Centenary researcher wins medical prize

Professor John Rasko

Professor John Rasko, Head, Gene and Stem Cell Therapy

Sydney researcher Professor John Rasko has been recognised for his work in improving bone marrow transplants by lifting the quality and quantity of viable adult stem cells. Prof Rasko was announced as the winner of the 50th annual Eric Susman Prize by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) on 7 December 2011.

By discovering ways in which to increase cell numbers prior to transplant, Prof Rasko has not only been able to help his patients at the Royal Prince Alfred, but he has also contributed to helping the more than 25,000 people around the world each year who receive a bone marrow transplant .

RACP President Professor John Kolbe said Prof Rasko had dedicated his career to increasing the understanding of stem cells, and to discoveries that improve results for patients with serious genetic disorders.

“He is a true leader and pioneer in the research community and John is a worthy recipient of the Eric Susman Prize,” Prof Kolbe said.

Professor Antony Basten, who nominated Prof Rasko, said his contribution to internal medicine represents 20 years of pioneering work in human biology and genetics.

“His dedication to improving patient outcomes is reflected in his practice of clinical medicine at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and in his teaching role at the University of Sydney,” Prof Basten said.

“John is a fine example of the new generation of clinician scientists who are destined to play an important role over the next few decades in translating the advances in basic medical science into effective and ethical practice.”