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The American Association for Cancer Research Congratulates President-Elect on Nobel Prize
Date:10/5/2009

The American Association for Cancer Research congratulates its president-elect Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., and AACR member Carol W. Greider, Ph.D., for winning, along with Jack W. Szostak, Ph.D., the Nobel Prize in Medicine, for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.

Philadelphia (Vocus) October 5, 2009 -- The American Association for Cancer Research congratulates its president-elect Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., and AACR member Carol W. Greider, Ph.D., for winning, along with Jack W. Szostak, Ph.D., the Nobel Prize in Medicine, for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.

“Dr. Blackburn, our president-elect, is a scientific pioneer who, along with AACR member Dr. Greider and Dr. Szostak, is revolutionizing the way we look at biology and translational science,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. “Not only did the discovery of telomeres and telomerase propel cancer science forward on a grand scale, it is also changing the way we explore how to treat other types of disease and how to potentially prolong cell life.”

The trio uncovered how chromosomes can be copied in a complete way during cell division and how they are protected against degradation. The solution is found in the ends of the chromosomes – the telomeres – and in an enzyme that forms them – telomerase. With Szostak, Blackburn discovered that a unique DNA sequence in the telomeres protects the chromosomes from degradation.

In 1985, Blackburn and her then-graduate student Greider identified telomerase, the enzyme that makes telomere DNA. Their research showed that, in some organisms, such as the
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