For 25 years, the Milstein Awards have represented the pinnacle of scientific achievement in interferon and cytokine research and are conferred each year by the International Society of Interferon and Cytokine Research (now the International Cytokine and Interferon Society, ICIS) at a special event during its annual meeting.
The Milstein family—Vivian, her late husband Seymour, their son Philip and their daughter Connie—are well-known philanthropists in the United States and abroad. For more than 50 years they have provided essential support for institutions and organizations at a time when funds from government agencies have been drying up.
Among the research- and healthcare-focused institutions that the Milstein family has championed are the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center; Columbia University and the University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons; Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center; the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services; and CURE (Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy).
The preeminent Seymour & Vivian Milstein Award for Excellence in Interferon and Cytokine Research, commonly known as The Milstein Award, recognizes individuals who have made exceptional contributions to interferon and cytokine research, either in a basic or applied field. Many of these achievements have led to the advancement of human health. The Milstein family also supports The Milstein Young Investigator Awards to recognize the work of individuals who have made an impact on interferon and cytokine research early in their careers, and The Milstein Travel Awards to give those who may not otherwise be able to attend the Annual Meeting of the ICIS an opportunity to share the most current interferon and cytokine knowledge with peers around from the world.
Seymour Milstein’s early insights into the critical importance of interferons led him to Sidney Pestka, M.D., one of the scientists at the forefront of interferon research and an active member of the former ISICR. Seymour Milstein’s interest in fostering continued investigations in this emerging field, and the Milstein family’s tradition of support for organizations dedicated to patient care and scientific research, motivated him and his wife Vivian to establish The Milstein Awards in 1988—two years after interferon was first approved for the treatment of hairy cell leukemia. Since that time, it has been widely recognized that interferons and the larger class of cytokines play critical roles in the development and progression of many major diseases including cancer, viral diseases such as hepatitis and influenza, and autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and lupus.