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American Association for Cancer Research Congratulates Drs. Charles Sawyers and Brian Druker on 2013 Taubman Prize

June 14, 2013
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PHILADELPHIA — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) congratulates Charles L. Sawyers, M.D., president of the AACR and Brian J. Druker, M.D., fellow of the AACR Academy and former member of the AACR Board of Directors, on receiving the 2013 Taubman Prize for Excellence in Translational Medicine Science in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

The A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute, based at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, presents the $100,000 prize annually to acknowledge work in the crucial field of translational medical science by clinician-scientists who have transformed laboratory discoveries into clinical applications.

“On behalf of the American Association for Cancer Research, I extend sincere congratulations to our President Dr. Charles Sawyers and to Dr. Brian Druker on their receiving this pre-eminent award,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. “They are both internationally respected thought leaders in translational and clinical research, and their passionate commitment to accelerating progress has yielded molecularly targeted therapies that have benefited tens of thousands of patients worldwide. Their dedication to further improving the lives of patients is renowned, and they are truly deserving of this prestigious accolade.”

The institute is honoring Druker, director of the Oregon Health and Science University Knight Cancer Institute in Portland, for his work on the development of imatinib (Gleevec), and Sawyers, chair of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, N.Y., for his research on imatinib resistance, which led to the development of second-generation drugs.

These researchers turned CML from a fatal cancer into a highly treatable one. Prior to imatinib’s 2001 approval, bone marrow transplantation was the only treatment option and was associated with poor outcomes. Now, patients receiving imatinib have a five-year survival rate of about 90 percent. In addition, imatinib is effective for the treatment of other cancers, including gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Sawyers’ research on the molecular underpinnings of imatinib resistance led to the development of second-generation drugs.  

Sawyers and Druker will jointly present the keynote address and receive the Taubman Prize trophy at the Taubman Institute’s 2013 annual symposium on Oct. 11 in Ann Arbor.

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About the American Association for Cancer Research
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 membership includes more than 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 eight 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 team science and individual 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:
Lauren Riley
(215) 446-7155

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