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AACR CEO Receives Prestigious 2012 Biotech Humanitarian Award

June 20, 2012
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The Biotechnology Industry Organization honors Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), for her leadership in cancer research and advocacy.

PHILADELPHIA — Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the American Association for Cancer Research, will receive the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s (BIO) 2012 Biotech Humanitarian Award. Foti is being honored for her efforts to foster cancer research and team science for the benefit of patients and for her exceptional work as a cancer advocate.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this award from the Biotechnology Industry Organization,” she said. “Today more than ever, cancer researchers are translating fundamental discoveries for the benefit of patients. I passionately believe that enhancing the ability of these dedicated individuals to work together, through programs designed to foster the exchange of knowledge and new ideas among scientists dedicated to cancer research, is helping to promote advances in the field and save more lives.

“It is also imperative that we share with the general public the extraordinary progress that has been made in cancer research and treatment. This offers new hope to those who have received a diagnosis of cancer and their families, as well as educates everyone about the fact that more work needs to be done to meet the challenges ahead. This award gives me great confidence that the AACR’s hard work is assuring the understanding of cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment for the benefit of patients.”

The award and a prize of $10,000 will be presented to Foti during the keynote address on Wednesday, June 20, at the 2012 BIO International Convention, held in Boston, Mass. The BIO International Convention is the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry.

Foti became CEO of the AACR in 1982. During her tenure, the AACR’s membership has grown from 3,000 to more than 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. It is the oldest and largest scientific organization in the world focused on every aspect of high-quality, innovative cancer research.  

Recently, Foti’s leadership has been instrumental in establishing the AACR as the scientific partner for a number of groups seeking to maximize their cancer research grant-giving efforts. These groups include Stand Up To Cancer, a national initiative dedicated to finding a cure for cancer; the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network; The Breast Cancer Research Foundation;  the Melanoma Research Alliance; and the Prostate Cancer Foundation among others. In this context, the AACR plays a pivotal role in providing scientific oversight, peer review and grants administration.

Foti has received many other accolades for her contributions to cancer research and advocacy. Earlier this year, she was awarded Research!America’s 2012 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership. 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. Foti was also the first recipient of an AACR award created in her name in 2007. Her numerous other awards and recognitions for work in the U.S. and abroad include honorary membership in the Japanese Cancer Association, the European Association for Cancer Research and the Hungarian Cancer Society, as well as honorary doctorates in medicine and surgery.

The Biotech Humanitarian Award, which was established in 2009, honors work that aims to reduce human suffering significantly and enhance the human experience in a way that has a clear and direct benefit to society or improves the health of our planet. Foti was selected as the recipient of the fourth annual award by a distinguished panel of judges comprising leaders in science, advocacy and media. The judges evaluated nominations based on four criteria: impact on future generations, impact on contemporary society, contribution to the field of biotechnology and level of innovation exhibited.

“BIO is thrilled to honor Dr. Margaret Foti as the 2012 Biotech Humanitarian before her friends and colleagues at the 2012 BIO International Convention. We have witnessed Dr. Foti’s pioneering leadership at the AACR on behalf of cancer researchers and advocates, and value the enormous contribution she has made to the field,” said BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood. “Dr. Foti has devoted her career to improving cancer research while enhancing the lives of cancer patients and their families, and her work exemplifies the spirit of the Biotech Humanitarian Award.”

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations.

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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 17,000 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 near-term 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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