Professor Don Metcalf receives the ‘Oscars’ of science for his work into CSFs.

Professor Don Metcalf receives the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award The award is in recognition of Metcalf’s discovery of colony stimulating factors (CSFs). Metcalf and his team successfully purified these regulatory hormones, and isolated the genes for each of the four CSFs – so named for their ability to stimulate the production of white blood cells.

The Lasker Awards (often referred to as the ‘Oscars’ of science) honour researchers who have made contributions that have led to improvements in the clinical treatment of patients.

How CSFs revolutionised treatment for cancer patients

Two of the four CSFs discovered by Metcalf are being used to successfully treat cancer patients. These CSFs have also proven effective in treating a variety of blood cell formation diseases.

CSFs have become the gold standard treatment for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The treatment boosts the patients’ immune systems, enabling them to withstand more intensive chemotherapy and, in many cases, avoid hospital admissions during treatment.

Lasker Awards

Founded in 1946, the Lasker Awards are awarded in honour of outstanding contributions to biomedical science. They are considered to be the highest honour awarded to medical researchers by an American organisation - 83 recipients of the Lasker Awards have gone on to receive the Nobel Prize.

In receiving this award, Professor Metcalf joins such luminaries as:

  • Professor Karl Landsteiner who first identified the main blood groups in 1900.
  • Dr Jonas Salk who developed the polio vaccine.
  • Dr Sidney Farber who is regarded as the father of modern chemotherapy.