Elwood V. Jensen, PhD, a pioneer in the
field of endocrinology and cancer, has been appointed to the George J.
and Elizabeth Wile Chair in Cancer Research.
Established to support cutting-edge
cancer research at UC, the chair was funded in gratitude for the
outstanding care Mr. Wile received while being treated at UC for
leukemia. Mr. Wile and his wife, Elizabeth, donated over $2 million.
Dr. Jensen, visiting professor in UC
Medical Center's Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy
at the Vontz Center for Molecular Studies, was one of three eminent
scientists to win the first Kirk A. and Dorothy P. Landon Foundation
prizes from the American Association for Cancer Research in 2002. These
international awards were established to honor exceptional
contributions to the understanding of cancer through basic research and
its application to patients. In his 2000 book "Estrogens, Estrogen
Receptor and Breast Cancer," author Fritz Parl, MD, PhD, professor of
pathology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, featured Dr.
Jensen as one of the eight greatest estrogen/breast cancer researchers
in the last 100 years.
Dr. Jensen's identification of an
intracellular receptor for estrogen completely revised earlier concepts
of steroid hormone action in general, and suggested important
implications for cancer. He purified the estrogen receptor and prepared
specific antibodies to it, the first time this had been done for any
steroid hormone receptor. Using these, other scientists were then able
to clone the estrogen receptor protein. Dr. Jensen's research enabled
physicians to distinguish the one-third of breast tumors that contain
high estrogen receptor levels—and therefore respond to tamoxifen or
other anti-estrogen therapy - from those that are estrogen receptor
negative. Analysis of a tumor biopsy specimen can now spare
receptor-negative patients from hormonal treatment, which will not
benefit them. Thus, the receptor-negative patients can begin
chemotherapy immediately, before the cancer spreads further.
"It's certainly an honor to have Dr.
Jensen at our institution and as part of our department," said Peter
Stambrook, PhD, professor and chairman of the UC Department of Cell
Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy. "He sets a high standard for the
future holders of the Wile Chair in Cancer Research."