The American Cancer Society is honored to have supported 47 investigators before they went on to win the Nobel Prize, considered the highest accolade any scientist can receive. This is a tribute to the Society’s Research program and the strength of its peer-review process. Read the 2011 entry in Expert Voices Blog: Why the Recent Nobel Prizes Matter.

James Rothman Nobel Prize 2013James E. Rothman, PhD
2013, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
For defining the control of the movement of membranes in cells; which contributes greatly to the understanding of cell functioning in numerous diseases, including cancer. These internal cell membranes are key to the function of cells and the ability of cells to move, both of which are hallmarks of cancer cells.

ACS Nobel Prize winner Dr.Bruce Beutler. Photo by Dave Gresham, UT SouthwesternBruce Beutler, PhD
2011, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Discovered receptor proteins that can recognize bacteria and other microorganisms as they enter the body, and activate innate immunity.

Ralph Steinman, PhDRalph Steinman, PhD
2011, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Discovered a new cell type that he called the dendritic cell, which led to the first therapeutic vaccine for prostate cancer, Provenge. Read more

Thomas A. Steitz, PhDThomas A. Steitz, PhD
2009, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Studied the structure and function of the ribosome.

Jack W. Szostak, PhDJack W. Szostak, PhD
2009, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Helped discover how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.

Mario R. Capecchi, PhDMario R. Capecchi, PhD
2007, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Using mouse embryonic stem cells they developed techniques for manipulating individual genes. This allowed for a more precise understanding of how individual genes worked in the mouse and accelerated the use of the mouse as a model of human cancer. This work has led to the identification
of genes that are targets of cancer therapies.

Oliver Smithies, PhDOliver Smithies, PhD
2007, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Using mouse embryonic stem cells they developed techniques for manipulating individual genes. This allowed for a more precise understanding of how individual genes worked in the mouse and accelerated the use of the mouse as a model of human cancer. This work has led to the identification
of genes that are targets of cancer therapies. Dr. Smithies was funded for earlier work on genetic
control of protein structure and synthesis.

Roger D Kornberg, PhDRoger D Kornberg, PhD
2006, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Studied the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription.

Craig C. Mello, PhDCraig C. Mello, PhD
2006, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Helped discover RNA interference - gene silencing by double-stranded RNA

Aaron Ciechanover, MDAaron Ciechanover, MD
2004, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Helped discover ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation

Avram Hershko, MD, PhDAvram Hershko, MD, PhD
2004, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Helped discover ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation

Irwin A. Rose, PhDIrwin A. Rose, PhD
2004, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Helped discover ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation

Leland Hartwell, PhDLeland Hartwell, PhD
2001, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Discovered key regulators of the cell cycle.

Günter Blobel, MD, PhDGünter Blobel, MD, PhD
1999, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Discovered how proteins find their proper location in the cell.

Edward B. Lewis, PhDEdward B. Lewis, PhD
1995, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Found evidence that certain patterns in development apply to human cancers.

Alfred Gilman, MD, PhDAlfred Gilman, MD, PhD
1994, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Helped to understand how cells talk to one another.

Phillip A. Sharp, PhDPhillip A. Sharp, PhD
1993, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Showed that readable regions on DNA are separated by some regions that cannot be read.

E. Donnall Thomas, MDE. Donnall Thomas, MD
1990, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Pioneered bone marrow transplantation.

Sidney Altman, PhDSidney Altman, PhD
1989, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Discovered that RNA can sometimes act as an enzyme.

Thomas R. Cech, PhDThomas R. Cech, PhD
1989, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Found evidence that RNA may have enzymatic properties in cells.

J. Michael Bishop, MDJ. Michael Bishop, MD
1989, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Discovered latent cancer genes, oncogenes, in normal cells.

Harold E. Varmus, MDHarold E. Varmus, MD
1989, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Showed that defects in normal genes can cause cancer.

Susumu Tonegawa, PhDSusumu Tonegawa, PhD
1987, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Discovered how antibodies are made by cells of the immune system.

Stanley Cohen, PhDStanley Cohen, PhD
1986, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Showed that some growth factors influence cancer development.

Paul Berg, PhDPaul Berg, PhD
1980, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Was the first to create a recombinant DNA molecule.

Walter Gilbert, MDWalter Gilbert, MD
1980, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Developed a method important for sequencing DNA.

Baruj Benacerraf, MDBaruj Benacerraf, MD
1980, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Contributed to the understanding of the genetic basis of immunology.

Daniel Nathans, MDDaniel Nathans, MD
1978, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Discovered enzymes that modify DNA, facilitating the study of genes.

Hamilton O. Smith, MDHamilton O. Smith, MD
1978, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Discovered DNA splicing enzymes important for genetic engineering

Renato Dulbecco, MDRenato Dulbecco, MD
1975, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Found that certain animal cancer viruses can insert themselves into a cell's DNA.

Howard M. Temin, PhDHoward M. Temin, PhD
1975, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Discovered the reverse transcriptase that translates RNA into DNA.

David Baltimore, PhDDavid Baltimore, PhD
1975, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Found that some RNA viruses can transfer their information to DNA.

Christian B. Anfinsen, PhDChristian B. Anfinsen, PhD
1972, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Discovered how enzymes assume their active shapes within the living cell.

Salvador E. Luria, MDSalvador E. Luria, MD
1969, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Did important work on phages to provide basic knowledge of viruses.

Max Delbruck, PhDMax Delbruck, PhD
1969, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Showed how DNA replicates itself and the genetic structure of viruses.

Robert Holley, PhDRobert Holley, PhD
1968, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Determined the structure of transfer RNA, which is important in protein synthesis.

Marshall Nirenberg, PhDMarshall Nirenberg, PhD
1968, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis.

Charles B. Huggins, MDCharles B. Huggins, MD
1966, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Demonstrated hormonal dependence of breast and prostate cancer cells.

Francis P. Rous, MDFrancis P. Rous, MD
1966, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Discovered that cancer can be induced by injecting a tumor extract.

Robert Burns Woodward, PhDRobert Burns Woodward, PhD
1965, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Determined how the body uses small compounds to build organic molecules for life’s functions.

James D. Watson, PhDJames D. Watson, PhD
1962, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Discovered the double helix structure of DNA.

Severo Ochoa, MDJSevero Ochoa, MD
1959, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Discovered RNA polymerase, an enzyme that synthesizes RNA.

Edward L Tatum, PhDEdward L Tatum, PhD
1958, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Reported that mutations can alter nutritional requirements of cells.

George W. Beadle, PhDGeorge W. Beadle, PhD
1958, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Provided evidence that for every enzyme there is one gene.

Fritz Lipmann, MD, PhDFritz Lipmann, MD, PhD
1953, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Discovered an enzyme that helps to convert food into energy.

Wendell M. Stanley, PhDWendell M. Stanley, PhD
1946, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Crystallized viruses, thus demonstrating their structure.

Hermann Joseph Muller, PhDHermann Joseph Muller, PhD
1946, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Discovered that x-ray irradiation can produce cell mutations.