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Landmarks in Cancer Research: Introduction

Fifteen years ago, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) marked its 100th anniversary with the launch of Landmarks in Cancer Research 1907 – 2007, a historical timeline of the seminal scientific discoveries and events that occurred throughout the AACR’s first century of existence.

The ensuing fifteen years have brought a rapid and monumental increase in the pace of progress against cancer, highlighted by the emergence of genomic sequencing technologies and the establishment of new classes of cancer treatment options. Through a series of scientific advancements led by AACR members, molecularly targeted agents and immunotherapeutics have become firmly established as viable cancer treatment options, while innovative diagnostics and screening techniques have improved our ability to detect and diagnose cancer at earlier stages, especially in high-risk populations.

Coinciding with these breakthroughs has been a renaissance in data sharing and collaborative team science. Cancer research now, more than ever, has no geographical boundaries. The emergence of improved communication avenues and unique partnerships in cancer research has cemented the field as a global priority, which importantly has been essential in spotlighting existing disparities and inequities associated with public health and patient care.

The global nature of cancer research is no better reflected than by the AACR’s ever-growing membership of over 58,000 members across 141 countries and territories. The AACR, as the oldest and largest organization dedicated to the prevention and cure of all cancers, remains committed to accelerating progress in the detection, diagnosis, understanding, and treatment of cancer through its mission to support cancer research through research, education, communication, collaboration, science policy and advocacy, and funding for cancer research.

This third edition of Landmarks in Cancer Research, therefore, stands as a tribute to the AACR’s 115 years of existence and a celebration of the unparalleled progress that has been made in cancer research throughout that time. We defined a Landmark as an event or discovery that has had a profound effect on advancing our knowledge pertaining to the etiology, detection, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of cancer. To develop our timeline, we convened internal AACR scientists as well as a distinguished cohort of diverse cancer researchers and advocates from around the world to review the vast number of scientific achievements that have been made over the past 115 years and determine which represent quintessential discoveries and advancements that have contributed to the remarkable evolution of cancer research.

The stunning advances that have been made in the fifteen years following the AACR’s centennial anniversary are driving enormous hope for the promise of continued lifesaving breakthroughsthat will emerge in the near future and result in decreased cancer mortality and morbidity. This year’s timeline offers a tribute to the past and aims to serve as a challenge and inspiration for the future.

We look forward to the next chapter of AACR’s illustrious existence in which we are all leading discoveries, targeting cures, and saving lives.

Download the Landmarks in Cancer Research PDF Next Section: 1907-1960