Dr. Ronald Koschny, assistant doctor in the Department of Gastroenterology at the University Hospital in Heidelberg (Medical Director: Professor Dr. Wolfgang Stremmel), was awarded the Dr. Hella Bühler Prize on March 25, 2009. Koschny received the prize, which comes with a cheque for 100,000 euros, for his groundbreaking work on finding new therapies, in particular therapies for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
The money will be used to fund a project in which the 34-year-old researcher, who is a member of a group of researchers led by Dr. Tom M. Ganten, is investigating the protein TRAIL (tumour necrosis factor related apoptosis inducing ligand) as a potential substance for treating pancreatic cancer. The protein recognises cancer cells, attaches itself to them and ‘tells’ them to commit suicide. The scientists eventually hope to use TRAIL effectively and safely in combination with chemotherapies.“Dr. Ronald Koschny is a very dedicated physician in our hospital and is strongly committed to research into the development of tumours and their treatment,” said Professor Dr. Wolfgang Stremmel, highlighting Koschny’s achievements. “His work is consistently of the highest possible standard, he is a methodical person and at the same time he is able to apply his exceptional critical thinking, and remains exceedingly modest. Using these qualities is the only way to achieve research results that are as important as those for which Dr. Koschny received the award.”
Pancreatic cancer is one of the cancers that have the worst survival rates. In Germany, about 13,000 people are diagnosed with malignant pancreatic cancer per year. Only four percent of the sufferers survive for five or more years after diagnosis.
The Dr. Hella Bühler Prize is now in its fourth year. It was donated by Dr. Hella Bühler, a dentist from Heidelberg (1910 – 2002) who left her fortune to the University of Heidelberg, stipulating that it should award a prize for outstanding scientific achievements once a year.Last year, Dr. Ronald Koschny was awarded the Wolf & Christine Unterberg Prize for Oncological Gastroenterology for his research. This prize honours outstanding achievements of young scientists in the field of oncological gastroenterology.