The 2017 Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine: Daniel J. Drucker, MD, Joel F. Habener, MD, and Jens J. Holst, MD, DMSc

International Harrington Prize Jointly Awarded to Three Recipients

Dr. Drucker

Dr. Habener

Dr. Holst

The fourth annual Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine has been jointly awarded to Daniel J. Drucker, MD (Mount Sinai Hospital, Canada), Joel F. Habener, MD (Massachusetts General Hospital, USA), and Jens J. Holst, MD, DMSc (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) for their discovery of incretin hormones and for the translation of these findings into transformative therapies for major metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

The Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine, established in 2014 by the Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals (UH) in Cleveland, Ohio and The American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), honors physician-scientists who have moved science forward with achievements notable for innovation, creativity and potential for clinical application.

Drs. Habener and Holst are recognized for their discovery of the hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and Dr. Drucker for translating the discovery into breakthrough treatments for diabetes. The work of these three investigators, and in particular Dr. Drucker, has also resulted in the discovery and clinical development of glucagon-like peptide 2 (GLP-2) for intestinal disorders (short bowel syndrome).

“The work by this trio of investigators that spans the full spectrum from discovery to clinical impact is exemplary,” said Vivian Cheung, MD, Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Professor of Medicine at the University of Michigan, and 2016-2017 President of the ASCI. “This is precisely the type of bench-to-bedside advancements that The Harrington Prize seeks to recognize.”

A committee composed of members of the ASCI Council and the Harrington Discovery Institute Scientific Advisory Board reviewed 58 nominations from 49 institutions and five countries before selecting the 2017 recipients.

“We are pleased to join with the ASCI to honor Drs. Drucker, Habener and Holst for their contributions to medicine,” said Jonathan Stamler, MD, President of the Harrington Discovery Institute and the Robert S. and Sylvia K. Reitman Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Innovation at UH Cleveland Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “This remarkable trio exemplifies the best in medicine – from fundamental discovery through to breakthrough drugs in the clinic that impact the lives of millions of people around the world.”

In addition to sharing a $20,000 honorarium, Drs. Holst, Habener, and Drucker will jointly deliver The Harrington Prize Lecture at the 2017 Association of American Physicians/ASCI/American Physician Scientists Association Joint Meeting on April 21, and publish an essay in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Dr. Drucker received his MD from the University of Toronto in 1980, is currently a Senior Scientist at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Professor, University of Toronto. Dr. Habener received his MD in 1970 from the University of California Los Angeles and currently is Professor of Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Holst received his MD in 1970 from the University of Copenhagen where he currently serves as Scientific Director, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research.

The first recipient of The Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine, in 2014, was Dr. Harry Dietz, a pediatric cardiologist and genetics researcher from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The Prize recognized Dr. Dietz’s contributions to the understanding of biology and treatment of Marfan syndrome, a disorder leading to deadly aneurysms in children and adults. The 2015 Prize recipient was Douglas R. Lowy, MD, Chief, Laboratory of Cellular Oncology, and Acting Director of the National Cancer Institute, in recognition of his discoveries that led to the development of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. The 2016 recipient of The Harrington Prize was Jeffrey M. Friedman, MD, PhD, of The Rockefeller University, New York City, for his discovery of leptin, which controls feeding behavior and is used to treat related clinical disorders.

Harrington Discovery Institute

The Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio – part of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development – aims to advance medicine and society by enabling our nation’s most inventive physician-scientists to turn their discoveries into medicines that improve human health. The institute was created in 2012 with a $50 million founding gift from the Harrington family and instantiates the commitment they share with University Hospitals to a Vision for a ‘Better World’.

The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development

The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development (The Harrington Project), founded in late February 2012 by the Harrington Family and University Hospitals of Cleveland, is a $300 million national initiative built to bridge the translational valley of death. It includes the Harrington Discovery Institute and BioMotiv, a for-profit, mission-aligned drug development company that accelerates early discoveries into medicines for benefit of society.

For more information about The Harrington Project and the Harrington Discovery Institute, visit: HarringtonDiscovery.org.

University Hospitals

Founded in 1866, University Hospitals serves the needs of over 1 million patients per year through an integrated network of 18 hospitals, more than 40 outpatient health centers and 200 physician offices in 15 counties throughout northern Ohio. The system’s flagship academic medical center, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, located on a 35-acre campus in Cleveland’s University Circle, is affiliated with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The main campus also includes University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, ranked among the top children’s hospitals in the nation; University Hospitals MacDonald Women’s Hospital, Ohio’s only hospital for women; and University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. UH is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research programs in the nation, including cancer, pediatrics, women’s health, orthopedics, radiology, neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, digestive health, dermatology, transplantation and urology. UH Cleveland Medical Center is perennially among the highest performers in national ranking surveys, including “America’s Best Hospitals” from U.S. News & World Report. UH is also home to Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals – part of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development. UH is the second largest employer in northern Ohio with 26,000 employees. For more information, go to UHhospitals.org.