Keynote Speaker: Martin Birkhofer, M.D., Vice President, Oncology Global Medical Affairs, Bristol-Myers Squibb Research and Development
Director of the Human Cancer Genetics Program, Director of the Institute of Genetics at The Ohio State University, Member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
The recipient of the 2008 Albert Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research is Carlo M. Croce, M.D. The National Foundation for Cancer Research recognizes his groundbreaking discoveries that have revolutionized the field of cancer genetics and oncology over the past thirty years.
Dr. Croce’s research established the direct and causative association of chromosomal translocations with the molecular mechanisms of oncogene activation. He was the first to use specific chromosomal translocations as genetic hallmarks to identify and isolate important oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes such as BCL2, ALL1, and LZTS1, each of which revealed novel and critical signaling pathways for cancer initiation and progression. His research paved the way for entirely new avenues in the development of a variety of therapies to target cancer.
Most recently, Dr. Croce made a breakthrough discovery through his microRNA research. He provided the first evidence that these small, non-protein-coding RNAs do play a role in human cancer. Moreover, he developed a gene chip that enables the assessment of the genome-wide expression of microRNAs in normal cells and tumor tissue, and identified microRNA signatures that correlate with diagnosis and prognosis of leukemia, lung cancer, and many other types of tumors.
The most exciting aspect of his revolutionary research on microRNAs is that it reveals the tremendous potential for developing microRNA-based therapies. His discoveries mark one of the cornerstones in the field of human genetics, and will have a profound impact on furthering the development of molecular medicines for cancer patients.
Today, Dr. Croce is the Director of the Human Cancer Genetics Program and Director of the Institute of Genetics at The Ohio State University. He is also a Professor of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics at OSU. Dr. Croce has received numerous awards including the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation Charles S. Mott Prize, the Italian Gold Medal for Public Health presented by President Ciampi, and the G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award of the American Association for Cancer Research. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. He was Editor-in-Chief of Cancer Research and continues to be the Subject Editor for the British Journal of Cancer. Dr. Croce received his M.D. from the University of Rome in Rome, Italy.