From The Labs

Baylor researchers awarded the National Academy of Sciences 2023 Cozzarelli Prize in Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Bert O'Malley
Dr. Bert O’Malley

A team of researchers led by Baylor College of Medicine’s Chancellor Dr. Bert O’Malley has received the 2023 Cozzarelli Prize in Biomedical Sciences awarded by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).  The annual Cozzarelli Prize recognizes outstanding contributions that reflect scientific excellence and originality.

Dr. Sang Jun Han

The Prize recipients are selected among more than 3,000 research articles that appeared in the NAS’s journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), in 2023.

The award recipient paper titled “Steroid receptor coactivator 3 is a key modulator of regulatory T cell–mediated tumor evasionappeared in the May 2023 issue. The research team included first author Dr. Sang Jun Han, senior scientists Dr. David M. Lonard and Dr. Cliff C. Dacso, and lab members Prashi Jain, Yosef Gilad, Yan Xia, Nuri Sung, Mi Jin Park, Adam M. Dean, Rainer B. Lanz and Jianming Xu, all at Baylor.

The study is about a crucial regulator of the anti-cancer immune response that could change the game in the fight against cancer.

The researchers show in animal models of breast and prostate cancer that eliminating the gene SRC-3, specifically in a type of immune cell called regulatory T cells (Tregs), triggered a lifelong anti-cancer response that eradicated the tumor without the typical side effects observed with other therapies.

Furthermore, transferring Tregs without SRC-3 to animals carrying breast cancer tumors also resulted in long-term elimination of the tumor without negative side effects. The findings encourage pursuing further investigations to determine the value of this approach to treat the human disease.

For more details on this research, read an interview with the authors, here.

The award was established in 2005 as the Paper of the Year Prize and was renamed in 2007 to honor late PNAS Editor-in-Chief Nicholas R. Cozzarelli.

The 2023 awardees will be recognized at an awards ceremony during the NAS Annual Meeting in April 2024.

Read the complete list of 2023 Cozzarelli Prize recipients, here.


By Ana María Rodríguez, Ph.D.

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