Sarstedt Research Prize 1993

(Walter Sarstedt, Prof. Dr. F. Collins, Prof. Dr. J. Riordan, Prof. Dr. L.-C. Tsui, Prof. Dr. Dr. Bidlingmaier)

The Sarstedt Research Prize was presented for the fourth time at the annual convention of the German Society for Clinical Chemistry at the Dreikönigskirche in Dresden on 1 October 1993.

The prize, worth DM 50,000, was presented by Prof. Dr. Bidlingmaier, President of the German Society for Clinical Chemistry, to Prof. Dr. F. Collins of the National Institute of Health, USA, Prof. Dr. L.-C. Tsui of The Hospital for Sick Children, Canada and Prof. Dr. J. Riordan of The Hospital for Sick Children, Canada, for their work in identifying the gene for mucoviscidosis as a ground-breaking achievement in molecular human genetics.

Mucoviscidosis, also called cystic fibrosis, is a genetic disorder mainly occurring in children and young adults. It leads to a general disturbance in the excretion of endocrine secretions with progressive cystic fibrotic changes, in particular in the pancreas and the bronchial tubes. It leads to increased excretion of sodium and chloride ions in the sweat and, thus, to a disruption in the body's salt balance. As this disease could not be treated therapeutically so far, it is associated with premature mortality of people affected.

The prize winners were recognised for identifying the genome responsible for this disease using modern methods of molecular biology. The abnormal cystic fibrosis gene formed in this genetic disorder produces an abnormal protein which causes this disease. Thanks to the discovery made by the prize winners, it is now possible to develop a new method of treatment to combat cystic fibrosis.