PHILADELPHIA — Robert Weinberg, PhD, was honored for his seminal contributions to cancer research and cancer biology with the 13th annual American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research at the AACR Annual Meeting 2016, held in New Orleans, April 16-20.
Weinberg is a founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research; the Daniel K. Ludwig professor for cancer research in the Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and director of the Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The AACR established the Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research in 2004 to honor an individual who has made significant contributions to cancer research, either through a single scientific discovery or a body of work. These contributions, whether they have been in research, leadership, or mentorship, must have had a lasting impact on the cancer field and must have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to progress against cancer.
Weinberg is known for his discovery of the first human oncogene, RAS, and the cloning of the first tumor suppressor gene, Rb. His groundbreaking observations were critical in establishing the concept that cancer arises as a result of genetic mutations. Together with subsequent work from his laboratory, these discoveries formed the basis of our current understanding of cancer biology and laid the foundation for the era of precision medicine.
More recently, Weinberg’s research has focused on understanding the complex molecular mechanisms that regulate carcinoma invasion and metastasis, delineating the connection between epithelial-mesenchymal-transition and the metastatic spread of cancer.
“Dr. Weinberg is a pre-eminent scientist, and we are delighted to recognize his remarkable contributions to the field of cancer research through this award,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR. “His relentless commitment to fundamental science has created an exceptional body of research that has contributed immensely to our understanding of the biology of cancer and has laid the groundwork for numerous subsequent breakthroughs in cancer treatment.”
In addition to his extraordinary research accomplishments, Weinberg is the co-author, with Douglas Hanahan, of one of most influential papers in the field of cancer research, “The Hallmarks of Cancer.” Weinberg and Hanahan updated these concepts 11 years later in an equally acclaimed paper, “Hallmarks of cancer: the next generation.”
Weinberg has been honored with numerous awards throughout his esteemed career, including induction into the inaugural class of the Fellows of the AACR Academy, the Inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the Otto Warburg Medal, the Wolf Prize in Medicine, the Pezcoller-AACR International Award for Cancer Research, the Landon-AACR Prize for Basic Cancer Research, the Keio Medical Science Prize, the National Medal of Science from the National Science Foundation, the AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award, and the Canada Gairdner International Award. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, an elected foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and an elected fellow of the American Academy of Sciences.
In 1982, Weinberg joined the faculty of MIT as a professor of biology and helped found the Whitehead Institute. Previously, he held research positions at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, and the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. Weinberg received his doctorate from MIT.
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