The American Association for Cancer Research will present special recognition awards to four individuals whose work has made extraordinary contributions to the association’s mission to accelerate the prevention and cure of cancer.
The awards will be presented during the association’s annual meeting, held April 14-18 in Chicago.
“This year’s award recipients have made such tremendous contributions to the cancer field,” Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), said in a press release. “Their extraordinary accomplishments, whether in the lab, the clinic, the halls of Congress, or in their very own community, have truly changed the lives of cancer patients and their loved ones. We are so grateful for their enduring commitments to the cause.”
Anna D. Barker, PhD, will receive the AACR Distinguished Award for Exceptional Leadership in Cancer Science Policy and Advocacy.
Barker is director of the National Biomarker Development Alliance, director of transformative health care knowledge networks, co-director of complex adaptive systems, and a professor in the school of life sciences at Arizona State University.
She has been chairwoman of the AACR Scientist-Survivor Program since she conceptualized it more than 2 decades ago.
“Barker’s innovative leadership in cancer advocacy has driven the success of her brainchild, the AACR Scientist-Survivor Program,” Foti said. “This unique program has had an indelible, positive effect on the professional and personal lives of both cancer researchers and advocates, and it has been hailed around the world as the most important initiative of its type.”
C. Kent Osborne, MD, will receive the AACR Distinguished Award for Extraordinary Scientific Achievement and Leadership in Breast Cancer Research.
Osborne is director of Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine. He also is professor and chair for cancer research.
Osborne’s research has focused on improving the effectiveness of endocrine therapies and therapies that target HER-2.
“Osborne has made extraordinary contributions to breast cancer research during his spectacular career as a physician-scientist, producing significant new insights and providing important data that have improved the clinical outcomes of breast cancer patients,” Foti said. “In addition, this award recognizes his exceptional, selfless stewardship of San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, which has grown and thrived under his capable leadership.”
Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, FAACR, will receive the AACR Distinguished Award for Extraordinary Scientific Innovation and Exceptional Leadership in Cancer Research and Biomedical Science.
Sharp is an institute professor and faculty member at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. He won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his co-discovery of RNA splicing.
He has been chair of the Stand Up To Cancer Scientific Advisory Committee for the past decade.
“During his illustrious career, Dr. Sharp has consistently manifested extraordinary dedication to the AACR and its mission,” Foti said. “He has provided sage advice and counsel to the AACR on numerous important issues, and his loyalty to our organization continues to this day.”
Col. James E. Williams will receive the Distinguished Public Service Award for Exceptional Leadership in Cancer Advocacy.
Williams, a retired Army colonel who served in the Vietnam War, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1991.
After treatment, he began an effort to educate men about the disease. His subsequent advocacy work included serving as chairman of Pennsylvania Prostate Cancer Coalition, a board member of Alliance for Prostate Cancer Prevention, and member of the editorial advisory board for AACR’s Cancer Today magazine.
“Jim Williams is an inspiration and a role model, not only to other cancer survivors but also to the scientific community at large,” Foti said. “We are indebted to him for his steadfast passion to advocate for increased funding and research dedicated to men’s health issues, with an emphasis on prostate cancer. His selfless efforts are also instrumental in improving outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities and the medically underserved.”