Washington, D.C.- Americans for Medical Progress will present Albert B. Sabin Heroes of Science Awards to six individuals who have made a difference in biomedical research-pioneers in vaccine development and transplant surgery, parents who have through their family's tragedy created a strong force to combat genetic disease, and public officials who work to ensure that biomedical research remains a national priority.
The awards will be presented at a reception at the Carnegie Institution of Washington this evening.
"The six Heroes we honor tonight were chosen by Americans for Medical Progress for their commitment to biomedical research and its ability to improve the quality of our lives," said Jacquie Calnan, president of the nonprofit organization, which is based in Alexandria, Virginia.
Americans for Medical Progress supports the biomedical research community through its public affairs campaigns designed to build understanding of the necessity and humane nature of scientists' work with laboratory animals.
"Biomedical research offers hope. Children who had no hope just a few years ago are now living past their cancers, past their catastrophic illnesses," noted AMP's chairman, Michael Hayre, D.V.M., Vice President Comparative Medicine at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "That hope is rooted in the work of men and women such as the Heroes of Science we recognize tonight."
This year's Albert B. Sabin Heroes of Science are:
Dave and Lynn Frohnmayer, founders of the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, which supports path-breaking genetic research and fosters dialog among the scientists who are studying the disease. All three of the Frohnmayers' daughters were born with Fanconi anemia, an inherited, usually fatal illness which causes bone marrow failure and often leukemia. Two of their daughters, Kirsten and Katie, have died from complications of the disease.
Dave Frohnmayer is President of the University of Oregon and currently serves on the Director's Council of Public Representatives for the National Institutes of Health. Lynn Frohnmayer is an advisor to the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund and co-edits the Fund's newsletters. With her husband, she is co-editor of Fanconi Anemia, A Handbook for Families and Their Physicians.
Maurice R. Hilleman, Ph.D., Director of the Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research, may well have saved more lives than any other living scientist. Dr. Hilleman pioneered the development of nearly three dozen live, killed and combined vaccines including measles, mumps, rubella, MMR, Marek's Disease, hepatitis A and hepatitis B, as well overseeing the commercial evolution of vaccines against meningococci and pneumococci . His measles vaccine alone is estimated to prevent one million deaths worldwide every year. His MMR vaccine protects children against three different diseases - measles, mumps and rubella - and is now the cornerstone of pediatric health
Francis Daniels Moore, M.D., Moseley Professor of Surgery, Emeritus, at Harvard Medical School, and Surgeon-in-Chief Emeritus of Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, has been involved in some of the most important biomedical advances of the 20th century. His major contributions include pioneering research in nuclear medicine, research and clinical studies of metabolic response to injury, and early work in organ transplantation. Dr. Moore's autobiography, A Miracle and a Privilege, documents his remarkable career in surgery, research, and education that spans six decades, from his residency in Boston to his recent service as an advisor to NASA on the long-term effects of space flight.
Ruth L. Kirschstein, M.D., Acting Director of the National Institutes of Health, is both a visionary and a leader in the intellectual and administrative renaissance that has made NIH the world's premier biomedical institute. During her 43 years with NIH, including 20 years as Director of the National Institute of General Medical Science, Dr. Kirschstein has been at the cutting edge of two of the most important research trends of this generation. She played a pivotal role in launching the Humane Genome Project. She is also credited with providing early and crucial support to women's health research, developing a central inventory of women's health studies, services and programs for NIH and pioneering the NIH Office of Women's Health Research. Throughout her career, Dr. Kirschstein has sought to increase opportunities for women and other groups underrepresented in science.
John Edward Porter is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and chairman of its Labor, Health & Human Services and Education Subcommittee. Throughout his 11 terms in Congress, he has been a staunch friend of the research community, an ally who will be sorely missed when he retires at the end of this term. He is a leader in the successful and ongoing campaign to invest more of the nation's resources into basic biomedical research.
"Tonight's award recipients are true Heroes of Science, having devoted their time, knowledge, skills and energies to ensure that research continues to give Americans the full benefit of medical progress," said Heloisa Sabin, widow of Dr. Albert B. Sabin. At the time of his death in 1993, Dr. Sabin was a member of the National Advisory Council of Americans for Medical Progress. He was posthumously accorded the first Hero of Science Award. Mrs. Sabin is an Honorary Director of AMP, and Honorary Chairwoman of this evening's reception.
Dr. Sabin, developer of the oral polio vaccine, recognized the value of animals in medicine. He once wrote, "Without the use of animals and of human beings it would have been impossible to acquire the important knowledge needed to prevent much suffering and premature death not only among humans but also among animals."