The award is presented in recognition of Dr. Alitalo's outstanding dedication and contributions to the field of lymphatic research.
"Dr. Alitalo research continues to have significant impact on advancing lymphatic science and of helping to put the lymphatic system 'on the map' of biomedical research worldwide," said Wendy Chaite, Founder, Lymphatic Research Foundation. "We are enormously proud to include Dr. Alitalo in our distinguished list of award winners and hope to incentivize more groundbreaking research in to this field for which we currently understand far too little."
The LRF-Lymphatic Research Leadership Award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution toward promoting and supporting the growing field of lymphatic research and/or to find improved treatments and a cure for lymphatic disease, lymphedema and related disorders. Past recipients have included Stephen Goldman, PhD and Henry Chang, MD (2002); Stanley Rockson, MD (2004), Waldemar Olszewski, MD (2006); Guillermo Oliver, PhD (2008); and David Zawieja, PhD (2010).
The award was presented on Lymphedema Awareness Day during a special meeting of the LRF held near the Gordon Research Conference on Molecular Mechanisms in Lymphatic Function & Disease, Ventura, California.
About Dr. Alitalo
Dr. Alitalo is Director, Academy of Finland Center of Excellence in Cancer Biology, University of Helsinki and Academy Professor, Research Council for Health, Academy of Finland.
Dr. Alitalo's work is widely cited; and he is credited with being the first to isolate and characterize lymphangiogenic growth factor (VEGF-C), its receptor (VEGFR-3) and isolate lymphatic endothelial cells for molecular analysis. He has devised molecular therapies that hold promise for new treatments of lymphedema and lymphatic metastasis.
Professor Alitalo made the discovery that the growth factor VEGF-C regulates the growth and development of the lymphatic system in humans and other mammals.
Together with his colleagues Dr. Tuomas Tammela and Dr. Anne Saaristo, they identified that if VEGF-C is injected into tissues in mice and subsequently in pigs, growth of new lymphatic vessels and the restoration of the lymphatic architecture is catalyzed. Previous studies have shown that transferring lymph nodes from the inguinal region to the axillary region in patients with secondary lymphedema following their treatment for breast cancer was found to offer a slight improvement in their condition.
Removal of old scar tissue from the axilla is considered an important step of this procedure.
Professor Alitalo and his team then showed that by combining VEGF-C injections with lymph node transfer in animal models using mice and then pigs, the response seen was even better than lymph node transfer alone. The results in mice indicated that lymphedema treated with lymph node transfer alone resulted in about 20% improvement. However, when combined with the administration of VEGF-C, the overall response was increased to around 80%.
Provided by Lymphatic Research Foundation
This Phys.org Science News Wire page contains a press release issued by an organization mentioned above and is provided to you “as is” with little or no review from Phys.Org staff.