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BCRF Investigators Honored by the American Association for Cancer Research

By BCRF | April 6, 2017

BCRF researchers were recognized at the 2017 AACR Annual Meeting for their pioneering work

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) hosted its 110th  annual meeting in Washington D.C. April 1-5. The meeting featured five days of highlights of the best cancer science and medicine from institutions all over the world.

BCRF is proud to announce that over the course of the meeting three BCRF investigators were honored for their achievements in breast cancer research. Please join us in congratulating Drs. Mina Bissell, Judy Garber and David Livingston.

Dr. Mina Bissell was presented with the Fourteenth Annual AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research for her pioneering work in mammary gland architecture and the role of extracellular matrix in tumor development and progression. Read our blog about Dr. Bissell’s award presentation here.

Dr. Bissell joins two other BCRF investigators for this distinction: Robert Weinberg (2016) and Susan Horwitz (2011).

Dr. Judy Garber, BCRF investigator since 2001 and Chair of the BCRF Scientific Advisory Board, recieved the 2017 Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cancer Research. She was honored for her seminal contributions that have advanced our understanding of hereditary cancers, the development of novel approaches to identify and monitor high-risk individuals, and the design and implementation of new cancer prevention and treatment strategies for breast cancer.

In her presentation titled, “Cancer Genetics Comes of Age”, Dr. Garber highlighted the rapid pace of the field of cancer genetics. In just over a decade, cancer genetics has changed how we study, treat and prevent cancer leading to new targeted therapies, as well as the ability to identify high risk individuals through genetic testing for inherited gene mutations. She referenced pioneers in the field including Dr. Mary Claire King for her seminal work in BRCA1 and BRCA2, and many other collaborators in both basic science and clinical research.

While cancer genetics has led to many advances in care, the increasing use of genetic testing in high risk individuals leaves some patients and the doctors with more questions than answers and when rare mutations are detected in multigene screening panels. In spite of these new challenges, cancer genetics has come of age in informing treatment and prevention decisions in a way that was not possible just a decade ago.

Other BCRF investigators who have been honored for their outstanding achievements in clinical cancer research include Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee (2015) and Joseph Bertino (2008).

The 2017 Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research Award  was presented to Dr. David Livingston in recognition of his contributions to the field of basic cancer research. Dr. Livingstons’s work has been pivotal to our understanding of cell cycle control, a fundamental process in cancer development and progression. He is also credited with the landmark discovery of the central functions of the breast cancer susceptibility genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, which has revolutionized the fields of breast and ovarian cancer research and treatment.

Other BCRF investigators who have been honored with the International Award in Cancer Research include Robert Weinberg (2012), Mina Bissell (2007) and Lewis Cantley (2005).

New AACR President-Elect

BCRF also congratulates Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee who was elected by AACR members as 2017-18 President-Elect. Dr. Jaffee will assume the President position In April 2018.

BCRF asked Dr. Jaffee to comment on her goals for AACR and the challenges she might expect as president of the largest cancer organization in the world. She noted that she hoped to bring minority issues to the forefront to address the lack of representation of minorities in clinical research. She hopes to see precision prevention become a national priority and that these efforts would reach minority and underserved communities to reduce the disparities in cancer outcomes in these groups.

“Prevention is an area where we can make a lot of progress, particularly in minority groups,” she said, and stressed the importance of consistent funding from the National Cancer Institute in prioritizing these issues,will be important to all the goals of AACR in advancing the science to improve patient outcomes

“I was thrilled to hear the Liz Jaffee was elected as the 2018 President,” Dr.Nancy Davidson, outgoing 2016-17 president commented. “It couldn’t be a more important time for someone with her skill set and her breadth to lead the AACR. It was a great choice by the AACR electorate.”

Dr. Jaffee joins a long list of BCRF investigators who have served as AACR president including: Nancy Davidson (2016-17), Carlos Arteaga (2014-15), Judy Garber (2011-12), Geoffrey Wahl (2006-07) and Susan Horwitz (2002-03).

BCRF is proud to support the groundbreaking work of these and our more than 250 other BCRF investigators.