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Two researchers receive Brupbacher Prize for Cancer Research 2011

March 29, 2016

Vogelstein's findings on the sequential accumulation of mutations and tumor growth have received wide-spread recognition and provide the basis for prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer. Vogelstein has recently begun analyzing entire cancer genomes, i.e. the sum of all genes in a cell. Understanding the genetic make-up of a tumor provides the basis for personalized tumor therapy, a major goal in clinical oncology.

Jan H. Hoeijmakers

Jan Hoeijmakers has made an outstanding contribution by elucidating the molecular basis of hereditary diseases caused by defective DNA repair. There are multiple pathways for the repair of damaged DNA. If left unrepaired, this increases the risk of several diseases, including cancer. Dr. Hoeijmakers has performed innovative research on xeroderma pigmentosum, a hereditary skin disease that is characterized by extreme sensitivity to UV rays and the development of multiple, often malignant tumors in skin regions exposed to sunlight. Ultraviolet rays cause damage involving chemical links between coding DNA bases, particularly thymine. During cell division and in the absence of efficient repair, this leads to permanent mutations in daughter cells. Patients affected by xeroderma pigmentosum demonstrate a reduced DNA repair capacity.

Hoeijmakers identified and characterized multiple genes involved in the repair process. He was able to show that certain forms of limited DNA repair capacity can bring about the exact opposite of a tumor, namely premature aging.

A complex DNA repair system ensures the stability of our genome. Jan Hoeijmakers has earned international recognition for having identified key aspects of the molecular basis of DNA repair and the role it plays in both, the development of tumors and in premature aging.

Source: mediadesk.uzh.ch/articles/2011/brupbacher-preis-2011_en.html