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(Vienna, 26 Jan. 2010) One of the most renowned awards for scientific work in the field of breast cancer research is being presented to Univ. Prof. Dr. Michael Gnant (Department of Surgery) on 27 January 2010. For his work "Endocrine Therapy plus Zoledronic Acid in Premenopausal Breast Cancer" he is being awarded the Claudia von Schilling Prize, which comes with prize money of 20,000 euros, at the Medical University of Hanover.

Only recently the breast cancer expert from the Medical University of Vienna was invited to give an editorial comment in Lancet because of his successes in research. As head of Study 12 of the Austrian study group ABCSG (Austrian Breast & Colorectal Cancer Study Group) Gnant caused a real stir internationally: the Austrian cancer researchers managed to develop a new method of treatment for premenopausal women with early-stage breast cancer. In addition to anti-hormone therapy, the patients also receive the bisphosphonate zoledronate – and the effect is impressive.

With women with early-stage breast cancer the bisphosphonate reduces the prospects of the cancer cells reoccurring by 35 percent compared with the anti-hormone therapy which was previously usually administered alone. The overall prognosis for these patients is very good, more than 98 percent of affected women are still alive five years after the diagnosis even if they have not received any adjuvant chemotherapy. That is the best result ever presented in a study anywhere in the world.

These scientific findings have already attracted a great deal of interest among experts at the most important international cancer congress in the USA, and publication in the well-known "The New England Journal of Medicine" has also attracted a lot of attention. But according to data from the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 500,000 women still die each year throughout the world because of a recurrence or spread of their breast cancer. The incidence among younger patients has also been rising for several years. These women can now be helped much more effectively.

For this research work Michael Gnant is now being honoured with the Claudia von Schilling Prize for 2009. This is awarded annually at the Medical University of Hanover and comes with prize money of 20,000 euros. In accordance with the rules, this prize is awarded by the Society of Friends of the Medical University of Hanover as an “award for special achievements in the field of breast cancer treatment and relevant basic cancer research”.

Claudia von Schilling Prize
The founder of the prize, the art dealer Claudia von Schilling, lived in Hanover for many years, where she was also treated for breast cancer before succumbing to cancer in October 2003. While she was still alive she set up the foundation so that the fight against cancer would also be continued for other women after her death. The prize named after her is one of the most attractive awards in the German-speaking area.