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AACR Team Science Award Recipients

2018 Genomic Approaches to Preventing and Treating Asian-Prevalent Cancers Team

Patrick Tan, MD, PhD (Team Leader); Steven G. Rozen, PhD; Sen-Yung Hsieh, MD, PhD; Chiea Chuen Khor, MBBS, PhD; Narong Khuntikeo, MD; Soon Thye Lim, MBBS, MRCP; Choon Kiat Ong, PhD; Chawalit Pairojkul, MD; See-Tong Pang, MD, PhD; Tatsuhiro Shibata, MD, PhD; Bin Tean Teh, MD, PhD

2018 AACR Team Science Award Presentation.jpg

The AACR Team Science Award has been established by the American Association for Cancer Research and Lilly Oncology to acknowledge and catalyze the growing importance of interdisciplinary teams to the understanding of cancer and/or the translation of research discoveries into clinical cancer applications.

The AACR Team Science Award recognizes an outstanding interdisciplinary research team for its innovative and meritorious science that has advanced or likely will advance our fundamental knowledge of cancer or a team that has applied existing knowledge to advance the detection, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of cancer.

The AACR recognizes this outstanding team for leveraging a diverse suite of complementary genomic technologies to illuminate underlying causes and key disrupted molecular pathways in Asian-prevalent cancers, with the aim of enhancing prevention and treatment. Through this remarkable collaborative the team has made significant contributions to deciphering numerous Asian-endemic cancers. The team has identified major genetic abnormalities in gastric (stomach) cancers, a leading cause of global cancer mortality for which there are few targeted treatment options, and was able to translate these findings into clinical trials targeting these abnormalities. They have explored natural killer T-cell lymphoma (NKTCL), a deadly and common lymphoma in Asia caused by exposure to Epstein-Barr virus, discovering genetic variants that explain why certain individuals develop NKTCL and some do not, and identifying molecular targets in a large proportion of NKTCLs that are now being tested.

Identification of cancer prevention is particularly relevant for Asian cancers because several major Asian cancers are known to be associated with specific pathogen or chemical exposures. By studying cholangiocarcinomas (also known as biliary tract cancers) from North East Thailand (population 20 million and where the cancer is very frequent due to endemic liver fluke exposure), the team identified genetic alterations specific to liver fluke-associated cholangiocarcinoma highlighting new drug targets, and in doing so generally elucidated how distinct types of exposures and risk can engender molecularly different types of cancers, even when they occur in same human organ. The success of the team’s cholangiocarcinoma research has facilitated public health and education efforts, for both cholangiocarcinoma screening and the promotion of dietary practices that reduce liver fluke infection.

In addition, this outstanding team has also delineated a unique pattern of DNA mutations induced by aristolochic acid (AA), a compound found in certain traditional herbal medicines. AA is a major cause of renal failure and upper tract urothelial cancer in Taiwan. Recently, the team further revealed a potential novel role for AA exposure in the development of liver cancer. Specifically, the team discovered that almost 80 percent of liver cancers in Taiwan had mutations due to AA, a known carcinogen, and substantial proportions of liver cancers from other parts of Asia also had mutations due to AA. This suggests new opportunities for primary prevention by reducing exposure, either by increasing public awareness or by regulation that takes into account more widespread exposure than previously known. As evidence that this research may increase public awareness of the risks of AA exposure, the finding of AA mutations in liver cancers was widely reported in the media worldwide, attracting attention of regulatory agencies of concerned countries leading to stricter policies on the use of AA-related plants.

The discoveries made through the efforts of this team will have a positive impact on patient care in the years to come. Through their outstanding scientific accomplishments and commitment to foster team science, the innovative and meritorious work of this team clearly embodies the spirit of the AACR Team Science Award.

Award Recipients

2017 The International Liquid Biopsy Initiative Team

Luis A. Diaz, Nishant Agrawal, Chetan Bettegowda, Frank Diehl, Peter Gibbs, Stanley R. Hamilton, Ralph H. Hruban, Hartmut Juhl, Isaac Kinde, Kenneth Kinzler, Martin Nowak, Nickolas Papadopoulos, David Sidransky, Jeanne Tie, Victor E. Velculescu, Bert Vogelstein

2016 Women's Health Initiative Team

Ross L. Prentice, Garnet L. Anderson, Bette Caan, Rowan T. Chlebowski, Rebecca D. Jackson, Charles Kooperberg, JoAnn E. Manson, Electra D. Paskett, Jacques E. Rossouw, Sally A. Shumaker, Marcia L. Stefanick, Cynthia Ann Thomson, Jean Wactawski-Wende

For its collective efforts that have broadened our understanding of the effects of hormone therapy and nutrition on cancer.

2015 Designing AR Inhibitors Team

Charles L. Sawyers, Michael E. Jung, Howard Scher

For their collective efforts in discovering and developing the novel anti-androgen drugs enzalutamide and ARN-509 for the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer.

2014 Duke University/Johns Hopkins, and NCI Malignant Brain Tumor Team

Darell D. Bigner, Bert Vogelstein, Ira H. Pastan, Daniel Barboriak, Oren J. Becher, Thomas J. Cummings, Annick Desjardins, Luis A. Diaz, Allan H. Friedman, Henry S. Friedman, Matthias Gromeier, Sridharan Gururangan, Yiping He, Kenneth W. Kinzler, Chien-Tsun Kuan, Roger E. McLendon, Nickolas Papadopoulos, Katherine B. Peters, Tulika Ranjan, B. K. Ahmed Rasheed, John H. Sampson, Victor E. Velculescu, Gordana Vlahovic, Jason A. Watts, Hai Yan, and Michael R. Zalutsky

For their findings having informed both the basic science and clinical communities in managing diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of brain tumors.

2013 Johns Hopkins Pancreatic Cancer Sequencing Team in the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at Johns Hopkins University

Ralph H. Hruban, N. Volkan Adsay, Peter J. Allen, Michael A. Choti, Luis A. Diaz, James R. Eshleman, Michael G. Goggins, Joseph M. Herman, Christine A. Iacobuzio-Donahue, Scott E. Kern, Kenneth W. Kinzler, Alison P. Klein, David S. Klimstra, Anirban Maitra, Alan K. Meeker, Nickolas Papadopoulos, Victor E. Velculescu, Bert Vogelstein, Christopher L. Wolfgang, Laura DeLong Wood

In recognition of having discovered a new cancer pathway and new familial pancreatic cancer genes. They have defined the time course for the development of pancreatic neoplasia, and have shown that each of the four cystic tumors of the pancreas has a unique mutational profile. These sequencing efforts have revolutionized the understanding of the fundamental genetic changes that characterize pancreatic cancer. Importantly, the team's work has immediate clinical implications. 

2012 The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and Royal Marsden Hospital: Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit and Drug Development Units

Bissan Al-Lazikani, Udai Banerji, Julian Blagg, Ian Collins, Johann De Bono, Sue Eccles, Michelle Garrett, Swen Hoelder, Keith Jones, Stan Kaye, Spiros Linardopoulos, Richard Marais, Flo Raynaud, Caroline Springer, Rob van Montfort, Paul Workman

In recognition of their tremendous impact in the preclinical discovery and clinical development of innovative cancer therapeutics. The team, comprising experts in cancer biology, pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, and medical oncology, was responsible with its academic and industrial partners for the discovery of 16 drug development candidates over the past six years. Six of these candidates entered clinical trials, including highly promising inhibitors of androgen biosynthesis (CYP17), heat shock protein 90, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, protein kinase B/AKT, and cyclin-dependent kinases. The team also carried out pioneering preclinical work on BRAF and its inhibitors and discovered CHK1 and dual Aurora/FLT3 inhibitors.

2011 Seattle HPV Research Team

Janet R. Daling, Denise A. Galloway, James Hughes, Nancy B. Kiviat, Laura Koutsky, Margaret M. Madeleine, Constance Mao, Barbara McKnight, Peggy L. Porter, Stephen M. Schwartz, Hisham K. Tamimi, Long-fu Xi

In recognition for taking an interdisciplinary approach to study the natural history of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and the role that a subset of HPVs plays in the etiology of anogenital and oropharyngeal cancers. These studies have contributed to development of vaccines to prevent infection and cancer. 

2010 Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Thoracic Oncology Research Team

Michael J. Eck, Jeffery Engelman, Nathanael S. Gray, Daniel A. Haber, Pasi A. Jänne, Bruce E. Johnson, Susumu Kobayashi, Eunice L. Kwak, Neal Lindeman, Thomas J. Lynch, Shyamala Maheswaran, Matthew L. Meyerson, Lecia V. Sequist, Jeffery Settleman, Daniel G. Tenen, Mehmet Toner, Kwok-Kin Wong 

In recognition for demonstrating mutations of EGFR in lung cancer cell lines and patients are closely associated with dramatic responses to treatment with gefitinib or erlotinib. Their in vitro and clinical work identified two novel mechanisms of resistance to gefitinib and erlotinib and have developed therapeutic strategies to overcome resistance.

2009 St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Team

Dario Campana, Cheng Cheng, James R. Downing, William E. Evans, Melissa M. Hudson, Sima Jeha, Charles Mullighan, Ching-Hon Pui, Susana C. Raimondi, Mary V. Relling, Raul C. Ribeiro 

In recognition of their seminal laboratory discoveries that unraveled mechanisms of leukemogenesis and drug resistance; the identification of novel therapeutic targets; and the integration of biologic, genomic, and pharmacologic discoveries into comprehensive clinical protocols all leading to markedly improved cure rates of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

2008 University of California San Francisco, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Donna G. Albertson, Jane Fridyland, Joe W. Gray, Ajay Jain, Anne H. Kallioniemi, Olli-Pekka Kallioniemi, Robert Nordmeyer, Norma J. Nowak, Daniel Pinkel, Antoine Sniders, Damir Sudar and Frederick M. Waldmann

In recognition of a team of clinicians, physicists, biochemists, statisticians, computer scientists and engineers at the University of California San Francisco, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Roswell Park Cancer Institute for the conception, technical implementation, dissemination and pioneering applications of comparative genomic hybridization or CGH, and array CGHin.

2007 University of Michigan-Brigham and Women's Hospital Team

Xuhong Cao, Arul M. Chinnaiyan, Saravana Dhanasekaran, Rohit Mehra, James Montie, Kenneth Pienta, Robin Rasor, Daniel Rhodes, Rajal Shah, Scott A. Tomlins, Sooryanarayana Varambally,  and John Wei of the University of Michigan; and Francesca Demichelis, Charles Lee, Sven Perner, and Mark A. Rubin of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School

In recognition of their landmark discovery of recurrent gene fusions in a majority of prostate cancers, which has profound clinical and biological implications for understanding prostate cancers, and their embodiment of team science through interdisciplinary and inter-institutional collaboration.