American Association for Cancer Research Receives Donation From Get Your Rear in Gear – Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) received a $10,000 donation from Get Your Rear in Gear – Philadelphia, Feb. 28, in support of the AACR’s Scholar-in-Training Awards in colorectal cancer.
Mitch Stoller, executive director of the AACR Foundation (pictured center), and Jessica Cestone, director of foundation relations (pictured right), received the check from Maria Grasso, executive director of Get Your Rear in Gear – Philadelphia (pictured left).
The AACR Annual Meeting Scholar-in-Training Award program has provided more than 4,700 grants to young investigators since its inception in 1986. The program has received support from more than 40 cancer research foundations, corporations, individuals, and other organizations dedicated to the fight against cancer. Recipients will receive their grant at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014, to be held in San Diego, Calif., April 5-9.
The AACR is a sponsor of the sixth annual Get Your Rear in Gear – Philadelphia 4 Mile Run, 2 Mile Walk, and Kids’ Fun Run to support colorectal cancer awareness and research, which will be held March 23. Through its partnership with the Colon Cancer Coalition, Get Your Rear in Gear has raised close to $1 million to help the fight against colorectal cancer. All of the proceeds raised from this event support colorectal cancer research in Philadelphia.
PHILADELPHIA — People who had nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) were at increased risk for subsequently developing melanoma and 29 other cancer types, and this association was much higher for those under 25 years of age, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
NMSC is the most common type of skin cancer. It is relatively easy to treat if detected early, and rarely spreads to other organs.
“Our study shows that NMSC susceptibility is an important indicator of susceptibility to malignant tumors and that the risk is especially high among people who develop NMSC at a young age,” said Rodney Sinclair, M.B.B.S., M.D., director of dermatology at the Epworth Hospital and professor of medicine at the University of Melbourne in Australia. “The risk increases for a large group of seemingly unrelated cancers; however, the greatest risk relates to other cancers induced by sunlight, such as melanoma.”
Compared with people who did not have NMSC, those who did were 1.36 times more likely to subsequently develop any cancer, including melanoma and salivary gland, bone, and upper gastrointestinal cancers. Survivors younger than 25 years of age, however, were 23 times more likely to develop any cancer other than NMSC. In particular, they were 94 and 93 times more likely to get melanoma and salivary gland cancer, respectively.
“Early detection of cancers through screening of asymptomatic people works best when screening can be targeted at those at greatest risk,” said Sinclair. “Our study identifies people who receive a diagnosis of NMSC at a young age as being at increased risk for cancer and, therefore, as a group who could benefit from screening for internal malignancy.”
Sinclair and colleagues hypothesized that people who develop skin cancers later in life do so as a result of accumulated sun exposure, while those who develop skin cancer at a younger age may do so as a result of an increased susceptibility to cancer in general. To investigate this, they stratified the risk ratios by age and discovered that young people with NMSC are more cancer-prone.
The researchers used data from the All England Record-linked Hospital and Mortality data set collected between 1999 and 2011, and constructed two cohorts: a cohort of 502,490 people with a history of NMSC, and a cohort of 8,787,513 people who served as controls. They followed up with the participants electronically for five to six years, and 67,148 from the NMSC cohort and 863,441 from the control cohort subsequently developed cancers.
They found that for those who had NMSC, the relative risk for developing cancers of the bladder, brain, breast, colon, liver, lung, pancreas, prostate, and stomach remained consistently elevated for the entire period of the study, and the risk for cancers of the brain, colon, and prostate increased with time.
The researchers also found that those who had NMSC before 25 years of age were 53 times more likely to get bone cancer, 26 times more likely to get blood cancers, 20 times more likely to get brain cancer, and 14 times more likely to get any cancer excluding those of the skin.
The risk for developing any cancer subsequent to NMSC decreased with increasing age: 23 times higher risk for those under 25 years of age, 3.52 for those 25-44 years of age, 1.74 for those 45-59 years of age, and 1.32 for those older than 60 years. Thus, although the risk decreased with increasing age, it remained higher compared with individuals who never had NMSC.
This study was funded by the English National Institute for Health Research. Sinclair has no conflicts of interest to declare.
SAN DIEGO — Nima Sharifi, M.D., Kendrick family endowed chair for prostate cancer research, Department of Cancer Biology, Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, will be recognized with the 34th Annual American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research Award at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014, to be held in San Diego, Calif., April 5-9.
Since 1979, the AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research has honored an investigator younger than 40 years of age to recognize his or her meritorious achievements within the field of cancer research.
Sharifi is being recognized for his seminal contributions as a young investigator to the field of prostate cancer biology. He will present his lecture, “Androgen Metabolism Drivers in Prostate Cancer: From Mechanism to Therapy,” Monday, April 7, 4:30 p.m. PT, in room 20D in the San Diego Convention Center.
“It is a tremendous honor to be selected for the AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research. I am particularly humbled in light of the magnitude of the work and stature of scientists previously recognized by this award,” Sharifi said. “I would like to express my gratitude to all those who have made this possible, including my scientific colleagues in the lab, our collaborators, my scientific and clinical mentors who have helped me along the way, patients who have volunteered for our studies, and of course my family and wife, for their support.”
Sharifi made significant contributions to the field of cancer research through his focus on the clinical importance of androgen synthesis in advanced hormone-resistant prostate cancers. Sharifi challenged the generally accepted idea that testosterone is an obligate intermediate metabolite that undergoes a 5α-reduction to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) from adrenal precursor steroids in castration-resistant prostate cancer. Using tissues obtained by biopsies of his patients’ metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, he demonstrated that a different steroid, androstenedione, undergoes 5α-reduction to 5α-androstanedione en route to DHT, which drives tumor progression.
Although it was already known that DHT concentrations in castration-resistant prostate cancer are sufficiently present to drive AR function, there was no identified mutation described until Sharifi’s recent identification of the first gain-of-function mutation, 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-1, which increases the metabolic flux from steroid precursors to DHT, and is responsible for the development of castration-resistant prostate cancer.
Sharifi has also been recognized with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Physician-Scientist Early Career Award, an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award, a Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award, and two National Cancer Institute (NCI) research grants.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, and his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pennsylvania. He completed his residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut and a fellowship at the NCI.
AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research Honors Dr. Levi A. Garraway With Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship Award
SAN DIEGO — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and its Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR) membership group will award Levi A. Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., with the Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014, to be held in San Diego, Calif., April 5-9.
The AACR-MICR Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship was established in 2006 to give recognition to an outstanding scientist who has made meritorious contributions to the field of cancer research and who has, through leadership or by example, furthered the advancement of minority investigators in cancer research.
Garraway, who is associate professor of medicine in the Department of Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass., will present his lecture, “The Cancer Genome in Biology, Therapy, and Drug Resistance,” Sunday, April 6, 3:15 p.m. PT.
“It is a tremendous honor to receive this award as part of the legacy of Jane Cooke Wright. I am deeply grateful for the recognition, and for all of the opportunities and mentoring that have allowed my research to move forward over the years,” Garraway said.
Garraway is widely recognized for his outstanding research in the field of cancer genomics and functional approaches to characterize solid tumors, especially melanoma and prostate cancer. Discoveries made in his laboratory have utilized computational and experimental approaches toward identifying target genes and pathways, which have furthered the field of personalized medicine and targeted therapies. Among his pioneering discoveries are the identification of the first lineage-survival oncogene, MITF, and the recognition of lineage-dependency as one of the facilitators of tumorigenesis. His team has conducted extensive mechanistic studies to understand genetic alterations in major cell-signaling pathways such as MAPK and PI3K pathways that influence melanoma and its resistance to targeted therapies.
In addition to his extensive scientific contributions to cancer research, Garraway has been tremendously dedicated to furthering minorities in the field. In 2010, he served as chair of the AACR’s Third Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, and served as chair of the MICR Council from 2011 to 2012. He mentored minority high school and college students through the Broad Diversity Initiative, the Dana-Farber Cure Program, and the Harvard Summer Undergraduate Research Programs, and participates in a professional development workshop sponsored by the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Health Disparities. Additionally, he has been an active speaker for the Prostate Health Education Network, a patient education and advocacy group that targets black men who have survived prostate cancer.
Garraway is a principal investigator on the Stand Up To Cancer-Prostate Cancer Foundation Dream Team: Precision Therapy for Advanced Prostate Cancer and served as a scientific editor of Cancer Discovery, a journal of the AACR.
Garraway has received numerous honors throughout his career: In 2007, Garraway was one of only 29 scientists selected from more than 2,200 applicants to receive the New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health. Additionally, he received two minority scholar awards from the AACR and most recently the Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research.
This lectureship is named in honor of Jane Cooke Wright, M.D., a pioneer in clinical cancer chemotherapy and an exceptional scientist who has made important contributions to research in this field, and who passed away last year at the age of 93. Wright, a member of the AACR since 1954, became the highest ranking black woman at a nationally recognized medical institution in 1967, at a time when there were only a few hundred black, female physicians in the United States. She attended the AACR Annual Meeting each year since the lectureship’s establishment in order to provide opening remarks and introduce the year’s lecturer. She was elected into the inaugural class of the Fellows of the AACR Academy in 2013. Read more about Wright.
Pezcoller Foundation and American Association for Cancer Research Honor Outstanding Achievements of Dr. Elaine Fuchs
SAN DIEGO — Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D., will receive the 2014 Pezcoller Foundation-American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) International Award for Cancer Research at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014, to be held in San Diego, Calif., April 5-9, in recognition of her seminal work contributing to the understanding of mammalian skin, skin stem cells, and skin-related diseases, particularly cancers, genetic diseases, and proinflammatory disorders.
Fuchs is the Rebecca C. Lancefield professor and head of the Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development at The Rockefeller University in New York, N.Y., and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She will give her lecture, “Stem Cells in Silence, Action, and Cancer,” Sunday, April 6, 4:30 p.m. PT, in Halls F-G in the San Diego Convention Center.
“Dr. Fuchs is an exceptional scientist, and we are delighted to recognize her pioneering research on the biology of skin stem cells and how they go awry in human diseases of the skin, including cancer,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (hon.), chief executive officer of the AACR. “Her seminal studies have had a profound impact not only on the field of cancer research, but also on the research disciplines of genetics and dermatology.”
Fuchs is highly regarded for her studies using reverse genetics to understand the biological basis of normal and abnormal skin development and function. Among her important research discoveries was the clarification of the molecular mechanisms underlying the ability of skin stem cells to produce the epidermis and its appendages, including hair follicles and sweat and oil glands. She has also defined how the normal biology of skin stem cells can be deregulated in skin cancers and other hyperproliferative disorders of the skin.
“I’m honored, delighted, and humbled to receive this award from the AACR,” said Fuchs. “My students, postdocs, and staff, present and past, are the ones who truly merit recognition. My group has long had an interest in skin stem cells, how they make and repair tissues, and how this goes awry in cancers. As a basic scientist who studies the fundamental mechanisms underlying stem cell biology and cancer, it is particular pleasing to be recognized not only by basic cancer biologists, but also by physician scientists and clinicians. It is the diversity and breadth of the AACR that make this society and this honor so special.”
The Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award, now in its 17th year, recognizes an individual scientist of international renown who has made a major scientific discovery in basic or translational cancer research.
As recipient of this award, Fuchs will also present the Ninth Annual Stanley J. Korsmeyer Lecture at the Venetian Institute for Molecular Medicine in Padua, Italy, prior to the Pezcoller Foundation’s official award ceremony in Trento, Italy, May 2014.
Fuchs was named one of the inaugural Fellows of the AACR Academy last year. She has received many additional honors throughout her career, including the AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship, the National Medal of Science, the Albany Prize in Medicine, the Kligman-Frost Leadership Award from the Society of Investigative Dermatology, L’Oreal-Unesco Award, the March of Dimes Prize, and the Pasarow Award for Cancer Research. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the European National Academy of Sciences (EMBO).
Fuchs received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her doctorate at Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. Fuchs was the Amgen professor of basic sciences at the University of Chicago before joining Rockefeller University in 2002.
Dr. Charis Eng Honored With the 17th Annual AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship
SAN DIEGO — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will award the 17th annual AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship to Charis Eng, M.D., Ph.D., at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014, to be held in San Diego, Calif., April 5-9.
Eng is 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 in Cleveland, Ohio. She is being recognized for her unstinting support and active promotion of women working in cancer research, medicine, and genetics. She will present her lecture, “PTEN Hamartoma Tumor Syndrome Previvorship: What now?,” Saturday, April 5, 5:15 p.m. PT, in Ballroom 20D in the San Diego Convention Center.
The AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship was established in 1998 in honor of renowned virologist Charlotte Friend, Ph.D., discoverer of the Friend virus, for her pioneering research on viruses, cell differentiation, and cancer. The lectureship recognizes an outstanding scientist who has made meritorious contributions to the field of cancer research and who has, through leadership or by example, furthered the advancement of women in science.
“I am deeply honored and humbled to be named this year’s Friend Memorial Lecturer. Dr. Friend was an innovator before her time and her journey underscores the importance of mentorship as illustrated by Dr. Peyton Rous’ sponsorship on her behalf, and in turn, her relentless lifelong mentorship of women in science. She is an inspiration for all of us,” said Eng.
Throughout her career, Eng has mentored scientists and budding scientists, from high school students, to postdoctoral fellows, to junior faculty. Many of her mentees are now in leadership roles in clinical and research institutions around the world and have themselves been awarded numerous prestigious fellowships, honors, and awards.
Eng is also renowned for her important research discoveries, particularly her efforts to identify, characterize, and understand genes that cause susceptibility to inherited cancer syndromes and to determine how these genes can be used to develop new clinical applications. For example, she 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, and her laboratory continues to investigate the ways in which PTEN inactivation occurs in different cancers and to look for novel approaches to targeting it for therapy and prevention. Her work has been published in more than 400 peer-reviewed publications.
After receiving her doctorate and medical degrees from the University of Chicago, which she entered at the age of 16, Eng completed her residency in Boston, Mass., at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where she specialized in internal medicine, and trained in medical oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She formally trained in clinical cancer genetics under the guidance of Sir Bruce A.J. Ponder, MB.BChir., Ph.D., during her fellowship at the University of Cambridge and the Royal Marsden NHS Trust in the United Kingdom. Following her training and prior to her position with the Cleveland Clinic, Eng worked at Dana-Farber and The Ohio State University in Columbus.
An active AACR member, Eng has served on several committees and as a senior editor of Cancer Research. In 1991, she received the AACR-Upjohn Company Scholar-in-Training Award.
Eng has been recognized with numerous other accolades throughout her career, including the Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Award, the American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship, and election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and the American Association of Physician. She was appointed to the Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health, and Society by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in 2009. Read more about Eng.
Dr. Jedd Wolchok Honored With American Association for Cancer Research-Rosenthal Foundation Memorial Award
SAN DIEGO — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will honor Jedd D. Wolchok, M.D., Ph.D., with the 38th annual AACR-Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Memorial Award at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014, to be held in San Diego, Calif., April 5-9. The award will be presented during the opening ceremony, Sunday, April 6, 8:15 a.m. PT.
Wolchok is the chief of Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service, and associate director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, N.Y. He is being recognized for his major contributions to the field of immunotherapy for melanoma as well as his impactful work toward other malignancies. One of his seminal contributions is his role in the development of the anti-CTLA-4 antibody ipilimumab, and leading an international phase III clinical trial to test ipilimumab in combination with chemotherapy. He is credited for recognizing the distinction between the kinetics of tumor response to traditional chemotherapy and an active immunotherapy. The new criteria for evaluating treatment responses to immunotherapy developed by Wolchok and colleagues have now become the standard criteria for immunotherapy clinical trials.
Wolchok will present his lecture, “Realizing the Potential of Cancer Immunotherapy,” Tuesday, April 8, 4 p.m. PT, in room 20 ABC of the San Diego Convention Center.
“I am deeply honored to be selected as the 2014 recipient of the AACR Rosenthal Award. The translation of cutting-edge basic science findings into improved therapeutic options for patients is clearly a vital priority. I am thrilled to be recognized for my efforts and applaud the AACR and Rosenthal Family Foundation for their focus on efforts to enhance and improve clinical cancer care,” Wolchok said.
This award provides incentive to young investigators early in their careers, so it is stipulated that recipients be no older than 50 at the time the award is received. It was established in 1977 by the AACR and the Rosenthal Family Foundation to recognize research that has made, or promises to soon make, a notable contribution to improved clinical care in the field of cancer.
Wolchok’s current research is focused on testing ipilimumab in combination with other therapies, such as the addition of a PD-1 blocking antibody. He leads a recently initiated global phase III trial to test ipilimumab and an investigational anti-PD-1 antibody nivolumab, individually and in combination, in patients with advanced melanoma.
In order to extend immunotherapy beyond melanoma, Wolchok organized the immunotherapeutics program at Memorial Sloan Kettering, which carries out all of the phase I trials of immunotherapy at the cancer center in order to enhance efforts to test new immunotherapies and expand testing on various tumor types. In additional to clinical research efforts, Wolchok also directs the Swim Across America-Ludwig Collaborative Research Laboratory, which is focused on preclinical assessment of novel immune modulators.
Wolchok is a member of the Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C)-Cancer Research Institute (CRI) Dream Team: Immunologic Checkpoint Blockade and Adoptive Cell Transfer in Cancer Therapy. An active AACR member, he is a senior editor of Cancer Immunology Research, and served on the AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology committee. He is also director of the Cancer Vaccine Collaborative (CVC) clinical trials network, Journal of Immunology section editor, and Journal of Clinical Oncology editorial board member.
Wolchok’s work has been recognized though additional honors, including the Lloyd J. Old/Ludwig chair for clinical investigation at Memorial Sloan Kettering, Doctor of the Year Award from the Melanoma International Foundation (2012), the Humanitarian Award from the Melanoma Research Foundation (2010), the Julia Zelmanovich Young Alumni Award from New York University School of Medicine (2004), and the AACR-Aventis scholar-in-training award (2000).
Wolchok received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., and his master’s, medical, and doctoral degrees from New York University. He completed his residency at New York University Medical Center-Bellevue Hospital and served a fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering, during which he also served as chief fellow.