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16 of 19 new AACR fellows have ties to ACS

​We have a great track record of funding the best cancer research - here's more proof

On May 12, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) announced its newly elected class of Fellows of the AACR Academy, whose mission is to recognize and honor distinguished scientists whose scientific contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer. 

Fellows of the AACR Academy serve as a global brain trust in the cancer field, helping to advance the mission of the AACR to prevent and cure all cancers through research, education, communication, collaboration, science policy and advocacy, and funding for cancer research.

We are pleased to report that of the 19 elected, 16 were either ACS grantees or mentors to ACS grantees. 

They are: 

  • Myles A. Brown, MD - Emil Frei III Professor of Medicine; Director, Center for Functional Cancer Epigenetics, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston 
    For elucidating the role of steroid hormones and their receptors in promoting the onset and progression of various hormone-dependent malignancies and for the discovery of regulatory complex components such as the p160 class of transcriptional co-activators that facilitate the epigenetic regulation of steroid receptor activity. ACS grantee from 1992-1997; a former peer review committee member, and chair of the Council for Extramural Grants.

  • Judith Campisi, PhD - Professor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Novato, California; Senior Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California
    For groundbreaking contributions to the understanding of the links between aging and cancer and for her research related to identifying the molecular mechanisms associated with cellular senescence, aging, and tumorigenesis that has defined the role of DNA damage and repair in genomic instability and premature aging. ACS grantee from 1979-1981.

  • Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD –Director, Michigan Center for Translational Pathology; S.P. Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology; Professor of Urology; American Cancer Society Research Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    For demonstrating the presence of chromosomal rearrangements in solid tumors including the identification of the TMPRSS2-ETS family of gene fusions and for harnessing such discoveries to define novel underlying pathologies in prostate cancer as well as other epithelial cancers. ACS grantee from 2002-2006 and 2009-2019. Named ACS Clinical Research Professor in 2009.

  • Alan D. D'Andrea, MD – Director, Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers; Director of the Center for DNA Damage and Repair, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Alvan T. and Viola D. Fuller American Cancer Society Professor of Radiation Oncology, Harvard Medical School, Boston
    For pivotal contributions to the field of DNA damage and repair that have defined the specific defects responsible for the development of Fanconi anemia and for elucidating the role of nuclear protein complexes on chromatin remodeling, cell cycle checkpoints, and DNA repair. Primary mentor of two past ACS grantees.

  • Mark M. Davis, PhD – Director, Stanford Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection; The Burt and Marion Avery Family Professor of Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
    For identifying the first T cell receptor genes responsible for the detection of foreign antigens, contributing to the characterization of T cell receptor variable regions and for developing imaging techniques capable of capturing interactions that occur at immunological synapses. ACS grantee from 1984-1985 and primary mentor of three past ACS grantees.

  • Gregory J. Hannon, PhD - Director and Senior Group Leader, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute; Professor of Oncology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
    For fundamental contributions to characterizing the role of cyclin-dependent kinases and small RNAs including microRNAs, piwi-interacting, and short-hairpin RNAs in cell cycle regulation, carcinogenesis, and drug development. Primary mentor of two past ACS grantees.

  • Rakesh K. Jain, PhD – A. W. Cook Professor of Radiation Oncology (Tumor Biology); Director, E.L. Steele Laboratories, Department of Radiation Oncology, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
    For landmark studies describing and highlighting the relationship between the tumor microenvironment and surrounding vasculature and for his investigations involving antiangiogenic therapy to induce tumor vascular normalization that have resulted in improved survival rates for a number of solid tumors. Five-time ACS grantee. First one in 1979; last one ended in 1996.

  • Maria Jasin, PhD – Laboratory Head, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York
    For illuminating the role of homologous recombination in maintaining genetic stability, demonstrating the crucial role of BRCA1 and BRCA2 in facilitating such genetic events and for proving that BRCA2 loss, coupled with aberrant p53 activity in breast cells, can result in replication stress and subsequent tumorigenesis. ACS grantee from 1996-1999; primary mentor of four past ACS grantees.

  • Robert S. Langer, ScD - David H. Koch Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
    For vast contributions and discoveries in the field of drug delivery systems and for spearheading the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, generating synthetic polymer systems capable of facilitating controlled drug release as well as serving as platforms for the engineering of blood vessels, cartilage, and skin. Grantee from 1980-1982; primary mentor of two past ACS grantees.

  • Bert W. O'Malley, MD - Thomas C. Thompson Chair in Molecular and Cellular Biology; Chancellor, Baylor College of Medicine and Associate Director of Basic Research, Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston
    For pioneering research focused on the understanding of molecular endocrinology, gene regulation, and steroid receptor biology that has revealed how intracellular hormones and cofactors function at the DNA level to regulate protein production, affect cellular function, and modulate cancer cell metastasis. ACS grantee from 1980-1987; primary mentor of three past ACS grantees.

  • Drew M. Pardoll, MD, PhD - Professor of Oncology; Director of Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy; Director of Cancer Immunology, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
    For enriching the understanding of tumor immunology and immunotherapy through his discovery of gamma-delta T cells and interferon-producing killer dendritic cells and for his contributions to developing GVAX and Listeria monocytogenes-based cancer vaccines. Primary mentor of three past ACS grantees.

  • Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD – Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston
    For dissecting the role of intratumor heterogeneity in breast cancer and metastatic disease to develop risk assessment and personalized cancer therapy models and for extensively characterizing the metastatic potential of polyclonal tumors compared to monoclonal tumors. ACS grantee from 2005-2009.

  • Peter J. Ratcliffe, FRS, FMedSci ­– Nuffield Professor of Clinical Medicine; Director, Target Discovery Institute, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford; Director of Clinical Research, Francis Crick Institute, London
    For his landmark, Nobel Prize-winning contributions to the understanding of the molecular responses to oxygen depletion, specifically the identification of oxygen sensing and signaling pathways that link hypoxia-inducible factor 1 to the availability of oxygen, which has proven to be critically important to the understanding of tumor initiation and progression. 

  • Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD – Professor of Medicine, Surgery and Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, University of California Los Angeles Medical Center, Los Angeles
    For his seminal clinical research contributions that have led to the development of pembrolizumab as the first-in-class approved anti-PD-1 immunotherapy for the treatment of melanoma, for his characterization of BRAF, CTLA-4, and MEK in cancer, and for deciphering the molecular mechanisms responsible for immunotherapeutic resistance, which have since fueled additional efforts to understand the relationship between the immune system and cancer.

  • Gregg L. Semenza, MD, PhD – Director, Vascular Program, Institute for Cell Engineering; C. Michael Armstrong Professor of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore 
    For his revolutionary, Nobel Prize-winning contributions to uncovering the molecular mechanisms of oxygen regulation within cells and for discovering hypoxia-inducible factor 1, critical for cellular adaptation to changing oxygen levels, which has had far-reaching implications for the treatment of numerous diseases characterized by low oxygen levels, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. ACS grantee from 2012 to the present; ACS Research Professor and 2019 Nobel Prize winner.

  • Charles Swanton, MD, PhD – Group Leader, The Francis Crick Institute and University College London Cancer Institute; Thoracic Oncologist University College London Hospitals, London
    For his innovative research focused on identifying molecular mechanisms of cancer evolution and its impact on drug resistance and patient stratification and for demonstrating the crucial biological connection between intratumor heterogeneity and clinical cancer biomarker efficacy. Primary mentor of two past ACS grantees.

  • David A. Tuveson, MD, PhD – Roy J. Zuckerberg Professor of Cancer Research; Director, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Cancer Center, Cold Spring Harbor, New York
    For his trailblazing contributions to establishing human pancreatic cancer mouse models, for developing preclinical and clinical therapeutic strategies for the disease, and for characterizing many of the barriers to successful pancreatic cancer treatment, including poor drug delivery and the presence of survival factors in the microenvironment. Primary mentor of two past ACS grantees.

  • Michael Wigler, PhD – Russell and Janet Doubleday Professor of Cancer Research, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York
    For his renowned contributions to cancer genetics and the establishment of genetically engineered animal cells and for first describing a role for the RAS gene family in human cancer and describing how point mutations are capable of activating the oncogenic potential of select genes. ACS grantee from 1984-2012; named ACS Research Professor in 1986; primary mentor of one past ACS grantee.
  • Sir Gregory P. Winter, CBE, FRS, FMedSci  Master, Trinity College; Professor Emeritus, Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, United Kingdom
    For Nobel Prize-winning scientific breakthroughs including the development of the first humanized antibodies, for establishment of refined phage display technology that has led to the development of adalimumab, the first marketed fully human antibody approved by the FDA, and for collective contributions to the generation of therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of various cancers and autoimmune diseases.

All Fellows are nominated and elected through an annual peer review process conducted by existing Fellows of the AACR Academy and ratified by the AACR Academy Steering Committee and AACR Executive Committee. This process involves a rigorous assessment of each candidate’s scientific accomplishments in cancer research and cancer-related sciences. Only individuals whose work has had a significant and enduring impact on cancer research are considered for election and induction into the AACR Academy.

About the American Association for Cancer Research

Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes 47,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and patient advocates residing in 127 countries. 

The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 30 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with more than 22,500 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes nine prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients, and their caregivers. 

The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration, and scientific oversight of team science and individual investigator grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit.

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