American Association for Cancer Research

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Dr. Carlo M. Croce Honored With the 2013 AACR Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship


April 5, 2013

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will honor Carlo M. Croce, M.D., professor and chair of the department of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics and director of the Institute of Genetics at The Ohio State University School of Medicine in Columbus, with the seventh annual Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship at the AACR Annual Meeting 2013, held in Washington, D.C., April 6-10.

Croce’s lecture, “Causes and Consequences of microRNA Dysregulation in Cancer,” will take place at 4:30 p.m. ET on Monday, April 8 in Ballroom C in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Croce is being recognized for his research into the genetic mechanisms of cancer. He discovered numerous oncogenes and established the role of microRNAs in the development and progression of cancer.  

The AACR Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lecture is presented to a scientist whose novel and significant work had or may have a far-reaching impact on the detection, diagnosis, treatment or prevention of cancer, and who embodies the dedication of the princess to multinational collaborations. Her Imperial Highness Princess Kikuko Takamatsu was instrumental in promoting cancer research and encouraging cancer scientists. She became a champion for these causes following her mother’s death from bowel cancer in 1933 at the young age of 43.

“I am extremely honored to receive this prestigious award. I knew the princess and attended several of the Takamatsu conferences,” said Croce, who served as chair of the Princess Takamatsu Symposia in 1996. “I am truly delighted and look forward to the AACR Annual Meeting.”

Croce started his quest to find cancer-causing genes by analyzing cancer-specific genomic abnormalities called chromosomal translocations. He began by studying the translocation that characterizes Burkitt’s lymphoma and showing that it led to the activation of the oncogene MYC. This finding was instrumental in determining that the chromosomal translocations observed in many human leukemias and lymphomas deregulate oncogenes, initiating the process of leukemia or lymphoma development.

Using cancer-specific chromosomal translocations as a starting point, Croce discovered numerous other cancer causing-genes, including BCL2, TCL1, ALL1/MLL1 and LZTS1. Using a similar approach, this time beginning with cancer-specific chromosomal deletion, he showed that microRNAs, which directly alter the expression of specific target genes, can be lost or gained in cancer cells.

Croce’s research led to the development of a microRNA gene expression chip to assess global expression of microRNAs in tissues and tumors. He found that specific microRNA signatures are associated with the diagnosis and prognosis of acute myeloid leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), multiple myeloma, lung cancer, colon cancer and other tumors and defined microRNAs that function as oncogenes or tumor suppressors. He found that the BCL2 gene that is responsible for follicular lymphoma is the target of the microRNAs miR-15 and miR-16; therefore, the loss of miR-15 and miR-16 leads to upregulation of BCL2 and contributes to the development of CLL.

By continuing to investigate CLL, Croce found that the microRNA miR-181b is a biomarker of disease progression. In addition, he found that the microRNA miR-155 is overexpressed in CLL and lung cancer, and that this may link inflammation and cancer. The clinical implication of Croce’s findings is that the development of drugs that reduce endogenous miR-155 levels may prevent or treat inflammation-related cancers.     

In addition to being honored at the AACR Annual Meeting 2013 with the AACR Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship, Croce is being inaugurated into the first class of the Fellows of the AACR Academy. In 1990, he received the AACR-Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award, the AACR-Pezcoller International Award for Cancer Research in 1999 and the AACR G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award in 2006. He also has served as a member of several AACR committees, as well as editor-in-chief of Cancer Research (1990-2000), a member of the board of directors (1990-1994) and chair of the 1998 AACR-Pezcoller International Award for Cancer Research Committee.

Croce has received numerous other accolades throughout his career, including two Outstanding Investigator Awards from the National Cancer Institute, the Raymond Bourgine Award and Gold Medal of Paris, an honorary doctorate in medicine from Uppsala University in Sweden, the Rod and Ceil Mortel Lecture in Cancer Research from Penn State University, the Italian Gold Medal for Public Health and the Gottleib Award from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is also an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, an honorary member of the Japanese Cancer Society and a foreign member of the Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze, delta dei XL in Italy.

Croce received his medical degree from the University of Rome La Sapienza in 1969. Throughout his career, he has held several positions and appointments in Philadelphia at the Wistar Institute, the University of Pennsylvania, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Temple University and Thomas Jefferson University, as well as at the National Institutes of Health.  

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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 more than 34,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in more than 90 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 20 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with more than 17,000 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes eight 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 grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit www.AACR.org.

Media Contact:
Lauren Riley
(215) 446-7155
Lauren.Riley@aacr.org
In Washington, D.C.,
April 6-10, 2013:

(202) 249-4005