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Will Rogers Institute to Honor World's Leading Geneticist and Recent Medal of Freedom Recipient, Dr. Francis S. Collins For His Outstanding Contribution to Lung Research.

Resulting in the advancement of treatment Of Cystic Fibrosis

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- It is impossible to over estimate the effect Dr. Francis S. Collins' work has had on public health. Fifty years ago, children living with cystic fibrosis (CF) would not have been expected to live past their early teens. Thanks to the research work of Dr. Collins, and the subsequent advancement in treatment, people can now expect to live into their thirties, forties and beyond.

It is in recognition of his extraordinary work on the CF gene and identification of the human genome, that the Will Rogers Institute (WRI) will honor Dr. Collins with the inaugural "Annual Prize for Outstanding Contributions to Lung Research." The award will be presented on Thursday, December 6, 2007 at the WRI Board of Directors Meeting at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Dr. Collins' seminal research led to the identification of the CF gene and its protein product, CFTR. Mutation of the gene results in CF, a chronic disease which attacks the lungs and other organs. It is estimated that 30,000 children and adults in the United States struggle with cystic fibrosis. More than 10 million Americans are unknowing, symptom-free carriers of the disease, which can only be identified by genetic testing.

His work has proved to be a motivator for advancements in many other genetic investigations including type 2 diabetes, neurofibromatosis and Huntington's disease.

Dr. Edward Crandall, PhD, MD, medical advisor to the Will Rogers Institute and Hastings Professor and Norris Chair of Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC), stated, "Dr. Collins was chosen by the WRI as the first recipient of the prize because his work has consistently produced outstanding and influential research that has been published in the foremost peer-review journals. He maintains a very important leadership role in his field, and is held in the highest esteem by scientists and clinicians throughout the world."

As further testament to the importance of his work, on November 5, 2007 President George W. Bush presented Dr. Collins with the Medal of Freedom, one of the nation's highest civilian honors, for his contribution to genetic research. The Human Genome Project identified the genes in human DNA, stored the data and made it available for research. This project alone has revolutionized genetic research.

A native of the east coast, Dr. Collins studied chemistry at the University of Virginia (BS) and Yale University (PhD) and received his MD from the University of North Carolina. He undertook residency training in medicine at North Carolina before returning to Yale as a Fellow in Human Genetics from 1981 to 1984. Dr. Collins was appointed Director of the National Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health in 1993.

Press Contact: Jane LaBonte (310) 801-3902

SOURCE Will Rogers Institute
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