Vogelstein Kovalenko Banner

Vogelstein Kovalenko Banner

Bert Vogelstein, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Ludwig Center, Lustgarten Laboratory, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, received the 2020 Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal.

Vogelstein’s transformative work revealed the fundamental principles of the molecular basis for human cancer and set the stage for improving the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

Through his focus on colorectal cancers, Vogelstein set the modern paradigm for understanding human neoplastic development. His group’s novel experiments demonstrated that colorectal tumors represent clonal expansions of mutated cells. They also showed that many tumor types are characterized by mutations of the p53 gene, co-discovered the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene and showed that mutations of it initiates colorectal neoplasia, and conducted genome-wide sequencing of cancers that revealed many of the other most important genes that, when mutated, lead to cancer. 

The multistep cancer progression model he developed, popularly called the “Vogelgram,” is now taught around the world.

Now that most of the genetic changes responsible for human cancer have been identified, Vogelstein’s focus has turned toward the development of therapies and diagnostic methods for earlier cancer detection.

The Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal is awarded every two years for outstanding research in the medical sciences. The medal carries with it a $25,000 award, and an additional $50,000 for research. The Kovalenko Fund, gifted by Michael S. Kovalenko in 1949 to the National Academy of Science in memory of his wife, Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko, was specifically designed to recognize the achievements made to the medical sciences and, over the past 67 years, has honored many outstanding contributors.


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