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Scientists Joseph Fraumeni, Patricia Ganz, and Jeffrey Pollard to Receive American Cancer Society Highest Honor for Outstanding Contributions to Cancer Fight
Society’s Medal of Honor to be Awarded on November 5

ATLANTA— November 5, 2010— The American Cancer Society – the nation’s leading voluntary health organization and largest non-governmental investor in cancer research – will present its highest honor, the Medal of Honor, to three Americans who have made outstanding contributions to the fight for a world with less cancer and more birthdays. This year’s winners, who will receive their awards at a ceremony during the American Cancer Society’s annual meeting in Atlanta, are: Joseph F. Fraumeni Jr., M.D., M.Sc., for Cancer Control; Patricia A. Ganz, M.D., for Clinical Research; and Jeffrey Pollard, Ph.D., for Basic Research. The Medal of Honor, originally called the American Cancer Society Award, was first given in 1949.

 

Joseph F. Fraumeni Jr., M.D., M.Sc., one of the world’s premier epidemiologists specializing in cancer, and one of the founders of molecular epidemiology, will be awarded the Medal of Honor for Cancer Control. Dr. Fraumeni has been counselor and teacher to some of the world’s cancer research leaders. Since 1995, he has served as the director of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute. His work in genetics includes the discovery, with his colleague Frederick Li, of a familial multiple-cancer syndrome associated with inherited mutations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene. The condition, which affects children and young adults, is now known as Li-Fraumeni syndrome.

 

Another central theme of Dr. Fraumeni’s research has been the search for environmental causes of cancer. Toward this end, Dr. Fraumeni led the development of a series of U.S. Cancer Mortality Atlases, which revealed distinctive geographic patterns of cancer at the county level. By targeting epidemiologic studies of particular tumors in high-risk communities, Dr. Fraumeni and his colleagues were able to uncover new carcinogenic hazards that have guided policies aimed at cancer prevention and control.

 

In recognition of his research accomplishments in unraveling the environmental and genetic determinants of cancer, Dr. Fraumeni has received many honors, including the Abraham Lilienfeld Award from the American College of Epidemiology, the John Snow Award from the American Public Health Association, the James D. Bruce Memorial Award from the American College of Physicians, the Nathan Davis Award from the American Medical Association, and the Charles S. Mott Prize from the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation. Dr. Fraumeni is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the Association of American Physicians. His wide-ranging research contributions are documented in over 800 scientific publications, including the definitive textbook (co-edited with David Schottenfeld) entitled Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention.

 

Patricia A. Ganz, M.D., professor of health services in the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health, and professor of medicine in the David Geffen School of Medicine, will be awarded the Society’s Medal of Honor for Clinical Research. Dr. Ganz has spent her professional life at the very heart of cancer care through her pioneering work. As a researcher and educator, she has made seminal contributions in the area of cancer survivorship, conducting groundbreaking research that has altered the way cancer survivorship is viewed today. Dr. Ganz is also the director of the UCLA Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research at the UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and leads a center for cancer survivors, the UCLA-LIVESTRONGTM Survivorship Center of Excellence. She is a founding member of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, established in 1986 as the first national organization for survivors.

 

Considered the national expert on quality of life after breast cancer, Dr. Ganz’ leading-edge studies have truly changed the way the medical community views and addresses the many health problems related to survivorship. For more than 20 years, she has focused on issues of quality of life for cancer patients, realizing early that physicians should not delay pain management until end of life, nor should they ignore fatigue or psychological distress in their patients. Through her research as one of the American Cancer Society’s funded professors, she has also become active in cancer prevention efforts. She founded UCLA’s Family Cancer Registry, offering a resource for individuals with a documented genetic predisposition to develop breast, ovarian, prostate, or colon cancer to enroll in and receive genetic counseling, access to molecular testing, and updates on prevention trials relevant to them and their family members. Dr. Ganz was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences/Institute of Medicine in 2007 and has received numerous other awards, including a Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Professor of Survivorship Award, the Israel Cancer Research Fund Women of Action Award, the American Society of Breast Disease Pathfinder Award, and the American Cancer Society Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Ganz also serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and CA-A Journal for Clinicians.

 

Jeffrey Pollard, Ph.D., deputy director of the Albert Einstein Cancer Center in New York, director of the Center for the Study of Reproductive Biology and Women’s Health and Louis Goldstein Swan Chair in Women’s Cancer Research, will be awarded the Society’s Medal of Honor for Basic Research. Dr. Pollard’s genetic studies were the first to show that macrophages recruited to the tumor microenvironment promote tumor progression and metastasis. These studies were fundamental in triggering the now-burgeoning research area of the role of the tumor microenvironment in modulating malignancy that have opened up new therapeutic options, particularly with reagents targeted to the inhibition of macrophage function. His experiments and insights have been at the forefront of the development of the recent appreciation of the role of the tumor microenvironment and particularly the leukocytic component in modulating malignancy. A pioneer in his field, he has also contributed to very important and new therapeutic approaches targeted to the immune component of the microenvironment in general, and macrophages in particular.

 

Dr. Pollard has been on the editorial board of many journals, including Biology of Reproduction, Molecular Oncology, and The Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia. He also serves on many scientific advisory boards, including the Campbell Center in Toronto and the Program in Tumor Microenvironment at MIT. He has been awarded the Darwin Lectureship of the British Association of the Advancement of Science, received a Monique Weill-Caulier award, a Rothschild-Yvette Mayent-Institut Curie award, was the Betty and Sheldon E. Feinberg Scholar in Cancer Research, and is a member of the Faculty of 1000 in the Reproductive Immunology section.

 

Past Medal of Honor recipients include former U.S. President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush; Lance Armstrong; the late Honorable Edward M. Kennedy, Senator from Massachusetts; George N. Papanicolau, M.D., inventor of the Pap test; Robert C. Gallo, M.D., recognized for his achievements in pioneering the field of human retrovirology; Judah Folkman, M.D., a leading researcher in the field of antiangiogenesis; C. Everett Koop, M.D., former U.S. Surgeon General; advice authors Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren; Benno Schmidt Sr., former chairman of the board of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and Dennis Slamon, M.D., director of the Revlon/ UCLA Women’s Cancer Research Program at UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center, who contributed to the development of the drug Herceptin® (trastuzumab), a therapy that treats an aggressive form of breast cancer by targeting the HER2 protein.

 

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end cancer for good. As a global grassroots force of three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping you stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early, helping you get well by being there for you during and after a diagnosis, by finding cures through groundbreaking discovery and fighting back through public policy. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.5 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

 

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Claire Greenwell

American Cancer Society

Phone: (404) 417- 5883

Email: claire.greenwell@cancer.org