Jane C. Wright, MD, FASCO
It’s 1964 in Chicago. Seven forward-thinking oncologists gather to brainstorm what will become the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Among the group is Jane C. Wright, MD, FASCO, the only woman and African American among ASCO’s founders.
It’s time for the 2011 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago. Thousands of the world’s best scientists gather to share the latest discoveries in cancer care. Among the crowd is the inaugural recipient of the Jane C. Wright, MD, Young Investigator Award (YIA).
ASCO presents the YIA through Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation®, to honor Dr. Wright, who died in 2013. The grant, an endowed award since 2016, is given annually to an early-career researcher who embodies Dr. Wright’s pioneering spirit.
To improve care for patients, Dr. Wright championed scientific collaboration and helped build a more unified network of oncology leaders. Highlights of her groundbreaking career include the early use of chemotherapy, the launch of a database that doctors use to reference patient information and tissue culture responses to drugs, and placement on President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Commission on Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke.
Judith Michels, MD, PhD
Judith Michels, MD, PhD, received the honor in 2019. She is planning a clinical trial to address an unmet need in cancer research: developing targeted immunotherapies to improve patient responses. “I am focusing on how to render the tumor more visible to the immune system,” she explained.
Referencing Dr. Wright, Dr. Michels said, “It is a privilege to feel close to the footsteps of such a famous scientist. She was a legend.”
The award will help Dr. Michels connect with distinguished experts and develop international collaborations. She also designed a fellowship program to train and empower future generations of oncologists.
Brian C. Miller, MD, PhD
Brian C. Miller, MD, PhD, received a Jane C. Wright YIA in 2018 and used the support to grow his research team. The group identified a subtype of immune cells that are important in improving disease response to certain immunotherapies.
“We would not have been able to complete [the study] in a timely fashion without this award,” explained Dr. Miller.
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