Seventh Annual Award Recipient
Robert C. Young, M.D.
Dr. Young received his award during the Opening Ceremony at the AACR Annual Meeting 2013 in Washington, D.C. The award presentation was held on Sunday, April 7, 2013. Visit the AACR Annual Meeting 2013
page for more information.
- View the list of all prior recipients.
The American Association for Cancer Research established this award in 2007 in honor of Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), for her exemplary leadership of the AACR as its chief executive officer; for her sustained, outstanding work in fostering research, scholarly communications, education and training, science policy and public education; and for her extraordinary dedication and contributions to the conquest of cancer.
This award recognizes a true champion of cancer research, an individual who embodies the sustained commitment of Margaret Foti to the prevention and cure of cancer. The award is given to an individual whose leadership and extraordinary achievements in cancer research or in support of cancer research have made a major impact on the field. Such achievements include contributions to the acceleration of progress in cancer research, raising national or international awareness of cancer research, or other demonstrations of a sustained commitment to the conquest of cancer.
The Seventh Annual Award was presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2013, in Washington, DC, USA (April 6-10, 2013). The recipient must be present to receive the award unless otherwise unable to do so because of health restrictions or other serious conflicts.
The recipient received an honorarium of $10,000, a commemorative award, and support for the winner and a guest to attend the AACR Annual Meeting.
- Candidacy is open to all individuals who are affiliated with any organization whose mission supports cancer research or any institution involved in cancer research, cancer medicine or cancer-related biomedical science anywhere in the world. Such institutions include those in academia, industry or government.
- Institutions or organizations are not eligible for the award.
- Selection of the award winner will be made on the basis of the candidate's sustained commitment to accelerating progress in cancer research. No regard will be given to race, gender, nationality, geographic location or religious or political views.
Nominations are closed.
Nominations may be by any scientist, whether an AACR member or nonmember, who is now or has been affiliated with any institution involved in cancer research, cancer medicine or cancer-related biomedical science. Candidates may not nominate themselves.
There is no restriction on the number of candidates that may be nominated by any individual scientist. There is no restriction on the number of nominators that may write nomination letters or that may sign a single nomination letter on behalf of a candidate.
Candidates for the award will be considered by a prestigious committee of renowned international cancer leaders appointed by the president of the AACR. After careful deliberations by the committee, their recommendations will be forwarded to the Executive Committee of the AACR for final consideration and decision.
Selection of the award winner will be made on the basis of the leadership and extraordinary achievements of the candidate. No regard will be given to race, gender, nationality, geographic location, or religious or political views.
Linda Stokes, Program Associate
American Association for Cancer Research
17th Floor, 615 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-4404
Sixth Annual Award Recipient
John Mendelsohn, M.D.
Co-Director, Khalifa Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy
UT MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. John Mendelsohn (right) received his award from Selection Comittee Chairperson and Past AACR President, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn (left) and AACR CEO, Dr. Margaret Foti (center) during the opening ceremony at the AACR Annual Meeting 2012 in Chicago, IL.
As president of MD Anderson Cancer Center from 1996-2011, Dr. John Mendelsohn has built MD Anderson into one of the world’s most respected research cancer centers. He recruited a visionary management team, directed the growth of integrated programs of research, clinical care, cancer prevention, and education and oversaw substantial increases in facilities and philanthropy.
Dr. Mendelsohn’s extraordinary contributions facilitating the institution’s tremendous growth and productivity were recently recognized by renaming the Faculty Center in his honor as the John Mendelsohn Faculty Center. Dr. Mendelsohn currently serves as Professor, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, and Co-director of its Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy (IPCT).
Dr. Mendelsohn’s pioneering research helped to establish the field of targeted therapy—specifically EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibition—in an unprecedented manner. He and his colleague, Dr. Gordon Sato, produced the first inhibitor of a growth factor receptor and a tyrosine kinase, and demonstrated inhibition of cancer cell proliferation. His continued research in the laboratory and in the clinic resulted in the FDA approval of monoclonal antibody C225 (cetuximab/Erbitux) for advanced, irinotecan-refractory colorectal cancer in 2004. Two years later, in 2006, the FDA approved use of C225 with radiation for primary therapy of head and neck cancer and C225 alone for recurrent disease.
Several of Dr. Mendelssohn’s most important “firsts” in patient-oriented cancer research included, the first clinical trial with an agent that blocked a tyrosine kinase and with a monoclonal antibody (C225) specifically designed to alter a biological function, rather than to just elicit an immunological response. His earlier laboratory studies first demonstrated mechanisms by which inhibition of EGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibits cell proliferation and other cellular functions. A clinical trial provided the first proof that an antireceptor agent (Herceptin) used alone could produce a clinically useful response rate (10%) in patients, and he was a leader in the first clinical trial demonstrating that addition of an EGF receptor inhibitor could overcome resistance to a chemotherapeutic agent (cisplatin in head and neck cancer). That trial was based on his preclinical research with C225 against human tumor xenografts.
In addition to his research work, Dr. Mendelsohn has played a pivotal role in the training of hundreds of future cancer researchers throughout the world. To meet the increasing demand for training international physicians and scientists and to promote collaboration in research, he established the Center for Global Oncology, which coordinates MD Anderson’s formal affiliations with more than two dozen foreign academic, health care and government entities.
He also chairs the Worldwide Innovative Networking Consortium for clinical investigation. Dr. Mendelsohn works with colleagues to lead the way in reshaping clinical cancer research in the US through his position as Chair of the National Cancer Policy Forum of the Institute of Medicine; he chaired the committee which issued in 2010 the influential report, “A National Cancer Clinical Trials System for the 21st Century.”
Dr. Mendelsohn earned his bachelor's degree in sciences magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1958. He was the first undergraduate student of James D. Watson, Ph.D., who later won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for identifying the structure of DNA. After spending a year in Scotland as a Fulbright Scholar in biochemistry, Mendelsohn received his medical degree cum laude from Harvard Medical School in 1963. He was founding Director of the UCSD Cancer Center and Chairman of Medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, before serving as President of MD Anderson Cancer Center.