Piet Borst, emeritus professor of clinical biochemistry and molecular biology at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Amsterdam, has received 2023 Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science. He receives this 'American Nobel Prize' thanks to his numerous scientific discoveries in the field of cancer. 

Borst studied medicine at the University of Amsterdam, where he also obtained his PhD on the energy management of cells with the thesis, Biochemical Research on Mitochondria isolated from an Asciles cell Tumor. In 1969 he became a professor at the UvA/AMC, now Amsterdam UMC, location AMC. 


Borst made discoveries in several specialties: for example, he immersed himself in parasitology by investigating how parasites that cause sleeping sickness resist the immune system. In the field of oncology, he investigated, among other things, how cancer cells become resistant to chemotherapy. Jan Paul Medema, scientific director of Cancer Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC: "Piet Borst has meant an incredible amount to fundamental oncology research. It is wonderful and also important that with this award there is international recognition for this." 

Social merits 

Piet Borst receives the Lasker Award not only for his scientific achievements, but also for his social achievements. From 1983 he was research director of the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) and the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital in Amsterdam. The jury praises Borst for the role he played in the development of the NKI into an internationally leading research centre. The jury also mentions that Borst was a columnist for the newspaper NRC for many years, in which he wrote about various topics on a medical-scientific and social level, such as aging, and smoking.

See below the Lasker Award's video about Piet Borst's career

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'American Nobel Prize'

The Lasker Award is also considered the 'American Nobel Prize'. The prize is intended for people who have made an important contribution to medical science and public health. Piet Borst will receive the prize "for his exceptional 50-year career of scientific discoveries, mentorship and leadership", according to the Lasker Foundation. The ceremony will take place on Friday, September 29 in New York.