The Japanese Cancer Association and Debiopharm Group Present the JCA-Mauvernay Award to Dr Ushijima for his Oncology Research

October 5, 2009

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, October 5 /PRNewswire/ — Debiopharm Group
(Debiopharm), a Swiss-based global biopharmaceutical group of companies with
a focus on the development of prescription drugs that target unmet medical
needs, and the Japanese Cancer Association (JCA) presented ‘The JCA-Mauvernay
Award’ to Dr Toshikazu Ushijima from the National Cancer Center Research
Institute in Tokyo, for his outstanding and innovative research in basic
science in the “epigenetic field for cancerization”. The ceremony took place
on October 3rd, during the General Assembly of the 68th Annual Conference of
the JCA in Japan, where Professor Setsuo Hirohashi, President of the JCA and
Dr Rolland-Yves Mauvernay, Founder and President of Debiopharm Group
presented him with the Award.

Since 1999, Dr Toshikazu Ushijima has headed the Carcinogenesis Division
at the National Cancer Center Research Institute. His basic research focuses
on the establishment of a novel concept referred to as “epigenetic field for
cancerization, its mechanistic clarification, and its potential clinical
application”. He demonstrated that aberrant DNA methylation, the most common
molecular lesion of the cancer cell, accumulated in surrounding non-cancerous
tissue of cancer patients, and that there is a correlation between this
accumulation and the risk of cancer development. He also demonstrated that
Helicobacter pylori infection, a potent gastric carcinogenic factor, induces
aberrant DNA methylation in gastric mucosa. In recent studies, Dr Ushijima
showed that the suppression of inflammation with an immunosuppressive drug
leads to the suppression of DNA methylation induced by Helicobacter pylori
infection. He has also initiated a prospective study to use DNA methylation
levels in gastric mucosa as a risk marker for metachronous gastric cancers
following endoscopic mucosal dissection. The finding in the stomach is likely
to be expanded to colorectal, esophageal, liver, breast, and renal cancers,
in which the individuals’ life style can produce predisposed field for
cancers in a normal-appearing tissue.

“We are proud to reward Dr Ushijima for his innovative work and the
possibility that one day it may lead to a clinical application,” said
Rolland-Yves Mauvernay, President and Founder of Debiopharm Group. “Having a
marker to detect the development of new primary cancers in patients who have
already undergone surgery is crucial.”

About the JCA-Mauvernay Award

The JCA-Mauvernay Award is organised jointly by the JCA and Debiopharm to
honour innovative fundamental and clinical oncology research and to encourage
Japanese scientists to make their work available outside Japan. This is the
fifth edition of the ceremony.

About Debiopharm Group

Debiopharm Group is a Swiss-based global biopharmaceutical group of
companies with a focus on the development of prescription drugs that target
unmet medical needs. The group in-licenses promising biological and small
molecule drug candidates. It develops its products for global registration
and maximum commercial potential. Once registered, the products are
out-licensed to pharmaceutical partners for sales and marketing.

Debiopharm independently funds the worldwide development of all of its
products while providing expertise in pre-clinical and clinical trials,
manufacturing, drug delivery and formulation, and regulatory affairs.

Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, Debiopharm
has developed four products with global combined sales of $2.6 billion in

For more information on Debiopharm Group, please visit:

    Debiopharm S.A. Contact         Additional Media Contacts
    Maurice Wagner                  In London
    Director Corporate Affairs      Maitland
    & communication                 Brian Hudspith
    Tel.: +41(0)21-321-01-11        Tel: +44(0)20-7379-5151
    Fax: +41(0)21-321-01-69         bhudspith@maitland.co.uk
                                    In New York
                                    Russo Partners, LLC
                                    Martina Schwarzkopf, Ph.D.
                                    Account Executive
                                    Tel: +1-212-845-4292
                                    Fax: +1-212-845-4260

SOURCE Debiopharm Group

Source: newswire

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