In order to stimulate the activities of scientists and clinicians from around the world studying the histiocytic disorders, the Histiocyte Society is sponsoring an annual prize for the best scientific article at the Annual Meeting. The Award will be given in honor of Dr. Christian Nezelof, renowned pathologist, investigator, teacher, founding member and first President of the Society, to a physician or scientist who is carrying out basic research on the therapy, biology or pathogenesis of one of the histiocytic disorders.

Dr. Christian Nezelof studied medicine in Paris, France during and after the Second World War. In 1948 he specialized in Pediatrics at the Hôpital des Enfants Malades. In the early fifties, as a young pediatrician, he published the first clinical report on cystic fibrosis in France. In 1956 he worked in the Department of Pathology at the Sick Children Hospital in London under the direction of Professor Bodian, a famous British pathologist who first described cystic fibrosis in children. On returning to France he completed training in Pediatric Pathology. During the period from 1960-1968 Dr. Nezelof served as a full-time pathologist at Necker-Enfants Malades, where he became Chairman of the Department of Pathology in 1968. In parallel, from 1970, for 15 years he was Head of INSERM Research Unit and created the Groups of Pediatric Pathology located at the Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital.

The many contributions by Dr. Nezelof include:

  • Dr. Nezelof contributed significantly to the development of Pediatric Pathology as a subspecialty by creating a network of various specialties and also trained many clinicians and foreign pathologists. He has served as a consultant for the world of histiocytosis, always giving a friendly and illuminating answer to anyone's questions.

  • In 1960, Dr. Nezelof played a key role in describing a clinical condition of immune deficiency in childhood, in which the existence of a "split" in the human lymphoid system toward T- and B-cells was recognized. An immune-deficient child was described as afflicted by a thymic hypoplasia, but with normal level of immunoglobulins "Lymphocytophtisie avec normogammagloblinemie"). In the pediatric literature this condition became known as Nezelof's syndrome.

  • In the field of histiocytosis, his seminal contribution was that Letterer-Siwe, Hand-Schuller-Christian and eosinophilic granuloma are linked to the same cell, having a common ultrastructural marker designated as the Langerhans body (Birbeck granule). In his paper "Histiocytosis X: Histogeneticarguments for Langerhans cell origin", he noted the dendritic lineage of this disease. Not long afterwards the term Langerhans cell histiocytosis was introduced.

Histiocytic disorders continue to be one of his major fields of interest. In 1982 Dr. Nezelof described the successful growth in nude mice of a tumor after injection of cells from the pleural effusion of a child with malignant histiocytosis. After this manuscript entitled: "Tumor cell line characterization of a malignant histiocytosis transplanted into nude mice" his team has described successful establishment in vitro of the Malignant Histiocytosis DEL cell line.

The Society thought it entirely consistent with Dr. Nezelof's great interest in new developments of basic pathophysiology, bridged with his key-role in supporting others that this prize be given in his honor. The awardee need not be a physician, but the focus of the work should be on some aspect of the pathophysiology of the histiocytic disorders.

Judgement will be based on a written abstract describing work done by the candidate him/herself. It is understood that the winning abstract may have  co-authors, but that the first author must be the leader of the project and the one who is awarded the Nezelof Award. The Program Committee will provide time during the Annual Meeting for presentation of the winning paper. The decision by a special committee of the Histiocyte Society will be based on scientific content, originality, relevance and organization of presentation. The prize will consist of $500 US Dollars and a certificate.

2016 Recipient

Cd8 T-Cell Memory Results In An Enhanced HLH Disease That Is Resistant To IFN-Gamma Blockade
Edward Behrens
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA USA

2015 Recipient

Diverse Kinase Mutations and Fusions Drive Non-Langerhans cell histiocytoses
Benjamin Durham
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - New York, NY USA 

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