Movers in Medicine

Cancer researchers awarded for breakthroughs


The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the 2019 Sjöberg Prize to Dennis J. Slamon, MD, PhD, and Brian J. Druker, MD.

Dr. Dennis J. Slamon, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles Milo Mitchell, UCLA Milo Mitchell, UCLA

Dr. Dennis J. Slamon

The pair received the prize, which is worth $1 million, “for their groundbreaking contributions to the clinical development of targeted therapy directed against genetic aberrations in cancer.”

Dr. Slamon, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, conducted research that led to the development of trastuzumab as a treatment for HER2-positive breast cancer.

Dr. Druker, a professor at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, found that imatinib could treat chronic myeloid leukemia by inhibiting BCR-ABL.

Dr. Brian J. Druker, a professor at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland Kristyna Wentz-Graff, OHSU

Dr. Brian J. Druker

Dr. Druker and Dr. Slamon both plan to use the prize money to identify new targets for cancer therapies.

In other news, Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., won the 2019 Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research.

Dr. Rosenberg won the $25,000 prize for his “pioneering role in the development of adoptive immunotherapy to treat cancer.”

Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. National Institutes of Health National Institutes of Health

Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg

Dr. Rosenberg is credited with conducting trials of interleukin-2 that led to its U.S. approval, identifying tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in metastatic melanoma, showing that adoptive cell transfer can prompt tumor regression in advanced melanoma and breast cancer, and being the first person to use chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells to treat aggressive lymphomas.

With his current work, Dr. Rosenberg is exploring the use of adoptive cell transfer in epithelial cancers.

Dr. Rosenberg also received the 2019 Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service. He is one of eight individuals who won the award this year.

The award is named after the founding father of the American Medical Association and is given to “elected and career officials in federal, state, or municipal service whose outstanding contributions have promoted the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.”

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