Scientists making advances receive international awards


AACR confers honors at 96th Annual Meeting

PHILADELPHIA -- Leading scientists whose work in research laboratories, universities and medical centers is helping to understand and eradicate cancer will be recognized April 16-20, 2005, by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) at its 96th Annual Meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

A series of awards is given annually by the AACR the world's oldest and largest professional society representing cancer scientists from the United States and more than 60 other countries to honor world-class accomplishments in basic research, clinical care, therapeutics and prevention. Each recipient presents a lecture at the AACR Annual Meeting.

"We are privileged to acknowledge just a few of the extraordinary men and women who, over the years, have given us a clear understanding of how cancer evolves and of the signals that drive and nourish its growth and spread, and those who have improved patient care and preventive strategies," said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), AACR chief executive officer.

"This is an exciting time in cancer research, and the AACR award winners are among the leaders in this new era of discovery, therapeutics, and treatment," she added.

Each award has its own selection committee composed of members of the AACR. Peers and colleagues nominate the award candidates.

This year's winners represent institutions in Boston, Mass.; Cold Spring Harbor and New York City, N.Y.; Los Angeles, Calif.; South San Francisco, Calif.; and Seattle, Wash. They are:

David M. Livingston, M.D., Deputy Director, Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and Emil Frei Professor of Genetics and Medicine, Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass., will receive the 45th AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award for his groundbreaking contributions to the understanding of the molecular basis of cancer. The AACR and Eli Lilly and Company established this award in 1961 to honor Dr. Clowes, a founding member of AACR and a research director at Eli Lilly. The award the oldest given by AACR recognizes an individual with outstanding recent accomplishments in basic cancer research. Livingston's lecture, "Searching for the mechanisms underlying BRCA1 tumor suppression," will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 17, in Hall A of the Anaheim Convention Center.

Charles L. Sawyers, M.D., Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Peter Bing Professor of Medicine, UCLA Director, Prostate Cancer Program, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles Calif., will be awarded the 29th AACR-Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award. The Rosenthal Foundation, built on the belief that those who reap unusual benefits from society have an obligation to repay the debt with creative and energetic contributions to human progress, founded the award with the AACR in 1977 to recognize research that has made, or promise to soon make, a notable contribution to improved clinical care in the field of cancer, and to provide incentive to such young investigators relatively early in their careers. Dr. Sawyers, who is honored for his outstanding research in molecularly-targeted therapy, with special emphasis on signaling pathway abnormalities in cancer cells as targets for drug therapy, will give his lecture "Molecularly targeted cancer therapy: Future challenges," at noon on Tuesday, April 19, in Hall A of the Anaheim Convention Center.

Napoleone Ferrara, M.D., Fellow at Genentech, Inc. in South San Francisco, CA, will be the recipient of the 24th AACR-Bruce F. Cain Memorial Award. He is being honored for his discovery of the protein, vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF), and his outstanding research leading to the development of the anti-VEGF antibody. This award, established in 1982 by the AACR and Warner Lambert Company (now Pfizer), recognizes an individual or research team for outstanding preclinical research in the fields of medicinal chemistry, biochemistry or tumor biology as related to drug discovery that has implications for the improved care of cancer patients. The prize was established to honor Dr. Bruce F. Cain, whose scientific interests involved the design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of potential anti-tumor drugs. Ferrara will present his lecture, "Targeting VEGF: From early discoveries to clinical reality," at 5:30 p.m., April 19, in Hall A of the Anaheim Convention Center.

Ross L. Prentice, Ph.D., Member of the Division of Public Health Sciences at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Professor of Biostatistics of the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash., will be honored with the 14th AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. With this award, Prentice will be recognized for his outstanding contributions to cancer epidemiology, prevention, and public health through his role in conceiving, designing, and organizing the clinical trial arm of the Women's Health Initiative. The award is intended to distinguish outstanding achievements in the fields of epidemiology, biomarkers, and prevention. Prentice will present his lecture on "Opportunities and challenges in chronic disease prevention research," at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 20, in Ballroom AB, Anaheim Convention Center.

Jimmie C. Holland, M.D., Wayne E. Chapman Chair in Psychiatric Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Professor of Psychiatry, Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City, N.Y., will be honored for her central role in the establishment of psycho-oncology as a subspecialty within oncology, dealing with the psychological, social, and behavioral aspects related to cancer. Holland will be the recipient of the 10th AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Clinical Research Award, which recognizes outstanding achievements in clinical cancer research.

The award's namesake was an honorary member and past president of AACR, as well as a major figure in clinical cancer research. Holland's lecture, "Psycho-oncology: Integrating the psychological domain into cancer research and clinical care," is to be presented at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 20, in Ballroom C-E of the Anaheim Convention Center.

Gregory J. Hannon, Ph.D., Professor, Watson School of Biological Sciences, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory of Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., is the recipient of the 25th AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research as an accomplished young investigator in the field who is no more than 40 years old at the time the award is conferred. Hannon will be honored for his work uncovering the biochemical mechanism of RNA interference of gene expression (RNAi) and his contributions to the discovery and development of short hairpin RNAs as tools for genetic manipulation of mammalian cells. Hannon's lecture, "RNAi: Application and mechanism," will be given at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19, in Hall A of the Anaheim Convention Center.

Edward Giovannucci, M.D., Sc.D., Professor of Nutrition and Professor of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health and Associate Professor of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass., was chosen to deliver the 10th AACR-DeWitt S. Goodman Memorial Lectureship. The lectureship is supported by anonymous contributions from two AACR members and memorializes Dr. Goodman, an international leader in the field of nutrition and cancer, and cancer prevention. Giovannucci is being honored for his outstanding contributions to cancer epidemiology and prevention, especially in the role of diet as it relates to colorectal and prostate cancers. He will present his lecture, "The role of vitamin D in cancer incidence and mortality," at 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday, April 19, in Room 201 of the Anaheim Convention Center.

Joan S. Brugge, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, will be honored with the 8th AACR-Women in Cancer Research-Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship. Dr. Brugge is honored for her research accomplishments that have provided critical insights into an understanding of the processes involved in oncogenesis and the normal functions of proto-oncogenes and for being a stellar role model for women in cancer and biomedical science. Named for the renowned virologist and discoverer of the Friend virus, Dr. Charlotte Friend, this lecture provides recognition for 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. Brugge will present her lecture, "Tissue culture models of oncogenesis: The past and the future," at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, in Ballroom AB of the Anaheim Convention Center.

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