The great importance of tiny deviations

On the way from chromosome research to fighting cancer.

The winner of the 2013 Ernst Jung Prize for Medicine, Professor Angelika Amon, holds the Kathleen and Curtis Marble Chair for Cancer Research at Howard Hughes Medical Institute of the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Born in 1967 in Vienna, the Austrian-American scientist has devoted her research to the problem of aneuploidy. This term describes a gene mutation in which there are too many or few individual chromosomes in addition to a normal chromosome set. Assuming the consequences are not already fatal, both cases can cause detriments to the health of the severest nature: mental disability, miscarriages and even cancer.

Professor Amon is receiving the prize for her groundbreaking investigations of correct and improper chromosome segregation and, in turn, the mechanisms which lead to such consequences, above all tumours. Knowledge of the regulatory circuits is the key to understanding abnormal cell division processes which are characteristic of cancer. Thanks to Professor Amon’s research, the discovery of new possibilities in tumour treatment can be expected on the long term.