PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Three distinguished scientists whose groundbreaking research led to major breakthroughs in cancer treatment and the causes of human aging will be honored with the prestigious John Scott Award, one of the top prizes in the world of science and medicine, awarded by the Board of City Trusts at Philadelphia's American Philosophical Society on Friday, November 21st.
The honorees are Dr. Susan Band Horwitz, an internationally-renowned molecular pharmacologist whose research on the drug Taxol led to its becoming one of the world's most successful drugs in the fight against cancer; and Drs. Leonard Hayflick and Paul Moorhead, co-winners for their work in proving that normal human cells have a limited capacity for dividing before they die out – a revolutionary idea that helped launch the modern era of research on the causes of human aging.
The winners, who will receive a cash prize and the copper Scott Medal, will be honored at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, founded by Benjamin Franklin. Drs. Horwitz, Hayflick and Moorhead are the latest in a long line of winners of the highly-coveted Scott Award, endowed by Scottish chemist and pharmacist John Scott as a legacy to the scientific achievements of Benjamin Franklin and awarded in Philadelphia each year since 1822 to "ingenious men and women who make useful inventions" to benefit society as a whole. Past recipients include 15 winners of the Nobel Prize, among them Marie Curie, Guglielmo Marconi, R. Buckminster Fuller, Baruch Blumberg, Kary Mullis, K. Barry Sharpless and most recently physicist Saul Perlmutter, who won the Scott Award in 2005 and went on to win the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2011.
Dr. Horwitz is being honored for her work in developing Taxol®, a drug isolated from the bark of the Pacific yew tree, into a prototype for a whole new class of cancer drugs that have helped more than two million people battle the disease. She is is the Falkenstein Professor of Cancer Research and Co-Chair of the Department of Molecular Pharmacology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine School.
Drs. Hayflick and Moorhead will share the award for their work in proving that normal human cells are mortal and have a limited capacity to replicate, a phenomenon known today as the Hayflick Limit.
Hayflick, who today serves as a Professor of Anatomy and University of California, San Francisco, is one of the most accomplished cell biologists of his time, and his work has impacted literally billions of people all over the world. One recent article described Dr. Hayflick's leadership in the development of the first strain of cultured normal human cells – known as the WI-38 cells – as having "arguably helped to save more lives than any other created by researchers." These cells have been used to manufacture almost all human virus vaccines in the world.
Dr. Moorhead, now retired, is a renowned cytogeneticist who co-authored the research work with Dr. Hayflick in 1961 at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia; and later served at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.
SOURCE Board of City Trusts