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The Catalan oncologists, Josep Baselga, Manel Esteller and Joan Massagué, are this year’s winners of the XXVIII Premi Internacional Catalunya, awarded by the Catalan Government ‘for their revolutionary work, especially in cancer research, which has significantly contributed to biomedical progress across the world’.

For the first time in its history, the prize will be shared by three people and will be awarded during a ceremony held in the Palau de la Generalitat on 25 October.

The jury has recognised ‘the outstanding advances made in oncological research focused on precision cancer medicine, made possible by unprecedented discoveries in genomics, immunology and personalised treatment for patients’.

The winners of the Catalunya International Prize will receive €80,000 and the sculpture by Antoni Tàpies, La Clau i la Lletra. The prize distinguishes individuals who contribute to the development of cultural, scientific or human values around the world. The winner last year was the primatologist, Jane Goodall.

Professional career

Josep Baselga was born in Barcelona, in 1959. He has a degree in medicine and he embarked on his professional career 30 years ago in the USA. He is Chief Medical Officer of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Center and is renowned all over the world for his research on breast cancer treatment and the study of strategies for overcoming mechanisms of resistance, leading the clinical development of diverse new agents. He was the Founding Director of the Vall d’Hebron Institut.

Manel Esteller (Sant Boi de Llobregat, 1968) has a degree in Medicine and in 2008 he became the Programme Director of the IDIBELL. He is currently directing the Programa d’Epigenètica i Biologia del Càncer, becoming a reference in the field of epigenetics as a key factor in the development of cancer, as well as contributing to the review of established scientific paradigms. He has participated in the three editions of the Barcelona Conference on Epigenetics and Cancer (BCEC), organised by B·Debate –an initiative of Biocat and Obra Social “La Caixa”.

Joan Massagué was also born in Barcelona, in 1953. He has a degree in Pharmacy and is the current Scientific Director of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Massagué has been working in the USA for 35 years and leads a group that has made some of the greatest advances in understanding cellular behaviour and cancer cell metastasis. 

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