Updated at: 04/16/2013 6:35 PM
(AP) ALBANY, N.Y. - Three scientists at universities in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Oregon whose research has helped transform cancer treatment will share one of the richest prizes in medicine and biomedical research.
Dr. Peter Nowell of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Janet Rowley of the University of Chicago and Dr. Brian Druker of Oregon Health and Science University will receive the $500,000 annual Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research next month, the medical center announced Tuesday. The prize, one of the largest in medicine and science in the United States, is awarded to those who have changed the course of medical research.
Medical center officials called the trio "visionary scientists" whose work has given hope to cancer patients around the world. The researchers will officially receive the award May 17 at a ceremony at the medical center.
"These individuals exemplify the extraordinary impact that painstaking research can have on the lives of countless individuals," said James J. Barba, president and chief executive officer of Albany Medical Center.
Nowell’s research at Penn in Philadelphia was the first to show that a genetic defect could be responsible for cancer, His work has led to numerous discoveries into the growth of cells related to cancers and other disorders.
Rowley’s discoveries of chromosome abnormalities in leukemia secured a common agreement among scientists, physicians and the general public that cancer is, in fact, a genetic disease.
Druker, an oncologist in Portland, Ore., used earlier work by Nowell and Rowley to develop a lifesaving treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia that specifically targets the leukemia cells without harming healthy cells.
The Albany Medical Center Prize was established in 2000 by the late Morris "Marty" Silverman, a New York City businessman who wanted to encourage health and biomedical research.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)