Napoleone Ferrara, MD
Senior Deputy Director for Basic Sciences, University of California, San Diego, Moores Cancer Center; Distinguished Professor of Pathology, University of California San Diego School of Medicine, San Diego, California
The scientist credited with developing a brand new class of drugs to treat cancer, Dr. Ferrara started studying the changes in blood vessels in tumors in the 1980s while at the University of California, San Francisco. In the course of these studies, he identified an angiogenic signal secreted by pituitary cells. After moving his research efforts to Genentech in 1988, he isolated this angiogenic protein, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and cloned the VEGF gene. His laboratory identified and characterized the receptors of VEGF, their structure and function, regulation of VEGF activity and its role in physiological and pathological angiogenesis.
Dr. Ferrara’s research led to the development of the anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody bevacizumab (Avastin®) which was initially approved for the treatment of colorectal cancers. This drug is now used for a broad range of cancers in combination with standard chemotherapeutic drugs. His studies on the role of VEGF in intraocular neovascularization also led to the clinical development of ranibizumab (Lucentis®) for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration and other intraocular neovascular diseases. He is currently investigating the mechanisms of tumor angiogenesis alternative to VEGF.
2015 Elected Member, National Academy of Medicine, USA2014 Antonio Champalimaud Vision Award 2014 Gairdner Foundation International Award2013 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences2012 The Economist Innovation Award (Bioscience)2011 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research2010 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award2010 Macula Society-Michaelson Symposium Award2009 Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research2007 Science of Oncology Award, American Society of Clinical Oncology2007 Biotech Hall of Fame Special Recognition for Scientific Achievement2006 Passano Award2006 General Motors Cancer Research Award2006 Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC2005 Lefoulon-Delalande-Institut-de-France Prize2005 AACR -Bruce F. Cain Memorial Award2004 American-Italian Cancer Foundation Prize1981 MD, University of Catania, Italy