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AACR’s Associate Member Council Honors Early-career Future Leaders of Basic Cancer Research

March 27, 2012
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CHICAGO — The American Association for Cancer Research will recognize four talented future leaders of basic cancer research at the AACR Annual Meeting 2012, held here March 31 – April 4. Each of these young scientists will present their work during the Future Leaders in Basic Cancer Research Special Symposium to take place on Monday, April 2, at 1 p.m. CT in room W179 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

“These outstanding young investigators are among those who represent the future of basic science in cancer,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. “It is a pleasure to see these scientists recognized, as our future accomplishments in the cancer field will depend on the innovation and passion of our talented early-career scientists to conduct excellent research, and discover and develop cutting-edge preventive and treatment strategies against this disease.”

This special symposium has been developed to highlight early-career scientists in cancer research whose work reflects innovation, scientific independence, motivation and creativity. Nominees are required to be graduate students, medical students or residents, clinical fellows or postdoctoral fellows and institutional nomination was required for consideration.

This year’s selected nominees and speakers are:

  • Carrie Adelman, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, London Research Institute, Cancer Research U.K., South Mimms, England

Adelman will present her research regarding the role of the HelQ helicaseas, an important DNA damage response factor and tumor suppressor protein. Using HelQ transgenic mouse models, Adelman and colleagues are beginning to find links between HelQ and certain types of inherited cancer syndromes. She has been influential in discovering that HelQ assists in sensing DNA damage and in governing intracellular DNA damage repair pathways that have a significant role in the onset of Fanconi anemia, a genetic disease that predisposes people to hematological abnormalities. Adelman’s research has important implications for understanding the genesis of Fanconi anemia and cancer and how DNA damage that is caused by cytotoxic cancer therapies is repaired.

  • Faiyaz Notta, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Notta was selected as a speaker based on his groundbreaking research exploring the genetically distinct nature of tumor-initiating cells derived from Philadelphia-positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells. During his presentation he will review past and current concepts surrounding clonal evolution of cancer stem cells and their role in tumor development. Notta’s research has elucidated the understanding of cellular expansion and genetic evolution in ALL, while simultaneously emphasizing the significance of this concept in all cancers. This discovery of a complex network of cellular growth and change has shifted the paradigm concerning how researchers visualize cancer progression and may explain why various patient populations are resistant to certain cancer treatments.

  • Michael Quante, M.D., clinical fellow, II. Medizinische Klinik, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Germany

Quante was nominated for this honor based upon his pioneering work in generating mouse models of Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma that closely resemble the human disease by first presenting with esophagitis, which later progresses to a cancerous state. This model represents a tractable preclinical model for these conditions that will allow researchers to investigate preventative strategies and therapies for the growing population of patients with such cancers. In addition to his work with cancer mouse models, Quante has also contributed immensely to the field of cancer research through his findings concerning the generation, function and biological nature of various subpopulations of progenitor cells and how they contribute to cancer.

  • David A. Solomon, Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D. student, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C.

Solomon will present his exciting research findings concerning aneuploidy (abnormal numbers of DNA chromosomes). In cancer, genetic and molecular defects commonly lead to chromosomal instability. This state is often accompanied by the onset of DNA aberrations such as aneuploidy that further complicate the cancer, contributing to its aggressiveness and severity. Solomon discovered that one potential molecular mechanism behind aneuploidy involves the STAG2 (stromal antigen 2) protein, which is involved in the cohesin complex that is essential for proper cellular division. His research demonstrated that aneuploidy is promoted upon STAG2 inactivation, either through deletion or mutation. This identification of STAG2 as a tumor suppressor and inhibitor of aneuploidy provides a novel molecular concept and target for therapeutic intervention in all tumor types that display aneuploidy. In addition to this work, Solomon has been both active and successful in researching the pathogenesis and treatment of glioblastoma multiforme.

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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
In Chicago, March 31 – April 4:
(312) 528-8206

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