Israeli scientist, Dr. Yosef Shiloh, has been chosen by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) as this year’s winner of the prestigious Clowes Award. The Tel Aviv University professor is the first Israeli researcher to win the coveted prize.
Shiloh is renowned for his research on ataxia telangiectasia (A-T), a rare, neurodegenerative, inherited disease that affects many parts of the body and causes severe disability.
“Professor Shiloh is an international leader in his field and an extraordinary scientist,” AACR director Dr. Margaret Foti wrote in the explanation for awarding him the prize. “His work has launched a scientific revolution and opened up new horizons in the understanding of how the living cell copes with DNA damage, which is among the main factors in cancer.”
The AACR is considered to be the most important organizations in the world for targeting the prevention and cure of cancer by promoting research, education and collaboration. Shiloh will also receive a $10,000 grant, and will address the AACR in April.
Shiloh, who is also an Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) recipient, began exploring A-T in 1977, after meeting a family from the Negev whose four children suffered from the disease. In Israel, the A-T disease affects people of North African origin, the Palestinian and Bedouin communities.
Shiloh’s work focused on the mechanisms that enable the cell to overcome DNA damage caused by various environmental factors such as radiation, chemicals in food and pollutants.