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Five selected to receive our prestigious Medal of Honor award

On Oct. 18 in Washington D.C., the American Cancer Society will give out its highest award, the Medal of Honor, to a distinguished group of individuals who have made valuable contributions in the fight against cancer through basic research, clinical research, and cancer control.

The 2018 recipients are :

  • Michael J. Thun MD, MS, for Cancer Control Science
  • Jennifer Doudna, PhD, for Basic Research
  • Emmanuelle Charpentier, PhD, for Basic Research
  • Charis Eng, MD, PhD, for Clinical Research
  • The Honorable Joseph R. Biden Jr., for Cancer Control

The black-tie optional awards ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. A reception, dinner, and entertainment will follow. 

Invitations to the event will be sent the first week in September to the ACS and ACS CAN Board of Directors, Area Board members, CEOs Against Cancer Chapter members, corporate and cancer control partners, advocacy partners, and prominent scientists from the research community. 

Each invitation is for the addressee and one guest, and will include the cost of the evening dinner and entertainment. All event attendees will be responsible for paying their own hotel and travel expenses.

About our awardees 

  • Dr. Michael J. Thun, former vice president of epidemiology and surveillance research at the American Cancer Society, is a world-renowned cancer epidemiologist whose studies across broad areas of cancer control research, from chemoprevention to tobacco and obesity, have helped shape public health policies against cancer. 
  • Jennifer Doudna is biochemist, professor of chemistry at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. She has been an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) since 1997. She directs the Innovative Genomics Institute, a joint UC Berkeley-UC San Francisco center, and has been a leading figure in what is referred to as the "CRISPR revolution" for her fundamental work and leadership in developing CRISPR-mediated genome editing. 
  • Emmanuelle Charpentier is a professor and researcher in microbiology, genetics, and biochemistry. Since 2015 she has been director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin. Charpentier is best known for her role in deciphering the molecular mechanisms of the bacterial CRISPR/Cas9 immune system and repurposing it into a tool for genome editing.
  • Dr. Charis Eng is the Chair and founding Director of the Genomic Medicine Institute of the Cleveland Clinic, founding Director and attending clinical cancer geneticist of the institute’s clinical component, the Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare, and Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Genetics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She was honored with an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship in 2009. More recently, she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine  of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences for her achievements and leadership in genetics- and genomics-based research and personalized healthcare. 
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden headed President Obama's National Cancer Moonshot task force, and he launched a nonprofit called the Biden Cancer Initiative. His son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, died of a brain tumor in 2015.


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