Adekunle “Kunle” Odunsi, MD, PhD; and Bert Vogelstien, MD, and Robert Weinberg, PhD, are highlighted.
On March 1, Adekunle “Kunle” Odunsi, MD, PhD, became director of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center in Illinois, replacing Michelle Le Beau, PhD. Previously, Odunsi was the deputy director of the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, NY, where he also served as executive director of the Center for Immunotherapy. His research focuses on developing immunotherapies and vaccines for ovarian cancer.
Bert Vogelstein, MD, and Robert Weinberg, PhD, were jointly awarded the 2021 Japan Prize in Medical Science and Medicinal Science. The Japan Prize Foundation bestows the award annually to scientists who have made substantial contributions to their field and to “the peace and prosperity of mankind.”
Vogelstein combined molecular genetics with histopathology of large intestinal lesions to show that various oncogenic mutations are linked to colon cancer progression. Weinberg demonstrated that mutations in oncogenes, such as MYC and RAS, transform normal rodent cells into malignant cells. Together, their work established that carcinogenesis is a multistep process involving numerous oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. Their research also revealed the importance of genomics for understanding cancer and developing targeted therapies.
Vogelstein is the co-director of the Ludwig Center at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD. Weinberg is the director of the Ludwig/Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Molecular Oncology in Cambridge. The two will split a cash prize of 50 million Japanese yen—about $476,500.
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