Gairdner recipients Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol Greider win 2009 Nobel
Prize in Medicine.

    -   First recognized by Gairdners in 1998
    -   Since 1959, 75 Gairdner Awardees have gone on to win the Nobel Prize.
    -   Dr. Blackburn will be among 60 Gairdner Laureates, (22 of whom also
        won the Nobel prize), in Toronto later this month for the 50th
        anniversary celebrations of the Gairdner Awards, the largest
        gathering of top scientific minds in Canada.

TORONTO, Oct. 5 /CNW/ - Canada Gairdner-Award winners Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and Dr. Carol Greider, who this morning were announced as co-winners (with Dr. Jack W. Szostak) of the Nobel Prize in Medicine, are long-standing winners of the Gairdner Award for Medical Research. Dr. Blackburn is also a member of the Gairdner Medical Advisory Board.

Blackburn and Greider won their Gairdner Awards in 1998 for the same work that prompted their Nobel 11 years later. Since then, Blackburn and Greider have gone on to win many other awards, including a Lasker Award in 2005.

Their work with Szostak focuses on telomeres, the small protective caps on the end of chromosomes. They found that telomeres play an essential role in protecting genetic information - an exceptionally important discovery, given that telomeres also slowly wear down with age. This telomere breakdown has direct implications for aging and diseases such as cancer, which are linked to uncontrolled cell growth. Their research also identified the enzyme telomerase, which replenishes the telomeres as they wear down.

Said Dr. John Dirks, President and Scientific Director of the Gairdner Foundation: "Today's announcement demonstrates the Gairdner Foundation's long-standing track record of recognizing the significance of medical research breakthroughs early, in this case, 11 years before the Nobels. It's especially gratifying to have two Gairdner winners also win a Nobel Prize during our 50th anniversary."

The Gairdner Foundation: Making Science Matter

The Canada Gairdner Awards were created in 1959 to recognize and reward the achievements of medical researchers whose work contributes significantly to improving the quality of human life. They are Canada's only globally known and respected international prizes, and the Gairdner Foundation is the only national organization that consistently brings the world's best biomedical researchers to Canada to share their ideas and work with scientists across the country. In so doing, it enlarges networks and enhances Canada's international reputation while providing a realistic and unbiased benchmark for Canada's leading scientists.

For more information on the Gairdner awards and the 50th anniversary events in Toronto and across Canada, please log on to:

SOURCE Gairdner Foundation

For further information: For further information: and interviews with Dr. Dirks: Contact Bob Ramsay at (4l6) 598-3970, or

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