2006 Judson Daland Prize
George Q. Daley of Harvard Medical School, Children's Hospital of Boston and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute for his work "in the area of chronic myeloid leukemia and in the application of stem cell biology to the treatment of leukemia and genetic diseases."
While still an MD/PhD student at Harvard Medical School (in the HST division) in the laboratory of David Baltimore, George Daley created a faithful model of human chronic myeloid leukemia by putting the fusion gene of the "Philadelphia chromosome" characteristic of that disorder into the mouse. This proved beyond question the causative role of the fusion gene and indirectly guided development of the remarkably effective inhibitor of the fusion gene product, Gleevec. After completion of full residency training capped off by chief residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Daley returned to the laboratory. His studies included investigations into the mechanism of resistance to Gleevec that occurred in some CML patients because of mutation in the active part of the fusion gene. This work prompted him to design small molecules that would overcome resistance and to undertake clinical trials.
Following on his seminal work on the pathogenesis and treatment of CML, a paradigm of stem cell disorders, Daley has devoted his efforts in the last five years to the fashioning of blood-cell stem cells that can be corrected genetically and used for bone marrow transplantation in genetic, neoplastic and degenerative disorders. His goal is to reprogram stem cells from patients with genetic diseases and put these cells back into the patient--a combination of gene and cell therapy. This goal was aided by his discovery of two genes that promote specialization into blood cells and their engraftment in the bone marrow. Daley is an active participant in discussions of the ethical and policy issues surrounding stem cell research. Long a leader in the CML field, he has emerged as a leader also in the field of stem cell research, being recently elected president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research.