AACR to Honor Individuals With Scientific Achievement Awards, Lectures During Annual Meeting

April 10, 2018

Several individuals will be recognized by the American Association for Cancer Research for their dedication to the field of cancer research during the 2018 AACR Annual Meeting, to be held April 14-18, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.

Several individuals will be recognized by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) for their dedication to the field of cancer research during the 2018 AACR Annual Meeting, to be held April 14-18, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.

The AACR Annual Meeting covers the latest topics and studies happening in basic, translational, clinical and prevention-focused research. Recipients of these Scientific Achievement Awards and lectureships have made monumental strides of their own in the field. These awards recognize their achievements in various areas across cancer research and treatment.

Isaiah J. Fidler, DVM, PhD, FAACR, of The University of Texas MD Anderson, will be honored with the 12th Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research. This award is presented to a champion of cancer research paving the way for others with their extraordinary leadership and achievements, according to a news release from AACR.

Considered a pioneer of cancer metastasis, Fidler has spent his career researching the nature of tumors and the development of secondary tumors. His focus remains on the understanding of brain metastasis in particular.

Joseph R. Bertino, MD, FAACR, of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, will receive the 15th AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research. This recognizes his significant contributions to cancer research, as well as his leadership and mentorship of other cancer experts.

For over half a decade, Bertino has dedicated his career to the care of thousands of patients with lymphoma and other blood cancers. He also dedicates his research and time in his laboratory to the understanding of drug-resistance and why treatments sometimes fail.

Jennifer A. Doudna, PhD, FAACR, of UC Berkeley, will receive the 14th AACR-Irving Weinstein Foundation Distinguished Lecture. This award, selected by the AACR president, acknowledges experts demonstrating outstanding personal innovation in the field of cancer research with the potential of leading other researchers in a new direction.

Doudna’s research focuses primarily on catalytic and non-protein-coding RNA’s. She co-founded site-specific genome engineering technology, considered a breakthrough for allowing scientists to cut and replace unwanted DNA sequences.

Doudna will give her lecture, titled “Gene Editing and Diagnostics Using CRISPR Tools”on Sunday, April 15, at 4 pm CT in the Grand Ballroom at McCormick Place South.

Tony R. Hunter, PhD, FAACR,of the Salk Institute, will be recognized with the 21st Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Cancer Research. This award is meant to honor a scientist whose scientific discovery has transformed basic or translational cancer.

“Salk’s long-running focus on defeating cancer has resulted in extraordinary discoveries that have led to life-changing, indeed, life-saving treatments,” Rusty Gage, Salk’s Interim President, said in a statement. “As one of the great luminaries in the field, Tony has helped to pioneer our unique approach and lead the way in this critical area. We salute him for his numerous accomplishments and this well-deserved international recognition.”

Hunter is known for a discovery he made of tyrosine phosphorylation in 1979. This is a molecular switch for making normal cells become cancerous in the body; this discovery has shaped many future studies and research in the field of cancer.

Lisa M. Coussens, PhD,of Knight Cancer Institute, will be honored with the 12th AACR-Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship. This acknowledges the recipient’s significant work that has created large impacts in the field of cancer, from detection, diagnosis, treatment, or the complete prevention of cancer.

Focusing on research in immune cell-mediated regulation for breast, lung, and skin cancers, Coussens has impacted research on tumor environments to improve treatment effectiveness. Her lab also focuses on the immune cells and mediators important in cancer development.

Coussens will give her lecture, titled “Modulating Immune Response: Lessons Learned from Mouse Models of Cancer Development” on Monday, April 16, at 5:15 pm CT in Room S105 at McCormick South.

Pasi A. Jänne, MD, PhD,of the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute,will receive the Second AACR-Waun Ki Hong Award for Outstanding Achievement in Translational and Clinical Cancer Research. This award is presented to honor an individual that has conducted important laboratory, translational, or clinical cancer research early on in their career.

Jänne is known for co-discovering epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations which have impacted the development of a number of therapeutic strategies, especially for patients with EGFR mutations in lung cancer.

Jänne will give his lecture, titled “Developing Combination Precision Therapies for Lung Cancer” on Monday, April 16, at 3:30 pm CT in Room S106 (Grand Ballroom) at McCormick Place South.

Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD,of Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, will be recognized with the 6thAACR-Cancer Research Institute Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology. This award is meant to honor a recipient who has made innovative and far-reaching impacts on research in cancer immunology.

With a focus on malignant melanoma, Ribas has conducted research on gene engineered T cells, PD-1 blockage, and BRAF-targeted therapies. His research has been incredibly important in the development of several agents approved by the FDA.

Ribas will give his lecture, titled “Genetic Engineering of Anticancer Immune Responses” on Tuesday, April 17, at 3:30 pm CT in Room S100 (Grand Ballroom) at McCormick Place South.

Scott W. Lowe, PhD,of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, will receive the 58th AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award. This award is presented to honor recent accomplishments in basic cancer research.

As a biologist, Lowe has focused his studies and efforts on tumor-suppressor gene networks that control apoptosis. His goal is to identify cellular vulnerabilities present in mutations, which can be used in therapeutic cancer treatments.

Lowe’s lecture, titled “Cancer Drivers and Dependencies” will be given on Monday, April 16, at 4:30 pm CT in Room S105 at McCormick Place South.

Leslie Bernstein, PhD,of City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, will receive the 27th Annual AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. This award recognizes a recipient’s research accomplishments in areas including epidemiology, biomarkers, and prevention.

She is most known for her study, published in 1994, where she identified the association between physical activity and the risk of breast cancer. She has played a role in several other studies and research that aims to further develop understanding of the link between physical activity, obesity, and cancer risk.

“Receiving an award from AACR is one of the highest honors for someone in my field,” Bernstein said in a statement. “AACR is the largest scientific organization in the world that understands and advances high-quality, innovative cancer research. I am extremely humbled to receive this top honor.”

Bernstein will give her lecture, titled “Evolving Approaches in Cancer Epidemiology: Time, Serendipity, and Risk” on Tuesday, April 16, at 3:45 pm CT in Room S404 at McCormick Place South.

Johann S. De Bono, PhD,of the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton, England, is the recipient of the 23rd AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cancer Research. This award is meant to recognize achievements in clinical cancer research.

De Bono has worked on a number of clinical studies as well as clinical drug development. He has played a part the early clinical development of over 100 novel agents, some having gone out to be approved for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer.

De Bono’s lecture, titled “Re-envisioning Clinical Cancer Research”will be given on Tuesday, April 17, at 4 pm CT in Room N427 at McCormick Place North.

John A. Katzenellenbogen, PhD,of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Chamapign, is recognized with the 12th AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research. This award is designed to recognize an individual playing a part in chemistry research that has led to important contributions to basic cancer research, translational cancer research, or treatment of patients with cancer.

Katzenellenbogen has pioneered the way of cancer management with novel diagnostic and therapeutic agents. His development of novel estrogens has also made a huge impact, currently being used in a number of research studies for identifying estrogen actions.

Katzenellenbogen will give his lecture, titled “Nuclear Receptors, PET imaging, and Advances in Understanding Therapy Resistance in Breast and Prostate Cancers” on Tuesday, April 17, at 3pm CT in Room S404 at McCormick Place South.

John D. Carpten, PhD,of the University of California Keck School of Medicine, is named the recipient of the 13th AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research Jane Cooke Wright Memorial Lectureship. This award recognizes his outstanding contributions to the field of cancer research and his continuous leadership for the advancement of minority investigators.

Under Carpten’s leadership as direction of the department of translational genomics, his team continue to bring forth incredible efforts in understanding the use of precision medicine in the field of cancer. He has made a number of important discoveries that help contributed to the research in the genetics and genomics of cancer.

Carpten will give his lecture, titled “Towards Understanding the Impact of Diversity in Cancer Genome Science” on Sunday, April 15, at 4:30 pm CT in Room S404 in McCormick Place South.

Dafna Bar-Sagi, PhD,of New York University Langone Medical Center, will receive the 21st AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship. This represents her contributions to cancer research, proven by her roles as a leader and by example with her own research. The award also honors her furthering of the advancement of women in science.

As chief scientific officer, Sagi has led a number of research studies that aim to further understand cellular pathways involved in controlling cell growth. Her research, especially within her lab at Langone Medical Center, has led to numerous discoveries in the field of cancer research.

Bar-Sagi will give her lecture, titled “Unraveling Mechanisms of Oncogenic Ras-Mediated Tumorigenesis” on Monday, April 16, at 4:30 pm CT in Room S404 at McCormick Place South.