WASHINGTON -- The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will honor Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, of Stony Brook University and David J. Kuter, MD, DPhil, of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center with the 2013 Ernest Beutler Lecture and Prize for their significant advances in the discovery of thrombopoietin (TPO), the platelet growth factor that regulates platelet production.
The Ernest Beutler Lecture, named for the late Ernest Beutler, MD, a past president of ASH and physician-scientist for more than 50 years, is a two-part lectureship that recognizes major translational advances related to a single topic. The award honors two individuals, one who has enabled advances in basic science and another for achievements in clinical science or translational research.
Drs. Kaushansky and Kuter will present their lecture, "Thrombopoietin: From Molecule to Medicine," at 1:30 pm on Monday, December 9, at the 55th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in New Orleans. During the session, Dr. Kaushansky will discuss the basic biology of TPO and its effect on stem cells and megakaryocytes, and Dr. Kuter will review the clinical development of the recombinant TPO and the newer TPO receptor agonists.
Dr. Kaushansky, the recipient of the 2013 Ernest Beutler Prize in Basic Science, is Senior Vice President of Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine at Stony Brook University. After earning his medical degree from the University of California -- Los Angeles, Dr. Kaushansky completed a residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Hematology at the University of Washington, where he then served as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor. In 2002, Dr. Kaushansky was named the Helen M. Ranney Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California -- San Diego, where he remained until 2010 when he began his tenure at Stony Brook.
Dr. Kaushansky's research focuses on hematopoiesis, cloning, and characterizing many of the growth factor receptors that drive basic blood cell production. Over the course of his more than 25-year career, Dr. Kaushansky has contributed several seminal research advances in hematopoiesis, including the discovery of TPO, the cytokine that helps to expand hematopoietic stem cells and promotes the expansion and maturation of megakaryocytes. These discoveries have provided insights into many congenital and acquired platelet disorders. Dr. Kaushansky's work has been featured in nearly 200 scholarly publications.
As a past president of ASH and a past Editor-in-Chief of ASH's journal Blood, Dr. Kaushansky has been a steadfast leader in both the Society and the field of hematology. In addition to his many roles within ASH, Dr. Kaushansky has also served as a president of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and the Western Society for Clinical Investigation. He currently is the lead editor of Williams Hematology. Since 2010, Dr. Kaushansky has served as a Councillor of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, an ad hoc reviewer for Blood and several other high-impact scientific journals, and a Councillor of the Association of American Physicians (AAP). He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the AAP, and the ASCI.
Dr. Kuter, the recipient of the 2013 Ernest Beutler Prize in Translational Research and Clinical Science, is the Director of the Mass General Cancer Hospital Center for Hematology and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. As a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University he earned his DPhil in Biochemistry, then his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and soon thereafter began a 35-year physician-scientist career at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
Dr. Kuter is renowned for translating the understanding of cytokine signaling in megakaryopoiesis into clinical practice. In 1994, Dr. Kuter's lab was one of the original laboratories to discover how TPO increases platelet numbers. In addition, Dr. Kuter is responsible for successfully producing a novel model of homeostatic platelet number regulation that is now widely accepted in the field. Most recently, Dr. Kuter has led clinical investigations of recombinant TPO as a therapeutic agent to treat human thrombocytopenic disorders, and directed several clinical evaluations of the new TPO receptor agonist compounds which have resulted in FDA approval of these agents. Dr. Kuter's chief contributions to hematology have been rendered in the treatment of chronic idiopathic thromboycytopenic purpura.
Dr. Kuter, a long-time member of ASH as well as the International Society for Experimental Hematology, is the recipient of many prestigious honors for both his research excellence and his teaching. Among his most recent awards are the Jane Grier Memorial Prize for excellence in Hematology/Oncology from the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, the Robert Hettig Lectureship in Hematology from the Department of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, the Irving London Teaching Award from Harvard Medical School, the Alfred Kranes Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching from the Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Joseph E. Sokal Memorial Lectureship from Duke University Medical Center. He has authored 60 original articles, five books, and more than 100 reviews, chapters, and editorials.
"The work of Drs. Kaushansky and Kuter to identify and characterize thrombopoietin remains a seminal contribution to the area of megakaryocyte growth and platelet production," said ASH President Janis L. Abkowitz, MD, of the University of Washington. "Their research has allowed for the translation of laboratory insights from the bench to the patient bedside and has helped improve the lives of those with a wide variety of thrombocytopenic bleeding disorders."
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