William G. Kaelin, Jr. MD won the 2019 Nobel Prize in medicine. His research findings at Dana-Farber are game-changing: a rare disorder called von Hippel Lindau syndrome, triggered when one tumor-suppressor gene called VHL mutates, makes patients more likely to develop cancer. His exploration contributed to the finding that the VHL suppressor gene mutation causes kidney tumors to produce a protein called VEGF—fueling cancerous tumors with the vital extra blood supply needed to mature. This breakthrough led to the successful clinical testing of VEGF inhibitors that cut off this supply, and the creation of more than a dozen new therapy options. Sunitinib (Sutent) was the first anti-VEGF drug. Since then, many lives have been saved.
Receiving his MD from Duke University, Kaelin later became chief resident in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Thereafter, he pursued research of tumor suppressor proteins at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the laboratory of Dr. David Livingston, ultimately becoming an independent investigator and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Today, he holds this same title at Harvard as well as Senior Physician of Medicine, ...
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