Senator Arlen Specter to Accept 2006 Wistar Institute President’s Award

Senator Arlen Specter to Accept 2006 Wistar Institute President’s Award

October 30, 2006

(Philadelphia – October 31, 2006) – United States Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) will accept the third annual Wistar Institute President’s Award on Wednesday, November 8, at a 12:30 p.m. luncheon at the National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia. The Wistar Institute President’s Award honors a public figure who has not only confronted cancer personally but also served as an advocate for improvements in cancer education and increases in research funding. Sen. Specter, a stage IVB Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor, is being recognized for his steadfast national leadership over many years for increasing support for biomedical research. The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research, with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the country, Wistar has long held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute, one of the National Institutes of Health, the primary support of biomedical research in the U.S. Sen. Specter was a major force behind the historic doubling of federal funding between 1998 and 2004 for the NIH, and he has continued to be a strong proponent for investing in biomedical research. He has called the NIH the “crown jewel of the federal government,” noting that “substantial investment in the NIH is crucial for the continuation of breakthrough research [that] benefits not only Americans, but victims of disease throughout the world.” Sen. Specter was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980 and is currently serving his fifth term. In 2005, he became Pennsylvania’s longest serving U.S. Senator. He is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and, as a senior member of the Appropriations and Veterans Affairs committees, plays a key role as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, which oversees federal funding the NIH. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 7,000 new cases of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, also called Hodgkin’s disease, are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, a number that has not changed much in recent years. Men are somewhat more prone to the disease than women. It is most common in 2 age groups: early adulthood (age 15 to 40, usually 25 to 30) and late adulthood (after age 55). About 1,400 people will die of Hodgkin disease in the United States this year. Because of advances in treatment, death rates have fallen more than 60 percent since the early 1970s. By 2001, there were more than 123,000 people who had survived the disease. In addition to Sen. Specter, speakers at the awards luncheon will include Russel E. Kaufman, M.D., president and CEO of The Wistar Institute, and Brian H. Dovey, chair of Wistar’s Board of Managers and a general partner of Domain Associates, a venture capital firm with an exclusive focus on the life sciences. The two previous recipients of the Wistar Institute President’s Award are ABC news correspondent and melanoma survivor Sam Donaldson in 2004 and prostate cancer survivor Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf in 2005.

The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research, with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the country, Wistar has long held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute. Discoveries at Wistar have led to the creation of the rubella vaccine that eradicated the disease in the U.S., rabies vaccines used worldwide, and a new rotavirus vaccine approved in 2006. Wistar scientists have also identified many cancer genes and developed monoclonal antibodies and other important research tools. Today, Wistar is home to eminent melanoma researchers and pioneering scientists working on experimental vaccines against flu, HIV, and other diseases. The Institute works actively to transfer its inventions to the commercial sector to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. The Wistar Institute: Today’s Discoveries – Tomorrow’s Cures. On the web at www.wistar.org.

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