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AACR Honors Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, for Lifetime Achievement


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The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has recognized Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, Fellow of the AACR Academy and Nobel Laureate, with the 17th AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research. Dr. Sharp is Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.

Phillip A. Sharp, PhD

Phillip A. Sharp, PhD

He is being honored for his body of groundbreaking and high-impact basic research, including his seminal co-discovery of RNA splicing, for which he was awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with Sir Richard J. Roberts, PhD.

“Dr. Sharp is a luminary in the fields of molecular biology and biochemistry who has dedicated his research career to advancing our understanding of the molecular biology of gene expression as it pertains to cancer and the mechanisms of RNA splicing,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), Chief Executive Officer of the AACR. “He is one of the most creative scientific thinkers of our time, always looking to push the boundaries to address the enormous challenges that cancer still poses.  We are very proud to honor him with this special award.”

Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc)

Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc)

After first describing the phenomenon of RNA splicing, Dr. Sharp’s work focused on elucidating the biochemical mechanisms of RNA splicing and mammalian transcription. Today, his research continues to enhance our understanding of RNA structure and function and has been particularly focused on defining the biology of small RNAs and other types of noncoding RNAs.

Dr. Sharp’s scientific influence extends far beyond his research accomplishments and has informed public policies and funding decisions at the nation’s highest level.

Professional Accomplishments

Dr. Sharp has received countless scientific awards over his career in addition to the Nobel Prize, including the Gairdner Foundation International Award (1986), the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (1988), the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize (1988), and the 2004 National Medal of Science. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Sharp has served as Co-Chair of the National Cancer Advisory Board (2000–2002) and as a member of both the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (1994–1997) and the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (1992–1995).

Outside of his academic research, Dr. Sharp cofounded two successful biotech companies, Biogen and Alnylam, both of which have developed therapeutics including rituximab and obinutuzumab for lymphoma, natalizumab and peginterferon for multiple sclerosis, and the first small interfering RNA-based therapy for transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis.

The AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research was established in 2004 to honor individuals who have made significant fundamental contributions to cancer research, either through a single scientific discovery or a collective body of work. These contributions, whether in research, leadership, or mentorship, must have had a lasting impact on the cancer field and must have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to progress against cancer.

 


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