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ACS updates its cervical cancer screening guideline

We recommend screening begin at age 25 (no longer 21)

The updated guideline published today in our flagship journal, CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, recommends that cervical cancer screening begin at age 25 and continue through age 65, for people at average risk, and that primary human papillomavirus (HPV) testing (without the Pap test) every 5 years be the preferred method of testing. Published along with the new guideline is a patient page. 

Because these HPV tests may not be widely available in the U.S. yet, the guideline includes either of these two other acceptable screening methods and schedules:

  • A co-test every 5 years that combines an HPV test with a Pap test.
  • A Pap test alone every 3 years.

The most important thing to remember is to get screened regularly, no matter which test you get.

The 2020 guidelines also recommend that people older than age 65 with a cervix stop being screened as long as they’ve had 10 years of regular screening with normal results. Otherwise, they should continue to be screened until they do. Cervical cancer screening may be discontinued in individuals of any age with limited life expectancy.

Those who have had their cervix removed, such as from a hysterectomy, don’t need screening as long as the surgery was done for reasons not related to cervical cancer or serious precancer.

People who have gotten the HPV vaccine should still follow the screening guidelines as listed above. 

In the U.S., the expectation is that over time fewer people will have a co-test or Pap test alone as the primary HPV test become more widely available.

“When we combine improved HPV vaccination rates with the screening and treatment of precancers in the cervix, we have the potential to make history by eliminating cervical cancer,” said Debbie Saslow, PhD, a co-author of the 2020 ACS updated guideline.

The previous ACS guideline, released in 2012, called for screening starting at age 21. Since then, HPV vaccination rates have improved in the U.S. Data suggest vaccination has led to a drop in rates of precancerous cervical changes, the precursors to cancer. 

Evidence shows the HPV test is more accurate than the Pap test and can be done less often; one HPV test every five years is more effective than a Pap test every three years, and even every year, as was recommended in the 1980’s and 1990’s. 

Another reason for the change, is that cervical cancer incidence is low in the 20 to 24 age group. Cancer registry data from 2011 to 2015 indicates an estimated 108 cases of invasive cervical cancer in women 20 to 24 years in the U.S. each year, a number that is expected to continue to fall as vaccine use increases. 

There are potential harms related to the treatment of precancerous cells identified by screening, including preterm birth, and screening has not been shown to lower the rate of cancer in women in the 20 to 24 age group. Also, most HPV infections in women in this age group become undetectable in 1-2 years. Those factors led ACS to move the recommended age to begin cervical cancer screening to 25.

How cervical cancer starts and how to find it early

The cervix connects the uterus to the vagina. It’s part of the path babies pass through during birth. Cancer that starts in the cells of the cervix is called cervical cancer. 

Almost all cervical cancers are caused by an HPV infection. Most people will never know they have HPV because the body can usually fight the infection before any symptoms occur. But high-risk types of HPV (such as HPV 16 and HPV 18) can cause serious precancers and cancers of the cervix.

The goal of cervical cancer screening is to find pre-cancers that are likely to progress to cancer and to remove or treat them before they do. Screening can also find cervical cancer at an early stage, when it is easier to treat. 

Both types of screening tests, the HPV and Pap tests, require a small sample of cells from the cervix. A healthcare provider collects these by using a special, small tool to gently scrape or brush the cervix. The same set of cells is used for both tests. 

  • The Pap test looks for changes in the cells that might be precancer or cancer. 
  • The HPV test looks in the cells for infection by high-risk types of HPV that are most likely to cause precancer or cancer. 

How do you know if you’re at average risk for developing cervical cancer?

You are at average risk if you don’t have any symptoms of cervical cancer and: 

  • It’s the first time you’re getting screened. 
  • Your results have been normal every time you’ve been screened. 
  • You had an abnormal result checked and your healthcare provider told you that you could follow the screening schedule for people at average risk.    

You need to talk to your healthcare provider and follow different guidelines if either or both of these are true:

  • You’ve had precancer or cancer of the cervix.
  • You have a weakened immune system. This includes, for example, people who have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or had an organ transplant or stem cell transplant. It also includes people whose mothers took diethylstilbestrol (DES) when pregnant with them. 

If you have an abnormal cervical screening test result, discuss the many different follow-up schedules, tests, and treatment options depending on your specific risk of developing cervical cancer.

Don’t wait to see a doctor if you have problems between screenings. See a doctor right away if you have symptoms of cervical cancer—don’t wait to be screened. These symptoms include unusual bleeding or discharge from the vagina or pain during sex. 

For more information about cervical cancer, visit cancer.org


  • ACS and Emerson Collective team up to award research grants

    ​The partnership is designed to support new and transdisciplinary collaborations among ACS TheoryLab users; grant recipients will be announced on TheoryLab in December 2020

    The American Cancer Society and Emerson Collective have launched a partnership to support innovative, collaborative research projects using TheoryLab®, our online platform for funded researchers. 

    The TheoryLab Collaborative (TLC) Grant mechanism is designed to support new and transdisciplinary collaborations among TheoryLab users to explore high-risk ideas, including Covid-19 research relevant to cancer or persons living with cancer. Up to 10 pilot grants will be awarded.

    TheoryLab is our online research community for scientists and clinical professionals who have a current or previous relationship with ACS as a grant recipient, mentor, peer reviewer, staff researcher, or adviser. Emerson Collective grantees have been invited to join TheoryLab, which currently includes more than 1,200 scientists working across the cancer research continuum at institutions across the country. The community regularly hosts well-attended online chats and webinars about topics such as mentoring, epigenetics, survivorship, and metastatic breast cancer.

    TLC Grants are open to teams of two investigators who are active on TheoryLab. Applicants will post collaborative ideas to TheoryLab, where community members will provide feedback and vote on the most innovative concepts. In September 2020, selected investigators will be invited to submit a more detailed proposal.

    Once proposals are selected for funding, grant recipients will conduct two virtual research meetings on TheoryLab during their grant term. The purpose of these virtual meetings is to share progress and challenges and to encourage collaboration within the TheoryLab community. The awards also include travel funds for the collaborating investigators to meet face-to-face to generate ideas and advance their collaboration (pending travel recommendations at that time).

    “With this joint initiative, we hope to improve the way cancer researchers share information and to accelerate the pace of progress on behalf of cancer patients,” said Bill Phelps, PhD, our senior vice president of Extramural Research.

    “The global pandemic has laid bare the inequities that exist in our health system and underscored the urgency to creatively leverage the cancer research community, which is why we are proud to partner to with ACS’s online research community” said Reed Jobs, managing director of health at Emerson Collective. “Cancer research must continue to accelerate – patients cannot afford to take a step back.”

    Grant recipients will be announced on TheoryLab in December 2020. Grants will be activated on February 1, 2021. For additional questions about this mechanism please contact: TheoryLabSupport@cancer.org.

    About Emerson Collective

    Emerson Collective is a social change organization that uses a broad range of tools including philanthropy, impact investing, and policy solutions to create the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Established and led by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Emerson Collective supports social entrepreneurs and organizations working in education and immigration reform, social justice, media and journalism, conservation, and health through partnerships, grants and investments.




  • Learn about our $100 million Cancer Research Funding Campaign

    One of our most ambitious undertakings this year is to raise $100 million to invest in our research program. This restricted giving campaign is part of our $512 million goal. A campaign landing page on cancer.org will launch in late August.

    Each year, we invest $100 million in new research. But, because of the budget shortfall due to COVID-19, we are at risk of cutting cancer research funding by 50 percent this year. This would represent our lowest investment in this century.

    We can’t let that happen. As the largest non-governmental funder of cancer research in the U.S., institutions and young investigators all over the country are counting on us. Patients, too.

    Failing to invest in research now means that we will have fewer preventative tools, fewer treatment options, lost progress towards a cure, and ultimately, more deaths from cancer in the future.

    Our outstanding track record is well known: 49 of the researchers we have funded, many early in their careers, have gone on to win the Nobel Prize. So, be proud when you talk to people about our research program. Let them know that cancer breakthrough begins perhaps 10-20 years earlier. If research is disrupted today, it means lives lost tomorrow.

    Each of us can support this campaign. We urge all volunteers and staff to engage their personal networks in this campaign to help keep a generation of research alive.

    Helping us will be our national and area board members, who have been challenged to raise $1 million with the help of volunteer leaders across the enterprise. Additional details on the board challenge will be shared with board members in early August. 

    Resources and reminders: 

    The American Cancer Society has been in this fight for more than 100 years. We’ve played a role in almost every major cancer research breakthrough in the last century. But now our research program is in jeopardy. Won’t you join the campaign to help save it?




  • U.S. Preventive Services Task Force releases draft lung cancer screening recommendation

    ACS expert calls it a 'step forward'

    The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine, has released a draft recommendation statement on screening for lung cancer. It says:

    The USPSTF recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in adults ages 50 to 80 years who have a 20 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Screening should be discontinued once a person has not smoked for 15 years or develops a health problem that substantially limits life expectancy or the ability or willingness to have curative lung surgery.

    We asked Robert A. Smith, PhD, our vice president of Screening, for his thoughts on the update.

    Big picture: what do you think of the draft guideline?

    The USPSTF’s draft Screening for Lung Cancer recommendation statement is a step forward based on new evidence since the release of their 2013 recommendation. It builds on the evidence from the recently published NELSON trial, which showed a significant reduction in lung cancer mortality in a population that was younger and had lighter smoking histories than included in previous studies. 

    What are the major differences between tis draft and the current ACS guideline?

    Most current lung cancer screening guidelines, including those from the American Cancer Society, are based on the population that was eligible for the U.S. National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), which published its findings nearly 10 years ago. Based on that initial study, the ACS and others recommend screening for people who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years between the age of 55-74 with at least a 30 pack-year history (pack-years is the number of packs per day multiplied by years of smoking), and generally being in good health. 

    Based on the more recent findings from the NELSON trial, USPSTF is recommending screening for people who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years with a 20 pack-year history instead of 30, and is lowering the age to begin screening from 55 to 50. So, the major differences between this new draft guideline from USPSTF compared to those from ACS and others is its recommendation of a younger age to start screening, a lower threshold for pack-year history, and an older age limit (extended to age 80).

    How would these changes affect the potential for lung cancer screening to reduce lung cancer mortality?

    It was reasonable for the initial guideline to follow the eligibility criteria used for the NLST, the only randomized trial that had been done at the time. But over time it has become clear that people with lighter smoking histories are among those who are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. The USPSTF estimates that adherence to the new guideline could lead to a 32% greater reduction in mortality compared with the previous guideline. Adherence to the current screening recommendations has not been optimal, so it will be important to make greater progress than we have to date in reaching the now larger target group eligible for lung cancer screening.

    Does the ACS plan to change its guideline? 

    We have been following the new data since our last update, and expect to begin an update of our lung cancer screening guideline later this year. We will examine the USPSTF draft recommendation statement very carefully, along with their systematic evidence review and modeling studies, as well as any new evidence that is published in the interim. In the meantime, this appears to be an important step forward, and should provide greater confidence in the benefit of screening for lung cancer with low dose CT. 

    For more information on screening for lung and other cancers, see Cancer Screening Guidelines on cancer.org.


  • ACS issues updated guideline for HPV vaccination

    ​Starting HPV vaccination at age 9 or 10 is preferable; vaccinating people older than 26 is not recommended

    The American Cancer Society has updated its guideline for human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination. New recommendations are for healthcare providers to routinely offer the HPV vaccine series to boys and girls between ages 9 and 12 (versus the previous 11 or 12). 

    “We’re seeing evidence that starting vaccination at age 9 or 10 has potential benefits that are expected to lead to higher vaccination rates, resulting in increased numbers of cancers prevented compared to starting at ages age 11 and 12,” said Debbie Saslow (pictured here), PhD, managing director, HPV & GYN Cancers and lead author of the 2020 ACS Guideline Update. “It’s for that reason we felt it was important to say that starting at age 9 or 10 is more than OK; it’s preferable to achieve the full cancer-preventing potential of this vaccine.”

    For most children younger than 15, HPV vaccination is a series of 2 shots. Children who have weakened immune systems and those who get the first dose at age 15 and older need 3 shots. For any kids who haven’t completed the series, the ACS guideline recommends healthcare providers offer “catch-up” HPV vaccination up to age 26. The ACS does not recommend vaccination after age 26 because of its minimal effectiveness. There's also a global shortage of HPV vaccine that is expected to continue for the next several years. 

    The full updated guideline was published online today in CA: Cancer Journal for Clinicians, our flagship medical journal, along with an informational patient page.

    If you would like to share this news, direct people to cancer.org.

    Why HPV vaccination is important

    Almost everyone who is not vaccinated will get HPV at some time in their lives, though most will never know it. The infection usually goes away on its own and doesn’t cause health problems. But in some cases, HPV doesn’t go away. Some types of HPV can cause genital warts, while other types can lead to cancer. The HPV vaccine helps prevent infection by both of these types of HPV.

    Most HPV infections that lead to cancer can be prevented by vaccinating children and teens on time. HPV vaccination helps protect girls from cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, anus, and throat. For boys, it helps protect them from cancers of the penis, anus, and throat.

    “The American Cancer Society has made preventing HPV-related cancers through vaccination one of our highest priorities,” said Debbie. “When we combine improved vaccination rates with the screening and treatment of precancers in the cervix, we have the potential to make history by eliminating cervical cancer.” 

    “The combination of HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening has the potential to prevent tens of thousands of cancers caused by HPV each year in this country and to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem in the coming decades,” conclude the authors. “Vaccination of all children between ages 9 and 12 years will prevent >90% of the cervical, oropharyngeal, anal, vaginal, vulvar, and penile cancers that are caused by HPV and, combined with screening and the treatment of cervical precancers, can lead to the first elimination of a cancer in history.”

    Helping more people get HPV vaccinations on time 

    These guideline changes were made to help more people get their HPV vaccinations when the vaccine is most effective and before they are exposed to the virus. “Research is starting to show that more parents agree to vaccination when it starts between ages 9 and 10. Younger children are also more likely to complete the series than those who start between ages 11 and 12,” said Debbie. Children who are vaccinated on time are also likely to have a stronger immune response.

    History of the guideline

    ACS first issued a guideline for routine use of the HPV vaccine in 2007, with an update issued in 2016. Until today, we recommended that routine HPV vaccination for girls and boys begin at age 11 or 12, but noted that that the vaccination series could start as early as age 9.

    Today's update comes from ACS’s Guideline Development Group’s review and adaptation of the 2019 update from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the main source for U.S. immunization policy and part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    RECAP

    Age to begin vaccination

    • Girls and boys should get 2 doses of the HPV vaccine at ages 9 to 12 years.

    Qualifying Statement: Routine HPV vaccination between ages 9-12 years is expected to achieve higher on-time vaccination rates, resulting in increased numbers of cancers prevented. Health care providers are encouraged to start offering the HPV vaccine at age 9 or 10 years. 

    Catch-up vaccination

    • Teens and young adults up to age 26 years who have not received the HPV vaccine, or have not gotten all their doses, should get vaccinated, receiving 3 doses if the first shot was given at age 15 or older. Vaccination of young adults will not prevent as many cancers as vaccination of children and teens. Effectiveness decreases dramatically by age 18.

    Qualifying Statement: Providers should inform individuals aged 22-26 that vaccination may be less effective in lowering their cancer risk.

    Adult vaccination 

    • The ACS does not recommend HPV vaccination for persons older than 26 years. 

    Qualifying statement: ACS does not endorse shared clinical decision-making for adults ages 27-45 due to the low effectiveness and low cancer prevention potential of vaccination in this age group, the burden of decision-making on patients and clinicians, and the lack of sufficient guidance on selection of individuals who might benefit.


  • Three ACS researchers to receive Real-World Data Impact Award

    The three $75,000 grants will fund the study of quality and equity in cancer care and outcomes

    Three ACS-funded researchers will receive additional funding to advance patient-centric research and, as an added benefit, will be allowed access to Flatiron Health's national de-identified oncology datasets curated from electronic health records. 

    ACS and Flatiron designed the grant-making program in 2019 to advance patient-centric research among currently funded ACS investigators with experience in health services or outcomes research. ACS oversaw the selection process, while Flatiron provides the funding - all with a goal to accelerate cancer research and improve treatment and outcomes for patients.

    Using Flatiron Health’s de-identified real-world datasets, the researchers will study immunotherapy effectiveness in frail patients with non-small cell lung cancer; equitable access to genomic testing and personalized treatments in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer; and racial disparities in the treatment of patients with metastatic breast cancer.

    The recipients of the 2020 awards are:

    • Minal Kale, MD is an assistant professor of Internal Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. She will conduct a comparative effectiveness study of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy in individuals with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and poor performance status. Dr. Kale will study a longitudinal, demographically and geographically diverse sample of individuals with advanced NSCLC to learn more about the benefits of immunotherapy in individuals with poor performance status. These findings will provide key insights into the treatment of patients who are typically excluded from clinical trials. 
    • Siran M. Koroukian-Hajinazarian, PhD, is an associate professor of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland. Dr. Koroukian-Hajinazarian will conduct a retrospective cohort study to evaluate patterns of genomic testing and targeted therapy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer to assess the impact of patient and practice characteristics on receipt of these services. These findings will help identify new opportunities to improve the quality and equity of cancer care in patients with advanced colorectal cancer.
    • Ying Liu, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She will conduct a retrospective cohort study to examine the differences between African American and European American patients with metastatic breast cancer in the treatment patterns and adherence to therapy. Dr. Liu will also assess the roles of sociodemographic and clinical factors in observed differences in treatment patterns, as well as patient survival and disease progression. These findings will enhance our understanding of underlying reasons for previously reported racial disparities in patients with metastatic breast cancer. 

    “Particularly in the current environment, ACS is grateful for the potential of these grants to use real-world data to help expand the scope of questions our researchers are able to answer,” said Bill Phelps, PhD, senior vice president for Extramural Research. “We look forward to seeing how Flatiron’s additional funding and access to this data may help these investigators in their quest to improve patient outcomes in cancer.”

    Headquartered in New York City, Flatiron Health is a healthcare technology and services company focused on accelerating cancer research and improving patient care. Its platform enables cancer researchers and care providers to learn from the experience of every patient. Currently, Flatiron partners with more than 280 community cancer practices, seven major academic research centers, and over 15 of the top therapeutic oncology companies. 

    Its website says: "At Flatiron, we believe that learning from the experience of every cancer patient is an imperative — it is the key to accelerating research and continuing to improve the quality of care. What stands in the way is an overwhelming technology challenge: Much of the available, real-world clinical data is unstructured and stored across thousands of disconnected community clinics, medical centers and hospitals. It is a problem that we believe we can solve."


  • ACS researchers offer solutions to reduce health disparities in rural America

    ​Highlight critical role of adequate health insurance coverage

    An editorial about rural cancer disparities by members of our Surveillance and Health Services Research team was published June 24 in JCO Oncology Practice, an American Society of Clinical Oncology Journal.

    “Rural Cancer Disparities in the United States: A Multilevel Framework to Improve Access to Care and Patient Outcomes” lays out the disparities suffered by rural residents. Because of the central role of health insurance coverage in ensuring access to cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment, they highlight solutions related to expansion of health insurance coverage options as part of the Affordable Care Act, including expansion of Medicaid eligibility for adults with and without children. The authors note that after Medicaid expansion in 2014, rural-urban disparities in insurance coverage among newly diagnosed cancer patients age 18 to 64 years were eliminated in Medicaid expansion states, but remained  in nonexpansion states.

    In addition, there is currently no national policy requiring state Medicaid programs to cover routine care for clinical trial participants. Lack of coverage is thought to be associated with lower clinical trial participation among Medicaid enrollees in states that do not cover routine care costs.

    “Reducing rural cancer disparities will require multilevel interventions, with coordinated efforts at the patient, provider, community, and policy levels. Scientists have been highlighting the need for multilevel approaches to address persistent health disparities for many years,” the researchers wrote.

    “Increasing insurance coverage options for rural adults through Medicaid expansion and availability of other coverage options, improving local provider coordination with cancer centers, and creating shared resources and expertise through networks such as the National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program and telemedicine, and developing broader community-based resources to support and promote healthy lifestyles may improve access to cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment. Coupled with Medicaid coverage of routine care costs for clinical trial participation and travel for care in all states, these efforts may increase trial participation among rural residents and reduce rural cancer disparities.”

    Read the full editorial. Its authors are Robin Yabroff, PhD; Xuesong Han, PhD; Jingxuan Zhao, MPH; Leticia Nogueira, PhD, MPH; and Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PhD.


  • Hero of Research Award winners "meet" grantee they are supporting

    The grant is named for a teenager in their community fighting cancer

    The Hero of Research Award offers Relay For Life teams that raise at least $165,000 during the Relay season an opportunity to name an existing post-doctoral fellowship research grant in honor of a loved one or their team. Once identified, this named grant is active for three years. 

    The Naturals from the Relay For Life of York, PA received this honor in 2019 and named its first grant “Gabby Galino and The Naturals of UNFI Hope Research Grant.” This grant honors Gabby Galino, a 13-year-old student at Northern Middle School in York County, PA, who was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. 

    The Hero of Research Award gave team co-captain Daryl Holstay (pictured here) and other members of The Naturals an opportunity to virtually meet Sarah Hengel, PhD, recipient of the grant (pictured above with Daryl), and Kara Bernstein, PhD, associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh and principle investigator for the lab Dr. Hengel is a part of. 

    Watch this video highlighting the fundraising efforts of The Naturals and the cancer research being made possible by its grant.

    About the team

    The Naturals joined the Relay community more than 10 years ago as a very small team. They were able sell donated organic/natural produce and health and beauty products from the company (UNFI) at Relay events to raise dollars to support ACS. As the product grew, and with the team captain’s position in the company, it afforded him the opportunity to work with vendors and buyers to gather more product to sell at supporting events for the team, as well. Due to their efforts, The Naturals raised more than $166,000 in 2019!   

    In 2019, two other teams qualified for the Heroes of Research Award — Nucor Steel Louisiana (from Relay For Life of St. James Parish, LA) and Ravens in the Hood (from Fighting Cancer to the Coast in Seaside, OR). Among the three teams, they raised more than $285,000 over what they did in 2018.



  • ACS awards research professorships

    ​Two are new awardees and two are renewals of previous professorships.

    Four leading cancer investigators are recipients of the American Cancer Society research professorship, a lifelong designation accompanied by a five-year award totaling $400,000. 

    The awards are the most prestigious research grants made by our Extramural Grants program. 

    The new awardees are:

    • Dawn Hershman, MD, Columbia University: Dr. Hershman’s seminal contributions to cancer have been identifying factors that are associated with suboptimal anti-cancer therapy use and patient compliance, particularly in breast cancer, and developing, testing, and implementing novel interventions that can address those factors. By identifying subsets of cancer patients, including patients who are Black, at highest risk for poor treatment quality, by examining determinants of suboptimal care, and by conducting interventional trials to improve compliance, reduce toxicity, and improve outcomes associated with therapy, Dr. Hershman’s work has had a demonstrable and lasting impact on improving quality of life for people with cancer and reducing cost. She plans to leverage technology and implementation science to further optimize cancer patient outcomes through pain management and medication adherence interventions.
    • Jennifer Temel, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital: Dr. Temel’s seminal contributions to supportive oncology focused on the early integration of palliative care into oncology care. Dr. Temel conducted a highly impactful clinical trial demonstrating that patients assigned to early integrated palliative care reported better quality of life, were more likely to have their resuscitation preferences documented in the health record, utilized fewer hospital resources than those receiving oncology care alone, and demonstrated longer survival times. As a result of her work, palliative care was changed on a national and international level. Dr. Temel’s work has been incorporated into multiple national guidelines related to palliative care. Dr. Temel will use this award to advance her program of research through the development and evaluation of interventions using mobile applications (apps), video tools, and telehealth to deliver accessible and tailored supportive care.

    The two renewed professors are:

    • Mary L. Disis, MD, University of Washington in Seattle: Dr. Disis is an expert in breast and ovarian cancer immunology and translational research. She is one of the pioneering investigators who discovered that HER-2/neu, the target of the drug Herceptin, is also tumor antigen. Her work has led to several clinical trials which evaluate boosting immunity to HER-2/neu with cancer vaccines. Her multifaceted research program includes the discovery of new antigens for common solid tumors, the development of vaccine and cellular therapy targeting specific antigens, and immunodiagnostics.
    • Nancy Krieger, PhD, Harvard University: Dr. Krieger’s work addresses conceptual frameworks to understand, analyze, and improve the people’s health, including the ecosocial theory of disease distribution she first proposed in 1994 and its focus on embodiment and equity; etiologic research on societal determinants of population health and health inequities; and methodologic research on improving monitoring of health inequities.

    “In the current challenging fundraising environment, it is gratifying to be able to make these awards to these highly esteemed investigators, who continue to break new ground, mentor future leaders, and lead the way in cancer research,” said William Phelps, PhD, senior vice president of Extramural Research. “We are very proud to be able to support the research of these highly innovative scientists working on behalf of cancer patients.”

    The awards, normally announced in April, were delayed due to the closing of many academic institutions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. They begin on Sept. 1, 2020.

    The American Cancer Society Extramural Research program currently supports research and training in a wide range of cancer-related disciplines at more than 200 institutions. With an investment of more than $4.9 billion since 1946, the ACS is the largest private, not-for-profit source of cancer research funds in the U.S., and has funded 49 researchers who have gone on to be awarded the Nobel Prize. The program primarily funds early career investigators, giving the best and the brightest a chance to explore cutting-edge ideas at a time when they might not find funding elsewhere.


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