Stanley Cohen, a Vanderbilt University biochemist who won the Nobel Prize in 1986, has died, the Tennessean reports. He was 97.
Cohen shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Rita Levi-Montalcini from the Institute of Cell Biology of the CNR in Rome "for their discoveries of growth factors," according to the Nobel committee. While at Washington University in St. Louis, Cohen and Levi-Montalcini uncovered nerve growth factor, which spurred nerve cells to grow in mice, as the Washington Post reports. "I did the chemistry, she did the biology," Cohen told the Post in 1986. "It was a completely collaborative effort."
Cohen went on to also uncover epidermal growth factor and its receptor, a finding Jeff Balser, dean of Vanderbilt's medical school, notes in a statement has "revolutionized the care and outlook for millions of cancer patients worldwide."
"His Nobel-winning discovery formed the foundation for an entirely new area of research and significantly expanded our understanding of multiple types of diseases," Balser adds. "Despite his enormous success, Dr. Cohen remained humble and was a generous mentor to generations of scientists who followed in his footsteps."