Axel Hirsch Prize for groundbreaking research on angiogenesis

Professor Yihai Cao at the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet is awarded the 2014 Axel Hirsch Prize for his groundbreaking studies on angiogenesis and its importance for numerous physiological and pathological conditions.

In 2004 Yihai Cao was appointed professor in vascular biology at Karolinska Institutet, specializing in angiogenesis regulation. Angiogenesis is the process involved in the formation of new blood vessels, and is an important field in the areas of research such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes and chronic inflammation. The process is also important in healthy individuals for wound healing, pregnancy and many other physiological processes.

In experimental model systems, Yihai Cao and his fellow researchers have shown how low temperature triggers brown fat-related plaque growth in blood vessels, which increases the risk of atherosclerosis. In experimental studies, he has developed microcapsules containing a combination of effective growth factors, which, once injected into the cardiac muscle, prevent cardiac dysfunction. Cao’s group is also performing studies on blood vessel function in cancer development. Cao has also shown how growth factors could stimulate tumor cell dissemination, invasion, and hematologous and lymphatic metastasis. Based on his group’s findings, he has proposed new mechanisms that underlie the beneficial effects of antiangiogenic drugs for cancer therapy. These important findings have been implicated in clinical cancer treatment.

”Professor Yihai Cao have published an impressive series of recognized articles in some of the top scientific journals” says Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren, Dean of Research at Karolinska Institutet. “Cao’s research is of great importance for our understanding of normal physiological conditions as well as a variety of diseases where angiogenesis is implicated.”

The Axel Hirsch Prize is awarded annually by the Board of Research at Karolinska Institutet, in "recognition for a scientific article of high value, published by a Swedish scientist". Prize winners are chosen through nomination. Professor Yihai Cao receives the Prize in conjunction with Karolinska Institutet's installation ceremony on 17 October 2014.

Read more about Yihai Cao’s research.

For further information, please contact

Dean of Research, professor Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren
Work: + 46 8 585 806 02


Karolinska Institutet is one of the world’s leading medical universities. It accounts for over 40 per cent of the medical academic research conducted in Sweden and offers the country’s broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. Since 1901 the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has selected the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine.


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