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.
Among 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.
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.
Watch future issues of The ASCO Post for news on other notable awardees to be honored at the upcoming Annual Meeting in June.