DUBAI, UAE, November 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Three American scientists topped the list of winners of International Awards given by the Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, with a total value of AED 450,000.00, according to an official announcement that was given recently in Dubai. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161121/441509 ) H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, the UAE Minister of Finance and the Patron of the Award, will honor the three winners in a prestigious ceremony to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on 14 December, alongside with 12 personalities and organizations from UK, France, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco. Firstly, Prof. Harvey J Alter, NIH Distinguished Investigator, Transfusion Medicine Department, NIH Clinical Center, USA, is the winner of the Grand Hamdan International Award for the topic of Gastroenterology. Professor Alter's outstanding achievements and discoveries were recognized worldwide and have contributed to curing and saving the lives of many patients throughout the world. He was the principal investigator of studies that identified non-A, non-B hepatitis, now called hepatitis C. His fundamental discoveries, with his colleagues, have resulted in major medical advances through ongoing molecular biological and immunological studies aiming to uncover the determinants of viral clearance, persistence and disease pathogenesis. These results shaped the understanding of hepatitis C and that was the starting point to find new therapies and vaccines. Furthermore, Prof. Alter co-discovered the Australia antigen, which is key to detecting hepatitis B virus. His work was instrumental in providing the scientific basis for instituting blood donor screening programs. Currently, he continues to study the infectious risks of blood transfusion, but now focuses on agents other than hepatitis viruses. Secondly, Prof. Sanford Markowitz, Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, USA was announced the winner of the Hamdan International Award for Medical Research Excellence for the topic of Colon Disorders. Prof. Markowitz is the holder of Markowitz-Ingalls Professorship of Cancer Genetics at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and a medical oncologist and colon cancer researcher who is internationally recognized for his discovery of two key colon cancer tumor suppressor genes, TGF-beta RII and 15-PGDH. His work explained why individuals with Lynch syndrome develop familial colon cancer-they are born with a molecular defect that leads to rapid inactivation of a certain tumor suppressor gene. Additionally, he uncovered the reason as to why aspirin prevents colon cancers in some individuals but not others. Lastly, Prof. David Tuveson, Deputy Director of the Cold Spring Harbor, Laboratory Cancer Centre, New York, USA, won the Hamdan International Award for Medical Research Excellence, for the topic of Pancreatic Diseases. Prof. Tuveson unraveled a number of signaling pathways that play a major role in developing pancreatic cancer. These pathways, and their components, are considered excellent therapeutic targets. Importantly, his work resulted in the discovery of numerous cellular proteins that are linked to this type of cancer, and that these proteins can be used as biomarkers for early detection. His laboratory at Cambridge established a preclinical therapeutic initiative to evaluate potential chemoprevention and intervention strategies for pancreatic cancer. Currently, Prof. Tuveson is working on designing new model systems for pancreatic cancer and inventing new therapeutic and diagnostic platforms for rapid evaluation in preclinical and clinical settings. His approach is based on the tenants of individualized medicine, as he tests the drugs on specific model organisms for pancreatic and malignant tissues in order to evaluate therapeutic responses in patients.