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Cancer Research UK researchers honoured by leading science bodies

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by Cancer Research UK | News

17 August 2010

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Two Cancer Research UK scientists were recently awarded prestigious Royal Society Awards, while a number of Cancer Research UK scientists were elected fellows of the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Dr Tomas Lindahl is the recipient of the Royal Society Copley Medal*, the world’s oldest prize for scientific achievement, and Professor Stephen West is awarded this year’s GlaxoSmithKline Prize** and Lecture.

The award of the Copley Medal, this year given to two scientists to mark the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary, recognises Dr Lindahl’s seminal contributions to understanding how cells repair DNA damage. His work has identified how cells are able to repair and protect against damage to the human genome, and how some cancers develop resistance to drugs and radiation treatment.

Dr Lindahl was the first director of Cancer Research UK’s Clare Hall laboratories, part of the London Research Institute. Under his guidance for 20 years, Clare Hall became a leading centre for studies of DNA repair, replication and cell cycle control. Dr Lindahl retired last year.

Professor Stephen West, a group leader at our London Research Institute Clare Hall laboratories, has been awarded the GlaxoSmithKline Prize and Lecture for ‘his pioneering work on the molecular mechanisms of genetic recombination and DNA repair and their relation to tumourigenesis’. In particular his work has helped define the molecular basis of breast cancers caused by faults in BRCA2, and also how defects in a protein called Aprataxin cause inheritable neurological disorders.

Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “We’re delighted that two of our scientists have been recognised by these prestigious awards. Their contribution to science and our understanding of how cancer develops has been huge and these awards are richly deserved.”

Earlier this year Cancer Research UK-funded scientists were elected Royal Society Fellows, they were: Professor Peter Rigby, The Institute of Cancer Research; Professor Ronald Hay, University of Dundee and Professor Ian Hickson, University of Oxford.

The Academy of Medical Sciences also recently announced their newly elected Fellows whichincluded Cancer Research UK funded scientists: Professor Eric Aboagye, Imperial College London; Professor Richard Houlston, The Institute of Cancer Research; Professor Nazneen Rahman, The Institute of Cancer Research and Professor Hickson.

In May, Professor Julian Peto was awarded the Medal of Honour by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in recognition of his work defining the influence of environmental factors on cancer development, particularly in the workplace.

Harpal Kumar added: “Election as a Fellow to these academies is a great achievement and recognises the often groundbreaking work that these researchers are leading. These awards and Fellowships demonstrate the truly outstanding research that our scientists are involved in everyday, taking us closer to our vision of beating cancer.”