AACR announces 2018 class of fellows of AACR Academy

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The American Association for Cancer Research announced a class of fellows of the AACR Academy:

Alan Ashworth

President, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center; senior vice president for cancer services; professor of medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine; E. Dixon Heise Distinguished Professor in Oncology, University of California, San Francisco

For characterizing the significance of cancer susceptibility genes, notably BRCA2, in the pathogenesis of cancer, and for his contributions to the establishment of PARP inhibitors as effective therapeutic options for the treatment of various cancers.

René Bernards

Professor, Molecular Carcinogenesis, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam

For establishing innovative strategies to categorize biomarkers of treatment response and effective treatment combinations, and for pioneering the use of genetic screening tests to identify and stratify individuals at risk of developing breast cancer.

Bruce Beutler

Director, Center for the Genetics of Host Defense; Regental Professor; Raymond and Ellen Willie Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas

For discovery of toll-like receptors and for deciphering the biological mechanisms and signaling events that govern tumor necrosis factor-mediated inflammation and innate immune system activation. For establishing innovative strategies to categorize biomarkers of treatment response and effective treatment combinations, and for pioneering the use of genetic screening tests to identify and stratify individuals at risk of developing breast cancer.

Michael Caligiuri

President and Physician-in-Chief, The City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, California

For elucidating the fundamental mechanisms of natural killer cell development and immune surveillance, and for his commitment to advancing cancer health disparities research and promoting the collection and use of clinical samples to guide screening, treatment, and surveillance protocols.

Chi Van Dang

Scientific sirector, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, New York; professor, the Wistar Institute, Philadelphia

For illuminating mechanistic links between the MYC oncogene and cellular metabolism, and for defining how tumor cell utilization of various energy sources contributes to cancer progression.

Gary Gilliland

President and director, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle

For identifying genetic drivers of various hematologic malignancies including leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and myeloproliferative disease, and for his contributions to the development of monoclonal antibody-based immunotherapeutics.

Laurie Glimcher

President and CEO, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Richard and Susan Smith Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Director and Principal Investigator, Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center

For her central discoveries in the fields of transcriptional regulation, lymphocyte differentiation, inflammation, and osteobiology, and for her trailblazing efforts to improve access to care, health policy, and medical education.

Elizabeth Jaffee

The Dana and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli Professor of Oncology; Deputy Director, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center; Co-Director, Gastrointestinal Cancers Program, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

For her groundbreaking efforts dedicated to the development of cancer vaccines and vaccine combinations that bypass tumor-associated immunotolerance, and for exploiting genomic and proteomic technologies to define biomarkers required for cancer onset, progression, and metastasis.

Richard Klausner

Founder and director, Juno Therapeutics; founder and director, GRAIL; executive chairman, Wisdo, a third-generation internet company; co-founder and executive chairman, Mindstrong, Los Altos Hills, California

For defining molecular mechanisms of intracellular trafficking, translation, and protein assembly, and for leading the creation of national and international programs to support the spectrum of cancer research, resulting in improved cancer diagnosis and treatment strategies.

Roger Kornberg

Winzer Professor in Medicine, Department of Structural Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine

For pioneering discovery of the structure and function of nucleosomes, and for revolutionizing the understanding of the molecular machinery and orchestrated mechanisms required for eukaryotic gene transcription.

Arthur Levinson

Founder and CEO, Calico Life Sciences LLC, South San Francisco

For visionary leadership and relentless commitment to the discovery and development of targeted therapeutics for the treatment of various malignancies, including HER2/neu monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of breast cancer.

Norman Sharpless

Director, NCI

For seminal contributions to stem cell biology and to demonstrating the relationship between tumor suppressor activation, cell cycle control, cellular senescence, and molecular aging in tumorigenesis.

Fellows of the AACR Academy are charged with:

Identifying scientific priorities that will contribute to the AACR’s programs and activities; influencing science and public policy and creating and/or signing letters addressed to members of the U.S. Congress and to the presidential administration regarding important scientific or policy issues as needed;

Advocating for increased federal funding for cancer research and cancer-related sciences;

Participating in special meetings to discuss how to accelerate advances in cancer research;

Mentoring cancer researchers in training in all research settings;

Assisting the AACR in educating the public about cancer, the importance of the AACR, and the value of cancer research to public health and the conquest of cancer.

Barker, Osborne, Sharp and Williams win AACR awards

The American Association for Cancer Research will present special recognition awards to four individuals whose work has made extraordinary contributions to the AACR’s mission to accelerate the prevention and cure of all cancers through research, education, communication, and collaboration.

Anna Barker, C. Kent Osborne, Phillip Sharp, and James Williams will receive the awards at the AACR Annual Meeting 2018, April 14-18 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

These AACR Awards recognize groundbreaking, innovative work across the entire cancer community, and they reflect a wide range of contributions to cancer science and medicine. This year’s award recipients represent meritorious work in research, patient care, policymaking, and advocacy.

This year’s winners:

Anna Barker will receive the 2018 AACR Distinguished Award for Exceptional Leadership in Cancer Science Policy and Advocacy.

Barker is the director of the National Biomarker Development Alliance; the director of Transformative Healthcare Knowledge Networks; co-director, Complex Adaptive Systems; and a professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University.

Barker has been chairperson of the AACR ScientistSurvivor Program since she conceptualized the program more than two decades ago. She also provided outstanding leadership in cancer science policy and advocacy for the AACR through her work as Chair of the AACR’s Public Education Committee from 1993-2002.

She continues to serve on this committee, lending her expertise to its initiatives. In addition, she served on the AACR Board of Directors from 1995-1996 and 1998-2001. She was Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute from 2002-2010.

C. Kent Osborne will receive the 2018 AACR Distinguished Award for Extraordinary Scientific Achievement and Leadership in Breast Cancer Research.

Osborne is the director of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is also a professor and the Dudley and Tina Sharp Chair for Cancer Research. Since 1992, he has been a codirector of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, the world’s largest and most prestigious conference devoted to breast cancer.

Osborne’s own research has focused on improving the effectiveness of endocrine and HER-2 targeted therapies in patients with breast cancer.

Phillip Sharp will receive the 2018 AACR Distinguished Award for Extraordinary Scientific Innovation and Exceptional Leadership in Cancer Research and Biomedical Science.

Sharp is an Institute professor and faculty member at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. A world leader in molecular biology and biochemistry, he won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his co-discovery of RNA splicing. He was elected as an inaugural Fellow of the AACR Academy in 2013.

Sharp has been Chair of the Stand Up To Cancer Scientific Advisory Committee over the past decade, leading the selection of 23 “Dream Teams” of top researchers and other SU2C research groups.

He served as program chair of the AACR’s Inaugural Special Conference in 1988. That conference, “Gene Regulation and Oncogenes,” has been characterized as a watershed meeting in stimulating novel, transformative thinking about the molecular biology of cancer. In October 2018, he will lead the 30th Anniversary Special Conference on “Convergence: Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Prediction in Cancer.”

Col. James E. Williams will receive the AACR 2018 Distinguished Public Service Award for Exceptional Leadership in Cancer Advocacy.

Williams, a retired Army colonel who served in the Vietnam War, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1991.

His advocacy efforts include serving as a member of the editorial advisory board of the AACR’s Cancer Today magazine; serving as chairman of the board of the Intercultural Cancer Council; serving as chairman of the Pennsylvania Prostate Cancer Coalition; participating on the patient advocacy committee of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology; and serving as a board member of the Alliance for Prostate Cancer Prevention.


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.”