ASCO to Recognize Leaders for Outstanding Contributions in Cancer Care


The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO (CCF) have announced the winners of ASCO’s Special Awards and Conquer Cancer’s Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Awards to honor the many contributions of researchers, patient advocates, and global oncology leaders around the globe.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO (CCF) have announced the winners of ASCO's Special Awards and Conquer Cancer's Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Awards to honor the many contributions of researchers, patient advocates, and global oncology leaders around the globe.

"These oncology leaders' remarkable contributions are improving care for people with cancer on a global scale. We are delighted to honor these inspiring honorees with ASCO's most prestigious awards for their leadership and exceptional service, and for making a difference in cancer care" Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO, immediate past president of ASCO and chair of the Special Awards Selection Committee, said in a statement.

ASCO aims to recognize their recipients, including a range of researchers, patient advocates, and global oncology leaders, with the society's highest honors. All of the awards listed below will be presented at ASCO's Annual Meeting, to be held June 1-5, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.

Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, MD, FACP, FASCO

Serving as a leader in breast cancer clinical and translational research for the last 40 years, Hortobagyi is recognized for his work in breast cancer treatment, particularly the use of chemotherapy before surgery. He has designed clinical trial concepts, identified the patient populations for those concepts, and developed translational medicine concepts for each clinical trial. His most recent research has focused on the clinical development of CDK4/6 inhibitors. He also developed, implemented, and chaired a phase III trial that assessed the efficacy and safety of ribociclib in combination with letrozole for the treatment of patients with hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer.

Hortobagyi will receive the Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award and Lecture, created in 2007 to honor Gianni Bonadonna. Named after this distinguished cancer research pioneer, the award recognizes recipients advancing the field of breast cancer with outstanding mentoring abilities.

Douglas Lowy, MD

Lowy, deputy director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health, and chief of the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology in the Center for Cancer Research at the NCI, has researched the biology of papillomaviruses as well as the regulation of normal and neoplastic cell growth. His laboratory's collaborations with John T. Schiller, PhD, have led to 3 FDA approved HPV vaccines. He and Schiller received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2014 from President Obama, as well as the 2017 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award.

Lowy will receive the Science of Oncology Award and Lecture, which was first presented in 2005. This award and lecture recognizes the recipient’s significant contributions to basic or translational research in cancer.

Karen H. Lu, MD

As Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Lu’s research focuses include treating women with ovarian and endometrial cancers and managing women at high-risk for these diseases. She is a professor in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine and has served as a mentor to many clinical fellows and trainees. Her positions include the J. Taylor Wharton Distinguished Chair in Gynecologic Oncology, a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and a member and past chair of the ASCO Cancer Prevention Committee. She has served as principal investigator on a variety of clinical trials supporting the research of the NCI and Stand Up to Cancer.

Lu has been selected to receive the ASCO-American Cancer Society Award and Lecture. This award, first presented in 1993, recognizes the recipient’s efforts and contributions to cancer prevention and control research or practice.

Nancy Davidson, MD, FASCO

Serving as Senior Vice President and Director of the Clinical Research Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Davidson has published major findings on the role of hormone response and epigenetics in breast cancer. She is a world-renowned breast cancer researcher and a member of the National Academy of Medicine. Some of her leadership positions include 2015-2016 President of the American Association for Cancer Research, Director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute from 2009-2016, and 2007-2008 President of ASCO.

Davidson will receive the Allen S. Lichter Visionary Leader Award and Lecture. This award has recognized researchers since 2016 who have made drastic changes to the field of oncology or who have made significant contributions to the advancement of ASCO, CancerLinQ LLC, or Conquer Cancer’s mission.

Supriva Gupta Mohile, MD, MS

A professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at University of Rochester Medical Center and board-certified geriatrician and medical oncologist, Mohile focuses her research on evaluation of patterns of care, health outcomes, and quality of life related to cancer treatment for older patients. Her experience with gastrointestinal and genitourinary cancers has led her to a Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute Award in 2013. She’s led the Specialized Oncology Care and Research in the Elderly geriatric oncology clinic at the University of Rochester/Highland Hospital. She also serves on the editorial board ofJournal of Clinical Oncology, editor-in-chief of theJournal of Geriatric Oncology, and as chair of the ASCO Geriatric Oncology Course Planning Committee.

Mohile is the recipient of the BJ Kennedy Award and Lecture for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology, which was created in 2007. This award honors BJ Kennedy, MD, and aims to recognize an ASCO member that has made outstanding contributions to the research, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer for elderly patients. The recipient should also demonstrate the ability to help create understanding in geriatric oncology to fellows and junior faculty.

John Mendelsohn, MD

Mendelsohn serves as the LE & Virginia Simmons Senior Fellow in the Division of Health and Technology Policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute and Director of the Zayed Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy, as well as professor of Genomic Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. A clinician, investigator, and leader, he has served as President of MD Anderson from 1996 to 2011. His research has included the development of a new class of agents that transformed cancer treatment by targeting tumors from their genetic and molecular aberrations.

Mendelsohn is honored with the Distinguished Achievement Award. Created in 2009, this award recognizes scientists, practitioners, or researchers considered leaders or mentors benefiting ASCO members and patients.

Gregory P. Kalemkerian, MD, FACP

Kalemkerian serves as professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology, an associate division chief for Faculty Development and Education, associate director of the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program, and disease group lead for the Upper Aerodigestive Cancer Team at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. His professional career has been devoted to training future medical oncologists. He cares for patients with lung cancer, thymoma, and mesothelioma, while his academic interest focuses on clinical and translational trials for thoracic cancer. He has also served as chair of the test materials development committee, track leader on the scientific program committee, and member of the JCO Editorial Board and Conquer Cancer Grants Selection Committee during his time as an ASCO member.

The Excellence in Teaching Award will be presented to Kalemkerian, to recognize his time as an ASCO member where he demonstrated his ability to make an impact on trainees. This award also recognizes how he has inspired and shaped the practice of cancer medicine by ASCO trainees.

Ralph R. Weichselbaum, MD

A professor and chairman of the Department of Radiation and Cellular Oncology and co-director of the Ludwig Center for Metastasis Research at the University of Chicago, Weichselbaum has made numerous discoveries. One of these included basic mechanisms of signal transduction and gene expression following radiation exposure, leading to translational investigations of radio-inducible gene therapy and integration of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In collaboration with Samuel Hellman, MD, the two proposed the spectrum theory of metastasis which predicted that some patients will develop only limited metastatic disease. They used the term “oligometastasis” to describe this. In his most recent research, Weicheselbaum is looking at the relationship between radiotherapy and immunotherapy.

Weichselbaum will receive the David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award and Lecture, which was created in 1970. The award not only honors Karnofsky, but recognizes oncologists that have made significant contributions to cancer research, diagnosis, and/or treatment.

Gregory Reaman, MD, FASCO

As the assosicate director for Oncology Sciences in the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and associate director (acting) for Pediatric Oncology in the Oncology Center of Excellence at the US FDA, Reaman focuses on the treatment of childhood acute leukemia and new drug development for pediatric cancers. He serves as a professor of pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He has directed the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, for over 17 years and is the executive director emeritus of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. He has consistently expedited evaluation of new drugs for children, participating most recently in the review of several new drugs for neuroblastoma and relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Reaman will be presented with the Pediatric Oncology Award and Lecture. This award, first presented in 2002, recognizes the career and achievements of individuals contributing outstanding scientific work to the field of pediatric oncology.

Gideon M. Blumenthal, MD

Bluementhal, deputy office director (acting) of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products and the Associate Director for Precision Oncology in FDA Oncology Center of Excellence, will receive the Public Service Award. This award recognizes the recipient’s involvement in legislative, political action, or community service activities impacting public awareness of cancer, its causes, cures, and treatments.

Blumenthal has been instrumental in coordinating the review and approval of several targeted therapies and immunotherapies for patients with cancer and has led initiatives to advance precision oncology and targeted drug development, co-development of drugs with companion diagnostics, the use of novel endpoints and real-world evidence, and the development of liquid biopsy technologies.

Julie Gralow, MD, FASCO

Gralow, the Jill Bennett Endowed Professor of Breast Medical Oncology and professor of Global Health at the University of Washington School of Medicine, a member of the Clinical Research Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Director of Breast Medical Oncology at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, will receive the Humanitarian Award, which was first presented in 2011. This award recognizes oncologists personifying ASCO’s mission and values when providing patient care through the most innovation means and service possible, often when going above and beyond the call of duty. Gralow was chosen to receive this award in recognition of her commitment to improving quality of life for breast cancer patients through education, exercise, and diet, and promoting breast cancer awareness.

Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO

Pierce, a professor with tenure of Radiation Oncology and Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, will receive the Hologic, Inc Endowed Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award, recognizing her monumental strides in the field of breast cancer. Pierce’s research focuses on radiotherapy in the treatment of breast cancer with emphasis on cardiac-sparing in treatment planning, pre-clinical and clinical studies of radiation sensitizers with radiotherapy, and outcomes following radiation in women with breast cancer who carry a BRCA1/2 susceptibility gene.

Rejin Kebudi, MD

Kebudi will receive the International Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award. Kebudi is a professor in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at the Instanbul University, Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine and the Istanbul University, Oncology Institute. This award recognizes her dedication to scientific activities of the Middle East Cancer Consortium and mentoring of many residents, fellows, and junior faculty for over 25 years.

Danielle Leach, MPA

Leach, senior director of advocacy and government relations of St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization committed to funding promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long, healthy lives, will receive the Partners in Progress Award, which was first presented in 2003. This award recognizes the recipient’s involvement in patient advocacy activities that have significantly impacted public awareness of cancer. With more than 20 years of experience in the health nonprofit industry, Leach is a volunteer and advocate for cancer and children’s issues, and has worked in leadership positions at the American Cancer Society, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance and Strang Cancer Prevention Center.

Fellows of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (FASCO)

ASCO also aims to recognize the following recipients of the Fellows of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (FASCO) for their outstanding volunteer service, dedication, and commitment to ASCO. Their efforts not only benefit ASCO and its mission, but also the patients who are at risk or diagnosed with cancer. The following are the recipients of this distinction:

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