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Sylvester Nobel Laureate Elected to Academy of Inventors

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    Special to UM News

    SchallySylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center pathologist Andrew V. Schally, whose groundbreaking research into the endocrine system was recognized with a 1977 Nobel Prize, was recently elected a Fellow in the National Academy of Inventors.

    “While this is a great honor, it is even more gratifying to note that my 40-plus patents have provided millions of dollars in royalties to public and academic institutions committed to medical research,” said Schally, who is the Distinguished Leonard M. Miller Professor of Pathology and Professor of Hematology/Oncology, and International Medicine Institute Research Scientist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and Distinguished Medical Research Scientist and Head of The Endocrine, Polypeptide and Cancer Institute, Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Miami.

    Schally was one of 168 new Fellows named to the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), whose 582 members represent more than 190 prestigious research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutions. He will be inducted on April 15, 2016, at NAI’s fifth annual conference at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va. Fellows will be presented with a special trophy, medal and rosette pin in honor of their outstanding accomplishments.

    “Dr. Schally has had an extremely distinguished career spanning many decades,” said Richard J. Cote, M.D., Professor and Joseph R. Coulter Chair of the Department of Pathology, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, Chief of Pathology at Jackson Memorial Hospital, and Director of The Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Biomedical Nanotechnology Institute at the University of Miami (BioNIUM). “His seminal work on growth and hypothalamic hormones has now evolved into important work with potential applications for cancer and other diseases. Sylvester and the Department of Pathology are very fortunate to have Dr. Schally as an important continuing contributor to our scientific endeavors. His election to the National Academy of Inventors highlights his many original contributions.”

    In 1977, Schally was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work in proving the existence of several hypothalamic hormones. His discoveries included thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) and somatostatin, a growth hormone-inhibiting hormone (GHIH). Schally also produced one of the first commercially available LHRH antagonists, cetrorelix, a drug now in wide use for in vitro fertilization around the world.

    “After studying growth hormones for 20 years, I started working on medical applications, such as treatments for prostate, breast and ovarian cancers,” said Schally. In the early 1980s he developed a therapy – still in use today – for men with advanced hormone-dependent prostate cancer based on LHRH agonists. He also found that cetrorelix had a beneficial effect on men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non-cancerous enlarged prostate gland.

    Schally and Norman L. Block, M.D., a Sylvester urologic oncologist and professor of oncology, pathology and urology at the Miller School, are working with Joshua Hare, M.D., the Louis Lemberg Professor of Medicine and Director of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI), to study how growth hormones can accelerate healing after a heart attack, and contribute to other stem cell therapy strategies. “We are also studying how hormone agonists may help stimulate the pancreatic islet cells that produce insulin,” Schally said.

    Schally also assists and advises clinicians in the implementation of therapeutic methods that he developed for treatment of multiple cancers.

    In addition to his recent election to NAI, Schally was named an Inaugural Fellow of the AACR Academy (American Association for Cancer Research) for his contributions to cancer therapy and named a “Legend in Urology” by the Canadian Urological Association and the Canadian Journal of Urology.

    The National Academy of Inventors is a 501©(3) non-profit member organization founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society.

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