American Association for Cancer Research

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Schiffman Honored with AACR-Prevent Cancer Foundation Award for Excellence in Cancer Prevention Research

December 7, 2009

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PHILADELPHIA - Mark W. Schiffman, M.D., M.P.H., senior investigator of the hormonal and reproductive epidemiology branch at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), has been selected to receive the 2009 American Association for Cancer Research-Prevent Cancer Foundation Award for Excellence in Cancer Prevention Research.

This award, in its eighth year, is given annually to a scientist for his or her seminal contributions to cancer prevention research, for investigations conducted in basic, translational, clinical, epidemiological or behavioral science.

Schiffman is honored for his outstanding research on the mechanisms of cervical carcinogenesis based on a model of infection with HPV. Schiffman has led efforts to understand cervical cancer etiology and natural history, spurring novel prevention strategies such as molecular diagnostics and prophylactic vaccines. Among his achievements, Schiffman's seminal work in HPV DNA testing as a more sensitive and reliable screening test than cervical cytology helped lead to FDA approval of a commercial HPV test.

In the 1990's, Schiffman first proposed that cervical cancer does not progress along a pathology model of stepwise progression from CIN1 to CIN2 to CIN3 to cancer but rather along a simple, causal schema composed of four reliably measured stages: HPV acquisition, HPV persistence (vs. clearance), progression to precancer and invasion. This conceptual model, radical at the time, has gained firm empirical support and is now widely accepted.

"The AACR is proud to give this award to Dr. Schiffman," said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. "His investigation of HPV infection and cervical cancer is an example of how interdisciplinary science can be leveraged to promote public health. His work has taken him from the lab to the clinic, with results that revolutionized cervical cancer prevention, impacting women worldwide."

"The Prevent Cancer Foundation is pleased that the AACR has recognized Dr. Schiffman for his significant contributions to cancer prevention," said Carolyn R. Aldige, president and founder of the Prevent Cancer Foundation. "This award helps ensure that vibrant new approaches to cancer prevention will continue to emerge."

Schiffman received his medical doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania and his Masters in Public Health in epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. He earned a bachelor's degree from Brown University.

Throughout his career, Schiffman has received numerous honors and awards including the 2008 American Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2007 American Cancer Society Medal of Honor in Clinical Research, the 2006 Department of Health and Human Services Secretary's Distinguished Service Award, the NCI Mentor of Merit Award and the NIH Merit Award, among others. He is on the editorial advisory board of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, and has served as a reviewer for Cancer Research.

Schiffman will give an award lecture entitled, "Biomarkers and Cancer Prevention: Cautionary Lessons from the Study of Human Papillomavirus and Cervical Cancer," on Monday, Dec. 7, 2009, at 5:15 p.m. CST, during the American Association for Cancer Research Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research. This foremost meeting on cancer prevention research will be held Dec. 6-9, 2009, at the Hilton Americas-Houston, Texas.

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About the AACR
The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 30,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and nearly 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowship and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 16,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. The AACR publishes six major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists. CR provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship and advocacy.

About the Prevent Cancer Foundation
The Prevent Cancer Foundation was started in 1985. Today, it is one of the nation's leading health organizations and has catapulted cancer prevention to prominence. Through healthy lifestyle choices, you can reduce your risk of breast, cervical, colorectal, lung, oral, prostate, skin and testicular cancers. Since its inception the Prevent Cancer Foundation has provided more than $113 million in support of cancer prevention and early detection research, education and community outreach programs across the country. The Foundation's peer-reviewed grants have been awarded to nearly 400 scientists from more than 150 of the leading academic medical centers nationwide. This research has been pivotal in developing a body of knowledge that is the basis for important cancer prevention and early detection strategies. For more information, please visit

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