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Portugal’s Champalimaud Foundation launches world’s largest cancer award

Portugal’s Champalimaud Foundation, set up by the late António Champalimaud, formerly the country’s wealthiest man, announced earlier today that the world’s largest annual prize, worth 1 million euros, for research and clinical practices aiming to control or eradicate cancer.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and was responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018, according to the World Health Organisation.

“For more than a century cancer, more than any other disease, has occupied our thought and fears,” a source within the foundation said.

 “Despite growing knowledge on the biology of the disease and advances in prevention, diagnosis and treatment, deaths from cancer are continuing to rise in most countries.”

The foundation, which focuses on neuroscience and oncology research at its Lisbon base, was set up at the bequest of the industrialist António Champalimaud, who died in 2004, having left an undeniable mark on the industrial and financial landscape of Portugal. The foundation states that “his life was characterised by the many challenges he faced, ending in success more than defeat, and he acted always with a strong sense of freedom, ambition, independence, initiative, vision and creativity.”

These traits were bequeathed as part of his legacy and are “a part of the Foundation which perpetuates his name and its association with great achievements” they conclude.

Last year a prize was awarded to seven scientists from the United States and Britain, who came up with a revolutionary gene therapy cure for a rare genetic form of childhood blindness.