Daniel Drucker (photo by Polina Teif)

Daniel Drucker receives 2023 VinFuture Special Prize

Daniel Drucker, a senior investigator at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health and a University Professor in the department of medicine at the University of Toronto's Temerty Faculty of Medicine, is part of a team of scientists who have been awarded the 2023 VinFuture Special Prize for Innovators with Outstanding Achievements in Emerging Fields.

The prize, valued at $500,000, is presented by the not-for-profit VinFuture Foundation in recognition of breakthrough scientific and technological innovations.

Drucker and collaborators were recognized for discovering the role of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a gut hormone that has paved the way for the development of treatments for diabetes and obesity and prompted applications for neurodegenerative diseases.

“This recognition really was built by thousands of trainees, scientists, clinical trial people and many tens of thousands of people living with obesity and diabetes and cardiometabolic disorders, who volunteered for the clinical trials [and] who made the reality happen,” Drucker said during the VinFuture Prize awards ceremony in Hanoi, Vietnam in December 2023.

Drucker shared the prize with Professors Joel Habener of Harvard Medical School, Svetlana Mojsov of Rockefeller University and Jens Juul Holst of the University of Copenhagen.

The awards ceremony took place just a few days after Science named GLP-1 therapies as its 2023 Breakthrough of the Year. The journal noted there’s a “groundswell of hope” that the drugs can curb rates of obesity and related chronic diseases, and cited recent clinical trials that found promise that they could also reduce the risk of heart attacks.