Bayard D. Clarkson, M.D., Receives the AACR 2012 Distinguished Service Award


CHICAGO — The American Association for Cancer Research will present Bayard D. Clarkson, M.D., with the AACR’s Distinguished Service Award at the AACR Annual Meeting 2012 during the opening ceremony on Sunday, April 1, at 8:15 a.m. CT in room W375 of McCormick Place.

The AACR is honoring Clarkson, who is head of the laboratory of hematopoietic cell kinetics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, for his work on behalf of the AACR for over three decades.  

Clarkson served two terms on the Board of Directors and was president of the AACR in 1980. He was later recruited to serve as AACR treasurer, and he continued in that position for a record 15 years during a period of exponential growth in AACR membership, programs and activities. His sage advice and guidance in science and policy during this long period in the AACR’s evolution were pivotal to its success as the most important and influential cancer research organization in the world. No individual in the history of the AACR has given so much time and effort to the AACR and its mission.

His most recent service to the AACR has been in the capacity of president and chairman of the AACR Foundation for the Prevention and Cure of Cancer. He was the driving force behind creating the Foundation in 2001, when the AACR was beginning a rapid expansion of its fund development program. He personally recruited members of the Foundation Board and has overseen its growth for the past 11 years. His work with the foundation was the culmination of many years devoted to the financial stewardship of AACR resources.

“Dr. Clarkson is an outstanding scientist, leader and innovative thinker in the cancer field.  While engaged in his very busy research career, he volunteered an extraordinary amount of his professional life to furthering the work of the AACR and to advancing cancer research worldwide,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), CEO of the AACR. “The AACR and its Foundation would not have been as successful without his unstinting efforts, and today the Foundation raises millions of dollars each year for cancer research and education.  Dr. Clarkson’s career and work ethic are exemplary and it has been truly rewarding and inspiring to have been associated with him during this period of his career. Young investigators should observe him closely as an excellent example of what it means to be truly dedicated to one’s field,” she noted.

This year, Clarkson becomes a 50-year member of the AACR.  His laboratory has been devoted to understanding the growth and differentiation properties of leukemia cells and progenitor cells. By studying the core biological principles that govern and fuel cancer formation, Clarkson and his colleagues were among the first to develop and optimize treatment programs for adults with acute leukemias and lymphomas. He has also made significant contributions to the understanding of cancer biology, especially in the area of cancer stem cells.

Clarkson received his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and has treated patients and conducted research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering for over five decades. He has authored hundreds of papers reporting the results of his laboratory’s research as well as numerous review articles describing advances in cancer research.

As a tribute to Clarkson, the AACR named an annual scientific session in his honor, “The Bayard D. Clarkson Symposium on Stem Cells and Cancer,” which will be held on Tuesday, April 3, at 1 p.m. CT in room W183 of McCormick Place.