Dr. Elizabeth Petri Henske, M.D., of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pa., received $75,000 and an award statue. The prize was established to recognize a women scientist or engineer for her contributions to women’s health and encourage women to work on issues uniquely related to women’s health.

Henske’s research is focused on the genetic and cellular mechanisms leading to tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) and lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). LAM is an often-fatal lung disease almost exclusively affecting women. LAM has a stronger female predisposition than lupus or breast cancer, and may have the strongest biological sex predisposition of any human disease, except for diseases of the genital organs.

Dr. Henske discovered that TSC2 mutations are a cause of LAM and demonstrated that LAM cells can migrate or metastasize to the lung. She is currently investigating the cellular and developmental origin of LAM cells and the mechanisms through which female hormones such as oestrogen may promote their growth and metastasis. The cellular pathways that are activated in tuberous sclerosis and LAM are also activated in many forms of cancer, and in diabetes and obesity. Understanding the causes of LAM may, therefore, have a broad impact on other human diseases.

The Society for Women’s Health Research is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the health of all women through research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1990, the Society brought to national attention the need for the appropriate inclusion of women in major medical research studies and the need for more information about conditions affecting women disproportionately, predominately, or differently than men.

MEDICA.de; Source: Society for Women's Health Research