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Brupbacher Prize goes to cancer researcher Michael Karin

Molecular biologist Michael Karin is to receive this year's Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize for Cancer Research in recognition of his studies on the role of chronic inflammation in the development of tumors. The award, which carries CHF 100,000 in prize money, is considered one of the highest accolades for cancer researchers worldwide. The awards ceremony takes place in Zurich this Thursday in the framework of an international symposium on "Breakthroughs in Cancer Research and Therapy".

On Thursday, 31 January 2013, the Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize will be awarded for the 11th time to a scientist for outstanding achievements in cancer research. This year's award goes to Michael Karin, professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of California in San Diego.

Michael Karin is one of the most cited authors in biomedical science. He made a name for himself with his fundamental studies on the role of chronic inflammation in tumor development, such as hepatic cancer following an infection with the hepatitis B or C viruses or stomach cancer through an infection with the gastric bacterium Helicobacter pylori. A specific viral or bacterial pathogen, however, is not necessary because any chronic inflammatory damage to the intestinal mucosa carries a significantly increased risk of colon cancer. This includes immunologically induced inflammatory bowel diseases.

Evidence of causal link between inflammation and carcinogenesis

Karin is an internationally renowned expert on signaling pathways, transduction pathways that enable cells to respond to external influences. Karin is particularly interested in the influence of stress and infections. He showed how the cell's normal signaling pathways can go awry in the event of chronic infections, with cancer as a possible consequence.

Michael Karin's work has greatly advanced our understanding of the molecular basis of tumour development and is of vital importance in devising new strategies for prevention and therapy.

Public lecture by Gottfried Schatz and prizes for young scientists

On the eve of the award ceremony, the Brupbacher Foundation is holding a public lecture by Professor Gottfried Schatz entitled "Die tragische Substanz. Wie genetische Fehler Alterung und Krebs bewirken". Schatz is emeritus professor of the University of Basel and a biochemist of international standing especially in the field of mitochondria, the energy-providing powerhouses in the cell.

The last item on the symposium's program is devoted to young scientists: Up to five junior researchers will receive a Young Investigator Award at the conclusion of the symposium on Friday morning.


Contact: Paul Kleihues
University of Zurich

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