Dana-Farber Medical Oncology Chair receives Sjöberg Prize for cancer research

Benjamin Ebert, MD, PhD, Chair of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, George P. Canellos, MD, and Jean S. Canellos Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Institute Member of Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, has been awarded the Sjöberg Prize, an annual international prize in cancer research. The prize was awarded for Dr. Ebert’s discovery of the mode of action of lenalidomide in the treatment of hematological disorders.

This is the fifth time that the Sjöberg Prize will be awarded. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences selects the laureates and the Sjöberg Foundation provides the financing. The prize amounts to one million dollars, of which $100,000 is the prize sum and $900,000 is funding for future research.

Bengt Westermark, chair of the Prize Committee, noted Dr. Ebert’s discovery as “epoch-making” and believes that it will be extremely important in the development of new cancer drugs.

“So far, the greatest clinical benefit is in the treatment of multiple myeloma, which is a bone marrow disease. Many of the proteins that drive cancer growth have proven difficult to target using pharmaceuticals. Dr. Ebert’s discovery shows that it may be possible to direct such proteins so that they are degraded and thus stop the growth of the tumor,” said Westermark.

The Prize was established by businessman Bengt Sjöberg to promote scientific research with a primary focus on cancer, health, and the environment, following his own cancer diagnosis.

Dr. Ebert is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the Association of American Physicians. He served as President of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. His additional awards include the Till and McCollough Award from the International Society of Experimental Hematopoiesis, the William Dameshek Prize from the American Society of Hematology, the Meyenburg Prize, and mentoring and teaching awards from Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Ebert received a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a doctorate from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar where he worked with Peter Ratcliffe, who was subsequently awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine. He completed an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, a residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a fellowship in hematology/oncology at Dana-Farber.

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