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Endocrine Society Members Share 2017 Harrington Prize

Daniel J. Drucker, MD

The fourth annual Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine has been jointly awarded to Endocrine Society members Daniel J. Drucker, MD, and Joel F. Habener, MD, for their discovery of incretin hormones and for the translation of these findings into transformative therapies for major metabolic diseases such as diabetes. They share the award with Jens J. Holst, MD, DMSc.

Drucker is a senior scientist with the Lumenfeld Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto, and a professor at the University of Toronto. He received his MD from the University of Toronto in 1980. Habener is professor of medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He received his MD in 1970 from the University of California – Los Angeles.

The Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine, established in 2014 by the Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio and The American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), honors physician-scientists who have moved science forward with achievements notable for innovation, creativity and potential for clinical application.

Habener and Holst are recognized for their discovery of the hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), and Drucker for translating the discovery into breakthrough treatments for diabetes. The work of these three investigators, and Drucker in particular, has also resulted in the discovery and clinical development of glucagon-like peptide 2 (GLP-2) for intestinal disorders (short bowel syndrome).

“The work by this trio of investigators that spans the full spectrum from discovery to clinical impact is exemplary,” says Vivian Cheung, MD, 2016-2017 President of the ASCI. “This is precisely the type of bench-to-bedside advancements that The Harrington Prize seeks to recognize.”

A committee composed of members of the ASCI Council and the Harrington Discovery Institute Scientific Advisory Board reviewed 58 nominations from 49 institutions and five countries before selecting the 2017 recipients.

“We are pleased to join with the ASCI to honor Drs. Drucker, Habener, and Holst for their contributions to medicine,” says Jonathan Stamler, MD, president, Harrington Discovery Institute and the Robert S. and Sylvia K. Reitman Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Innovation at UH Cleveland Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “This remarkable trio exemplifies the best in medicine – from fundamental discovery through to breakthrough drugs in the clinic that impact the lives of millions of people around the world.”

In addition to sharing a $20,000 honorarium, Holst, Habener, and Drucker will jointly deliver The Harrington Prize Lecture at the 2017 Association of American Physicians/ASCI/American Physician Scientists Association Joint Meeting on April 21, and publish an essay in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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