Hans Clevers wins Keio Medical Science Prize 2019
Prof. dr. Hans Clevers wins the Keio Medical Science Prize 2019 for his groundbreaking work on stem cells and organoids. The Keio University in Japan annually awards this prize.
Clevers receives the award for his research into a molecular process named the Wnt pathway. The process plays a crucial role in the development of stem cells and organs. Clevers showed in the nineties that the Wnt pathway plays a key role in stem cells. The downside, however, is that disruption of the process is an important cause of cancer.
Clevers' research has been a breakthrough in the biomedical sciences. It was his research group that visualized living stem cells for the first time. By culturing living stem cells from the intestinal tract, he developed the first organoids; mini-organs that behave cellularly and molecularly identical to the real organ. Since then, the organoid technology has developed further. Nowadays, Clevers uses the technology for research into childhood cancer. His research group and colleagues in the Princess Máxima Center culture mini-tumors from patient derived tumor cells in the lab. With the organoids, the researchers are able to closely study the characteristics of the tumor and test different potential treatments.
The award ceremony and commemorative lectures will be held on December 19, 2019 at Keio University School of Medicine, Japan.