(WASHINGTON, July 22, 2014)—The American Society of Hematology will present the 2014 William Dameshek Prize to Scott Armstrong, MD, PhD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for his exceptional work in leukemia research and cancer stem cell biology.
This prize, named after the late William Dameshek, MD, a renowned hematologist, past president of ASH, and the first editor of the Society's journal Blood, recognizes an individual who has made a recent, outstanding contribution to the field of hematology. Dr. Armstrong will accept his award at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 9, during the 56th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Francisco.
Dr. Armstrong is the Director of the Leukemia Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), where he also serves as Vice Chair for Basic and Translational Research in Pediatrics and as a full member of the MSK Cancer Biology and Genetics Program. His research focuses on the biology and epigenetics of a class of leukemias initiated by mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene translocations. Throughout his career, Dr. Armstrong has sought to uncover unique insights into the origin and properties of cancer stem cells, the signaling pathways sustaining cancer cell self-renewal, and the epigenetic mechanisms dependent on MLL-fusion oncogenes.
In 2002 Dr. Armstrong published a seminal paper in Nature Genetics demonstrating that MLLs exhibited a unique expression signature. In subsequent papers published in Cancer Cell in 2003 and Blood in 2004, Dr. Armstrong described how the FMS-like tyrosine kinase-3 (FLT3) is highly expressed and often mutated in MLLs. Dr. Armstrong's findings, in conjunction with the work of others, have led to clinical trials of FLT3 in various forms of leukemia. Over the past several years, Dr. Armstrong has extended his elegant study of MLL-rearranged leukemic stem cells in several publications, including Nature, Science, Cancer Cell, and Blood, all while taking advantage of rapidly developing technologies in the fields of genomics, epigenetics, and stem cell biology in a quest to yield new therapies for leukemia.
Dr. Armstrong began his medical career in 1996 after earning his MD and PhD from the University of Texas Southwestern, where he trained with Nobel Laureates Joseph Goldstein, MD, and Michael Brown, MD. After completing a residency in pediatrics at Boston Children's Hospital and a clinical fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children's Hospital, Dr. Armstrong held a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of the late Stanley Korsmeyer, MD, at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he studied the molecular basis of infant leukemias instigated by MLL gene translocations. Following his postdoctoral training, Dr. Armstrong served as an attending and principal investigator in the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute pediatric hematology/oncology program, launching an independent laboratory to study the molecular genetics and therapeutics of leukemia and particularly MLL-rearranged disease, where he remained until he was recruited to MSK in 2012.
In addition to his membership to ASH, Dr. Armstrong is a member of the Society of Pediatric Research, the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, the Society for Hematology and Stem Cells, and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. His recent awards include the American Pediatric Society and Society for Pediatric Research E. Mead Johnson Award for Research in Pediatrics, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research, and the International Society of Experimental Hematology McCulloch and Till Award. Earlier this year, Dr. Armstrong was awarded the Frank A. Oski Memorial Award from the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and was elected to the Association of American Physicians.
"ASH is pleased to honor Dr. Armstrong for his pioneering research in the fields of genomics and stem cell biology that is helping to fuel new therapies for patients diagnosed with devastating leukemias," said ASH President Linda J. Burns, MD, of the University of Minnesota. "His leadership and landmark discoveries in the fields of cancer stem cells and leukemia will undoubtedly leave a lasting imprint on contemporary cancer research."
The American Society of Hematology (ASH) is the world's largest professional society of hematologists dedicated to furthering the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the blood. For more than 50 years, the Society has led the development of hematology as a discipline by promoting research, patient care, education, training, and advocacy. The official journal of ASH is Blood, the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online.
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