News Release

IASLC presents Joseph W. Cullen Prevention/Early Detection Award to Dr. Gabriella Sozzi of Italy

Grant and Award Announcement

International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer

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image: Dr. Gabriella Sozzi view more 

Credit: Dr. Gabriella Sozzi

DENVER-Sept. 8, 2021—The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer today presented The Joseph W. Cullen Prevention/Early Detection Award to Gabriella Sozzi, PhD. 

Dr. Sozzi leads the Tumor Genomics Unit at Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Tumori (INT) in Milan, Italy. She graduated in Biological Sciences from the University of Milan and received her doctorate in Medical Genetics at University of Pavia, Italy. She also trained in Cancer Genetics at Memorial Sloan Kettering, New York City, and at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia.  

Dr. Sozzi is past President of the Italian Cancer Society (SIC) and sits on the scientific advisory boards of the American-Italian Foundation for Cancer Research (AICF) and Associazione Italiana Ricerca Cancro (AIRC). She coordinates research on primary and secondary disease prevention, as well as early detection at the Italian Ministry of Health at INT Milan.                                                                                  She received a Junior Investigator Award for Excellence (IASLC) at the 7th WCLC, the IASLC Award for Presidential Plenary Session at the 8th WCLC, and the Award for Excellence in Medicine from AICF in 2002. She has been associate editor of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology since 2012, and she is a member of the IASLC Early Detection and Screening Committee. 

Dr. Sozzi’s research activity is centered on all aspects of lung cancer by using an integrated approach that combines cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, and pharmacology to gain new insights in the pathogenesis of lung cancer, as well as on novel ways to provide early diagnosis and treatment options. The goal of her translational studies is the implementation of highly sensitive molecular tests that could be used within screening programs to improve both detection and clinical management of lung cancer.  

Her early achievements include the characterization of the key genetic events in lung carcinogenesis, including the identification of the oncosuppressor gene FHIT. Her work has led to the identification of cancer-initiating cells in lung cancer, the characterization of microRNA aberrant expression in lung tumor, and their functional and therapeutic roles. She recently broadened her interest focusing to the study of tumor microenvironment and mechanisms of response/resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitors.  

Dr. Sozzi developed a plasma microRNA signature useful for risk prediction and early diagnosis of lung cancer in screening programs. In the field of circulating biomarkers, she has a demonstrated record of successful and productive research projects in lung cancer screening. She is co-investigator of the “Multicentric Italian Lung Detection (MILD)-LDCT Screening Trial,”  “BioMILD-Prospective Screening Trial (miRNA+LDCT),” and  “Screening and Multiple Intervention on Lung Epidemics” (SMILE) trials. She has authored or coauthored 245 full articles with more than 14,478 citations. 

The Joseph W. Cullen Prevention/Early Detection Award recognizes an IASLC scientist for a lifetime achievement in the prevention of thoracic malignancies. Dr. Cullen served as the deputy director of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. He created the Smoking, Tobacco and Cancer Program at the NCI in 1982. The winner of the first award in 1994 was Jesse Steinfeld, MD, the U.S. Surgeon General when the National Cancer Act of 1971 was enacted into federal law. 

About the IASLC: 

The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) is the only global organization dedicated solely to the study of lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies. Founded in 1974, the association's membership includes nearly 7,500 lung cancer specialists across all disciplines in over 100 countries, forming a global network working together to conquer lung and thoracic cancers worldwide. The association also publishes the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the primary educational and informational publication for topics relevant to the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of all thoracic malignancies. Visit for more information.  

About the WCLC: 

The WCLC is the world’s largest meeting dedicated to lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies, attracting more than 7,000 researchers, physicians, and specialists from more than 100 countries. The goal is to increase awareness, collaboration and understanding of lung cancer, and to help participants implement the latest developments across the globe. The conference will cover a wide range of disciplines and unveil several research studies and clinical trial results. For more information, visit

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