Michael R. Zalutsky named recipient of Society of Nuclear Medicine's 2005 Berson-Yalow Award


Award honors professor of radiology and biomedical engineering at Duke University Medical Center

TORONTO, Canada--Michael R. Zalutsky, Ph.D., a professor of radiology and biomedical engineering at Duke University, Durham, N.C., is the recipient of the 2005 Society of Nuclear Medicine's Berson-Yalow Award. This honor is given to the investigator who has submitted the most original scientific abstracts and made the most significant contributions to basic or clinical radioassay. SNM President Mathew L. Thakur, Ph.D., presented the award on June 21 at the society's 52nd Annual Meeting in Toronto.

Zalutsky, who is also director of the radiolabeling shared resource and co-program leader of the cancer immunobiology program in the Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center, is a recipient of a MERIT Award from the National Cancer Institute for his research in targeted radiotherapy. His primary research interests are the development of molecularly targeted radiodiagnostics and radiotherapeutics for oncologic applications. A long-term focus of his laboratory has been on the development of targeted radiopharmaceuticals labeled with the alpha-particle emitting radionuclide astatine-211. This work includes basic radiochemistry, evaluation of therapeutic efficacy, microdosimetry and initiation of the first clinical trial with an astatine-211 labeled, targeted radiotherapeutic. His research has been supported by a grant from Genentech as well as multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy.

Zalutsky and his colleagues were commended for their research, "Cytotoxicity of Astatine-211-Labeled Trastuzumab in Human Breast Cancer Cell Lines: Effects of Specific Activity and HER2 Receptor Heterogeneity." "It's quite an honor to be named the recipient of the Berson-Yalow Award," said Zalutsky. "Researchers are still using the basic principles developed by Berson and Yalow every day. My work is part of an interdisciplinary collaboration, and all of us are trying to apply the concepts developed by Berson and Yalow to optimize the clinical potential of targeted radionuclide therapy," noted Zalutsky.

A nuclear chemist, Zalutsky has worked along side such pioneers as Arnold M. Friedman, Ph.D., and Paul V. Harper, M.D., during his postdoctoral experience at Argonne National Laboratory. He received his master's degree and doctorate in chemistry from Washington University. Prior to joining the faculty of Duke in 1985, Zalutsky held academic appointments at the University of Chicago and Harvard Medical School. He has authored or co-authored more than 260 journal articles and reviews and has edited two books. He serves on the editorial board of four journals and has been a member of the medical imaging study section of the National Institutes of Health.

This award commemorates Rosalyn S. Yalow, Ph.D., and the late Solomon A. Berson, M.D., who together in the 1950s developed methods of using radioactive isotopes to investigate physiological systems that allow detection of minute concentrations of biological or pharmacological substances in blood or other fluid samples. This technique is known as radioimmunoassay or RIA. The award was established by SNM in 1977, the same year that Yalow received the Nobel Prize for physiology/medicine. In 1987, SNM's Scientific Program Committee expanded its criteria to include all research that made use of the indicator-dilution method in the categories of neurology, oncology, cardiology, radiopharmaceuticals and radioassay.

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