Oncology Professionals and Leaders Honored for Contributions in the Progress Against Cancer

For Immediate Release
March 20, 2012
Contact: 

Danielle Blake
571-483-1375
danielle.blake@asco.org

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A former Surgeon General of the United States and leading researcher in leukemia in adults are among the notable awardees set to be honored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) at its 2012 Annual Meeting.

Each year through its Special Awards Program, ASCO recognizes researchers, patient advocates, and leaders of the global oncology community who, through their work, have made significant contributions to enhancing cancer care. These recipients of ASCO’s highest, most prestigious awards collectively represent significant strides in cancer treatment and leadership in the oncology community.

“All of the oncology professionals and leaders who will be receiving this year’s Special Awards have made a great impact on cancer prevention, care and treatment around the globe,” said George Sledge, MD, ASCO Immediate Past President and Chair of the Special Awards Selection Committee. “We are honored to commend their contributions and accomplishments in the field of oncology with ASCO’s most prestigious awards.”

The 2012 ASCO Special Awards Honorees are:

David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award and Lecture
Kanti R. Rai, MB, BS, is the recipient of the 2012 David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award and Lecture for his outstanding achievements in cancer research and for his influence on the treatment of patients with cancer. Dr. Rai is chief of the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Research and Treatment Program at North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System and the Joel Finkelstein Cancer Foundation Professor of Medicine at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, where he also holds the title of professor of molecular medicine. As an investigator with The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Dr. Rai is known for establishing the Rai clinical staging system for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), which is based on an analysis of how the body is affected by the abnormal lymphocytes. Dr. Rai has continued to remain at the forefront of research in the studies of natural history of CLL, improving prognostic markers and in developing newer and hypothesis-driven strategies of therapy for this disease.

Science of Oncology Award and Lecture
Rakesh K. Jain, PhD, A.W. Cook Professor of Radiation Oncology (Tumor Biology) at Harvard Medical School and Director of E.L. Steele Laboratory of Tumor Biology at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, is the recipient of the 2012 Science of Oncology Award and Lecture. By combining his extensive expertise and experience in engineering, mathematics, tumor biology, and physiology, Dr. Jain has created a novel approach to imaging technologies in cancer research that has provided unprecedented molecular, cellular, anatomical, and functional insights into tumor barriers and how to overcome them. His discoveries have fundamentally changed the thinking of scientists and clinicians about how antiangiogenic agents work in people with cancer. Dr. Jain’s research also represents a premier example of bench-to-bedside translation in oncology.

ASCO-American Cancer Society Award and Lecture
Rowan T. Chlebowski, MD, PhD, is the recipient of the 2012 ASCO-American Cancer Society Award and Lecture for his pioneering work in the prevention and management of cancer. As the chief of medical oncology and hematology at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and researcher at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Dr. Chlebowski has been involved in full-scale clinical trials addressing issues related to breast cancer prevention and therapy and women’s health. As a Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) investigator, he led reports on estrogen alone and estrogen plus progestin influence on cancer endpoints where findings have substantially changed clinical use of menopausal hormone therapy worldwide with associated reduction in breast cancer incidence.

Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award and Lecture
Monica Morrow, MD, FACS, chief of the Breast Surgery Service, co-chief of the Breast Program, and Anne Burnett Windfohr Chair of Clinical Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, is the recipient of the 2012 Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award and Lecture. Dr. Morrow’s clinical interests include the application of advances from clinical trials to daily surgical practice, the evaluation of new technology related to local therapy of breast cancer, and understanding how patients make breast cancer treatment decisions. ASCO is pleased to honor Dr. Morrow with this award for her distinguished record of accomplishments in advancing the field of breast cancer research.

B.J. Kennedy Award and Lecture for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology
Matti S. Aapro, MD, dean of the Multidisciplinary Oncology Institute in Genolier, Switzerland, and executive director of the International Society of Geriatric Oncology (SIOG), is the recipient of the 2012 B.J. Kennedy Award and Lecture for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology. An active researcher and frequent international lecturer, Dr. Aapro’s clinical interests include new drug development, breast cancer, cancer in the elderly, and supportive care. He was chair of the scientific and organizing committees of the International Union Against Cancer’s World Cancer Congress in 2008 in Geneva, Switzerland, and continued to serve UICC in 2010, in Shenzhen, China. Dr. Aapro has also authored or co-authored numerous articles and book chapters on various aspects of cancer treatment.

Pediatric Oncology Award and Lecture
Ching-Hon Pui, MD, is the recipient of the 2012 Pediatric Oncology Award and Lecture for his outstanding scientific achievements in the field of pediatric oncology. Dr. Pui currently serves as chair of the department of oncology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; co-leader of the hospital’s Hematological Malignancies Program; medical director of the St. Jude International Outreach China Program; and holder of the Fahad Nassar Al-Rashid Chair of Leukemia Research. For nearly 20 years, Dr. Pui has been a leader in the molecular definitions of childhood leukemia and of developing clinical protocols based on those findings. The current emphasis of his research is placed on genome-wide studies to understand leukemogenesis, and to identify “driver” molecular lesions and new drugs for target therapy.

Partners in Progress Award
Marlo Thomas, an award-winning actress, author, and activist, is the recipient of the 2012 Partners in Progress Award. Ms. Thomas is the National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and is the driving force behind countless public awareness efforts to educate the public about the life-saving work being done at St. Jude that impacts the lives of children in communities across America and around the world. As an actress, she conceived, produced, and starred in television’s That Girl, has been honored with four Emmy Awards, the Peabody, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy, and has been inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame. ASCO is pleased to honor Ms. Thomas for her dedicated efforts to increase public awareness of childhood cancer and for her support of cancer research and care.

Distinguished Achievement Award
Robert F. Ozols, MD, PhD, an internationally known expert in ovarian cancer and a leader in advancing chemotherapy research, is the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Achievement Award for his extraordinary leadership in the field of oncology. Dr. Ozols was the first Audrey Weg Schaus and Geoffrey Alan Weg Chair in Medical Science at Fox Chase Cancer Center, and also served as senior vice president and chief clinical officer at Fox Chase Cancer Center until his retirement in 2008 following two decades of service at the institution. His research has focused on how cancer cells develop drug resistance and on strategies for overcoming resistance.

Special Recognition Award
David Satcher, MD, PhD, is the recipient of the 2012 Special Recognition Award for his leadership as a public health administrator and, in particular, for his contribution to cancer awareness and prevention. Dr. Satcher is director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine, and has served as the 16th Surgeon General of the United States, Assistant Secretary for Health, and Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has received over 40 honorary degrees and numerous distinguished honors including top awards from the National Medical Association and the Symbol of H.O.P.E. Award for health promotion and disease prevention. Dr. Satcher has an established record of leadership, research, and community engagement in many areas of health policy including childhood obesity and disparities in health.

Public Service Award
Nancy G. Brinker is the 2012 recipient of the Public Service Award for her commitment to breast cancer awareness, fundraising efforts, and legislation in support of cancer research, treatment, and care as well as her tireless efforts on behalf of patients with breast cancer, survivors, and their families. As founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, she is regarded as the leader of the global breast cancer movement. From 2001 to 2003, she served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary, and from 2007 to 2009 she served as U.S. Chief of Protocol, where she was responsible for overseeing all protocol matters for visiting heads of state and presidential travel abroad. In 2009, she was named Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control by the World Health Organization. Ambassador Brinker’s global leadership in the breast cancer movement has led to increased government research funding and has been key to making cancer care and research a priority for policy makers.

Humanitarian Award
Edith Peterson Mitchell, MD, clinical professor in the Departments of Medicine and Medical Oncology and program leader of Gastrointestinal Oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, is the 2012 recipient of the Humanitarian Award. Dr. Mitchell has spent her medical career helping individuals in medically underserved areas to realize that simple changes in lifestyle can have a dramatic impact on cancer care. Through her work, she has demonstrated the importance of community service and outreach, especially to those individuals who may not have the means to seek out more conventional medical advice. ASCO is pleased to present Dr. Mitchell with the Humanitarian Award for her personification of the Society’s mission and values, and for going above and beyond the call of duty in providing outstanding patient care.

Fellows of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (FASCO)
Formerly called the ASCO Statesman Award, which launched in 2007, the new distinction of Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (FASCO) is designed to honor ASCO’s most active volunteer members. A full list of the 2012 FASCO recipients can be found here.

“The FASCO status represents recognition for the most dedicated volunteer members inside the organization,” said ASCO CEO Allen Lichter, MD. “These are people who have given of themselves tirelessly over a long period of time. They represent the very best of our organization.”

All of the above awards will be presented at the Society’s 48th Annual Meeting taking place in Chicago, June 1 – 5 at McCormick Place, with the exception of the Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award and Lecture, which will be presented at the 2012 Breast Cancer Symposium, taking place September 13 – 15 in San Francisco, California.

For a list of the specific dates and room locations of the awards presentations, please contact Danielle Blake at danielle.blake@asco.org.