Established in honour of Nobel laureate Szent-Gyorgyi, co-founder of the NFCR, the prize recognizes outstanding scientific achievement in the war against cancer and celebrates leading researchers who have made extraordinary contributions in the field of cancer research. Harold F. Dvorak is Mallinkrodt Professor of Pathology Emeritus of Harvard Medical School and former chief of the division of pathology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).

In 1983, Dvorak and his colleagues were the first to demonstrate that tumour cells secreted vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), known at the time as vascular permeability factor or VPF.

"Dr. Dvorak's seminal discoveries in basic science have led to significant clinical benefits for cancer patients, perfectly fitting the unique criteria of the Albert Szent-Gyorgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research," notes NFCR Chief Scientific Officer Sujuan Ba, PhD, co-chair of the prize committee. "Dr. Dvorak's key VPF/VEGF discovery paved the way for researchers to better understand the mechanisms involved in tumour angiogenesis. His work is now being utilized in very real practical applications, offering hope for angiogenesis-centred treatments to halt, and even reverse, tumour growth."

Adds prize committee chairman Daniel Von Hoff, vice president of the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, "Without Dr. Dvorak's fundamental discovery we would probably not have had the therapeutic agent bevacizumab, which has had a tremendous impact on improving survival for patients with advanced colorectal cancer, breast cancer, non-cell lung cancer and renal cell carcinoma. In addition, other small molecules which inhibit VEGF have also shown outstanding clinical antitumour activity with dramatic therapeutic effects for patients worldwide."

MEDICA.de; Source: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center