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2006 Winner: Susan B. Horwitz, Ph.D.

Susan B. Horwitz, Ph.D., who is Distinguished University Professor and Co-Chair of the Department of Molecular Pharmacology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, was awarded the Fourth Annual Lewis and Jack Rudin New York Prize for Medicine and Health on November 20, 2006, in a ceremony at the New York Academy of Medicine where she delivered a lecture on "Taxol, Tubulin, and Tumors: Challenges in the New Era of Cancer Therapeutics." Dr. Horwitz was honored for her seminal work in identifying how natural products inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Her research has led to important treatments for breast and ovarian cancer.

In 1979, Dr. Horwitz reported that the plant product Taxol had a previously undescribed unique mechanism of action that could be a prototype for a new family of chemotherapeutic agents for cancer. This discovery stimulated the National Cancer Institute and clinical investigators to examine the efficacy of this drug in clinical trials, thus showing Taxol to be an effective chemotherapeutic agent in the treatment of a number of malignancies. Dr. Horwitz has continued to study the structural basis of Taxol’s function in order to develop more effective and less toxic drugs.

Dr. Horwitz’s studies on the mechanisms of action of natural products have lead to a number of awards over the years. She received the C. Chester Stock Award from Memorial Sloane Kettering in 1996, the Bristol-Meyers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Research in 1999, and the PhRMA Foundation Award in Excellence in Pharmacology/Toxicology in 2004.

In 1994, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Most recently, Dr. Horwitz was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences and in September, she will receive the Warren Alpert Prize of the Harvard Medical School, which is for outstanding achievement of a basic scientist whose work impacts directly on patient care.


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