Great Honors for Surgeon of Zurich

Dr. Pierre-Alain Clavien, MD, PhD – full Professor at the University of Zurich and Chairman of the Department for Surgery and Transplantation, University Hospital Zurich – has received two prestigious awards in recognition of his scientific and clinical achievements in the field of liver and pancreatic surgery. 

During the 8th Annual Convention of the Catalan Surgical Society, Dr. Clavien was honored with the Gimbernat-Prize 2011 by the Reial Acadèmia de Medicina de Catalunya in Barcelona/Spain on October 20, 2011. Since 1963, this prize has been awarded annually to an outstanding member of the surgical community who has excelled in both clinical and basic research. Dr. Clavien’s specializes in liver and pancreatic surgery. Together with his team of dedicated physicians and scientists, he has successfully developed novel therapeutic surgical strategies. He has made significant and innovative contributions in the field of living donor liver transplantation and in the treatment of liver and pancreatic cancer. The results of these studies are published in various high-impact journals such as “New England Journal of Medicine”, “The Lancet”, or “Annals of Surgery”. In addition, Dr. Clavien pioneered an exhaustively validated system to record complications, which is currently used and considered as a standard worldwide for quality control.

Second honor in Stockholm

Dr. Clavien received his second honor on October 24, 2011 in Stockholm, Sweden, during the Annual Congress of the United European Gastroenterology Federation (UEGF). He was awarded the UEGF Research Prize 2011 and was endowed with EUR 100’000.-. This prize is also annually bestowed and honors excellence in the field of gastroenterological and hepatology research. Following major liver surgery or liver transplantation, it is not uncommon that the loss of liver function could ultimately place patients in life threatening situations. Dr. Clavien and his research team have embarked upon the challenging task of identifying the factors which are responsible for preserving liver function and liver regeneration, as well as developing strategies to protect the small liver remnant. In order to stimulate liver regeneration before or directly after an operation, Dr. Clavien and his team implement not only new surgical techniques, but also experimental drugs. They have already successfully targeted the neurotransmitter serotonin and are now attempting to clarify its role in liver regeneration. Serotonin is just one of many substances which could be used in the future to treat patients after major liver operations. These findings have been published in “Science”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA”, “Gastroenterology”, “Cancer Research” and “GUT”. Dr. Clavien and his team have been able to successfully bridge the gap between basic research and the clinic. The use of this stragey in patients is in part the rational why this highly competive award was given to Prof Clavien. Several surgical procedures practiced worldwide nowadays, had their beginnings in Dr. Clavien’s laboratory.

Dr. Clavien stated that “It is a great honor for me to have been awarded these two prestigious prizes almost simultaneously, and I am highly motivated to continue on this path.” He will donate the entire amount to his laboratory to continue research in liver regeneration.