Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Brupbacher Prize goes to B. Vogelstein & J. Hoeijmakers for research on colorectal and skin cancer

Today, the Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize for Cancer Research 2011 goes to two researchers who have contributed to better understanding of the genetics underlying the growth of tumors.

Oncologist Bert Vogelstein has demonstrated how sequential accumulation of mutations leads to colorectal cancer, and Jan H. Hoeijmakers has conducted breakthrough research in xeroderma, a hereditary disease causing skin cancer.

For the tenth time, the Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize will be awarded in conjunction with an international symposium. The prize of 100,000 Swiss francs for each scientist, is one of the world’s most prestigious honors in cancer research. The prize is awarded every two years to investigators who have made outstanding contributions to oncology. The symposium will also honor five junior researchers who will receive a Young Investigator Award.

This year's Brupbacher Prize goes to Prof. Bert Vogelstein of the John Hopkins University in Baltimore (USA) and to Prof. Jan. H. Hoeijmakers of Erasmus University, Rotterdam (Netherlands). The findings of both researchers have contributed greatly to the understanding of the genetic basis of tumor growth. Bert Vogelstein's main area of research is colorectal cancer, Jan Hoeijmakers' is skin cancer. The particular significance of their findings lies in their general relevance: Cancer of the colon and rectum is closely linked to lifestyle of Western populations and is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Europe. Hoeijmakers’ findings do not only shed light on skin tumors, but also on premature aging.

Bert Vogelstein

Bert Vogelstein ranks among the most-quoted scientists in the field of biomedicine. He is best-known for his groundbreaking work on the genesis of cancer of the colon. Tumors in the large intestine (colon) lend themselves particularly well to analysis because their progression from a benign growth to a malignant tumor can be clinically observed by means of colonoscopies.

Vogelstein has observed that initial, small accumulations of atypical cells are caused by a mutation of the APC gene, a tumor-suppressor gene that controls cell division. The mutation of the APC gene is also responsible for inherited familial adenomatous polyposis, a disease characterized by a great number of polyps in the intestinal wall. If not removed, these polyps can develop into colon cancer.

Additional mutations activate genes coding for growth factors (oncogenes).as well as in other tumor suppressor genes. All of these DNA mutations mediate a slow but steady growth from initially small, then larger benign polyps that then progress into a carcinoma. Although it takes an average of 17 years for a small polyp to develop into a carcinoma, the process then accelerates, leading typically within two more years to a highly malignant carcinoma that metastasizes to regional lymph nodes and distant organs.

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.

The foundation:
The Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Foundation was founded in 1991 by Mme. Frédérique Brupbacher in memory of her husband, Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher. The foundation is affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Zurich. More information on the foundation is available at
Contact information:
Prof. Paul Kleihues
C.R. Brupbacher Stiftung
c/o Dean's Office, Faculty of Medicine
University of Zurich
Phone: +41 79 738 34 72

Beat Müller | idw
Further information:

More articles from Awards Funding:

nachricht Changing the Energy Landscape: Affordable Electricity for All
20.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

nachricht Emmy Noether junior research group investigates new magnetic structures for spintronics applications
11.10.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Awards Funding >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>