March of Dimes awards $250,000 prize to pioneers in genetic research

SEATTLE, MAY 5, 2003 Two pioneering scientists, whose discoveries about hormones and their genetic messengers led to the development of new drugs for cancer and metabolic disease, were named co-recipients of this year's March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology.

Ronald M. Evans, Ph.D., Professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory and March of Dimes Chair in Molecular and Developmental Biology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California, and Pierre Chambon, M.D., Professor and Director of the Institute for Genetics and Cellular and Molecular Biology, CNRS/INSERM, Strasbourg, France, discovered nuclear hormone receptors, revealed their structure and function, and defined their central role in human physiology.

The Prize is a cash award of $250,000 and a silver medal in the design of the Roosevelt dime, in honor of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who founded the March of Dimes.

Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes, says Dr. Evans and Prof. Chambon are being honored by the March of Dimes for research that has had enormous medical signficance. "Dr. Evans and Prof. Chambon have illuminated the roles of nuclear hormone receptors in human health and disease," Dr. Howse says. "Their discoveries opened up productive new areas of study in endocrinology and physiology and led directly to the development of new treatments for pediatric disorders, endocrine-related cancers, diabetes, and other serious illnesses."

Nuclear hormone receptors are complex proteins that help regulate activity of genes located in the nuclei of our cells. These receptors act as go-betweens for hormones, which need their cooperation to send instructions to targeted genes telling these genes when to be active, how much product they should make, and which specific tissue or organs to affect. It is through interaction with these receptors that hormones exercise control of many functions essential to life and health, includi

Contact: Michele Kling
March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation

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