Harald zur Hausen Receives Raymond Bourgine Award
Professor Dr. med. Dr. h.c. mult. Harald zur Hausen, virologist and former Chairman of the Management Board of the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ), will receive the 13th Raymond Bourgine Award. The jurors have chosen zur Hausen as a recipient to recognize his outstanding contributions to oncology.
Born in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, zur Hausen studied medicine in Bonn, Hamburg and Duesseldorf. After graduating in December 1960 he devoted himself to science. As a young researcher, he investigated the links between viral infections and the development of specific types of cancer in humans. In 1970 he made his scientific breakthrough when he detected the Epstein-Barr virus in tissue samples of two human tumors, Burkitt’s lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
Since the seventies, zur Hausen has focused his research on papillomaviruses. He was the first to discover that individual types of these viruses, which were also first isolated in his working group, can cause cervical cancer. This discovery paved the way for novel prevention measures for this type of cancer. Thus, a vaccine against papillomaviruses will probably become available in 2006.
From 1983 until his retirement in March 2003, zur Hausen was Chairman of the DKFZ Management Board. It is mainly his merit that the DKFZ today ranges among the world’s leading cancer research institutes.
In the course of his scientific career, zur Hausen was presented numerous high-ranking awards including the Robert Koch Award, the Charles S. Mott Prize of the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation, the German Cancer Award, the Paul Ehrlich Prize, the Ludwig Darmstaedter Award and the Ernst Jung Prize for Medicine. The virologist received honorary doctorates in six countries and is a member of numerous national and international specialist associations. In April 2004 he was awarded the Great Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Raymond Bourgine Award was named in honor of a French journalist and politician who died of cancer in 1990. It is awarded annually to recognize excellent achievements in cancer research.
The award ceremony will take place on February 1st at the occasion of the 17th International Congress on Anti-Cancer Treatment in Paris (http://www.icact.com/).
The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) with its more than 3,000 employees is the largest biomedical research institute in Germany. At DKFZ, more than 1,000 scientists investigate how cancer develops, identify cancer risk factors and endeavor to find new strategies to prevent people from getting cancer. They develop novel approaches to make tumor diagnosis more precise and treatment of cancer patients more successful. The staff of the Cancer Information Service (KID) offers information about the widespread disease of cancer for patients, their families, and the general public. Jointly with Heidelberg University Hospital, DKFZ has established the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg, where promising approaches from cancer research are translated into the clinic. In the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), one of six German Centers for Health Research, DKFZ maintains translational centers at seven university partnering sites. Combining excellent university hospitals with high-profile research at a Helmholtz Center is an important contribution to improving the chances of cancer patients. DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centers, with ninety percent of its funding coming from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the remaining ten percent from the State of Baden-Württemberg.