Ludwig Johns Hopkins Co-director Bert Vogelstein and Ludwig Stanford Director Irv Weissman received the prestigious Albany Prize. A pioneer in cancer genetics, Bert transformed cancer research through his work on colorectal tumors. His early research on colon cancer, in which he described how the sequential mutation of proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes drives malignancy, is a paradigm of cancer research and led to the development of the first at-home kit for colon cancer detection. His subsequent work mapping cancer genomes spawned a revolution in diagnostics, with companies now racing to develop liquid biopsies for cancer, including one Bert established in partnership with his Ludwig Johns Hopkins colleagues. Irv, a pioneer in the field of stem cell biology, isolated the first blood-forming stem cells in mice and humans and described how mutations in those cells drive leukemia. His more recent discovery of “don’t-eat-me” signals transmitted by cancer cells to the immune system—he has now discovered three in all—has also led to the ongoing clinical evaluation of an exciting new cancer therapy by a company he co-founded. The $500,000 Albany Prize is given to those who “have transformed our understanding of cancer and contributed to the development of new methodologies for detection and treatment of cancer and for regenerative medicine.” Both Irv and Bert clearly fit that bill.
This article appeared in the November 2019 issue of Ludwig Link. Click here to download a PDF (1 MB).