40-15 AACR Awards

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AACR Presents 2014 Awards, Arteaga Becomes President at Annual Meeting

The American Association for Cancer Research presented its 2014 awards at its annual meeting, held April 5-9 in San Diego.

The AACR also inaugurated its officers for the next year during its annual business meeting. Carlos Arteaga was named president of the organization.

Arteaga is professor of medicine and cancer biology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where he holds the Donna S. Hall chair in breast cancer research. He serves as associate director for translational/clinical research; director of the Breast Cancer Program; director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Research Network; and director of Center for Cancer Targeted Therapies at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

Arteaga’s research interests include oncogene signaling and molecular therapeutics in breast cancer with an emphasis on targeted therapies, mechanisms of drug resistance, translational research, and investigator-initiated clinical trials.

Additionally, José Baselga, physician-in-chief at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, was inducted as president-elect and Charles Sawyers, chair of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, now serves as past-president.

The 2014 AACR award winners are:

Douglas Hanahan, director of the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, was presented the award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research. Hanahan helped develop one of the first transgenic mouse models of cancer and demonstrated that oncogenes could initiate multistep tumorigenesis. He also used his transgenic mice to study the immune system and made groundbreaking contributions to understanding autoimmunity.

Webster Cavenee, director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, was presented with the Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research, for his work in cancer genetics, his leadership in the fight against glioblastoma multiforme, and his more than 25 years of service to the AACR, which included his election as AACR president.

The Team Science Award was presented to the Duke University/Johns Hopkins University/National Cancer Institute Malignant Brain Tumor Group, led by Darell Doty Bigner. The team was selected because of the impact their research has had on the understanding of the biology of glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and lethal brain cancer.

Charis Eng, the Sondra J. and Stephen R. Hardis endowed chair in cancer genomic medicine and founding director of the Genomic Medicine Institute at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, was honored with the Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship. Eng was the founding chair of the International Cowden Consortium, which mapped and identified the PTEN tumor suppressor gene as the susceptibility gene for Cowden syndrome.

David Botstein, the Anthony B. Evnin professor of genomics at Princeton University and chief scientific officer of Calico, Google’s new startup focusing on health, was awarded the Irving Weinstein Foundation Distinguished Lectureship for his work on cancer and genetics, including laying the groundwork for what would become the Human Genome Project.

Levi Garraway, associate professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, was awarded the AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship for his research in the field of cancer genomics and functional approaches to characterize solid tumors, especially melanoma and prostate cancer.

Elaine Fuchs, the Rebecca C. Lancefield professor and head of the Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development at The Rockefeller University and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, was presented the Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research for her studies using reverse genetics to understand the biological basis of normal and abnormal skin development and function, including clarification of the molecular mechanisms underlying the ability of skin stem cells to produce the epidermis and its appendages.

Rakesh Jain, director of the Edwin L. Steele Laboratory in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital, was presented with the Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship for his work in tumor biology, leadership in developing diverse international collaborations, and his scientific mentorship.

Nima Sharifi, the Kendrick family endowed chair for prostate cancer research at the Cleveland Clinic, was given the award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research, for his contributions as a young investigator to the clinical importance of androgen synthesis in advanced hormone-resistant prostate cancers.

James Allison, chair of the Department of Immunology, executive director of the Immunology Platform, associate director of the Center for Cancer Immunology Research, deputy director of the David H. Koch Center for Applied Research in Genitourinary Cancer, and the Lilian H. Smith distinguished chair of immunology at MD Anderson Cancer Center, was presented the G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award. Allison is also leader of the Stand Up To Cancer-Cancer Research Institute Dream Team: Immunologic Checkpoint Blockade and Adoptive Cell Transfer in Cancer Therapy.

Dale Boger, Richard and Alice Cramer professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry and the Skaggs Institute for Cancer Research at the Scripps Research Institute, was presented the award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research for his research in combining novel synthetic methodology to develop natural products and designing second-generation synthetic compounds as anticancer agents.

Curtis Harris, head of the molecular genetics and carcinogenesis section of the NCI Center for Cancer Research, was presented with the AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention for his studies of gene-environment interactions, especially the link between the environmental carcinogen aflatoxin B1 and a specific mutation in the TP53 tumor-suppressor gene in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

John DiPersio, chief of the Division of Oncology and deputy director of the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, was presented with the Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cancer Research. DiPersio’s research interests include the control of graft-versus-host disease using genetic and epigenetic therapy, the biology of stem cell mobilization, sensitization of leukemic cells via stroma-leukemia cell blockage, and the genomics of de novo and relapsed AML.

Jedd Wolchok, chief of Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service and associate director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, was presented the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Memorial Award, for his contributions to the field of immunotherapy for melanoma, and his role in the development of the anti-CTLA-4 antibody ipilimumab.

Robert Schreiber, alumni endowed professor of pathology and immunology, professor of molecular microbiology, and director of the Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, was presented with the AACR-Cancer Research Institute Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology. Schreiber was recognized for discoveries including the identification of IFNγ as a key cytokine in antitumor immunity and the development of the cancer immunoediting concept, which integrates the host protective and tumor promoting functions of the immune system and provides a framework for the design of cancer immunotherapies.


President Joe Biden’s proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency-Health would be a welcome partner to NCI—particularly in conducting large, collaborative clinical investigations, NCI Director Ned Sharpless said.“I think having ARPA-H as part of the NIH is good for the NCI,” Sharpless said April 11 in his remarks at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. “How this would fit with the ongoing efforts in cancer at the NCI is still something to work out.”