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Titia de Lange, Ph.D., Receives the 50th Annual G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award

April 14, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Titia de Lange, Ph.D., will receive the 50th annual American Association for Cancer Research G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to cancer research through the elucidation of telomere biology. The award will be presented at the AACR 101st Annual Meeting 2010. De Lange is the Leon Hess professor and associate director of the Anderson Cancer Center at The Rockefeller University, New York, and an American Cancer Society research professor.

“We are delighted that on its 50th year, the AACR G.H.A. Clowes Award will be given to Dr. de Lange, an innovative scientist of the highest order,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. “Dr. de Lange has been a major contributor to the telomere field since its inception. Her research on how telomeres are maintained and how they erode has dramatically increased our knowledge of cancer.”

de Lange hypothesized that telomeres would be protected by a host of cellular factors designed to both defend and regulate telomere function. In 1995, she purified and cloned telomere repeat binding factor 1 (TRF1), the first of six telomeric proteins that bind to human telomeres. de Lange showed that the six telomeric proteins form a complex, termed shelterin, that protects chromosome ends and regulates telomerase. Her group showed how shelterin helps to hide the telomere from the DNA damage response and represses inappropriate DNA repair reactions at chromosome ends.

The AACR and Eli Lilly and Company established the G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award in 1961 to honor George H.A. Clowes, Ph.D., a founding member of the American Association for Cancer Research. This honor recognizes an individual with outstanding recent accomplishments in basic cancer research.

“Previous recipients of the Clowes award exemplify the type of biomedical research I admire and I am enormously honored to be joining their ranks,” said de Lange. “In our research on telomeres, we aim to translate our knowledge about this basic aspect of chromosome biology to cancer relevant issues, such as senescence and genome instability. It is, therefore, very encouraging to be recognized for our contributions by the AACR.”

de Lange earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Amsterdam in 1977 and a Master of Science degree from the University of Amsterdam and the National Institute for Medical Research in London in 1981. In 1985, she received her doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Amsterdam and the Netherlands Cancer Institute. From 1985 to 1990, she served as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus at the University of California, San Francisco. It was at UCSF that she became one of the first scientists to isolate the telomeres of human chromosomes.

de Lange is an elected member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, an elected foreign member of the European Molecular Biology Organization, and an elected foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences, United States. She also serves as an elected fellow for the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Society for Microbiology, the American Academy for Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Among numerous awards, she has received the National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award in 2005, the AACR Charlotte Friend Memorial Award in 2004, an honorary degree from Utrecht University, The Netherlands, in 2003, and the first Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research in 2001.

de Lange will receive the 50th annual AACR G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award during her lecture, “How telomeres solve the end-protection problem and its relevance to cancer,” which will take place on Monday, April 19, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET, in Ballroom C of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

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Download interviews with cancer researchers and recordings of the teleconferences by subscribing to the AACR Scientific Podcasts via iTunes or an RSS Reader.

The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 31,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowship and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 17,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. The AACR publishes six major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists. CR provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship and advocacy.

Media Contact:

Michele Leiberman (267) 646-0622
In Washington, D.C. April 17-21:
(202) 249-4098

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