Kevin Warnock

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Dr. Janet Rowley wins prestigious Japan Prize in the field of healthcare and medical technology

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Dr. Janet Rowley. Photo from University of Chicago Laboratory Schools Facebook page.

Dr. Janet Rowley. Photo from University of Chicago Laboratory Schools Facebook page.

Remember my post from January 7, 2012 where I shared my mother’s prediction that Janet Rowley, the mother of one of my classmates from elementary, middle and high school, would win a Nobel prize?

Today is January 25, 2012, and Dr. Rowley has won a prestigious prize.

It’s not a Nobel, but it’s getting close.

Dr. Rowley won the Japan Prize, in the field of healthcare and medical technology.

Rowley shares this Japan Prize with two others, Dr. Brian Druker and Dr. Nicholas Lydon. The annual prize has been awarded for 28 years.

Rowley, Druker and Lydon will equally share the generous 50 million Yen prize, today worth about USD $650,000 according the news release published by the Japan Prize organizers.

From the press release:

“Janet Rowley, M.D., Blum-Riese Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine, Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology and Human Genetics of the University of Chicago, Brian Druker, M.D., Director of the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute, and Nicholas Lydon, Ph.D., Founder and Director of Blueprint Medicines, were recognized for their contribution to the “development of a new therapeutic drug targeting cancer-specific molecules,” called Imatinib.”

and later in the same release:

“I am particularly pleased to share this award with my good friend and collaborator, Nick Lydon, and one of my personal heroes, Dr. Janet Rowley,” Dr. Druker said in his acceptance speech at the press conference.  Speaking about the development of Imatinib, he said: “Today patients who once had a life expectancy of three to five years are now expected to live 30 years.  With Imatinib, we’ve turned a fatal cancer into a manageable disease …. There are incredible opportunities in cancer research.  What Imatinib tells us is that by understanding cancer we can develop effective treatments.  Imatinib tells us we are on the right track but we can’t be complacent.  We can’t be patient.  We must seize this momentum to reach the finish line of curing cancer.”

I’m sure my classmate Roger Rowley will be talking excitedly with his mother today. Congratulations to all. I called my mother at 8:30 this morning to tell her the good news.

Who else has won the Japan Prize? Last year two of the developers of the UNIX computer operating system, Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie won the Japan Prize in a different category. Here’s a nice writeup on the Google blog. Thompson works at Google.

Please read the press release of Rowley’s win at the website of the Japan Prize. If that website link in the future breaks, you may then read this archived PDF version that I created so that this important document won’t be lost from my blog years from now.

Written by Kevin Warnock

January 25th, 2012 at 12:11 pm