Press Releases

American Cancer Society Awards Medal of Honor For Extraordinary Contributions in the Fight to End Cancer
Oct 1, 2015
Four Individuals and One Foundation Earn the Society’s Highest Honor
From left to right: Dr. James P. Allison, Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg, Professor Jack Cuzick, Dr. Sidney Jerome Winawer and The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation received the Medal of Honor, the American Cancer Society's highest honor.

Washington, DC (October 1, 2015) – The American Cancer Society has bestowed its highest honor on four individuals and one foundation during the Society’s 2015 Medal of Honor ceremony and celebration dinner in Washington, DC. The Medal of Honor is awarded to those who have made the most valuable contributions and impact in the fight to end cancer through basic research, clinical research, cancer control, or philanthropy.

The 2015 recipients are James P. Allison, Ph.D, for Basic Research; Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., for Basic Research; Jack Cuzick, Ph.D., for Clinical Research; Sidney Jerome Winawer, M.D., for Cancer Control; and The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, for Philanthropy.

“Our Medal of Honor recipients truly embody what the American Cancer Society is all about,” said Gary Reedy, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. “Each of this year's recipients has significantly contributed to the advancement and impact of our collective efforts to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.”

Dr. James P. Allison was awarded the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor for Basic Research for his pioneering work on the regulation of immune cell activation and defining immune check point blockade. His research has resulted in major advances in immunotherapy for cancer and the first FDA-approved drug for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. Dr. Allison is a professor in the Department of Immunology, Division of Basic Science Research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX.

Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg was presented with the Medal of Honor for Basic Research for his in-depth understanding of the immunology of cancer, and how to harness the body's own cancer fighting cells. Rosenberg pioneered the development of adoptive immunotherapy that resulted in the first effective immunotherapies for selected patients with advanced cancer.  His recent studies of the adoptive transfer of genetically modified lymphocytes has resulted in the regression of metastatic cancer in patients with melanoma, sarcomas and lymphomas. Dr. Rosenberg is chief of surgery at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland and a professor of surgery at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences and at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C.

Professor Jack Cuzick was awarded the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor for Clinical Research for his contributions to the field of biostatistics, epidemiology, and clinical medicine. Over the past three decades, Professor Cuzick has demonstrated consistent leadership in cancer prevention and screening, including chemoprevention and cancer treatment. He is internationally known for advancing the field of breast cancer chemoprevention through his early and path breaking work with tamoxifen, and most recently, the research that contributed to the introduction of aromatase inhibitors, both for the treatment of breast cancer, and as an agent for chemoprevention. He is the co-developer of a widely used breast cancer risk estimation model, and has been a leader in the design and analysis of clinical trials of cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment. Professor Cuzick is director of Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine in London, and head of Centre for Cancer prevention and John Snow professor of epidemiology at Queen Mary, University of London.

Dr. Sidney Jerome Winawer received the Medal of Honor for Cancer Control in recognition of his lifetime contributions and dedication to advance screening and prevention of colorectal cancer. His monumental work has expanded the colorectal cancer knowledge base, documenting the impact of colonoscopy and polyp removal in reducing colorectal cancer incidence and mortality. Dr. Winawer was chief of the gastroenterology-nutrition service, chairman of the cancer prevention and cancer control program, and is an attending physician and member with tenure at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical School and holds the Paul Sherlock chair in medicine.

The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, based in Minneapolis and Naples, Florida, was awarded the Medal of Honor for Philanthropy for a $7.5 million grant to expand the Hope Lodge in Rochester, Minnesota and to build the Twin Cities Hope Lodge in Minneapolis. Cancer philanthropist and business visionary, Mr. Schulze can best be described as a passionate, caring dreamer with very high expectations. He believes everyone should have the same level of opportunity while undergoing lifesaving treatment.  Mr. Schulze is making a measurable difference for cancer patients through Hope Lodge and for a future with fewer cancer deaths through his research philanthropy. He is a founder of Best Buy, and has been an officer and director since its inception in 1966, and is currently Founder and Chairman Emeritus.  Mr. Schulze is a trustee of the University of St. Thomas and chairman of the board of governors of the University of St. Thomas Business School.

Past recipients of the Society’s Medal of Honor include former U.S. President and First Lady George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush; 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; Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, M.D.; and advice columnists Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren.

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 2.5 million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society's efforts have contributed to a 22 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress; 14.5 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. We're determined to finish the fight against cancer. We're finding cures as the nation’s  largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit

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