The awards ceremony for the prestigious Rey Jaime I prize has already taken place. This award is presented annually for the promotion of Science and Research in Spain and promoted by the Valencian Foundation for Advanced Studies. With the presence of the King and Queen of Spain and a total of 20 Nobel laureates, Alicante has been the location chosen this year for the awards 20th edition. They are among the most important awards in the national scientific scene, both with regard to quality of the awardees as well as for their funding € 100,000 worth for each of the six prizes. Since the awards were established in 1989, a total of 90 scientists have been awarded, all of which are very important figures in their research fields.
José Baselga, Director of VHIO, is one of this year’s six winners chosen among 160 candidates and a panel set up by 18 Nobel Prize – considered the best in the world. Baselga has been honored for his work in developing new molecular agents for the treatment of cancer, one of the most serious problems at present. And as Baselga himself says, “This is the recognition to the model of translational work, which provides a bridge between basic science and clinical medicine so patients benefit as soon as possible from research results”.
Baselga appreciates the recognition this award means, in a moment when his “career in cancer research has only just begun.” “This award will help to validate my model, be more confident in the research and a lot of trust to continue growing.” That’s because, as the Director of VHIO says, his dream is that “cancer will no longer be the leading cause of death.” Although he is aware that it is a disease that will never stop killing people, he predicts that mortality will decrease thanks to advances in research.
Awards like this allow Baselga, and his entire team, to continue working on “a program that will help to consolidate a center for experimental therapy as a reference center in anti-cancer drugs.” In this center they will achieve what they have been looking for so many years, “customize each treatment to each patient,” the greatest advance in the fight against the disease. The identification of molecular alterations that are involved in each tumor is essential for customizing treatments, the low specificity of which still can not guarantee success in all patients.
The other winners
The other five Jaime I awards have been given to José Bernabeu Alberola in Basic Research, Salvador Barberà in Economics, Miquel Canals in Environmental Protection, Jose Maria Benlloch in New Technologies and Manuel Solà-Morales in Urban Planning, Landscape and Sustainability. All seek excellence with objective criteria, as the latest winner in Basic Research, Maria Blasco, Director of the Molecular Oncology Program of the National Center for Oncology Research (CNIO) says, “to encourage young people to choose a scientific career in the future”.