The 2014 Warren Triennial Prize of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) will be awarded to Bert Vogelstein, MD, the Clayton Professor of Oncology and Pathology and director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics and Therapeutics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The award will be presented at the Warren Triennial Prize Symposium, "The Genetics of Cancer," on Monday, November 24, at MGH.
The first scientist to determine the molecular basis of a common human cancer, Vogelstein and his colleagues demonstrated that colorectal tumors result from the gradual accumulation of alterations in specific oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. Their discovery and analysis of these genes and their functions represent a landmark in the application of molecular biology to the study of human disease.
"Dr. Vogelstein is a legend in the field of cancer research who has pioneered some of the fundamental concepts that underlie our understanding of how cancer arises, how it can be detected and how it should be treated with increasingly targeted therapies," says Daniel A. Haber, MD, director of the MGH Cancer Center. "The scope of his research contributions is exceptional, as is its impact. Just as significantly, he has trained and mentored generations of young scientists who are now making their own important contributions to the field."
Vogelstein's work on colorectal cancers forms the paradigm for much of modern cancer research, with major implications for improved diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. He and his colleagues were also the first to map cancer genomes and to use genome-wide sequencing to identify the basis of a hereditary disease. His team has determined the genetic landscapes of more than a dozen tumor types, and together with their earlier studies, this work has provided the conceptual basis for what is now called "personalized medicine."
The top scientific award presented by the MGH and one of the oldest in the world, the Warren Prize honors scientists who have made outstanding contributions in fields related to medicine and includes a cash award of $50,000. Created in 1871 and now awarded every third year, the prize was named for Dr. John Collins Warren, a co-founder of the MGH who played a leading role in establishing what became the New England Journal of Medicine and also performed the first public surgical operation utilizing ether anesthesia on October 16, 1846.
Twenty-three Warren recipients have also received the Nobel Prize - including 2011 recipient Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, a 2012 Nobel Laureate; and 2004 recipients Craig Mello, PhD, and Andrew Fire, PhD, who received the 2006 Nobel.
Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than $785 million and major research centers in HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, human genetics, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, reproductive biology, systems biology, transplantation biology and photomedicine.