Katalin Karikó has been awarded the William B. Coley Prize from the US Cancer Research Institute (CRI) for the development of mRNA vaccine technology, together with three of her fellow researchers, Uğur Sahin, Özlem Türeci, and Drew Weissman.
“The 2021 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic Immunology was shared by Drs. Katalin Karikó, Drew Weissman, Uğur Şahin, and Özlem Türeci for their pivotal roles in the research and development that have led to novel mRNA-based therapeutic approaches that are currently being used to fight cancer and infectious diseases, including two of the most effective vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19. These technologies have the potential to redefine how we treat a variety of diseases and are currently being investigated in influenza, HIV, malaria, sickle cell anemia, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease,” the Cancer Research Institute’s website says about Karikó’s win.
According to scientific site Qubit, the award is also seen as a precursor to the Lasker and Nobel prizes. Despite expectations, Karikó did not win a Nobel Prize, however, together with Drew Weissman she has already won the Lasker Award.
CRI says that the award is given to “scientists for seminal discoveries in the field of basic immunology and cancer immunology. Awardees receive an honorary medal and a $5,000 (€4,300) prize. The award was established in 1975 in honor of Dr. William B. Coley, a pioneer of cancer immunotherapy, whose daughter, Helen Coley Nauts, founded CRI.”
Featured image via Csilla Cseke/MTI