Jame Abraham, Bonnie Wells Wilson Distinguished Professor and Eminent Scholar in Breast Cancer Research at West Virginia University, joined the leagues of actor Amitabh Bachchan and Carnatic musician M Balamurali Krishna when he received the Vaidya Bhooshanam award from Indian President Pratibha Patil in New Delhi.
Abraham was honoured for his achievements and contributions to the society. Abraham, who is also the medical director at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, leads the breast cancer program at West Virginia University and is internationally recognized as an expert in breast cancer treatment.
His earlier study found that Indians and Pakistanis are fast 'Americanizing', at least in terms of diseases, especially prostate cancer among males and breast cancer among females. A three-year study has shown that people from India and Pakistan take on the habits of their adopted country, thereby increasing their risks of prostate and breast cancer.
'Breast cancer and prostate cancer develop due to many reasons, but environmental factors and lifestyle play a major role in these cancers,' Abraham said earlier. 'When men and women from India and Pakistan migrate to the United States, their disease profiles change, mirroring the American risk.'
The award was instituted by the Pazhassiraja Charitable Trust to honor the 18th century king Pazhassi Raja, one of the first freedom fighters in India who died fighting the British colonial rulers. Other past awardees included Shashi Tharoor, now India's deputy foreign minister.
Abraham is the principal investigator for more than 10 clinical research protocols. His translational research interest is focused on understanding the cause of chemotherapy-induced brain changes and memory problems. His group has developed preclinical, clinical and genomic data in this serious side effect in patients receiving chemotherapy.
He has also developed a genomic-based risk stratification of breast cancer and holds a patent in this method. He has received several awards including merit awards from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Idea Award and Career Development Award from the Department of Defense.