Young cancer researchers honored

NEW YORK, October 26, 2003 - Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) has announced the recipients of the Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research, a $125,000 award to be shared by three young investigators who already have made major accomplishments in cancer research.

The winners are pathologist Yuan Chang, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, who is being recognized for her work investigating the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus; biochemist and geneticist John F.X. Diffley, PhD, of Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, who studies DNA replication the process by which a cell copies its genetic material before it divides; and structural biologist Nikola Pavletich, PhD, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator at MSKCC, who has determined the structures of many proteins that play roles in the formation of cancer.

The prize, named after Paul A. Marks, MD, President Emeritus of MSKCC, recognizes significant contributions to the basic understanding and treatment of cancer by scientists no more than 45 years old at the time they are nominated. The winners were selected by a committee chaired by Jeffrey M. Friedman, MD, PhD, of The Rockefeller University and the HHMI.

"The three winners have made important contributions to our understanding of the genes, proteins, and processes that can cause a cell to become cancerous," said Dr. Friedman. "While still in the early stages of their careers, each of them is already a leader in his or her field of research. The committee has great confidence that they will continue to contribute to our understanding of the biology of cancer."

Discovery of a virus that causes cancer

Dr. Chang, 43, was a co-discoverer of the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV, also known as human herpesvirus 8). KSHV, the most recently discovered virus linked to human cancers, is the cause of Kaposi's sarcoma, the most common cancer in AIDS patients. Infection

Contact: Anne Thomas or Chris Hickey
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

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