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Fox Chase Cancer Center Scientist Awarded $117,000 for Research in Tuberous Sclerosis

PHILADELPHIA (January 7, 2002) - Elizabeth Petri Henske, MD, a noted scientist at Fox Chase Cancer Center, has been selected as the recipient of the Rothberg Award for Courage in Research by the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance. The $117,000 award has been given to Dr. Henske for her research into the cause and treatment for tuberous sclerosis.

Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a genetic disorder that leads to benign tumors in multiple organs, including the brain, kidneys, heart, eyes, lungs and other organs. TSC is characterized by seizures, most often beginning in the first year of life and the condition can result in mental retardation or neurobehavioral problems. It is estimated that nearly 50,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with TSC and more than 1 million worldwide. The TS Alliance is the only national voluntary health organization dedicated to finding a cure for tuberous sclerosis complex and improving the lives of those affected.

"We look forward to working closely with Dr. Henske and other exceptionally talented professionals associated with the Fox Chase Cancer Center," says Michael Coburn, TS Alliance President and CEO. "In making this award, the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance recognizes the high quality of medical research undertaken by the Fox Chase Cancer Center."

Dr. Henske's research is focused on understanding how mutations in the two TSC genes, TSC1 and TSC2, lead to kidney and lung disease in both TSC and lymphangiomyomatosis (LAM). The protein products of the TSC1 and TSC2 genes, hamartin and tuberin respectively, are found in most normal adult human tissues, and TSC affects nearly every organ system including the brain. This suggests that these proteins have broad biological relevance.

Dr. Henske's work points to a substantial overlap between the biology of cancer and the biology of TSC. Pathways involving cell proliferation, differentiation and signaling that are disrupted in TSC are also frequently involved in human cancer. Dr. Henske's research suggests that certain biologic therapies being developed for cancer patients will be effective for TSC patients.

The TS Alliance Rothberg Award for Courage in Research was recently established to recognize the outstanding scientific research that advances the knowledge toward finding a cure for TSC. The award is made possible through a special research fund established by Jonathan Rothberg, PhD, and CEO of CuraGen, a biotechnology firm based New Haven, Connecticut, his wife Bonnie Gould Rothberg, MD, and the Rothberg family.

Anyone seeking further information about the Rothberg Courage Awards, the TS Alliance or tuberous sclerosis complex can contact the organization's toll-free number at (800) 225-6872 or visit the organization's website at

Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment 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 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 four 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.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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