The prize is worth 200,000 US dollars. It is awarded only every two years. The recipient is an international researcher who has carried out ground-breaking medical research.
Peter Carmeliet is a lecturer at Leuven University and the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology. He is specialised in the study of the formation of blood vessels. Blood vessels are essential for our bodies as they provide supplies of sugars and oxygen to our body's cells. In the event of cancer too many blood vessels are formed because cancer cells are always hungry. In the event of a heart attack too few blood vessels have been created.
The Heineken Prize is seen as one of the world's most prestigious awards after the Nobel Prize.