DKMS Mechtild Harf Science Award 2017

World-class physicians honored for their contribution to the fight against blood cancer

Tübingen / Marseille, 28.03.2017 – The DKMS Mechtild Harf Science Award 2017 was awarded by the DKMS Foundation for Giving Life during this year’s EBMT Congress (European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation). The award recognises the outstanding achievements of internationally renowned physicians in the field of stem cell transplantation.

Stem cell transplantations are currently used for the successful treatment of leukaemia and other tumors of the blood-forming organs, making them an important part of the fight against blood cancer.

Unfortunately, successful treatment does not always mean a permanent cure for all patients. Innovative research is therefore crucial in order to find new and better approaches to the treatment of blood cancer and to improve the outcome of stem cell transplantations.

There is also still a need for fundamental research in order to better understand the implications of treatment: Why does the transplantation cure one patient, while causing complications or even a relapse for another patient?

DKMS is committed to the research of this issue, among others. “We want to advance medical research in order to find the best possible treatment for blood cancer patients and to improve stem cell transplantation worldwide,” says DKMS CEO Dr. Alexander Schmidt. For this reason, the DKMS Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) was founded in Dresden. DKMS also supports research projects and provides scholarships for the development of scientists.

The DKMS Mechtild Harf Science Award is granted annually to world-class physicians for their outstanding scientific work and research in the field of stem cell transplantation. This year´s awardees are the hematologists and oncologists Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. Dieter Hoelzer from Germany and Richard Champlin, MD from the USA.

As a medical professor, Richard Champlin leads the stem cell transplantation unit at the MD Anderson Cancer Center of the University of Texas, Houston. In addition to his function as Founding President of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation and a member of various important medical associations, he has written over 700 scientific articles and clinical studies.

Dieter Hoelzer has been Director of the Department of Hematology/Oncology, Rheumatology and Infectiology at the University Hospital Frankfurt for more than 20 years. Since 1981, he has been leading an important, large-scale study on acute lymphatic leukemia (ALL), with over 100 clinics participating. As a renowned hematologist, he is considered one of the world’s best specialists on this form of leukaemia.

“Through their work, both award winners have contributed fundamentally to enhancing the diagnosis and treatment of blood cancer diseases by the process of allogeneic stem cell transplantation to a new level. The lifetime achievements of both show the importance of the fight against blood cancer and the necessity of prioritising the improvement of blood cancer treatment. DKMS Foundation for Giving Life is proud to recognise such dedicated and renowned physicians on their board,” said Alexander Schmidt.