The Director of the Cancer Epigenetics and Biology program of IDIBELL, Manel Esteller, has been bestowed with “The World Health Summit and Pfizer Award for Innovation in Biomedical Research”. The award has been delivered in Berlin during the World Summit Health, world’s foremost meeting within the healthcare system.

According to the organizers, the prize recognizes "highly innovative independent research in biomedical science which promises to make a positive impact on human health. Special attention is paid to the potential of the research to build into a program of activities and drive a "translational agenda."

Dr Manel Esteller’s work addresses questions of health care of a high global impact and develop perspectives of clinical application of personalized treatment approaches for chronic deseases.

Manel Esteller Profile

Manel Esteller is the Director of the Cancer Epigenetics and Biology program of IDIBELL, ICREA (Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies) research professor and associate professor at the University of Barcelona. Before joining IDIBELL, Esteller led the Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO).

Doctor of Medicine from the University of Barcelona, Dr Esteller is the author of over two hundred scientific articles, member of numerous international scientific societies and editorials, and editor of several publications. Currently holds the position of president of the Epigenetics Society.

Born in Sant Boi de Llobregat-Barcelona in 1968, Manel Esteller is an international leader in the field of epigenetics. He graduated in Medicine at the University of Barcelona in 1992, he made his phD in 1996 with a thesis on the molecular genetics of endometrial carcinoma. From 1997 to 2001 he did postdoctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA), where he studied the relationship between DNA methylation and cancer. In fact, his work has been crucial to demonstrate that all human cancers have in common a specific chemical alteration: the hypermethylation of tumor suppressor genes.

His contributions, of considerable originality, help to revise and supplement scientific paradigms thought to be well established, demonstrating the importance of external factors in the direct modification of genes with effects on regulation. His scientific work, very wide despite his youth, shows how epigenetic modifications of genetic material may contribute to the development of aging and cancer. It has also provided the basis for the recent approval of some antitumor drugs and opens the way to know the human epigenome, an international project in which Esteller has an important role.

The selection of the winner was undertaken by a jury comprising Deans of the M8 institutions (Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany; Université Paris Descartes, France; Imperial College, London, UK; Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan; Pekin Union Medical College and Hospital and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, China; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA; Monash University of Melbourne, Australia and the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation) and a senior Pfizer scientist. The award was presented to Dr Esteller at the gala dinner of the World Health Summit meeting in Berlin on October 12th, 2010.

The award was presented to Dr Esteller yesterday evening at the gala dinner of the World Health Summit meeting held in Berlin from 10th to 13th, October.