Cholesterol researchers win country's largest prize for medicine

Wednesday, April 30th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Two doctors, whose Nobel Prize-winning studies led to the development of cholesterol-lowering drugs, were awarded the nation's richest prize for medicine and biomedical research Wednesday.

Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein, both of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, received the $500,000 Albany Medical Center Prize, second only in monetary value to the Nobel Prize, worth more than $900,000.

Brown and Goldstein discovered human body cells have receptors that determine how much cholesterol circulates in the blood.

Their research earned them the 1985 Nobel Prize and laid the groundwork for the development of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins.

They also found a link between cholesterol-related conditions, such as heart disease and stroke, and a lack of low-density lipoprotein receptors.

The prize also recognized the duo's more recent contributions, particularly their work on how a family of proteins regulates the amount of cholesterol by controlling low-density lipoprotein receptors and their discovery of an insulin-sensitive regulator that holds promise in treating a rare form of diabetes.

``The work of Drs. Brown and Goldstein has been extraordinarily prolific in a variety of different areas and promises to unlock the mysteries behind a variety of different diseases,'' said James Barba, president and chief executive of Albany Medical Center.

The award was created in 2000. Its first recipient was Dr. Arnold Levine, who helped identify a powerful cancer-fighting gene. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading AIDS researcher and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, won the prize last year.