Two physicians whose research revealed “the fundamentals of the human immune response and enabled the use of human antibodies to treat COVID-19” are co-recipients of the 2022 Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine.
The award, created by the Harrington Discovery Institute of University Hospitals and the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), is given this year to Dr. James E. Crowe Jr., director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center and professor in the departments of pediatrics and pathology. , microbiology and immunology at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine; and Dr. Michel C. Nussenzweig, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientist and Zanvil A. Cohn and Ralph M. Steinman professor at Rockefeller University.
The Harrington Discovery Institute says the award “honors physician-scientists who have advanced science with outstanding achievement in innovation, creativity, and potential for clinical application.” A committee of Harrington and ASCI members reviewed nominations from leading academic medical centers in eight countries before selecting the 2022 Harrington Prize winners, according to a news release.
Here, according to the statement, is a brief summary of their work:
Dr. Crowe has advanced the discovery of human monoclonal antibodies for many of the most pathogenic viruses that cause human disease. His team has discovered thousands of human monoclonal antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and facilitated their development, transferring clinical leads to multiple pharmaceutical partners, including tixagevimab + cilgavimab, now used in high-risk patients. His work on the genetic and structural basis of virus neutralization has also revealed important principles that are being exploited in the development of new vaccines and antibodies.
Dr. Nussenzweig addressed a critical problem in immunology – the lack of detailed understanding of the human antibody response – by developing robust and scalable methods for cloning antibodies from single human B cells. Dr. Nussenzweig has shown that antibodies cloned directly from humans can be a safe and effective treatment for viral infections when passively transferred to other humans. His work established a paradigm that allowed him and others to rapidly develop monoclonal antibody therapies against SARS-CoV-2.
They will share the $20,000 honorarium of the prize. Crowe and Nussenzweig will deliver the Harrington Prize Lecture at the 2022 Joint AAP/ASCI/APSA Meeting on April 8. They will also be guest speakers at the 2022 Harrington Science Symposium on May 25-26, and they will co-publish an essay in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.