Wolf Prize Laureate in Medicine 2005
Affiliation at the time of the award:
The Hebrew University, Israel
“for pioneering signal transduction therapy and for developing tyrosine kinase inhibitors as effective agents against cancer and a range of other diseases.”
Over recent decades, an understanding of the biological bases of cancers and the provision of rational therapies to combat them, has proved a major challenge for medical science. Two recipients of the 2005 Wolf Prize for Medicine, Professors Hunter and Pawson, have each independently contributed to an understanding of the tyrosine kinase signaling pathways in biology and the effect of their disruption on the development of certain cancers. The third recipient, Professor Levitzki, has pioneered the development of small molecule inhibitors of tyrosine phosphorylation that block the disrupted pathways associated with cancer and thus provide effective therapies.
Alexander Levitzki developed specific chemical inhibitors of cancer-induced protein kinases. He demonstrated that such an inhibitor to Bcr-Abl kinase induces death of chronic myeloid leukemia cells. This is used, with great success, for therapy of patients afflicted by this disease. Levitzki is in the process of developing additional tyrosine kinase inhibitors for treatment of other malignant disorders.