Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Receives 2006 Leadership in Personalized Medicine Award
BOSTON, MA - Nov. 28, 2006 — For her insights into the molecular basis of cardiovascular disease and her leadership in steering those advances into clinical practice on a national scale, Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health, receives the 2006 Leadership in Personalized Medicine Award today, from the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC).
The annual PMC award recognizes the contributions of a visionary individual whose actions in science, business, or policy have advanced the frontier of personalized medicine. Dr. Nabel accepts the award today at 12:15pm at the Harvard Medical School-Partners Healthcare Center for Genetics and Genomics (HPCGG) conference, Personalized Medicine: A World of Opportunities, in Boston, MA. (http://www.hpcgg.org/PM/index.jsp)
Personalized medicine is the use of molecular analysis to better manage a patient's disease or predisposition to disease in order to achieve optimal clinical outcomes by helping physicians and patients choose the approaches best suited to the patient's genetic and environmental profile.
"The PMC Leadership in Personalized Medicine Award is intended to publicly recognize the innovative spirit that drives the advancement of personalized medicine," said Mara G. Aspinall, President of Genzyme Genetics and chair of the committee that selected Dr. Nabel. "Dr. Nabel embraces that spirit, and we are pleased to honor her contributions to the field."
A basic researcher and a cardiologist, Dr. Nabel's contributions have helped her cross the divide between basic laboratory innovation and success in clinical practice. On the laboratory front, she devoted nearly two decades to exploring genes that contribute to heart disease and strategies for gene therapy to benefit patients with cardiovascular disease. One such gene, known as the retinoblastoma (Rb) gene, slows the rapid growth of cells that line the arteries.
On the medical front, she helped to translate those discoveries to therapies for patients. For example, in 1995, she and her colleagues at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor inserted a modified form of the Rb gene into animals with clogged arteries that were opened with balloon angioplasty. The gene kept the arterial cells from proliferating, and the animals' blood vessels stayed open longer after surgery. The feat marked a true clinical advance stemming from biomedical research and opened new avenues for combining genes with medical devices to treat vascular disease in humans.
Soon after, Dr. Nabel adopted the productive marriage of basic research and clinical outcome as her vision for future medicine. She implemented and refined it in her leadership roles as Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at Michigan in 1992, Chief of the Division of Cardiology in 1997, Scientific Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in 1999, and, most recently, Director of the NHLBI, where she oversees an extensive and diverse portfolio of basic and clinical research.
Today, Dr. Nabel still implements her vision of melding genetics and medicine. At the helm of the NHLBI, she does so in a particularly influential way. She champions the exploration of the genetics in large-scale population studies, including the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), a major 15-year research program of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). In February, she launched a comprehensive genetic research study as part of the long-running Framingham Heart Study (FHS). The so-called Framingham Genetic Research Study will identify genes underlying cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.
"Dr. Nabel has been a driving force for personalized medicine at NHLBI. It's clear that her mandate for the future of cardiovascular medicine is that it be predictive, preemptive, and personalized," said Geoffrey S. Ginsburg, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Center for Genomic Medicine, Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, Duke University, and PMC Board Member. "The NIH and its research agenda are critical to firmly establishing personalized medicine in clinical practice. Dr. Nabel has been a true leader in developing that agenda."
Wayne A. Rosenkrans, Jr., Ph.D., Scientific and Medical Strategy Director, External Scientific Affairs, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, and Vice Chairman, PMC, in presenting the award to Dr. Nabel stated: "The PMC recognizes the impact personalized medicine will have on the healthcare system and works to overcome the obstacles that may prevent its implementation. We applaud the work of those, such as Dr. Nabel, who are dedicated to moving this effort forward."
About the Personalized Medicine Coalition
The Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC), representing a broad spectrum of academic, industrial, patient, provider, and payer communities, seeks to advance the understanding and adoption of personalized medicine concepts and products for the benefit of patients. For more information on the Personalized Medicine Coalition, please visit www.PersonalizedMedicineCoalition.org.
Feinstein Kean Healthcare