ASCO to Recognize Leaders Transforming Cancer Care Around the World

May 31, 2019
Lisa Astor

Ahead of the 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting, the American Society of Clinical Oncology announced leaders in the field of oncology who will be recognized during the upcoming annual meeting. The winners of ASCO’s Special Awards and Conquer Cancer’s Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Awards will be acknowledged for their work toward transforming cancer care around the world.

Ahead of the 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) announced leaders in the field of oncology who will be recognized during the upcoming annual meeting. The winners of ASCO’s Special Awards and Conquer Cancer’s Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Awards will be acknowledged for their work toward transforming cancer care around the world.

“This year’s awardees truly embody ASCO’s focus on making a difference in cancer care,” Bruce E. Johnson, MD, FASCO, immediate past president of ASCO and chair of the Special Awards Selection Committee, said in a statement. "It is an honor to recognize their impressive and enduring achievements with ASCO’s highest awards.”

In addition to these many awards, 25 ASCO members are also being recognized as new Fellows of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The award recipients will be honored throughout the 2019 annual meeting, which will take place in Chicago, Illinois from May 31 to June 4, which will include lectures by several of the award winners. Recipients include:

Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, MD, MACP, FASCO,is being recognized with the David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award and Lecture this year as a result of his 40-plus years supporting and focusing on clinical and translational research. He is considered to be an expert on the management of breast cancer and also serves as a mentor for the next generation of scientists and academic leadership.

Hortobagyi, a former president of ASCO, is the current program director for the Department of Breast Medical Oncology, Division of Susan G. Komen Interdisciplinary Breast Fellowship Program as well as the Nellie B. Connally Chair in Breast Cancer at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Johnson will present the award on Saturday, June 1, after which Hortobagyi will give a lecture reviewing 40 years of research and progress in breast cancer.

The 2019 Science of Oncology Award and Lecture is going toJoan S. Brugge, PhD,who will present her lecture entitled “Tumor Cell Stress Management in Progression and Therapy Resistance” on Sunday, June 2. Brugge is well known for her contributions to the understanding of tumorigenesis, including identifying theSrconcogene and investigating pathways involved in the development of normal breast and breast cancer cells. She is the Louise Foote Pfeiffer Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Ludwig Center at Harvard, where she has focused her recent research on the development of treatment resistance and methods to overcome resistance.

Norman Wolmark, MD, FACS,is the recipient of the Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award and Lecture. The award recognizes an active clinical and/or translational researcher with accomplishments in advancing the field of breast cancer. Wolmark, the medical director of surgery and cancer program development at Allegheny Health Network Department of Surgery and Cancer Institute, has spent close to 45 years as a researcher in large randomized clinical trials focusing on breast and bowel cancers.

Wolmark, who is also chair of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) Foundation and chair and principal investigator of NRG Oncology, will present on 60 years of NSABP clinical trials on the management of early breast cancer at the ASCO Annual Meeting on Saturday, June 1.

The ASCO-American Cancer Society Award and Lecture is being granted toJudy E. Garber, MD, MPH, FASCO,in recognition of her research and contributions toward cancer control, focusing on clinical cancer genetics. She has led research into triple-negative breast cancer as well, including in assessing agents that target DNA repair defects, and is considered an expert on Li-Fraumeni Syndrome.

Garber, who is the Susan F. Smith Chair and chief of the Division of Cancer Genetics and Prevention at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, will give her award lecture on progress and challenges in clinical cancer genetics on Monday, June 3.

Ian F. Tannock, MD, PhD, FASCO,will be receiving the Allen S. Lichter Visionary Leader Award on Saturday, June 1, at which point he will give his lectureship on the use and application of clinical trials for cancer. The award is given to ASCO members have transformed the field of oncology and have advanced the mission of the organization. Tannock, an emeritus professor of medicine and medical biophysics at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the University of Toronto, has investigated methods for performing clinical trials and has chaired many trials himself that led to significant developments in prostate cancer.

On Sunday, June 2,James R. Downing, MD,will be presented with the Pediatric Oncology Award, after which he will present his award lecture on molecular pathology in pediatric cancer. Downing, a prominent leader in pediatric cancer research, is the president and CEO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. His research has especially focused on expanding the understanding of the genetic basis of pediatric cancers to improve treatments for patients. Downing has also helped to launch a project that has sequenced the normal and cancer genomes of about 800 children with aggressive cancers.

The B. J. Kennedy Award and Lecture for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology will be presented toElisabeth Quoix, MD, a professor of pneumology in the Department of Chest Diseases, University Hospital of Strasbourg in France. Recipients of this award are selected for their contributions to the research and treatment of geriatric oncology and for sharing their knowledge with the next generation.

Quoix has focused her research especially on the treatment of elderly patients with lung cancer and has acted as investigator and coordinator for several clinical trials. In addition, she has participated in epidemiological studies working toward diagnosing and treatment strategies for all patients with lung cancer.

Ann H. Partridge, MD, MPH, FASCO,was announced as the winner of the 2019 Ellen L. Stovall Award and Lecture for Advancement of Cancer Survivorship Care in recognition of significant contributions made to improve the lives of cancer survivors. She will present a lecture on Monday, June 3 entitled “The Art and Science of Cancer Survivorship.”

Partridge, vice chair of medical oncology and director of the Adult Survivorship Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, has led the way in characterizing issues that affect young breast cancer survivors, including fertility, adherence to hormonal therapy, and more. She has also contributed to the development and study of interventions for young adult cancer survivors that could improve their outcomes. At Dana-Farber, Partridge also serves as the lead for the Program for Young Women With Breast Cancer and has studied the molecular differences in tumors of such younger patients.

Robert J. Mayer, MD, FASCO,will be recognized with the Distinguished Achievement Award this year in an award presentation on Sunday, June 2. Mayer, a faculty vice president for academic affairs at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and senior physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is being acknowledged for his leadership in the field of oncology for close to 50 years.

As the director of the Medical Oncology Fellowship Program at Dana-Farber for more than 35 years, Mayer oversaw the training of about 350 oncologists and also established the Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology at the institute. Mayer, who also serves as faculty associate dean for admissions and the Stephen B. Kay Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, was also a past president of ASCO and is currently on the Board of Directors for Conquer Cancer.

The 2019 winner of the Excellence in Teaching Award was announced asNatasha B. Leighl, MD, MMSc, FRCPC, FASCO,in recognition of her years of mentoring the future leaders of the oncology field. Leighl leads the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Thoracic Medical Oncology Group in Canada and is also the combined hospital/university OSI Pharmaceuticals Foundation Chair in Cancer New Drug Development. In addition, she is a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and a medical oncologist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Her research has primarily focused on developing new treatments for patients with lung cancer and has led several clinical trials in lung cancer.

Connie M. Szczepanek, RN, BSN, CCRP,has been acknowledged as the winner of ASCO’s 2019 Partners in Progress Award, which aims to recognize individuals focused on increasing public awareness about cancer and legislative support.

Szczepanek, the director of the Cancer Research Consortium of West Michigan (CRCWM), has worked locally and nationally to increase initiatives that spread cancer awareness, education, and access to health services for patients. She also works at the CRCWM to increase access to clinical trials for patients in the community. In addition, Szczepanek has participated in trials focused on cancer prevention, such as the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial and the STAR trial.

This year’s Humanitarian Award is being given toLawrence N. Shulman, MD, FACP, FASCO.Shulman, the deputy director for clinical services at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and director of the Center for Global Cancer Medicine, serves as a senior oncology advisor to Partners in Health, helping the organization to establish national cancer treatment programs in Rwanda and Haiti. He is also on the Vice Chancellor’s Advisory Council for Rwanda’s University for Global Health Equity and is working to develop a national oncology program through the Botswana-UPenn Partnership. His research and clinical practice are focused on the treatment of patients with breast cancer and on the implementation of cancer treatment programs in low-resource settings.

Lynn M. Schuchter, MD, FASCO,is being honored with the Hologic, Inc Endowed Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award, one of the Conquer Cancer awards for extraordinary female leaders and role models in oncology. She has worked passionately to pave the way for women at UPenn where she works.

Schuchter is the C. Willard Robinson Professor of Hematology-Oncology at UPenn, chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology, and program leader for the Melanoma and Cutaneous Malignancies Program at the UPenn Abramson Cancer Center. Her clinical research and practice have focused on melanoma, especially on developing novel therapies for patients with advanced disease.

Verna Vanderpuye, MBChB,is the second Conquer Cancer award winner with the 2019 International Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award. Vanderpuye is a senior consultant at the National Center for Radiotherapy, Oncology, and Nuclear Medicine at Korlebu Teaching Hospital in Ghana, which is affiliated with the University of Ghana, Accra. She is considered to be a pioneering oncologist in the West African region who has mentored many young professionals regionally and internationally.