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AACR Board Member Named to President’s Cancer Panel

December 2, 2011
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PHILADELPHIA — The American Association for Cancer Research warmly congratulates Owen W. Witte, M.D., founding director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA and an AACR board member, for being selected by President Obama to serve on the President’s Cancer Panel.

“These men and women have demonstrated knowledge and dedication throughout their careers,” President Obama said of Witte and other nominees to key administrative posts. “I am grateful they have chosen to take on these important roles, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”

Members of the panel are selected based on their training, experience and background and are considered exceptionally qualified to appraise the National Cancer Program.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Witte has been recognized by the White House to serve on this pre-eminent panel,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. The National Cancer Program will benefit from his sage and expert guidance on key issues in the field.”

A Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, Witte has made significant contributions to the understanding of human leukemia and epithelial cancer stem cells. He discovered the tyrosine kinase activity for the ABL gene and the demonstration of the BCR-ABL oncoproteins in leukemia.

Witte’s research has focused on the interrelated problems of cell growth regulation and differentiation and on understanding the function of cancer-causing genes found in human leukemia and epithelial cancers. This fundamental research became the foundation for the later development of imatinib. More recently, Witte has concentrated on defining the stem cells for epithelial cancers of the prostate and other organs to help define new and more effective therapies.

In addition to his role as an AACR board member, Witte has served as a member of the Stand Up To Cancer Innovative Research Grants Review Committee. He was co-chairperson of the Special Conference, “Advances in Prostate Cancer Research,” and served on the faculty for the Educational Workshop, “Molecular Biology in Clinical Oncology.”

In addition to serving as director for the UCLA Stem Cell Center, Witte currently holds the UCLA David Saxon Presidential Chair in Developmental Immunology. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Science, Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received national recognition for his research, including the Milken Foundation Award, the AACR Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Memorial Award, the Dameshek Prize of the American Society of Hematology, the Alpert Foundation Prize and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s de Villiers International Achievement Award.

Witte’s two-year term on the President’s Cancer Panel will begin in January, 2012.

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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 33,000 laboratory, 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 fellowships and career development awards to young investigators, and it also funds cutting-edge research projects conducted by senior researchers. The AACR has numerous fruitful collaborations with organizations and foundations in the U.S. and abroad, and functions as the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, a charitable initiative that supports groundbreaking research aimed at getting new cancer treatments to patients in an accelerated time frame. 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, and Educational Workshops are held for the training of young cancer investigators. The AACR publishes seven major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Discovery; Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Prevention Research. In 2010, AACR journals received 20 percent of the total number of citations given to oncology journals. The AACR also publishes Cancer Today, a magazine for cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers, which provides practical knowledge and new hope for cancer survivors. A major goal of the AACR is to educate the general public and policymakers about the value of cancer research in improving public health, the vital importance of increases in sustained funding for cancer research and biomedical science, and the need for national policies that foster innovation and the acceleration of progress against the 200 diseases we call cancer.

Media Contact:
Michele Sharp
(215) 446-7156

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