Prof. Alexander Levitzki will receive the American Association for Cancer Research’s 2013 Award for
Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry, the organization announced Sunday. This
comes on the heels of two Israeli Nobel Prize winners named members of its new
international academy just days earlier.
Prof. Alexander Levitzki, an
expert in biological chemistry at Hebrew University of Jerusalem ’s Alexander
Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, will deliver his award lecture in
Washington, DC, April 9, on “Eradicating Tumors by Targeting Nonviral Vectors
Carrying Poly- IC.”
The AACR said that Levitzki was chosen for the honor
in recognition of his contributions to signal transduction therapy and his work
on the development of tyrosine kinase inhibitors as effective agents against
Levitzki’s concept of targeted cancer therapy using protein
tyrosine kinase inhibitors is extensively used by the international
pharmaceutical industry to develop anti-cancer drugs.
His studies formed
the basis for the development of drugs like imatinib, crizotinib and lapatinib –
used for the treatment of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia, lung cancer
and breast cancer, respectively. There are more than 200 such inhibitors at
various stages of the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval
His method of large-scale screening of synthetic compounds
tested against a large spectrum of protein kinases for specificity – followed by
systematic testing in cell lines and animal studies – became the standard
procedure in most of the laboratories working in that field.
received numerous awards throughout his career, including the Israel Prize in
Biochemistry, Israel’s Wolf Prize for Medicine, the Hamilton-Fairley Award from
the European Society of Medical Oncology, the Rothschild Prize in Biology and
two Prostate Cancer Foundation Research Awards. Last year he received the Nauta
Award in Pharmacochemistry, which is the highest award from the European
Federation for Medicinal Chemistry.
He is a board member of the Israel
Cancer Association, was chairman of the division of natural sciences at the
Israel Academy of Sciences, an honorary member of the American Society of
Biological Chemists and an elected member of the European Molecular Biology
Just last week, Prof. Avraham Hershko and Prof. Aharon
Ciechanover, the two Technion- Israel Institute of Technology researchers who
received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2004, were chosen to join the AACR’s
academy as associates along with other world-class researchers who have made
significant advances in the struggle against cancer.