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Alexander Varshavsky is a Russian American biochemist and recipient of the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, the Wolf Prize in Medicine and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University in 2001 for his research on ubiquitination. He is currently researching at Caltech.

He has won the 2007 $1 million Gotham Prize for an original approach to killing cancer cells. Alexander Varshavsky proffered the idea of a targeted molecular device that could enter a cell, examine it for DNA deletions specific to cancer and killing it if it meets the right profile. "(It) involves, in a nutshell, the finding of a genuine Achilles Heel of cancer cells, i.e., their potentially vulnerable feature that won't change during tumor progression," said Varshavsky.

The approach termed deletion-specific targeting (DST), employs HDs (homozygous DNA deletions) as the targets of cancer therapy. "In contrast to other attributes of cancer cells, their HDs are immutable markers." "If the DST strategy can be implemented in a clinical setting, it may prove to be both curative and free of side effects."


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