Award for Cancer Research

Ullrich is the Director of Molecular Biology at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany, and is a renowned expert in gene technology and one of the most frequently cited cancer scientists in the area of signal transduction research. “His study of EGFR proteins and gene expression technology has benefitted countless individuals with cancer and has substantial implications for future advances in cancer research”, said AACR Chief Executive Officer Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.).

Lauded for his contributions to the discovery of the HER2/neu oncogene, Ullrich is an international leader in cancer research whose work has helped introduce an era of personalized medicine not only for the treatment of breast cancer, but also for other cancers. His strategy of genomics-based, target-driven drug development has helped to revolutionize the way cancer is studied and treated, and he is being honored for his ingenuity and insight into attacking the cancer problem through his study of signal transduction and genetics.

In the gene technology field’s early days, Ullrich and his colleagues were the first to clone the genes of medically important proteins including the precursor to insulin, which led to the development of Humulin, the first therapeutic agent to be developed through gene-based technology.

This research led to further study of the molecular genetic characterization of cell surface receptors through which Ullrich ushered in a new field of study, signal transduction. Ullrich’s work in signal transduction research has uncovered fundamental molecular mechanisms that determine the physiology of normal cells and has provided insights into similar mechanisms in other major human diseases.; Source: American Association for Cancer Research