Stanley Cohen, whose research into the factors that promote cellular growth was recognized with a 1986 Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, which he shared with Rita Levi-Montalcini, has passed away at 97. In the mid-1950s at Washington University, Cohen collaborated with Levi-Montalcini, who had discovered a protein that stimulated nerve growth in mice. Together, they determined the structure of this protein, called nerve growth factor (NGF), and identified its chemical properties.
Later, Cohen established a laboratory at Vanderbilt University where he investigated a similar protein, the epidermal growth factor (EGF), and discovered the EGF receptor. Cohen’s research helped establish the common molecular underpinning shared by seemingly different processes such as embryonic growth, wound healing, tissue regeneration, endocrine disorders, and cancer.