Fox Chase Cancer Center Recognizes Nobel Laureate Dr. William Kaelin With the Stanley P. Reimann Honor Award

Bill Kaelin
William Kaelin Jr., MD, physician, scientist, and Nobel laureate, was recognized today at Fox Chase Cancer Center with the Stanley P. Reimann Honor Award, the center’s highest distinction.

PHILADELPHIA (April 4, 2024)—William Kaelin Jr., MD, physician, scientist, and Nobel laureate, was recognized today at Fox Chase Cancer Center with the Stanley P. Reimann Honor Award, the center’s highest distinction. The award was presented to Kaelin while he was visiting Fox Chase to deliver a scheduled lecture.

“In light of Dr. Kaelin’s enormous contributions to the way we understand tumor suppressor genes and his illustrious career in cancer research, it is only fitting that we present him with the highest honor we can offer,” said Cancer Center Director Jonathan Chernoff, MD, PhD, who bestowed the award. “His research, which has transformed the lives of patients with Von-Hippel Lindau disease, embodies the mission of Fox Chase to prevail over cancer through scientific discovery and pioneering prevention.”

Kaelin, along with Gregg Semenza, MD, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University, and Peter J. Ratcliffe, MD, of Oxford University, identified a molecular pathway that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen. As a result of their work, drugs have been developed to help patients not only with cancer, but with anemia and kidney failure. Their research earned them the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Kaelin is currently a professor of medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, and is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

Stanley P. Reimann, MD, for whom the award is named, was the founder of the Institute for Cancer Research, which merged with the American Oncologic Hospital in 1974 to form Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Fox Chase Press Release

Reimann fulfilled a personal dream when he founded the Institute for Cancer Research to create an institution dedicated to studying the functions of normal cells in order to determine what goes wrong when cells become cancerous. Because his aspirations led to numerous milestones in advancing understanding of cancer, the award named in his honor is given to recipients whose efforts are similarly directed.

Over the years, Fox Chase has bestowed the Reimann Award to humanitarians, advocates for public health, philanthropists, researchers, and business professionals. Despite their varied backgrounds and chosen professions, all had one thing in common: a desire to understand, prevent, treat, and eradicate cancer. Kaelin now joins a list of 17 individuals since 1974 to receive the award.

Kaelin’s career began with a residency at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine after completing both his bachelor’s and medical degree at Duke University. He went on to complete a fellowship in oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, where he began studying tumor suppressor proteins in the lab of renowned cancer researcher David Livingston, MD.

While in Livingston’s lab, Kaelin studied tumor suppressor genes. When he launched his own lab, he decided to study how mutations affecting specific genes cause cancer, with a particular focus on the Von-Hippel Lindau (VHL) gene. Von-Hippel Lindau syndrome is an inherited disorder that causes the formation of tumors and cysts throughout the body. Kaelin hypothesized that there may be a connection between the formation of VHL tumors and the impaired ability of the bodies of VHL patients to detect oxygen.

Kaelin is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and the American College of Physicians.

Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fox Chase), which includes the Institute for Cancer Research and the American Oncologic Hospital and is a part of Temple Health, is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase is also one of just 10 members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence six consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.

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