Israel’s Professor Ron N. Apte has been awarded the 2010 Samuel and Paula Elkeles Prize for Outstanding Scientist in the Field of Medicine.

Apte is chairman of the Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology and Immunology and vice dean of the Basic Sciences division at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in the Faculty of Health Sciences.

His major field of research involves inflammation in malignant processes. Approximately 15 percent of cancers are connected to inflammation, which typically result in organs where chronic inflammation has occurred. For example, patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease are more prone to cancer than the general population.

The pioneering studies of Apte’s group demonstrated the feasibility of intervening in malignant processes by neutralizing inflammatory components in the ‘normal’ microenvironment of a tumor. They also detailed the basic concepts underlying such treatment.

Apte joined the BGU Faculty of Sciences in 1981. He has served as a charter member of the International Cancer Microenvironment Society (ICMS) and has published more than 80 papers in the fields of immunology, tumor biology and cytokine biology.

The Samuel and Paul Elkeles Prize for Outstanding Scientist in the Field of Medicine was established 23 years ago. Jewish National Fund administers the endowment and awards the 15,000 Swiss francs (about $14,400) in prize money each year.