Nobel Laureate Dr. Alfred Gilman, Regental Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has been elected one of the inaugural Fellows of the American Association for Cancer Research, the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer.
Dr. Gilman’s work identifying G proteins and their critical role in how cells communicate to function properly has been instrumental to understanding numerous diseases, including the development of tumors.
Its recognized significance resulted in Dr. Gilman sharing the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
“It is an honor to be recognized with such a distinguished assembly of scientists and physicians,” Dr. Gilman said of the AACR Fellowship. “Hopefully, the creation of the academy will bring additional needed attention to the importance of cancer research, and ongoing efforts to prevent and treat the many forms of this disease.”
The AACR Academy was created to recognize and honor distinguished researchers whose major scientific contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer.
“Our Board of Directors made the decision to establish the AACR Academy as a mechanism for recognizing scientists whose contributions to the cancer field have had an extraordinary impact. Membership in the Fellows of the AACR Academy will be the most prestigious honor bestowed by the American Association for Cancer Research,” said Dr. Margaret Foti, Chief Executive Officer of the AACR.
Founded in 1907, the AACR includes more than 34,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates from more than 90 countries.
The AACR also publishes eight peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients, and their caregivers; funds meritorious research; and is the scientific partner of Stand Up To Cancer.
“Dr. Gilman’s enduring discovery of G proteins and the critical functions continue to fuel important research in the field of cancer and have provided the basis for therapeutic advancement,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern.
Dr. Podolsky continued, “His contributions as a scientist, teacher, and leader are legion, and his dedication to serving the scientific community and UT Southwestern is an ongoing source of pride.”
Dr. Gilman recently served as Chief Scientific Officer of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and previously served UT Southwestern as Dean of UT Southwestern Medical School, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost for the Medical Center, and as Director of the Cecil H. and Ida Green Comprehensive Center for Molecular, Computational and Systems Biology.
Dr. Gilman served 24 years as Chairman of Pharmacology, and was also the primary editor of the best known textbook of Pharmacology, Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics.
Dr. Gilman was awarded the 1994 Nobel Prize jointly with Dr. Martin Rodbell of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for their discovery of G proteins, which are critical to the proper function of a cell.
Trillions of cells interact in concert with each other in humans. The cells communicate with each other using chemical signals, and the information inherent in these signals needs to gain access to the cell interior.
G proteins are crucial middle men in interpreting, transmitting, and amplifying these regulatory signals as they move from the outside to the inside of the cell.
Disruptions to the cellular communication process are the foundation for many diseases.
For example, overactive G proteins are a characteristic of some tumors, while other interruptions to the process can lead to skeletal deformation, metabolic problems, and compromised immunity.