American Association for Cancer Research

AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Prevention Research

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AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Prevention Research

Nominations for the 2014 award are now open.

Nomination Deadline: 4:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Award and Lecture

The AACR is pleased to sponsor this major international award in recognition of outstanding cancer prevention research. The AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Prevention Research (formerly AACR-Prevent Cancer Foundation Award for Excellence in Cancer Prevention Research) is given to a scientist residing in any country in the world for his or her seminal contributions to the field of cancer prevention. Such investigations must have been conducted in basic, translational, clinical, epidemiological, or behavioral science in cancer prevention research. Further, these studies must have had not only a major impact on the field, but must also have stimulated new directions in this important area.

The recipient of the award will receive a $5,000 honorarium, present a 50-minute lecture at the 13th Annual AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research.  Support will be given to the winner and a guest to attend the conference.


  • All cancer researchers who are affiliated with any institution involved in cancer research, cancer medicine, or cancer-related biomedical science anywhere in the world are eligible. Such institutions include those in academia, industry, or government.
  • The award will be presented to an individual investigator.
  • Institutions or organizations are not eligible for the award.
  • Candidates must currently maintain an active research program, have a record of recent publications, and be able to present the award lecture at the conference.

Nomination Process

Nominations are open.

Nominations may be made 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.

Nomination Instructions

Program Guidelines and Nomination Instructions

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Candidates will be considered by a committee of international cancer leaders appointed by the president of the AACR. After careful deliberation by the award committee, its 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 candidate's seminal contributions to the field of cancer prevention. No regard will be given to age, 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
(215) 446-7128



John P. Pierce, Ph.D. 

2013 Award Recipient

John P. Pierce, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine
Director, Population Sciences,
UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
La Jolla, CA 92037

Dr. John P. Pierce is recognized for his outstanding contributions to cancer prevention research for his work on the epidemiology of health behaviors, and in particular on tobacco smoking and nutrition in cancer care. With more than 350 publications and 18,000 citations, Dr. Pierce’s work has had a major impact in academic research, demonstrating the cumulative public health impact of population-level approaches to tobacco control. His work has helped disseminate effective tobacco control policies and programs at the state, national, and international levels, and has contributed to reduced cigarette smoking prevalence in the population with associated reductions in lung cancer mortality.

In the 1980s, Dr. Pierce demonstrated that mass media-led population interventions could markedly reduce smoking behavior, a founding proponent of the first statewide tobacco control program in his native Australia. These results from Australia were critical to maintaining media in the much larger California tobacco control program, which he also demonstrated reduced both smoking behavior and lung cancer rates. He made the public health case for smoke-free workplaces, schools, and universities which led to the first state law requiring smoke-free workplaces in California (1994). Subsequently, his team demonstrated the effectiveness of such a law in protecting nonsmokers from secondhand smoke.  He introduced a smokers' helpline protocol with a randomized trial and this has since been developed by others into an essential component of tobacco control programs. His recent work has focused on the loss of smoking cessation as a major driver for decreasing smoking prevalence.

In 1991, Dr. Pierce had one of the set of three papers in JAMA that documented the influence of the Joe Camel marketing campaign in encouraging teens to smoke. He followed this up with a series of population-based studies that demonstrated that this was a general effect of marketing in which those who were receptive to tobacco advertising became curious about smoking and cognitively susceptible to accept an offer to experiment if the opportunity arose. These studies were influential in getting tobacco marketing restricted in the 1998 legal Master Settlement Agreement between state attorneys general and the tobacco industry. His measure of susceptibility to smoking is widely used in adolescent tobacco control.

Additionally, Dr. Pierce led the large Women's Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) randomized trial. This study used an innovative telephone coaching intervention, developed in the initial studies on the smokers' helpline, to encourage women previously diagnosed with breast cancer to make a major sustained change and adopt a plant-based dietary pattern. The study provided a definitive answer that such a change after breast cancer treatment did not result in reduced recurrence or longer survival. 

This study did identify the important negative role on prognosis of comorbidities and low levels on the physical health component of quality of life measures. It has highlighted the potential importance of other lifestyles such as sedentary behavior. The team clarified the role of the biological measure of diabetes (A1c) and smoking history on prognosis following breast cancer. Using a measure of circulating endoxifen, they were able to show the limitations of CYP2D6 genotyping to dosing decisions for tamoxifen treatment.

Currently, Dr. Pierce is director for population sciences at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. He is also director of the doctoral program in public health, a joint program between UC San Diego and San Diego State University. He is a fellow of both the American College of Epidemiology and the Society for Behavioral Medicine.

Dr. Pierce received his B.Sc. from Monash University in Australia, an M.Sc. from McMaster University in Canada and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.
He has received several honors for his work. He received the first Doll/Wynder Award for epidemiological research from the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, the Cullen Award from the American Society for Preventive Oncology, and the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for translating epidemiology into public health practice from the joint Epidemiological Societies of North America.