Press Release: $1 Million Gotham Prize Launched by Leading Scientists, Hedge Fund Managers
$1 Million Gotham Prize Launched by Leading Scientists, Hedge Fund Managers to Encourage Innovation in Cancer Research Provides incentive to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer by encouraging collaboration among leading medical researchers New York, NY (PRWEB) May 23, 2007 -- A group of leading scientists and hedge fund managers today announced the creation of the "Gotham Prize for Cancer Research" (Gotham Prize), an annual award designed to encourage new and innovative approaches to cancer research by fostering collaboration among top thinkers in the field. The Prize was announced at the annual Ira Sohn Investment Research Conference, a charity event that brings together a group of nationally recognized investors who share their investment insights to raise money for cancer research. The winner of the $1 million Gotham Prize, as well as an additional prize - the $250,000 Ira Sohn Conference Foundation Prize in Pediatric Oncology - will be selected by a distinguished panel of leading scientists from institutions including Harvard, Johns Hopkins and New York University. Details on the Prize can be found at www.gothamprize.org. In spite of the billions of dollars that have been invested in cancer research, many promising research ideas do not receive support - either because they go against the mainstream, because of a lack of funding to test ideas, or because preliminary research isn't shared for competitive reasons. The Gotham Prize will address these gaps by bringing together the top minds in the field to encourage accelerated progress in the prevention, etiology, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The winner of the Prize will receive $1 million for personal use, while the Gotham Prize website will serve as an ongoing forum for cancer researchers to test and exchange ideas. The website will also provide a mechanism to connect scientists with other potential sources of funding from foundations and individuals. The Gotham Prize was founded by hedge fund managers Joel Greenblatt and Robert Goldstein of private investment firm Gotham Capital, and respected medical researcher Dr. Gary Curhan of Harvard Medical School, with support from the Ira Sohn Conference Foundation and Ephi Gildor of Axiom Investment Advisors. Inspired by the memory of Goldstein's mother, Hope Goldstein, who passed away recently from ovarian cancer, the founders sought a new way to make progress in cancer research. The Gotham Prize website is modeled on the Value Investors Club, an online investment club founded by the partners of Gotham Capital where top investors share their best ideas. "I have seen firsthand how many ideas with incredible potential never reach fruition," said Dr. Curhan. "We will only make significant progress in cancer research by learning from each other's successes and mistakes, and by building on each other's knowledge. Through the Gotham Prize website, we will bring together the best and brightest minds in the field to share ideas and inspire new approaches." "The Gotham Prize provides a real incentive by rewarding collaboration," said Greenblatt. "We hope that encouraging this marketplace of ideas will lead to breakthrough innovations in cancer research." The Gotham Prize Advisory Board, which will select the winners of the prizes, includes such distinguished scientists as Dr. Bert Vogelstein of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who was the first to elucidate the molecular basis of a common human cancer and is currently the most highly cited scientist in the world, and Dr. Meir Stampfer of Harvard Medical School, the most highly cited scientist in clinical medicine over the past two decades. The Ira Sohn Research Conference Foundation, founded in 1995 in honor of Ira Sohn, a successful Wall Street trader who died of cancer at the age of 29, is providing support for the Gotham Prize website, as well as for both of the prizes. The annual Ira Sohn Research Conference raises funds for the care and treatment of children with pediatric cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. "We are honored to continue Ira Sohn's legacy by supporting pediatric cancer research through the Ira Sohn Conference Foundation Prize in Pediatric Oncology," said Dan Nir, head of the Ira Sohn Conference Foundation. "Ira was passionate about helping children affected by cancer, and I know he would be pleased that we are contributing to this effort to encourage and support groundbreaking research." The $1 million annual prize will be open to a group of pre-qualified members who will share their ideas and concepts by posting a short thesis and/or proposal and answering questions on the Gotham Prize website. The Advisory Board will select the members from applications submitted through the website. Member postings will be anonymous (except to the Board) and will only be made known through voluntary disclosure. Each year, the member that submits the best idea in the area of cancer research, as judged by the Advisory Board, will receive $1 million for personal use. The Ira Sohn Conference Foundation Prize will also be awarded annually for the best idea related to pediatric cancer. Applicants will be judged on the importance and description of the idea, as well as the feasibility of studying it. Furthermore, to be eligible to win the Prize, members must post and answer questions on the website and will be judged on the message string that starts among members of the site after an idea is posted. The Gotham Prize website will also serve as an ongoing forum for cancer researchers to exchange ideas, as well as to connect with potential sources of funding. All member ideas submitted for the Prize will also be made available to all foundations, individuals and groups that fund cancer research. With prior permission, members will also be matched with other scientists who may be able to assist or collaborate on individual projects. The Prize was founded as a new way to encourage new innovations in cancer research by addressing some of the obstacles that currently exist. Apart from funding constraints, research that is not in the mainstream or that flies in the face of currently accepted theories may not be supported or accepted for publication, while - for competitive reasons - preliminary research and ideas are often not widely shared. Furthermore, scientists and researchers who do not fit a specialized profile are unlikely to be funded to pursue new theories or innovative avenues. In addition, many grants from foundations or individuals support general research, rather than specific projects. The Advisory Board members are: Dr. Curhan, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health; Dr. Vogelstein, a Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; Dr. Stampfer, a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, where he served as department chair; Dr. George Teebor, a Professor at New York University School of Medicine; Dr. Joseph R. Bertino, Interim Director of the New Jersey Cancer Center and University Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson; Dr. Michael Kastan, Director of the Cancer Center at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenessee, and Director of the Molecular Therapeutics Division and Co-Director of the Molecular Oncology Program. About the Gotham Prize: The annual $1 million Gotham Prize for Cancer Research is being established to encourage new and innovative approaches to cancer research by fostering collaboration among top thinkers in the field. An additional prize of $250,000, the Ira Sohn Conference Foundation Prize in Pediatric Oncology, will also be awarded. In addition to providing these annual prizes, the Gotham Prize website will provide a forum to match cancer researchers with each other, as well as with potential sources of funding. The 2007 Gotham Prizes will be announced in February 2008. For more information, please visit www.gothamprize.org About The Ira Sohn Research Conference Foundation: The Ira Sohn Research Conference was founded in 1995 after the untimely passing of Ira Sohn, a successful trader on Wall Street. After a valiant battle with cancer, Ira passed away at the age of 29. His passion inspired his colleagues to launch the annual Ira Sohn Research Conference to raise funds for the care and treatment of children with pediatric cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. The organizations served include the Tomorrows Children's Fund at Hackensack University Medical Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medical Center, and ArtWorks. Gotham Prize Advisory Board Members: Joseph R. Bertino, MD, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Bertino is the Interim Director of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and University Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson. Prior to his current position Dr. Bertino was Chairman of the Program of Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at Cornell University Medical College. He spent many years at Yale University both as a Professor, Chief of Oncology and Chemotherapy and as the first Director of the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Bertino is the past President of AACR and ASCO. Gary Curhan, MD, ScD, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Gary Curhan is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health. He is a practicing nephrologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and an active investigator with multiple NIH grants. Dr. Curhan's research has focused on metabolic conditions (e.g. nephrolithiasis, gout), cardiovascular disease and cancer. He has authored over 150 articles and book chapters. Michael B. Kastan, MD, PhD, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Dr. Kastan is the Director of the Cancer Center at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, Director of the Molecular Therapeutics Division and Co-Director of the Molecular Oncology Program. Meir Stampfer, MD, DrPH, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Stampfer is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, where he served as department chair. He has authored over 800 articles and book chapters, and was identified as the most highly cited scientist in clinical medicine over the past two decades. He is an active investigator with multiple NIH grants, and his research has focused on cardiovascular disease and cancer. George W. Teebor, MD, New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Teebor is Professor of Pathology and Environmental Medicine at the New York University School of Medicine where he has also served as Vice Dean for Research and Interim Chairperson of the Department of Pathology. He is a board certified pathologist and has been an NIH funded investigator for over 30 years including receipt of a MERIT Award. His research interest has been the etiology of cancer-initiating and/or promoting mutations and their prevention by the DNA repair machinery of the cell. Bert Vogelstein, MD, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Vogelstein was the first to elucidate the molecular basis of a common human cancer. His work on colorectal cancers forms the paradigm for much of modern cancer research, with profound implications for diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in the future. According to the Institute for Scientific Information, Dr. Vogelstein is currently the most highly cited scientist in the world.