University Of Missouri Researcher To Receive National Medal of Science | St. Louis Public Radio

University Of Missouri Researcher To Receive National Medal of Science

Dec 28, 2012

Credit Adam Procter | flickr

A University of Missouri researcher is one of only a dozen recipients of this year’s National Medal of Science, announced by President Barack Obama Thursday.

Frederick Hawthorne is the director of the International Institute of Nano and Molecular Medicine at MU, and will be receiving the nation’s highest honor for scientists.The University says the Institute “was created largely to facilitate Hawthorne’s research” with the chemical element Boron.  

Hawthorne is particularly excited about his most recent research into “Boron Neutron Capture Therapy” for cancer. He explains the process allows scientists to select cancer cells in the human body, label them with boron, and then bombard that boron with neutrons that would eventually destroy the boron, and in effect kill the cancer cells.

“We feel confident we have accomplished a proof of principle of this method, and although it’s been known for 50 years, no one has been able to get it pinned down to a demonstratable process," said Hawthorne. "So  it works and we’re going to scale it up.”

Hawthorne says MU is the ideal place to do this research, because of its medical program and the nuclear reactor on campus that serves as a source of neutrons for the procedure.

According to a press release, Hawthorne will join the other researchers at a ceremony at the White House early next year to receive the National Medal of Science.