Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, Germany
Professor Ullrich is a pioneer in cancer research and is responsible for the discovery of the HER2/neu oncogene, the basis for Herceptin (Trastuzumab), the breakthrough therapeutic for breast cancer.
Trastuzumab has not only delivered a major clinical benefit to women (a 50% decrease in tumour recurrence) not seen since the introduction of tamoxifen a decade ago, but also initiated the era of personalised medicine.
His work in the field of signal transduction has elucidated major fundamental molecular mechanisms, such as protein phosphorylation, that govern the physiology of normal cells and allowed insights into pathophysiological mechanisms of major human diseases.
More recently, Prof Ullrich has been responsible for developing the first multi-targeted kinase inhibitor, SU11248/SUTENT, for the treatment of cancer.
SUTENT has recently passed Phase III studies and is under consideration for approval for treatment of malignant gastrointestinal stromal tumours and metastatic renal cell carcinoma.