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San Antonio industry group recognizes medical innovator with new Palmaz Award
November 30, 2006


Julio Palmaz, M.D., world-renowned inventor of the PALMAZ® Stent, became the inaugural recipient and namesake of an industry award honoring innovation in healthcare and the biosciences.

The Julio Palmaz Award for Innovation in Healthcare and the Biosciences was launched in San Antonio by BioMed SA, a non-profit corporation founded in 2005 to help grow and promote the city’s thriving healthcare and bioscience sector.

The award honors individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to advances in these fields.  Dr. Palmaz accepted the first award, named in his honor, at BioMed SA’s Annual Meeting in San Antonio.

Dr. Palmaz, who holds the Ashbel Smith Professorship at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, is widely recognized for inventing the first commercially successful intravascular stent to open clogged arteries. The PALMAZ® Stent, which received FDA approval in the 1990s, revolutionized cardiac care.  Doctors now place more than 2 million stents annually.  IP Worldwide magazine ranked the stent as one of “10 Patents that Changed the World,” and earlier this year Dr. Palmaz was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

“As a caring physician, dedicated researcher and successful entrepreneur, Dr. Palmaz embodies the qualities we seek to honor with this award,” said Henry Cisneros, Chairman of BioMed SA and a former four-term mayor of San Antonio.  “Dr. Palmaz’s development of the stent illustrates the type of medical breakthroughs coming out of San Antonio’s vibrant healthcare and bioscience community. We are proud to name this new award in his honor.”

Cisneros helped found BioMed SA in 2005 to help organize and promote San Antonio’s healthcare and bioscience sector, already one of the city’s leading economic engines with an annual economic impact of more than $14 billion.

Among the organization’s first-year achievements reported at the Annual Meeting, BioMed SA:

  • Secured approximately $500,000 in private and public funding for BioMed SA’s first year of operation.
  • Heightened the visibility of San Antonio’s bioscience community during the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists annual meeting, held in San Antonio earlier this month. 
  • Collaborated with other local organizations to bring the CEO of a biotech company from another region of the U.S. to San Antonio to consider relocation of the firm.
  • Introduced an international research institute to a San Antonio-based research organization, resulting in the two groups exploring potential collaborations.
  • Is actively involved in the ongoing local effort to secure location of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility for San Antonio.
  • Is co-chairing the Alamo WorkSource cluster initiative to create a pipeline of skilled workers for the city’s healthcare and bioscience industry.

BioMed SA’s mission is to organize and promote San Antonio’s healthcare and biosciences assets to accelerate growth of the sector and enhance San Antonio’s reputation as a city of science and health.

Dr. Palmaz is widely recognized for inventing the first commercially successful intravascular stent, which gained a U.S. patent in 1988 and received FDA approval for use in cardiac arteries in 1994.  The Palmaz® Stent revolutionized cardiac care, with more than a million people a year undergoing coronary artery stenting to repair clogged arteries.

For two years in a row, his patent on the balloon-expandable stent was recognized as one of the “Ten Patents that Changed the World” published in IP Worldwide magazine, August 2002.  In 2006, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.  His early stent research artifacts are now part of the medical collection of the Smithsonian Institutions.

Dr. Palmaz currently holds the Ashbel Smith Professorship as a tenured Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He received his M.D. degree in 1971 at the National University of La Plata, Argentina, and completed his radiology specialty training at the University of California, Davis in 1980.

He began his professional career in 1974 at San Martin University Hospital, Argentina, and was chief of special procedures at Martinez Veterans Administration hospital in 1981. In 1983, Dr. Palmaz joined the University of Texas Health Science Center, Department of Radiology as Chief of Angiography and Special Procedures until 1999, and as Chief of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology Research until 2005.

Dr. Palmaz has 20 issued patents and is the author of 29 books or book chapters and has authored 101 peer-reviewed publications. He is a Member of the Editorial Board for Circulation and is a Scientific Reviewer for several other journals including the Journal of Vascular Surgery and the Journal of Vascular, Interventional Radiology and the Journal of Cardiovascular Radiology.

In January 2003, Dr. Palmaz received the Presidential Distinguished Scholar Award from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He received the title of “Master of Interventional Cardiology” from the Argentina College of Cardiology, and “Extraordinary Professor” from the National University of La Plata, Argentina.

He has also received honorary titles or awards from the International Society of Endovascular Surgery, the Society of Interventional Radiology, the German Roentgen Society, The Rotterdam Thoraxcenter in Holland, the Washington Cardiovascular Research Foundation, the Society of Cardiac Angiography, the Texas Heart Institute, the Texas Bar Association, the San Antonio chapter of the AHA,  the Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute, the Cardiovascular Institute of the South, and  the Surfaces in Biomaterials Foundation.

Second Annual Palmaz Award to be presented at the 2007 BioMed SA Annual Meeting, December 13, 2007

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