Public Release: 

AACR and American Cancer Society honor NCI's Dr. Mitchell Gail

American Association for Cancer Research

PHILADELPHIA -- The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Cancer Society will recognize Mitchell H. Gail, MD, PhD, with the 24th annual AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention at the AACR Annual Meeting 2015, to be held in Philadelphia, April 18-22.

Gail, who is a senior investigator in the Biostatistics Branch of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland, is being recognized for his pioneering statistical work in cancer research and development of cancer risk prediction models, in particular models for breast cancer risk projection. He will present his lecture, "Risk Models and Cancer Prevention," Tuesday, April 21, 3 p.m. ET, in the Grand Ballroom of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention was established in 1992 to honor outstanding research accomplishments in the fields of cancer epidemiology, biomarkers, and prevention.

Gail described in 1989 a statistical model that estimated the absolute risk for a white woman of a specific age with specific risk factors -- age of first live birth, age of menarche, number of first-degree relatives with breast cancer, and number of previous breast biopsies -- to develop breast cancer. The model, commonly known as the "Gail model," was the first cancer risk prediction model that could be applied in a generalized population. The NCI's Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool, which is widely used in clinical settings, is an adapted version of the Gail model. Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration used this model to determine a 5-year breast cancer risk cutoff for approval of tamoxifen for use as a chemopreventative in women aged 35 and older. Gail continued to build on his findings to determine the risks versus benefits of chemopreventative tamoxifen use and to more accurately assess the risk of developing breast cancer among African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic women.

"I am honored to be associated with the outstanding former recipients of this award. This recognition is largely the result of productive collaborations and of sustained support of my research by the Intramural Program of the National Cancer Institute," Gail said.

Gail has been honored with numerous awards throughout his career, including the Nathan Mantel Lifetime Achievement Award from the statistics in epidemiology section of the American Statistical Association, the PHS Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Society for Preventive Oncology, the National Institute of Health's Merit Award, and the inaugural Breslow Lecture. He has served on numerous journal editorial boards and society committees, and is a past-president of the American Statistical Association. Additionally, he has been elected to several societies, including the Institute of Medicine and as fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Gail received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in Boston and his master's and doctoral degrees in mathematical statistics from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He has been with the NCI since 1969, following an internship at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston.


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About the American Association for Cancer Research

Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes more than 35,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in 101 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 25 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with over 18,500 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes eight prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients, and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration, and scientific oversight of team science and individual investigator grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and other policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit

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