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AACR CEO Receives Prestigious Research!America Advocacy Award

March 14, 2012
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Research!America Honors Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), for her leadership and dedication to cancer research, treatment and prevention

PHILADELPHIA — Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the American Association for Cancer Research, will receive Research!America’s 2012 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership. Foti is honored for her national leadership role in science and public policy, and in particular, for her tireless and effective advocacy for federal funding for cancer research and biomedical science during her long tenure as chief executive officer of the AACR.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this award from Research!America,” said Foti. “This is a time of unprecedented scientific progress and opportunity. Today more than ever, cancer researchers are translating fundamental discoveries for the benefit of patients, and I passionately believe there is no better investment that our country can make than in advancing the promise of biomedical research.

“The AACR is proud to be a member of the Research!America alliance of organizations that share in its unwavering mission to educate lawmakers and the public about the value of research in saving lives. We applaud the work of Research!America to foster collaborations across the entire biomedical research community in order to expand the nation’s support of scientific discovery and innovation,” she added.  

The award will be presented to Foti at the 16th Annual Advocacy Awards, being held tonight at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. The awards dinner attracts nearly 500 leaders from government, industry, academia and health advocacy organizations to recognize top medical and health research advocates whose efforts had an extraordinary impact on advancing the nation’s contributions to research.  

“Dr. Foti has long provided the knowledge, commitment and the national leadership to increase funding for medical research,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America. “Her leadership has created synergy within the cancer community for strong advocacy initiatives.”

Foti became CEO of the AACR in 1982. During her tenure, the AACR’s membership has grown from about 3,000 to 34,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; students; cancer survivors; and research and patient advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries.  

In the fall of 2007, the AACR opened a Washington, D.C. office to educate members of Congress about the inextricable link between cancer research and public health. As a result, the AACR has a regular presence on Capitol Hill, sponsoring educational briefings for members of Congress and their staffs, and facilitating opportunities to connect researchers with key decision makers at all levels of government.

Most recently, Foti’s leadership was instrumental in the production of the landmark AACR Cancer Progress Report 2011, which highlights the extraordinary progress made in cancer research over the past 40 years. This report is a comprehensive, informational tool that illustrates the astounding return on investment in cancer research supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute, and provides a summary of the scientific breakthroughs that promise to revolutionize the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Foti has received many accolades for her contributions to cancer research. In 2010, she was awarded the first Margaret Foti Award, established in cooperation with the University of Catania Ph.D. Oncology Program and the Italian League Against Cancer of Catania. In 2009, she received the first Margaret Kripke Legend Award from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the European CanCer Organization Lifetime Achievement Award and a citation from Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter for her dedication to increasing awareness of the importance of cancer research as well as for her pivotal role in designating May as National Cancer Research Month. She was the first recipient of the AACR Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research, created in her name in 2007.

She has received numerous other awards, such as the Award of Appreciation from the Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Chairpersons, the Award with Recognition and Appreciation from the Israel Cancer Association, the Italian League Against Cancer Commendation, the Distinguished Service Award from the George Washington University Medical Center’s GW Cancer Institute, the Distinguished Service Award from the Association of American Cancer Institutes, the AACR Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research, the Ville de Paris Award, the Cina del Duca Award for raising public awareness of cancer globally, the Community Caring Award from the William S. Graham Foundation for Melanoma Research and the Special Recognition Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology for her work in advancing clinical cancer research.

Foti has also been awarded honorary memberships in the Japanese Cancer Association, the European Association for Cancer Research and the Hungarian Cancer Society. She was awarded an honorary doctorate in medicine and surgery from the University of Rome La Sapienza in 2003, and a second honorary doctorate in medicine and surgery from the University of Catania in Sicily in July 2008. She received a third honorary doctorate in medicine from the University CEU San Pablo in Madrid in 2009.

Award benefactors Beverly and Raymond R. Sackler, M.D., emeritus directors of Research!America, are long-standing supporters of medical research. They have sponsored research investigations at more than a dozen leading universities in the United States and abroad through the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation and the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Fund for the Arts and Sciences.

Other 2012 Research!America Advocacy Award winners are U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md.; Sanjay Gupta, M.D., chief medical correspondent for CNN; Scott Johnson, president and founder of the Myelin Repair Foundation; Donald Lindberg, M.D., director of the National Library of Medicine; and the Food Allergy Initiative.

Research!America is the nation’s largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. The annual Research!America Advocacy Awards program was established in 1996 to honor outstanding advocates for medical, health and scientific research.

The 2012 Advocacy Awards represent Research!America’s 16th year of recognizing the accomplishments of leading advocates for medical and health research. For more information, visit

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About the AACR

Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR’s membership includes 34,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in more than 90 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 20 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with more than 18,000 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes seven peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration and scientific oversight of individual and team science grants in cancer research that have the potential for patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. 

For more information about the AACR, visit

Media Contact:
Tara Yates
(215) 446-7110

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