Ohio State Cancer Researcher Receives International InBev Baillet LaTour Health Prize

April 18, 2013
Ohio State Cancer Research Receives International InBev Baillet LaTour Health Prize Carlo Croce

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The InBev-Baillet Latour Fund has awarded its 2013 Health Prize to Dr. Carlo Croce, professor and chair of the department of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics and director of Human Cancer Genetics at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC–James), for his outstanding contributions to the field of cancer.

The InBev-Baillet Latour Health Prize was established in 1979 in Belgium to recognize the merits of a person whose work has contributed prominently to the improvement of human health.

Croce is world-renowned for his contributions involving the genes and genetic mechanisms implicated in the pathogenesis of human cancer. Croce has provided valuable insights into the underlying, genetic basis of cancer onset. His research has established genetic links to a variety of cancers including Burkitt’s lymphoma, T-Cell lymphoma, and acute leukemia. His discoveries have shown that chromosomal abnormalities such as translocations are capable of contributing to both cancer initiation and progression.

The prize of 250,000 euros (about $326,000 U.S. dollars) was awarded April 17 to Croce in Brussels, Belgium at the “Palais des Academies” in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Mathilde. In addition to the prize, Croce presented a lecture that summarizes his scientific achievements and their medical implications. Croce was selected out of 37 nominees by a jury that consisted of people from Germany, Spain, Italy, France Belgium, London and the United States.

In addition to his studies involving genes such as ALL1 and TCL1, Croce was the first investigator to discover and sequence BCL2. He later defined a role for this protein in various lymphomas such as follicular lymphoma. More recently, his work has centered on understanding the role of micro RNAs in cancer pathogenesis. His research has proven that particular micro RNAs have the potential to exhibit either oncogenic or tumor suppressive properties.

Recently, Croce has been focusing on identifying the genes involved in development of lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common form of human leukemia. His studies have opened a new field in the study of medicine in general and oncology.

Earlier this month, Croce was honored at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting with the AACR Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship and also was inaugurated into the first class of the Fellows of the AACR Academy.

Croce has received numerous other accolades throughout his career, including two Outstanding Investigator Awards from the National Cancer Institute, the Raymond Bourgine Award and Gold Medal of Paris, an honorary doctorate in medicine from Uppsala University in Sweden, the Rod and Ceil Mortel Lecture in Cancer Research from Penn State University, the Italian Gold Medal for Public Health and the Gottleib Award from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

He is also an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, an honorary member of the Japanese Cancer Society and a foreign member of the Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze, delta dei XL in Italy. A member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he has published more than 1,000 scientific papers.

The InBev-Baillet Latour Fund was founded in 1974 by Count Alfred de Baillet Latour, member of the board of directors of Brasseries Artois from 1947 to 1980. Its objective is to encourage work of great value to humanity, of a mainly scientific, educational or artistic nature, and to reward such work by means of prizes or study grants.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute strives to create a cancer-free world by integrating scientific research with excellence in education and patient-centered care, a strategy that leads to better methods of prevention, detection and treatment. Ohio State is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and one of only seven centers funded by the NCI to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials. The NCI recently rated Ohio State’s cancer program as “exceptional,” the highest rating given by NCI survey teams. As the cancer program’s 228-bed adult patient-care component, The James is a “Top Hospital” as named by the Leapfrog Group and one of the top cancer hospitals in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

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Contact: Eileen Scahill, Wexner Medical Center Public Affairs and Media Relations, 614-293-3737, or Eileen.Scahill@osumc.edu

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