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AACR to Recognize Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, FAACR, with 2023 AACR-Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research

PHILADELPHIA – The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will honor Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, Fellow of the AACR Academy and AACR Past President, with the 2023 AACR-Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research during the AACR Annual Meeting 2023, April 14-19 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

Jaffee is the Dana and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli Professor in oncology and deputy director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center (SKCCC) at Johns Hopkins University, as well as inaugural director of the Convergence Institute and associate director of the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at SKCCC. She is also a professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, codirector of the Skip Viragh Center for Pancreas Cancer Clinical Research and Patient Care, and deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. Jaffee is being recognized for her exceptional leadership, her outstanding record of service to the cancer community, and her brilliant scientific discoveries. Her many important contributions to the field of cancer immunotherapy have significantly broadened understanding of the interaction between the immune system and pancreatic cancer, among other cancer types, and her extraordinary ability to translate preclinical findings to effective clinical approaches continues to improve the lives of cancer patients.

The AACR-Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research was established in 2007 in honor of Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR, for her exemplary leadership of the AACR, and for her sustained, extraordinary dedication to the conquest of cancer through research, scholarly publications, communication, collaborations, education and training, fundraising for cancer research, and science policy. Annually, this award is given to an individual whose leadership and remarkable achievements in cancer research have made a major impact in the field.

An internationally heralded expert in cancer immunology, Jaffee has spearheaded innovative research that has resulted in the development and clinical evaluation of several immunotherapies. Notably, she contributed to the testing and development of an allogeneic GVAX cancer vaccine for pancreatic cancer, which delivers pancreatic cancer cells engineered to secrete the immunostimulatory cytokine granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), thereby promoting activation of an antitumor immune response. Jaffee has also explored combinations involving GVAX and the CRS-207 vaccine. Her research has also focused on exploiting genomic and proteomic technologies to define biomarkers of pancreatic cancer onset and progression. These studies have resulted in the identification of Annexin A2 as a potential regulator of pancreatic cancer metastasis. Jaffee’s ongoing work aims to utilize new and emerging technologies to uncover the complex signaling pathways that exist between tumor cells, monocytes, and stromal cells in pancreatic cancer, and to develop novel methods to bypass these communications to potentiate antitumor immune responses.

Importantly, Jaffee’s leadership extends well beyond her research in the laboratory and the clinic. She was an elected member (2013) and the first woman to serve as chair (2016) of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) National Cancer Advisory Board. During that time, she served as cochair of the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative Blue Ribbon Panel, establishing priorities for the NCI’s budget on new scientific research. In 2022, Jaffee was appointed to President Biden’s Cancer Panel to advise him on barriers to and opportunities for progress in reducing the burden of cancer. She established the Convergence Institute at SKCCC, an innovative and visionary program that brings together experts from diverse fields such as engineering, bioinformatics, physics, and mathematics to work with health care professionals to amass and apply their knowledge to cancer. In addition to these efforts, Jaffee is a dedicated mentor and has supported women and minorities in cancer research by serving on numerous task forces and committees designed to foster diversity in science and champion wellness initiatives such as work leave extensions for major life events such as childbirth.

“Dr. Jaffee is an international authority in the field of cancer immunotherapy. Her groundbreaking research has led to invaluable breakthroughs in the treatment of deadly cancers, namely pancreatic cancer,” said Foti. “In addition, she is a visionary leader and continues to have a remarkable track record of contributions to the field that include the education and mentorship of young investigators and the promotion of important science and regulatory policy at the national level. I am really thrilled that the 2023 award selection committee has voted to honor Liz with this award.”

Jaffee has been a member of the AACR since 1994 and was elected as a Fellow of the AACR Academy in 2018. She served as President of the AACR (2018-2019) and as a member of the AACR’s Board of Directors (2013-2016). During her presidency, Jaffee led the formation of numerous partnerships that resulted in the distribution of new research grants dedicated to supporting regenerative cancer medicine, tumor treating fields research, and transatlantic research collaborations between the United States and the United Kingdom. She also spearheaded a collaboration with MPM Capital to establish the AACR-MPM Transformative Research Grants Program, assisted with the establishment of the AACR Project GENIE Biopharma Collaborative, and oversaw negotiations that resulted in the AACR becoming the title partner of the Philadelphia Marathon.

In 2015, Jaffee received the AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cancer Research in recognition of her seminal contributions to elucidating immunologic treatment options for pancreatic cancer patients.

Throughout her time as an AACR member, Jaffee has consistently served as a valued volunteer and premier role model as is evident through her extensive involvement with numerous AACR committees and association groups, serving as chair (2019-present) of the AACR International Affairs Committee, chair of the AACR Precision Combination Therapy Task Force (2021-present), member of the 7th JCA-AACR Special Joint Conference on the Latest Advances in Pancreatic Cancer Research: From Basic Science to Therapeutics Program Committee (2022), member of the Lustgarten Foundation-AACR Pancreatic Cancer Research Grants Scientific Review Committee (2021-2022), member of the AACR Science Policy and Government Affairs Committee (2020-2023; 2007-2013; 2003-2006), chair (2019-2020) and member (2006-2007; 2001-2002) of the AACR-WICR Charlotte Friend Lectureship Committee, cochair (2018) and member (2015-2017) of the CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference Program Committee, member of the Annual Meeting Education Committee (2017, 2007), cochair (2016-2017, 2014-2015) and member (2005-2006) of the Annual Meeting Program Committee, member of the AACR NextGen Transformative Grants Scientific Review Committee (2015-2017), member of the AACR Team Science Award Committee (2015-2017; 2011-2012), chair (2012-2013) and member (2009-2015) of the AACR Cancer Immunology Working Group, member of the AACR Publications Committee (2014-2017), chair (2013-2014) of the AACR Tellers Committee, chair (2012-2014) and member (2011) of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-AACR Innovative Grants Scientific Review Committee, member of the AACR-Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship Committee (2011-2012), member of the AACR Science Education and Career Advancement Committee (2008-2011), member of the AACR-Gertrude B. Elion Cancer Research Award Scientific Review Committee (2008-2009), member of the AACR Clinical and Translational Cancer Research Committee (2005-2008), and member of the Kirk A. Landon AACR Prize for Basic Cancer Research Selection Committee (2006). She has also been active in the AACR Minorities in Cancer Research and Women in Cancer Research constituency groups for many years.

She has contributed to multiple AACR publications, serving as an editorial board member for Cancer Today (2014), Clinical Cancer Research (2003-2005), and Molecular Cancer Therapeutics (2001-2004). She has been a deputy editor for Cancer Immunology Research since 2012 and has previously served as an associate editor for Cancer Research (2003-2005). 

Jaffee has been celebrated with numerous other awards throughout her career, including the MD Anderson Cancer Center Health Memorial Award (2020), the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center David M. Rubenstein Award for Pancreatic Cancer Research (2020), the American-Italian Cancer Foundation Prize for Scientific Excellence in Medicine (2019), the William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology (2019), the WebMD Health Heroes Scientist Award (2018), The Dr. Melvin L. and Dr. Sylvia F. Griem Lectureship in Molecular and Cellular Oncology (2018), the Johns Hopkins University Office of Women in Science and Medicine Vice Dean’s Award (2012), the National Cancer Institute SPORE Program Investigator of the Year (2006), the Johns Hopkins University Department of Oncology Director’s Award for Outstanding Teacher (2001, 1999, 1998), the National Kidney Foundation Career Development Award (1992), the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Clinician-Scientist Award (1992), the National Institutes of Health Physician-Scientist Award (1992), the American Cancer Society of Clinical Oncology Young Investigator Award (1992), the Stetler Award (1992), and the American Cancer Society Research Fellowship Award (1992) and Clinical Fellowship Award (1989).

She is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2022), the Academy of Immuno-Oncology (2021), and the American College of Physicians (2019). She is also an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (2019).

Jaffee received her medical degree from New York Medical College. She completed a medical residency at the Presbyterian-University Hospital in Pittsburgh and later received a National Institutes of Health Research Training Grant as a research fellow and principal investigator. She completed clinical and research fellowships in oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Jaffee’s award lecture will be presented on Monday, April 17, at 4:45 p.m. ET.

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