The Pezcoller Foundation–American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) International Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Cancer Research will be presented to Hans Clevers, MD, PhD, FAACR, at the virtual AACR Annual Meeting 2021, to be held April 10–15 and May 17–21.
Hans Clevers, MD, PhD, FAACR
Dr. Clevers, who is widely considered one of the world’s leading experts on adult stem cell biology, is being honored for a series of breakthrough discoveries that led to the development of mini-organs, now called organoids. The ability to generate organoids from stem cells has been an essential first step toward the growth of the regenerative cancer medicine field. This unique cancer model system has also been instrumental in establishing new avenues of research involving the testing of novel anticancer therapeutics on tissues derived from tumors and cultured as organoids.
Dr. Clevers is the principal investigator at the Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research, and the principal investigator at the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Utrecht, the Netherlands. Additionally, he is an investigator at the Oncode Institute in the Netherlands and Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University Medical Center in Utrecht.
Early in his career, Dr. Clevers headed a group that studied the behavior of the intestine in normal physiologic states. During these studies, the group cloned the transcription factor TCF1, which has since been proved to be a vital component in the Wnt signaling pathway. Dr. Clevers demonstrated the link between Wnt signaling and adult stem cell biology by proving that TCF4 gene disruption leads to the elimination of small intestine crypts, whereas the targeted knockout of the TCF1 gene severely disables the stem cell compartment of the thymus. Together with Bert Vogelstein, MD, FAACR, Dr. Clevers also showed that mutations in the Wnt signaling pathway are capable of contributing to the onset and progression of colon cancer. This finding has since propelled countless research efforts focused on the development of novel anticancer therapeutics that precisely target the Wnt signaling pathway.
Bert Vogelstein, MD, FAACR
The Pezcoller Foundation–AACR International Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Cancer Research was established in 1997 to annually recognize a scientist who has made a major scientific discovery in basic or translational cancer research.