements opened new fields of cancer research and have improved the lives of many,” Testa said. 

The Albany Medical Center Prize was established in 2000 by the late Morris “Marty” Silverman to honor scientists whose work has demonstrated significant outcomes that offer medical value of national or international importance. A $50 million gift commitment from the Marty and Dorothy Silverman Foundation provides for the prize to be awarded annually for 100 years.
Five Albany Prize recipients have gone on to win the Nobel Prize.

For more detailed biographies and downloadable photos of this year’s recipients and more information on the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research, go to:

*Questions & Comments:

Sue Ford
Extension: (518) 262 - 3421

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