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Promise and Progress - Cancer Research PowerHouse

Special Commemorative Issue of Promise & Progress: The Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins

Cancer Research PowerHouse

By: Valerie Matthews-Mehl
Date: January 2, 2014

Ludwig Lab Team Members
The lab members of the Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins.

Scientific journals are researchers’ way of disseminating key findings throughout the scientific and medical community.  Rather than starting from scratch, investigators build upon published discoveries of others.  In cancer research, the “others” are Bert Vogelstein, M.D., and Kenneth Kinzler, Ph.D., who, according to Thomson Reuters ScienceWatch, were the most frequently cited in cancer research from 1995-2005.  With more than 50,000 citations, Drs. Vogelstein and Kinzler were called “doctors of the decade” and earned the Kimmel Cancer Center the distinction of being dubbed a cancer research powerhouse.  “The impressive number of citations these exceptional researchers have received is evidence of their profound influence on modern scientific thought,” reported ScienceWatch editor Christopher King.  “The Kimmel Cancer Center solidifies its stance as a research powerhouse in the field of oncology.”


In February 2013, Bert Vogelstein, M.D., was awarded the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.  He was selected for his landmark work in cancer genomics and tumor suppressor genes.

Vogelstein was among inaugural winners who received $3 million each for their groundbreaking research in the life sciences. The Breakthrough Prize was established by technology entrepreneur Yuri Milner, Google founder Sergey Brin, 23andMe co-founder Anne Wojcicki, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan to recognize excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life.  The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation was created to administer the prize and is chaired by Art Levinson, chairman of the Board of Apple and Chairman and former CEO of Genentech.

“This is a tremendous honor.  An honor I share with my fellow investigators who have worked with me so tirelessly over the last three decades to pinpoint molecular genetic causes of cancer,” says Dr. Vogelstein

Dr. Vogelstein is among the most honored of cancer researchers. In 2003, he was ranked by the Institute for Scientific Information in Philadelphia as the most highly-cited scientist in the world during the previous 20 years. Other awards include the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor, the Karnofsky Memorial Award from the American Society for Clinical Oncology, the Richard Lounsbery Award from the National Academy of Sciences, the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University, the Harvey Prize in Human Health from the Technion, the Charles S. Mott Prize from the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation, and the Prince of Asturias Award in Technical and Scientific Research, considered the "Spanish Nobel."

Dr. Vogelstein was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and National Academy of Sciences in 1992 and to the American Philosophical Society in 1995.  His advisory roles have included Chairmanship of the National Research Council Committee on the Biological and Biomedical Applications of Stem Cell Research and the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Human Genome Research Institute.  He has also held editorial positions at Science, Molecular Cell, Cancer Cell and The New England Journal of Medicine.


The American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) is the oldest and largest scientific organization in the world focused on preventing and curing cancer through research, education, communication, and collaboration. Its goal is to foster the exchange of knowledge and new ideas among scientists dedicated to cancer research, provide training opportunities for the next generation of cancer researchers, and increase public understanding of cancer. In 2013, the Ludwig Center team has received multiple honors from the AACR.  Kenneth Kinzler, Ph.D., was elected to the Nominating Committee.  Bert Vogelstein, M.D., was named an inaugural fellow of the AACR Academy.  Drs. Kinzler and Vogelstein, Luis Diaz, M.D., and Nickolas Papadopoulos, Ph.D., were members of a multi-institutional group that received the AACR Team Science Award for research deciphering the genetic changes that characterize pancreas cancer.  Last year, Dr. Vogelstein received the eighth annual AACR-Irving Weinstein Foundation Distinguished Lectureship which acknowledges an individual whose outstanding innovations in science and whose position as a thought leader have the potential to inspire creative thinking and new directions in cancer research.

Articles in this Issue

Directors Letter

Daniel K. Ludwig

Feature Story: The Gene Team

Honors & Awards

The Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins

Headline Makers

Training Scientists Who Lead Cancer Discovery Around the Globe

Sequencing Our Genes: Is Cancer Written in Our DNA?

Ken Kinzler on the Ludwig Center