American Association for Cancer Research

Jane Cooke Wright Biography

The AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research-Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship, sponsored by the AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research, is named in honor of Jane Cooke Wright, M.D., a pioneer in clinical cancer chemotherapy and an exceptional scientist who is African-American and who has made important contributions to research in this field.

Dr. Wright made her mark in cancer research analyzing a wide range of anti-cancer agents, exploring the relationship between patient and tissue culture response, and developing new techniques for administering cancer chemotherapy. She was among the first researchers to test chemotherapeutic drugs in humans, which produced effective dosing levels and helped saved lives.

Dr. Wright began her pioneering work in 1949, and during her 40-year career she published over 100 research papers on cancer chemotherapy and led delegations of cancer researchers to Africa, China, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union. By 1967, she was the highest ranking African-American woman in a United States medical institution. In 1971, she became the first woman elected president of the New York Cancer Society.

She has held numerous appointments in hospitals and medical schools, and has held leadership positions and memberships in numerous associations, such as the Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society, New York; a founding member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology; and in 2004 she became a 50-year member of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Her leadership and mentorship have greatly impacted cancer research.