May 20, 2005
Craig B. Thompson, MD, Elected
National Academy of Sciences
(Philadelphia, PA) – Craig B. Thompson,
MD, Chair of the Department of Cancer Biology
at the University of Pennsylvania School of
Medicine and Scientific Director of the Abramson
Family Cancer Research Institute at Penn, has
been elected to the National Academy of Sciences in
recognition for his significant research accomplishments.
Thompson is among 72 researchers elected this year from
throughout the world, and the only one from Philadelphia.
“Craig Thompson is admired far and wide as one
of the nation’s most accomplished medical investigators,
and our institution congratulates him on this most exceptional
honor,” says Dr. Arthur H. Rubenstein,
Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania
for the Health System and Dean, School of Medicine.
“His research in cancer biology is helping to
build a strong foundation in basic science that we expect
will be translated into significant treatments for patients.”
Thompson's laboratory has pioneered the study of the
Bcl-2 family of oncogenes, or cancer-causing
genes, and their role in regulating cell survival and
apoptosis. All cells in the human body can initiate
their own death, through a process called apoptosis,
when they become damaged or when they do not get enough
nutrients; this prevents the body from accumulating
excess or unwanted cells. Cancer cells accumulate when
cells lose their ability to undergo apoptosis. A better
understanding of how apoptosis is regulated may lead
to preventive treatments for individuals predisposed
to cancer, as well as treatments that could block the
ability of cancer cells to survive, and thus limit tumor
size and prevent the cancer from spreading.
Thompson also serves as a member of the Institute of
Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and is
a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Thompson received the 2003 Clinical Investigator Award
from the American Society for Clinical Investigation
for his pioneering work on the critical role that receptors
on the surfaces of T-cells play in regulating complicated
immune-cell functions. He has also received the Mosby
Book Award, the Merck Award, and the Medical Science
Award of Alpha Omega Alpha.
After undergraduate studies at Dartmouth College and
graduate training at Dartmouth Medical School, Thompson
received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania
in 1977. He served his internship and residency in internal
medicine at Harvard's Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and
was senior resident at Boston's University Hospital.
He also took a fellowship in hematology and oncology
at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center at the
University of Washington.
The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization
of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance
of science and its use for the general welfare. It was
established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation
signed by Abraham Lincoln that calls on the Academy
to act as an official adviser to the federal government,
upon request, in any matter of science or technology.
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