Larchmont resident, Dr. Susan Band Horwitz Ph.D, has been lauded with many prestigious awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in Cancer Research from the American Association for Cancer Research. Dr. Horwitz is Distinguished Professor, Rose C. Falkenstein Chair in Cancer Research, Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
Dr. Horwitz has recently been chosen to receive the 2019 Canada Gairdner International Award. As one of five receiving this honor, the 2019 Canada Gairdner International Award laureates, are being recognized for seminal discoveries or contributions to biomedical science:
For the 60th anniversary of the Canada Gairdner Awards, the Gairdner Foundation is recognizing the people who have made some of the world’s most significant biomedical research and discoveries. Laureates receive a $100,000 cash honorarium and are formally presented with their awards on October 24, 2019 at the annual Canada Gairdner Awards Gala in Toronto.
“Gairdner is proud to recognize another outstanding group of Laureates. This fall, each of the 2019 Canada Gairdner Award Laureates will participate in outreach programs across Canada to share their research and passion for science with graduate students, trainees, post-docs, faculty members and high school students,” said Dr. Janet Rossant, President and Scientific Director, Gairdner Foundation. “I have no doubt that our 2019 Laureates will help us to inspire the generation of scientists and researchers, and continue to raise the caliber of scientific conversation across the country.”
Dr. Horwitz will be awarded, ‘‘for defining novel mechanisms of action and resistance of drugs of natural product origin, most significantly Taxol®, and promoting their use for treatment of cancer’’
She is best known for elucidating the mechanism of action of Taxol®, a natural product obtained from the yew tree, Taxus brevifolia. Horwitz discovered that Taxol® binds to microtubules in cells, stabilizing them, thereby leading to cell cycle arrest and subsequent tumor cell death. This body of work enabled the successful translation of Taxol® into the clinic. It is one of the most frequently prescribed drugs in the world for the treatment of ovarian, breast and lung cancer.
A member of Larchmont Temple, the Doctors’ research played a crucial role in encouraging the development of Taxol® for use in the clinic. Although no one was interested in Taxol® when she began her studies, today it is an important antitumor drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of ovarian, breast and lung carcinomas, as well as Kaposi’s Sarcoma. The drug has been given to millions of cancer patients worldwide. Taxol® also is used in the preparation of stents for cardiac disease. In addition, Taxol® has proven to be an indispensable tool for scientists interested in microtubule structure, dynamics, and function.
Dr. Horwitz has enjoyed living in Larchmont for 50 years. “It is an honor to be a recipient of the prestigious 2019 Canadian international Gairdner Award. For more than four decades, my laboratory at Albert Einstein College of Medicine has studied the antitumor drug Taxol,” she noted. “It is a privilege to know that our research has improved and saved the lives of cancer patients around the world.”