Lippman recognized for discoveries in cancer prevention


AACR–Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation Award winner among first to translate molecular discoveries into targeted chemoprevention trials

PHILADELPHIA – Scott M. Lippman, M.D., chairman of the Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention and Ellen F. Knisely Distinguished Chair at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, has been selected to receive the fourth annual American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)-Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation (CRPF) Award for Excellence in Cancer Prevention Research.

Dr. Lippman has made extraordinary contributions to the field of cancer prevention. His studies include the biology of carcinogenesis and the targets and mechanisms for potential chemopreventive agents. The major emphasis of his current work is to identify the high-risk populations most suitable for cancer chemoprevention trials, and to develop molecular targeted drugs to be tested in these people.

"Dr. Lippman is well recognized as one of the leading physician-scientists in cancer research today," said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the American Association for Cancer Research. "His translational studies, from laboratory research to patient testing in clinical trials, have uncovered new means of treating and preventing several different types of cancer. His prominence in the field is evidenced by the leadership positions he has held in a number of National Cancer Institute prevention studies."

Added M. D. Anderson colleague and Past President of the AACR, Waun Ki Hong, M.D.: "Dr. Lippman's seminal contributions have stimulated and continue to stimulate important new directions in the field of cancer prevention and the molecular biology of carcinogenesis."

Dr. Lippman believes that cancer prevention is converging with cancer treatment. The prognosis for patients at high risk for premalignant lesions can be similar to or even bleaker than that of some early-stage cancer sufferers, and therapeutic drugs can have molecular targets in both premalignancy and malignancy.

His laboratory group discovered a pathway that signals apoptosis (programmed cell death), involving the regulation of 15-lipoxygenase-1, an enzyme that regulates the body's metabolism of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The promise of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors, stems in part from Dr. Lippman's observations that NSAIDs induce apoptosis and inhibit tumorigenesis via 15-LOX-1 in colorectal cancer cells.

Dr. Lippman is also recognized for his long record of discoveries in oral carcinogenesis. Currently, he heads an NCI program project, "Molecular-based Therapy for Oral Cancer Prevention," which promises to delay the development of oral cancer in patients with aneuploid oral leukoplakia--white patches in the mouth that signal high cancer risk. His more than 15 years of oral leukoplakia studies led to the first published model for analyzing oral cancer risk within chemoprevention trials.

He led the design of the ongoing NCI Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT), an outgrowth of his pioneering in vitro findings that selenium inhibits growth and induces apoptosis in normal and malignant prostate cells. He is also principal investigator of the NCI program, "Biology of the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT)," which promises new insights into the mechanisms and risk of high-grade prostate cancer, and the effectiveness of the testosterone inhibiting enzyme finasteride as a prostate cancer preventive.

Earlier in his career, he was National Study Chair for the phase III NCI Intergroup trial of isotretinoin – a relative of vitamin A and a retinoid commonly used in the treatment of severe acne – in preventing second cancers in patients diagnosed with stage I non-small cell lung cancer. Cancer survivors have almost twice the risk as the general population of developing a second cancer; that is, a different type of cancer than first occurred.

Other past winners are Waun Ki Hong, M.D., of the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, in 2003; David S. Alberts, M.D., of the Arizona Cancer Center, in 2004; and Michael B. Sporn, M.D., of Dartmouth Medical School, in 2002.

Dr. Lippman graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with a degree in biological science. He received his M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, completed his internship in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and was a resident in internal medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, Calif. He subsequently pursued fellowships in hematology at Stanford University School of Medicine, and in medical oncology and cancer prevention and control at the University of Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson.

He will give an award lecture entitled, "Reducing the 'Risk' of Chemoprevention: Defining High Risk," on Monday, October 31, at the Fourth Annual AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research. This premier meeting on cancer prevention research will be held October 30-November 2, 2005, at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
    Published on All rights reserved.