The hepatitis C virus infection leads to acute and chronic hepatitis and thus causes more than 350,000 annual deaths globally and at least 10 times as many new infections. The vision of controlling this deadly virus was considered utopian until recently.
The research efforts by Jens Bukh, Head of the Copenhagen Hepatitis C Program (CO-HEP), are helping to change this.
Jens Bukh has conducted critical and unique studies of the life cycle of the virus. They have been instrumental for the development of novel effective drugs which, during 2014, made it possible to treat, and in most cases cure, patients with chronic hepatitis C.
Jens Bukh was the first researcher to publish the finding that the hepatitis C virus has six major genotypes. This finding has been extremely significant for clinical and basic research. Jens Bukh also developed a system that, for the first time, enabled researchers to manipulate the virus in the laboratory. Subsequently, he developed unique new cell culture systems for the major genotypes.
The Novo Nordisk Foundation is awarding the 2015 Novo Nordisk Prize to Jens Bukh for his internationally outstanding research. The Prize is awarded to recognize unique medical research or other research contributions that benefit medical science.
“I am very pleased and proud. The fact that renowned researchers from different scientific fields value my research and believe that it has helped to improve the treatment of patients with hepatitis C and thus other people’s lives is the best reward I can get,” says Jens Bukh.
“The next step is to use this knowledge in the ongoing development of a vaccine for hepatitis C. My goal is also that each person’s virus can be cultured in the laboratory so that we can tailor future treatment to the individual patient,” adds Jens Bukh.
A pioneer anD a role model
The Novo Nordisk Prize is accompanied by DKK 3 million – of which DKK 500,000 is a personal award, with the rest being made available for research purposes within the Prize recipient’s field of expertise.
About 15,000 people in Denmark and 200 million people worldwide are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus. This chronic infection can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. Globally, about 4 million people are newly infected each year, of which about 3 million develop chronic hepatitis C.
Jan Fahrenkrug, Chair of the Novo Nordisk Prize Committee, says:
“Jens Bukh is a pioneer in his field and a role model for young researchers. Throughout his career, his comprehensive, systematic and original research has focused on producing groundbreaking knowledge about hepatitis C with translational focus on clinical applications.”
Jens Bukh will formally receive the Novo Nordisk Prize on 17 March 2015.
ABOUT JENS BUKH:
Professor, Research Director, Copenhagen Hepatitis C Program (CO-HEP), Department of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Research Centre, Copenhagen University Hospital, Hvidovre and Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Jens Bukh; firstname.lastname@example.org, Mobile: +45 2341 8969
Jan Fahrenkrug, Chair of the prizecommittee, Mobil: +45 6168 4752, e-mail: email@example.com
Christian Mostrup Scheel, Press Officer, Novo Nordisk Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org, Mobile: +45 3067 4805