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Prince Mahidol Awards


Bangkok, 30 Jan 2008

HM The King of Thailand conferred the 2007 Prince Mahidol Awards on three outstanding scientists of our time.

In the Field of Medicine: Professor Axel Ullrich,

Director of Molecular Biology at the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry, Germany. Prof Ullrich has played a leading role in the study of molecular mechanisms of cancer and pioneering the concept of ‘targeted cancer therapy”. He told ASEANAFFAIRS in an exclusive interview today that the development of drugs that act specifically at the targeted areas offers better efficacy in killing cancer cells while doing less harm to normal cells and therefore reducing the side effect of cancer treatment. They were all very honored and happy to be awarded this year’s Mahidol awards, the previous recipients of which have been many outstanding scientists of our time and they were deemed it as a rare honor to receive the awards from His Majesty The King of Thailand. Millions of people are diagnosed with cancer every year and it is one of the leading causes of death in the world. Prof Ullrich’s contribution in the field of targeted cancer therapy has therefore opened a new era for all cancer treatment methods.

In the field of Public Health:

Professor Basil Stuart Hetzel, Honorary President of the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD), Australia.

Prof Hetzel is a world leading scientist who has extensively studies the adverse effect of iodine deficiency upon human health, particularly upon the development of the human brain. He is also a key figure in the global campaign against iodine deficiency disorders. Prof Hetzel founded the council and it has helped promote the comprehensive use of iodized salt in the consumption goods, food industries and livestock sectors in approximately 100 countries. This work has affected 2 billion people around the world. His work has led to the popular term “Iodine deficiency disorders” and increased the awareness of the harmful effects of iodine deficiency.

Dr Sanduk Ruit, Medical Director of Tilganga Eye centre, Kathmandu, Nepal. Dr Ruit introduced and further developed an effective suture less operation technique that allows rapid operations to be performed for a large number of patients in remote locations. Dr Ruit told us that it was  challenge that he is and his team set out to meet and succeeded against all odds and with limited resources. Millions of people whose eyesight failed due to cataracts that conventional surgery could cure but was beyond the means of poor people in third world countries. Dr Ruit’s technique costs 50 times less than the lenses imported from other countries. He and his team have trained more than 500 eye surgeons and healthcare personnel from both the developed and developing countries n Asia, North America, Europe and Australia on this cost effective method and portable technique of eye surgery, resulting is 35 million cataract operations in the world. As Dr Ruit remarked, “Prince Mahidol said that one has to be a good doctor as well as a good human being”

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