BETHESDA, Maryland (Feb. 6, 2012) The National Foundation for Cancer Research announced today that Dr. Zhen-Yi Wang and Dr. Zhu Chen have been awarded the 7th annual Szent-Gyrgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research for their innovative research that led to the successful development of a new therapeutic approach to acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL).
By combining traditional Chinese medicine with Western medicine, Drs. Wang and Chen have provided dramatic improvement in the five-year disease-free survival rate of APL patients from approximately 25 percent to 95 percent making this therapy a standard of care for APL treatment throughout the world, and turning one of the most fatal diseases into a highly curable one.
"I am so glad to see that the efforts we have devoted to research on leukemia these last several decades have led to solid clinical benefits to APL patients around the world," said Dr. Wang. "This award will inspire us as we continue our efforts to find more effective therapies to treat cancers."
"This is a great honor for Dr. Wang and me; it is quite humbling to know that our respected colleagues from many scientific disciplines have selected us for this prestigious award," said Dr. Chen, who also serves as China's Minister of Health. "Scientists across the globe are working every day to cure cancer. I hope our work may continue to inspire others."
A clinical researcher at the Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai in the early 1980s, Dr. Zhen-Yi Wang performed the first successful therapy on APL patients using all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), which significantly increased the survival rate of patients with APL. Dr. Zhu Chen, a former student of Wang, made major contributions to the identification of the molecular mechanisms of both ATRA and arsenic trioxide in APL. He also demonstrated in clinical trials that arsenic trioxide, a compound used as a traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,400 years, is effective ag
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