Public Release: 

Leading researchers honored for progress in cancer prevention, detection and treatment

AACR presents research achievement awards at 2008 annual meeting

American Association for Cancer Research

PHILADELPHIA - World-class cancer researchers whose science has significantly contributed to progress in the fight against cancer will be recognized April 12-16, 2008, by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) at its 2008 Annual Meeting at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif.

A series of awards given annually by the AACR, the world's oldest and largest professional organization representing cancer scientists from the United States and nearly 70 other countries, honor outstanding accomplishments in basic cancer research, clinical care, therapeutics and prevention. Each recipient presents an educational lecture at the AACR Annual Meeting.

"The AACR Awards Program recognizes the finest and most promising investigators in all fields of cancer research," said AACR Chief Executive Officer Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.). "During our Annual Meeting, AACR is pleased to honor the dedication and work of such influential researchers and advocates who continue to shape the future of cancer research."

Peers and colleagues nominate award candidates. Selection committees for each award, comprised of leaders in all areas of cancer research, choose the honorees.

This year's awardees embody the spirit of the AACR through their significant achievements in cancer research, education, and collaboration as well as their passion and dedication to advancing progress in the field. The honorees are:

Nancy E. Davidson, M.D., professor of oncology and breast cancer research chair in oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center; with joint appointments in biochemistry and molecular biology at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will be honored with the 11th Annual AACR-Women in Cancer Research-Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship for her accomplishments in translational cancer science, including pivotal discoveries regarding the epigenetic regulation of estrogen receptors and landmark clinical trials that have helped shape the standard of care for women with breast cancer. The Women in Cancer Research Council of the AACR established this lectureship in 1998 to honor renowned virologist and discoverer of the Friend virus, Dr. Charlotte Friend. The lecture recognizes an outstanding scientist who has made meritorious contributions to the field of cancer research and who has, through leadership or by example, furthered the advancement of women in science. The Award ceremony and lecture will be held on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 5:30 p.m.

Arthur Gutierrez-Hartmann, M.D., professor in the departments of medicine and of biochemistry & molecular genetics; member, graduate programs in biochemistry & molecular genetics, molecular biology and reproductive sciences at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, will receive the third annual AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research-Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship, for diversifying the cancer research community by recruiting minority scientists into the field, serving as a mentor to minority students, and fostering the careers of young minority investigators. In addition to his outstanding achievements as a researcher of epithelial cell development and tumorigenesis, Gutierrez-Hartmann has dedicated himself to helping minority scientists reach their full career potential. Named in honor of Jane Cooke Wright, M.D., an African-American woman pioneer in clinical cancer chemotherapy, the award is sponsored by the AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research Council and is intended to give recognition to an outstanding scientist who has, through leadership or by example, furthered the advancement of minority investigators in cancer research. Gutierrez-Hartmann will give his award lecture on Sunday, April 13th at 4:15 p.m. in Room 6E of the convention center.

Sydney Brenner, Ph.D., a distinguished professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and a recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize in medicine is the recipient of the 3rd Annual AACR-Irving Weinstein Foundation Distinguished Lectureship. A renowned molecular biologist, Brenner helped to define this field of cancer research with several seminal contributions, including the identification of messenger RNA. Named in honor of the late Irving Weinstein, AACR and the Irving Weinstein Foundation created the distinguished lectureship in 2005 to recognize the accomplishments of an individual whose innovations in science and position as a thought leader have inspired creativity and new directions in cancer research. Brenner's award lecture will take place on Monday, April 14th at 1:30 p.m. in Room 20A-C of the convention center.

John E. Dick, Ph.D., Canada research chair in stem cell biology, division of cellular and molecular biology at the Toronto General Research Institute/University Health Network / Princess Margaret Hospital/OCI; and professor of medical genetics and microbiology at the University of Toronto, is the recipient of the 48th Annual AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award for his innovative contributions to uncovering the biological origins and development of human leukemia. His work has provided a new understanding of leukemia pathogenesis and has suggested new insights into anti-neoplastic therapies for treatment of the disease. The AACR and Eli Lilly and Company established this award in 1961 to honor Dr. G.H.A. Clowes, a founding member of AACR and a research director at Eli Lilly. The oldest award giving by AACR, this honor recognizes an individual with outstanding recent accomplishments in basic cancer research. Dick's award lecture will take place on Tuesday, April 15th at 8:00 a.m. in Halls G&H of the convention center. Dick will also speak at the Eli Lilly and Company headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana later this year.

Jose Baselga, M.D., director of medical oncology, hematology and radiation oncology at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain, will be honored with the 2008 AACR-Rosenthal Family Foundation Award for his extraordinary achievements in improving clinical cancer care, specifically, his contributions to the clinical development of novel targeted cancer therapies including studies with anti-EGFR agents, anti-HER2 monoclonal antibodies and biomarker-driven early clinical trials. Established in 1977 to recognize clinical cancer research that has made, or promises to make notable contributions to the field, the award honors and provides incentive to investigators, age 50 or younger, relatively early in their careers. Baselga will present his award lecture on Tuesday, April 15th at 12:00 p.m. in Halls G&H of the convention center.

Robert N. Hoover, M.D., Sc.D., S.M.Hyg., director of the epidemiology and biostatistics program at the National Cancer Institute, will receive the 17th Annual AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. Established in 1992, the award recognizes outstanding research accomplishments in the fields of cancer epidemiology, biomarkers and prevention. Honored for his pioneering research in identifying environmental and genetic determinants of cancer, most notably bladder and breast cancer, Hoover is recognized as one of the nation's leading cancer epidemiologists and a major force in designing and deploying interdisciplinary studies looking at the role that environmental and genetic factors play in the etiology of cancer. Hoover will present his lecture on Tuesday, April 15th at 2:15 p.m. in Room 20A-C of the convention center.

Joseph R. Bertino, M.D., interim director and chief scientific officer at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, is the recipient of the 13th Annual AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievements in Clinical Research. Honored for his influential contributions to the field of cancer chemotherapy and more specifically, mechanisms of action and resistance to anti-metabolites and development of novel cancer therapeutics based on his studies, Bertino is a role model for translational research and has led the way in translating basic science into the clinic throughout his distinguished career. The award was established in 1996 to recognize outstanding achievements in clinical cancer research and honors the late Dr. Joseph Burchenal, honorary member and past president of the AACR, and a prominent figure in the field of clinical cancer research. Bertino will give his award lecture on Tuesday, April 15th at 9:00 a.m. in Halls G&H of the convention center.

Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D., S.P. Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology and professor of pathology and urology at the University of Michigan Medical School, will be honored with the 28th Annual AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research, for his promising research contributions to cancer biology. Chinnaiyan's research focuses on using genomic, proteomic, and bioinformatic approaches to better understand the biology of cancer and to uncover biomarkers. The work of his laboratory has far-reaching implications for the future of diagnosis and therapy for prostate and many other types of cancer. The AACR established this award in 1979 to recognize a young investigator for meritorious achievements in cancer research. Chinnaiyan's award lecture will take place on Wednesday, April 16th at 8:00 a.m. in Room 20A-C of the convention center.

Steven R. Tannenbaum, Ph.D., Underwood-Prescott professor of toxicology, biological engineering division; and professor of chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the recipient of the Second Annual AACR-CICR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research. The award was established in 2007 by the AACR's Chemistry in Cancer Research Working Group, through the support of GlaxoSmithKline, and honors novel and significant chemistry research which has led to important contributions to the field of cancer research. Tannenbaum's study of chemistry as related to cancer has advanced our knowledge of chemical carcinogenesis, the molecular epidemiology of cancer, and more recently, anti-cancer drug development and evaluation. His award lecture will be presented on Sunday, April 13th at 5:30 p.m. in Room 20A-C of the convention center.

Ellen V. Sigal, Ph.D., chairperson of Friends of Cancer Research has been named the 2nd recipient of the AACR Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research. The award, established last year to honor Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.) for her exemplary leadership of AACR as chief executive officer, recognizes a true champion of cancer research who embodies the sustained commitment of Margaret Foti to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Award is given to an individual whose leadership and extraordinary achievements in cancer research have made a major impact in the field. Such achievements may include contributions to the acceleration of progress in cancer research; raising national or international awareness of cancer research; or in other ways demonstrating a sustained commitment to cancer research. Sigal's award lecture will take place on Sunday, April 13th at 8:15 a.m. in Halls G&H of the convention center.

Lawrence A. Loeb, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology and biochemistry at the University of Washington in Seattle is the recipient of this year's AACR Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship. Loeb is honored for his distinguished career in cancer research, as well as his work in actively promoting collaboration in cancer research between American and Japanese investigators. Supported by the Princess Takamatsu Cancer Research Fund, the lectureship was established in 2007 in honor of the late Princess Takamatsu of Japan and recognizes an individual scientist whose novel and significant work has had or may have a far-reaching impact on the detection, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of cancer, and who embodies the dedication of the Princess to multinational collaborations. Loeb will present his award lecture on Tuesday, April 15th at 1:15 p.m. in Room 20A-C of the convention center.

Daniel Pinkel, Ph.D., professor-in-residence at the University of California San Francisco Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and senior scientist Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will be honored, along with his distinguished team of researchers with the 2nd Annual AACR Team Science Award, recognizing an outstanding interdisciplinary research team for its innovation in advancing cancer research, detection, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. Established by the AACR and generously supported by a grant from Eli Lilly and Company, the award acknowledges the growing importance of interdisciplinary team collaboration to the understanding of cancer and the translation of research discoveries into clinical applications. Pinkel's team consisting of M.D.'s, physicists, biochemists, statisticians, computer scientists and engineers is being recognized for their conception, technical implementation, dissemination and pioneering applications of comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) and array CGH in the field of molecular biology and genetics. Team members include: faculty- level team members Donna Albertson, Jane Fridlyand, Joe Gray, Ajay Jain, Robert Nordmeyer, Norma Nowak, Damir Sudar, Frederic Waldman; and pre-faculty team members Anne Kallioniemi, Olli Kallioniemi and Antoine Snijders. For complete information on the winning team, please visit our website.


For additional information on this year's honorees, high-resolution photographs and complete award citations, contact Jennifer Ryan at or 267-646-0558.

The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes over 26,000 basic, translational, and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 70 other countries. AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the etiology, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 17,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special Conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment, and patient care. AACR publishes five major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Its most recent publication and its sixth major journal, Cancer Prevention Research, is dedicated exclusively to cancer prevention, from preclinical research to clinical trials. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors, patient advocates, their families, physicians, and scientists. CR provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship, and advocacy.

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