Bert Vogelstein, M.D., Wins 2015 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research

PHILADELPHIA, June 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) today named Dr. Bert Vogelstein of Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the winner of the 2015 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research for his breakthroughs in oncology research, which have spanned more than two decades and have formed the basis of modern cancer research.

Dr. Vogelstein was honored last night during a reception at the 2015 BIO International Convention in Philadelphia. A video of his acceptance comments can be viewed here.

Dr. Paul Janssen Award Medallion

"Dr. Vogelstein's work forms the paradigm for understanding how nearly all forms of human tumors arise and progress," said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer and Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson. "His discoveries triggered a new wave of innovation in the field, resulting in transformational solutions for patients. It is a great honor to recognize the work of researchers like Dr. Vogelstein, who embody the same tenacity and commitment to improving human health as Dr. Paul." 

Beginning in the 1980's, Vogelstein and his colleagues designed novel approaches to study the molecular basis of colorectal tumors and found that they result from the sequential accumulation of alterations in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. His group went on to discover many of the most important of these genes. For example, they identified TP53, the gene encoding the p53 protein, as a tumor suppressor gene that functioned as a common denominator of cancer, altered more often than any other gene across tumor types. Dr. Vogelstein's work throughout the past two decades has continued to illuminate cancer genes and the pathways they control, guiding the current scientific revolution in genome-wide studies of tumors.

"Dr. Vogelstein's ground-breaking research has transformed our understanding of cancer biology and holds the promise for new treatments based on cancer genetics," said Craig Mello, Ph.D., professor of Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School and investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and chair of the Dr. Paul Janssen Award independent selection committee. "His work, including examining genetic and biochemical events that initiate solid tumors, is widely applicable to the diagnosis, treatment and management of cancer, and provides broad practical implications for patients with both hereditary and sporadic forms of cancer."

Dr. Vogelstein is the Director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics & Therapeutics at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Clayton Professor of Oncology and Pathology at Johns Hopkins University, and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is also a past winner of a number of accolades including the following: Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences; Richard Lounsbery Award; Canada Gairdner International Award; Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize, Paul Ehrlich Foundation; William Allan Award, American Society of Human Genetics; Charles S. Mott Prize, General Motors Cancer Research Foundation; Prince of Asturias Award in Science; and Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize for Cancer Research.

"For me this journey began with one of my first patients, a four year old with leukemia – a disease we knew very little about at the time. I set out to determine what molecular changes drive malignancy, in the hope that this would lead to improved approaches to diagnosis and therapy," said Dr. Vogelstein. "I am honored to have my laboratory's work recognized and to join the list of exceptional past winners of the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research."

The winners of the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research are chosen by an independent selection committee of the world's most renowned scientists. The Award, which includes a $200,000 prize, will be presented to Dr. Vogelstein at ceremonies in the U.S. and Belgium in September.

About The Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research
Dr. Paul Janssen was one of the 20th century's most gifted and passionate researchers. He helped save millions of lives through his contribution to the discovery and development of more than 80 medicines, four of which remain on the World Health Organization's list of essential medicines. The Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research was established by Johnson & Johnson to honor the memory of Dr. Paul.

Previous Award winners include Emmanuelle Charpentier, Ph.D., Hannover Medical School and Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), and The Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS), Umeå University; Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley and Howard Hughes Medical Institute; David Julius, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco; Victor Ambros, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Medical School; Gary Ruvkun, Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Napoleone Ferrara, M.D., University of California, San Diego; Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); Erik De Clercq, M.D., Ph.D., Catholic University of Leuven; Axel Ullrich, Ph.D., Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany; Professor Marc Feldmann, FMedSci, FAA, FRS, and Emeritus Professor Sir Ravinder Maini, FRCP, FMedSci, FRS, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, Imperial College London; and Craig Mello, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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About the Selection Committee
The Dr. Paul Janssen Award independent selection committee is composed of some of the world's leading scientists, including National Medal of Science winners, Nobel Laureates, members of the National Academy of Sciences and past winners of The Dr. Paul Janssen Award. The 2015 Selection Committee includes:

  • Craig Mello, Ph.D., (chairman), Professor of Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School and investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; 2006 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine; 2006 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research winner; member, National Academy of Sciences
  • Bruce Beutler, M.D., Regental Professor, Director, Center for the Genetics of Host Defense, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; 2011 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine; 2011 Shaw Prize winner; 2009 Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research winner; member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Elizabeth Blackburn, Ph.D., Morris Herzstein Professor of Biology and Physiology, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco; 2009 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine; 2006 Albert Lasker Medical Research Award winner; 2007 one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People
  • Michael Brown, M.D., Paul J. Thomas Professor of Molecular Genetics and Director of the Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics, UT Southwestern; 1985 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine; 1988 National Medal of Science (United States)
  • Hans Clevers, Ph.D., President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Molecular Genetics, Utrecht University Medical Centre; 2013 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences winner; 2012 French Association pour la Recherche sur le Cancer (ARC) Léopold Griffuel Prize and the Heineken Prize winner; 2011 German Ernst Jung-Preis für Medizin winner; 2010 United European Gastroenterology Federation (UEGF) Research Prize winner; 2009 Dutch Cancer Society Award winner; 2008 Dutch Josephine Nefkens Prize for Cancer Research and the German Meyenburg Cancer Research Award winner; 2006 Israeli Rabbi Shai Shacknai Memorial Prize winner; 2005 Memorial Sloan-Kettering Katharine Berkan Judd Award winner; 2004 Swiss Louis Jeantet Prize winner; 2001 Dutch Spinoza Award winner
  • Jennifer Doudna Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology, University of California, Berkeley, the Li Ka Shing Chancellor's Chair in Biomedical and Health Sciences and investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; member, National Academy of Sciences; 2014 Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health winner; 2014 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research winner; 2015 one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People
  • David Julius, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Physiology, University of California, San Francisco; 2013 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research winner; 2010 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine winner
  • Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Ph.D., Stanley C. Moore Professor of Bioengineering and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Director of Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health Technology, Rice University; fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering; 2010 Pritzker Distinguished Scientist and Lecturer of the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting; 1999 Y.C. Fung Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers

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