American Association for Cancer Research

Press Releases: 2007

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


November 28, 2007

2007 Prevention Award Winner Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D.PHILADELPHIA - Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., a research expert on the effects of hormones and physical activity on cancer risk, late effects of cancer treatment, the impact of lifestyle on cancer prognosis, and quality of life after cancer, has been selected to receive the sixth annual American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)-Prevent Cancer Foundation Award for Excellence in Cancer Prevention Research.

The award is given annually to a scientist for seminal contributions to the field of cancer prevention research in basic, translational, clinical, epidemiological, or behavioral science.

Bernstein, professor and director of the Department of Cancer Etiology and dean for Faculty Development at City of Hope in Duarte, Calif., is being honored for her distinguished research career in cancer epidemiology and prevention, spanning nearly 25 years of discovery. She is internationally recognized as a preeminent researcher and scholar whose work has vast implications on the quality of life of cancer survivors.

Bernstein's early work examined the effects of exercise and body weight on the onset of puberty and hormonal patterns during adolescence. This research challenged the paradigm that epidemiologic risk factors for breast cancer were largely unmodifiable; demonstrated that physical activity can directly decrease breast cancer risk; and laid the foundation for subsequent epidemiologic studies and clinical trials focused on understanding the joint contributions of physical activity, weight and associated biologic mechanisms to the etiology of breast cancer. This area is now a primary international focus of cancer prevention and control research.

In later research, Bernstein identified ethnicity-related variations and determinants of poor prognosis in breast cancer patients. Bernstein is also a pioneer in the development and use of epidemiologic methods for evaluating the long-term side effects of cancer treatment in cancer survivors. Using a multicenter population-based setting she substantiated the association between tamoxifen use and risk of subsequent endometrial cancer in women and demonstrated for the first time that this association is potentially restricted to women who had previously used unopposed estrogen therapy or who were obese at the time of their breast cancer diagnosis. Recently, in a large HMO-based study of risk of stroke in relation to breast cancer therapies, she demonstrated the absence of an association between tamoxifen and stroke risk but an increased stroke risk following chemotherapy.

Past winners of AACR-Prevent Cancer Foundation Award for Excellence in Cancer Prevention include Stephen Hecht, Ph.D., of The Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota, in 2006; Scott M. Lippman, M.D., of The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, in 2005; David S. Alberts, M.D., of the Arizona Cancer Center, in 2004; Waun Ki Hong, M.D., also of the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, in 2003; and Michael B. Sporn, M.D., of the Dartmouth Medical School, in 2002.

Bernstein received her B.A. in Mathematics, M.S. in Gerontology, and Ph.D. in Biometry from the University of Southern California. She rose through the academic ranks of USC, culminating with her current positions of Professor of Preventive Medicine and the first AFLAC, Incorporated Chair in Cancer Research. Bernstein was named Professor Emeritus of USC following her retirement there in 2007.

Bernstein has received numerous honors and awards for her scientific accomplishments, including the American Society for Preventive Oncology Distinguished Achievement Award, the USC Presidential Medallion (the University's highest honor), and the Keck School of Medicine Stevely Hoffman Achievement Award. Her distinguished lectureships include the Cutter Lectureship at Harvard University, the Meadow Brook Lecture at Wayne State and Oakland Universities, and the Sloan Memorial Lecture at Boston University. Bernstein has authored or co-authored more than 400 scientific papers and publications.

An active member of AACR since 1995, Bernstein has served in various capacities, including as an Editorial Board member of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, as a participant in Women in Cancer Research activities, and as a member of several committees.

Bernstein will give an award lecture entitled, "Breast Cancer Prevention: Learning from the Past, Mentoring the Future," on Thursday, December 6, 2007, at the Sixth Annual AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research. This foremost meeting on cancer prevention research will be held December 5-8, 2007 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown in Philadelphia.

The AACR is pleased to co-sponsor this award with the Prevent Cancer Foundation. The Foundation is a national, non-profit health foundation with a single mission: the prevention and early detection of cancer through scientific research and education.

Editor's Note: For a high resolution photo of Dr. Bernstein, please e-mail Angela Showell at angela.showell@aacr.org.  

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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes nearly 26,000 basic, translational, and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 70 other countries. 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. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 17,000 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. AACR publishes five major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Its most recent publication, CR, is a magazine for cancer survivors, patient advocates, their families, physicians, and scientists. It provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship, and advocacy.

Contact:
Jennifer Ryan
(267) 646-0558
jennifer.ryan@aacr.org