Bernard Fisher receives AACR Lifetime Achievement Award

PHILADELPHIA Bernard Fisher, M.D., the renowned clinical cancer researcher whose career has been dedicated toward improving survival as well as quality of life for women with breast cancer, will receive the American Association for Cancer Research Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research.

The award will be presented April 2 during ceremonies at AACR's 97th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Fisher 's early work on tumor metastasis paved the way for later hypotheses about the spread of this disease. He used clinical trials to confirm that patterns of tumor spread are not solely dictated by anatomical considerations, but are also influenced by intrinsic factors in the tumor cells and the organs they invade.

Dr. Fisher's systematic clinical trials changed the way physicians manage patients with breast cancer. Together with a consortium of colleagues, he evaluated the effect of radical surgical procedures for breast cancer and found that radical mastectomy was no more effective than total mastectomy. Further investigations revealed that a combination of lumpectomy and radiation therapy was equally effective as total mastectomy.

Dr. Fisher and his colleagues also were instrumental in defining the effectiveness of adjuvant chemotherapy and hormonal therapy with the synthetic estrogen tamoxifen in treating breast cancer as a systemic disease. His studies revealed that tamoxifen substantially reduces the incidence of breast cancer in high-risk women when taken as a preventative measure.

"Dr. Fisher's important work not only helped those who fight the disease, but has also helped prevent breast cancer in women who are at high risk," said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. "We are honored to recognize Dr. Fisher's exemplary contributions to the field of breast cancer research and improvement in the quality of life for women who struggle with this disease."

Dr. Fisher is a 1943 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he spent the majority of his career. From 1950 through 1952, he was a fellow in experimental surgery at the University of Pennsylvania, and, in 1955, he served as a research fellow at the London-Post-Graduate Medical School. In 1959, Dr. Fisher became professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, and, in 1986, was appointed Distinguished Service Professor of Surgery at the university. Dr. Fisher co-founded the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, a research consortium which he chaired from 1967 to 1994. In his role as past chairman and scientific director of that Pittsburgh-based research consortium, Dr. Fisher and his colleagues contributed research that set a new course not only for the treatment of breast cancer but for other types of cancer as well.

Dr. Fisher's previous honors and awards include the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award, the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation's Kettering Prize, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Research, the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor, and the AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Clinical Research Award.

The AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research was established and first presented in 2004 to honor individuals who have made significant fundamental contributions to cancer researcher either through a single scientific discovery or a body of work. These contributions, whether they have been in research, leadership, or mentorship, must have had a lasting impact on the cancer field and must have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to understanding, controlling or curing cancer, and the improvement of the human condition for those who have the disease.


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 more than 24,000 basic, translational, and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 60 other countries. AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts over 16,000 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, CR, is a magazine for cancer survivors, patient advocates, their families, physicians, and scientists. It provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship, and advocacy.

Contact: Russell Vanderboom, Ph.D.
215-440-9300 ext. 120
[email protected]

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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