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January 2004 Issue

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Top Cancer and Hormone Experts at Jensen Symposium

Published January 2004

Jensen Symposium on Nuclear Receptors and Endocrine Disorders Honors UC's Elwood V. Jensen, PhD

The UC Medical Center sponsored a symposium to honor the many contributions Elwood Jensen, PhD, made to the field of medical science in breast cancer. The Jensen Symposium on Nuclear Receptors & Endocrine Disorders was held December 5-7 at the UC College of Medicine. Over 300 delegates from the U.S., Canada and Europe participated in this historic symposium. The invited speakers included several members from the National Academy of Sciences and former presidents of the Endocrine Society. Symposium delegates were welcomed by Jane E. Henney, MD, senior vice president and provost for health affairs at UC; William J. Martin II, MD, dean of the UC College of Medicine; and Sohaib Khan, PhD, professor of cell biology and brainchild of the Jensen Symposium.

"This is the first time in history that so many top scientists participated in a UC symposium," said Dr. Martin.

In addition to the 30 invited speakers, there were 17 "Hot Topic" short talks and 75 poster presentations in the three-day symposium.

The delegates presented recent research findings on Nuclear Receptors and their involvement in breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Impressed by the quality of the speaker's roster, Molecular Cell (one of the most prestigious scientific journals) will publish a meeting review on the Jensen Symposium in the coming months.

Symposium speakers recounted how Elwood Jensen's discovery of the estrogen receptor has influenced their research. The commercial impact of his research in the pharmaceutical industry is in the billions of dollars.

Dr. Jensen purified the estrogen receptor and prepared specific antibodies to it (the first for any steroid hormone receptor), which made possible the cloning by others of the estrogen receptor gene.

According to Dr. Jack Gorski of the University of Wisconsin, who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, "Elwood Jensen should have received science's highest honor (Nobel Prize) for his discoveries that have had such an impact on the biological sciences. Hopefully this will still come to pass."

"His work on the estrogen receptor sowed the seeds for the birth of the nuclear receptor field," said Dr. Khan.

The 2000 Biomedical and Health Research book by Fritz F. Parl, titled Estrogens, Estrogen Receptor and Breast Cancer, named Dr. Jensen and Dr. Craig Jordan "two of the eight greatest estrogen/breast cancer researchers in the last 100 years." Because of their findings, more than a third of all breast cancer victims can be identified and treated effectively with hormonal control, while those without the estrogen receptors positive can be given chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery promptly, which improves their chance of survival by destroying the cancer before it has the chance to spread.

The Jensen Symposium organizing committee included: Sohaib Khan, PhD, UC; John Baxter, PhD, UCSF; Bert O'Malley, MD, Baylor; Jan-Ake Gustafsson, PhD, Karolinska Institute; Benita Katzenellenbogen, PhD, University of Illinois; John McLachlan, PhD, Tulane; and Suresh Mohla, PhD, NCI. For more information contact or call 558-5685.

Details about the symposium can be found at

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