Pollin Pediatric Research Prize Awarded for Discovering Molecular and Biochemical Basis of Genetic Diseases

Drs. Roscoe O. Brady and Charles Robert Scriver Receive $200,000 Pollin Prize for 2010 — Largest Prize of Its Kind Recognizes Research Leading to Important Improvements in Children's Health<br/><br/>NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Hosts April 23rd Awards Ceremony

Apr 21, 2010


Drs. Roscoe O. Brady and Charles Robert Scriver are the recipients of the 2010 Pollin Prize in recognition of their discovery of the molecular and biochemical basis of genetic inborn errors of metabolism and for applying these findings to the development of practical interventions that have improved the lives and health of countless children and infants.

The eighth annual $200,000 Pollin Prize, the largest international award for pediatric research, recognizes outstanding achievement in biomedical or public health research resulting in important improvements to the health of children. Half of the award will be split between the two winners and the remainder will go to support institutions of the two doctors' choosing. These are the Baylor Research Institute in Dallas and McGill University in Montreal.

Dr. Brady is scientist emeritus and senior investigator at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Dr. Scriver is the Alva Professor Emeritus of Human Genetics at McGill University.

The award ceremony will take place on April 23 at the Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center (173 Fort Washington Ave.) at 10:30 a.m. The program includes presentations by Drs. Brady and Scriver and others beginning at 10:30 a.m., and a luncheon and award presentation with a keynote speaker, Dr. Larry J. Shapiro, at 12 p.m.

"This award recognizes two physician-scientists whose basic scientific insights shed light on a whole class of devastating pediatric disorders. As a result, what was previously unknown is now understood and often treatable," says Dr. Herbert Pardes, president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. "Drs. Brady and Scriver are an inspiration and model for biomedical researchers today, demonstrating that focused work can make a major impact on the lives of children and their families."

Dr. Brady's work has focused on a number of rare metabolic "storage diseases." Through his transformative research, he developed diagnostic tests, carrier identification procedures, and prenatal detection methods for devastating genetic disorders such as Gaucher, Niemann-Pick, Fabry and Tay-Sachs disease. He pioneered effective enzyme replacement therapies for Gaucher and Fabry diseases. His novel insights into the treatment of Gaucher disease — which is characterized by an accumulation of glucocerebroside throughout the body — has significantly reduced the associated bone marrow and hematologic disturbances, reduced the organ enlargement, and dramatically improved patient outcomes.

Dr. Scriver played a seminal role in establishing the field of modern biochemical genetics. His research was focused on metabolic disturbances related to mechanisms of membrane transport, particularly those affecting the brain or kidney. Dr. Scriver developed imaginative biochemical strategies for metabolic screening. He looked at mouse models — particularly for defects in proline metabolism and X-linked hypophosphatemic rickets — to understand the pathogenesis-related human diseases. In addition, Dr. Scriver has made significant contributions to public health. He established a nationwide newborn metabolic screening program in Canada and conducted a comprehensive study of Tay-Sachs and thalassemia screening — and associated educational programs — targeted at high school students. Follow-up evaluation of this effort indicated that the vast majority of those tested correctly retained knowledge of their carrier status and used this information in their subsequent family planning, contributing to a greater than 90 percent reduction in the incidence of these two diseases in Quebec.

Dr. Rudolph Leibel, chairman of the selection panel that coordinates the administration of the Pollin Prize, says, "It is our intent that the Prize both recognizes outstanding and important biomedical research, and encourages others to pursue research that specifically benefits children. This year's recipients are outstanding examples of the individual effort and caliber of science that the Prize strives to recognize." Dr. Leibel is co-director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, chief of the Division of Molecular Genetics, the Christopher J. Murphy Professor of Diabetes Research, and professor of pediatrics and medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is also a pediatrician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.

"This past year we lost Abe Pollin but his spirit carries on in many ways. In particular, the Pollin Prize reflects his great interest in promoting the well-being of children everywhere," says Dr. Pardes.

Dr. Roscoe O. Brady

Dr. Brady is a senior investigator at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda. Md. He attended the Pennsylvania State University and earned his M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School. After his internship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physiological Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a fellow in clinical medicine in the Department of Medicine. Following duty in the U.S. Naval Medical Corps, he joined the National Institutes of Health where he was chief of the Developmental and Metabolic Neurology Branch from 1972 to 2006. During his career, which has spanned half a century, Dr. Brady has published more than 450 peer-reviewed articles and has received many prestigious awards, including the Gairdner International Award, the Cotzias Award from the American Academy of Neurology, the Pasano Foundation Award, the Lasker Foundation Clinical Medical Research Award, the Kovalenko Medal from the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Dr. Charles Robert Scriver

Dr. Scriver attended McGill University in Montreal, graduating cum laude with a B.A. in 1951 and with an M.D. in 1955. He was awarded the Wood Gold Medal and J. Francis Williams Prize for being first in his medical school class. Following residency both at McGill and Children's Hospital Boston, he began his career in genetics in 1958, in a fellowship with Professor C. E. Dent at University College in London. Dr. Scriver has published more than 340 peer-reviewed journal articles and more than 300 textbook chapters. He is also widely known as the co-editor of the authoritative multi-volume textbook titled "The Metabolic & Molecular Bases of Inherited Disease," which is considered by many to be the encyclopedia of inherited disease. Dr. Scriver is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Gairdner International Award, the Royal Society of Canada's McLaughlin Medal, and the Canadian Medical Association's Medal of Service. In 2001, he was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

The Pollin Prize

Created in memory of Linda and Kenneth Pollin, and administered by NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, The Pollin Prize consists of a $100,000 award to the recipient or recipients, and a $100,000 fellowship stipend to be awarded by the recipient or recipients to institutions selected by the recipients. The stipend is intended to support a substantial portion of salary and laboratory expenses for two years.

The Pollin family, prominent philanthropists, is perhaps best known as the co-owners of the Washington Wizards basketball team. Irene Pollin has been a pioneer in many areas of women's health. She was motivated to start the non-profit organization Sister to Sister in 2000 to get the word out to women — especially working women, who often have little time to take care of themselves — that cardiac screenings are a key factor in heart disease prevention. A psychotherapist with a Master of Social Work degree from Catholic University and an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Howard University, Mrs. Pollin is the author of two books, "Medical Crisis Counseling" and "Taking Charge: Overcoming the Challenges of Long-Term Illness," and has written many articles on coping with chronic illness. She has received numerous health care awards and is a member of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Round Table, the Columbia Presbyterian Health Sciences Advisory Council, Howard University's Women's Health Institute Advisory Committee, and American Women for International Understanding.

Previous Pollin Prize recipients include, in 2002, Drs. Norbert Hirschhorn, Dilip Mahalanabis, David R. Nalin and Nathaniel F. Pierce for developing oral rehydration therapy; in 2003, Drs. Emil Frei II, Emil J. Freireich, James F. Holland and Donald Pinkel for development of treatments for childhood leukemia; in 2004, Dr. Alfred Sommer for discoveries leading to the widespread use of inexpensive vitamin A supplements; in 2005, Drs. Eric N. Olson and Abraham M. Rudolph for advancing the understanding of congenital heart malformations; in 2007, Dr. Samuel L. Katz for contributions to the development of the measles vaccine; in 2008, Dr. John Allen Clements for the discovery of pulmonary surfactant and its application to lung disease; and in 2009, Dr. Basil S. Hetzel for research linking brain damage with iodine deficiency.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,353 beds. The Hospital has more than 1 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 220,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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