AACR Mourns the Loss of Senator John McCain


On behalf of the board of directors of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and the 40,000 laboratory researchers, physician-scientists, other health care professionals, and patient advocates who constitute our national and international membership, we are deeply saddened by the loss of Senator John McCain, who passed away yesterday after battling one of the most lethal cancers, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

Senator McCain was an extraordinary leader in Congress for more than 30 years, which included a steadfast commitment to and support for the medical research that is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Senator McCain consistently recognized the extraordinary public health benefits of the medical research that Congress and America’s taxpayers make possible each year through the NIH, and he talked frequently about how research extends, improves, and saves the lives of so many Americans.

GBM is an extremely aggressive form of brain cancer that also took the lives of former Vice President Joe Biden's son Beau in May 2015, and Senator Ted Kennedy in August 2009. GBM is a malignant tumor that starts in the brain or spinal cord and accounts for about 45 percent of all primary brain tumors, with about 11,000 diagnoses in men, women, and children every year. This terrible disease kills about 85 percent of those diagnosed within five years, and approximately 50 percent of those diagnosed will die within 18 months. These statistics underscore the dire need for more groundbreaking research in this particular area of cancer science and medicine, as well as an enhanced focus on developing innovative approaches to confront GBM. Such approaches include novel basic and translational science, the physical science and computational biology related to oncology, combination therapies, and new clinical trial designs, e.g., the adaptive clinical trial design in the GBM Agile trial.

Our mission at the AACR is to prevent and cure all cancers through research, education, communication, and collaboration. The heart of our mission is to foster and accelerate breakthroughs and progress against cancer, all of which stems from decades of cancer research and medical science. We will continue to work hard so that the benefits of these advances reach all cancer patients.

We express our heartfelt condolences to the entire McCain family.