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American Association for Cancer Research Announces Distinguished Public Service Award Recipients

PHILADELPHIA – The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will present Distinguished Public Service Awards to three individuals whose extraordinary work has exemplified the AACR’s mission to prevent and cure all cancers through research, education, communication, collaboration, science policy and advocacy, and funding for cancer research.

Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD, FAACR; Louis M. Weiner, MD; and Nancy F. Goodman, JD, will receive the awards at the AACR Annual Meeting 2019, being held March 29 through April 3 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

These AACR awards recognize groundbreaking, innovative work throughout the cancer community. This year’s award recipients are being honored for meritorious work in clinical research, scientific leadership, and cancer policy and advocacy.

“The AACR is extremely proud to present Distinguished Public Service Awards to three highly accomplished individuals who have shown unstinting dedication to accelerating progress against cancer,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR. “Whether through research, education, collaboration, or advocacy, each of them has made invaluable contributions to the field that have truly changed the lives of cancer patients and their loved ones. We extend to them our sincerest congratulations on their special recognition by the AACR.”

This year’s winners:

Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD, FAACR, will receive the 2019 AACR Distinguished Public Service Award in recognition of his extraordinary clinical research career and leadership in establishing the AACR/ASCO Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Workshop to educate and train young clinical investigators.

A past president of the AACR, Von Hoff currently serves as physician-in-chief and distinguished professor at the Translational Genomics Research Institute; professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic; chief scientific officer and Virginia G. Piper Distinguished Chair for Innovative Cancer Research at Honor Health Research Institute; and professor of medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

An internationally recognized physician-scientist, innovator, and expert in the development of anticancer therapies, Von Hoff has helped develop many approved therapeutic agents including, but not limited to dexrazoxane, docetaxel, fludarabine, gemcitabine, irinotecan, mitoxantrone, nab-paclitaxel, paclitaxel, topotecan, and vismodegib. Notably, his work involving gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel combination therapy in pancreatic cancer patients was the first to demonstrate improved response rates, overall survival, and progression-free survival in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. Von Hoff’s current research is dedicated to continuing to identify novel therapeutics that target genes most commonly mutated or dysregulated in lung and pancreatic cancer as well as in various hematologic malignancies.

In addition to his research, Von Hoff is being recognized for his seminal contributions to conceptualizing, establishing, and nourishing the AACR/ASCO Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Workshop as the world’s premier workshop dedicated to educating young clinicians on effective clinical trial designs and therapeutic interventions for the treatment of cancer. Since its inception in 1996, the workshop has trained over 2,300 investigators to carry out optimally designed clinical research studies. The workshop’s concept has also been extended to workshops in Europe and Australia, bringing the total number of young clinical investigators benefiting from the workshop to over 4,000.

Von Hoff earned his bachelor’s degree from Carroll College and his medical degree from Columbia University. He then completed his residency at the University of California, San Francisco, followed by a fellowship in oncology at the National Cancer Institute.

Louis M. Weiner, MD, will receive the 2019 AACR Distinguished Public Service Award in recognition of his extraordinary career in the field of cancer immunology and immunotherapy and for his contribution and proactivity in establishing the AACR Cancer Immunology Task Force and AACR Cancer Immunology Working Group. Since its creation, the working group has spearheaded many of AACR’s efforts to advance the cancer immunology field, including creating a series of tumor immunology meetings designed to spotlight the most cutting-edge cancer immunology research.

Weiner is director of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center; holds the Francis L. and Charlotte G. Gragnani Chair and is professor of oncology and chair of the Department of Oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center; and serves as director of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute.

Weiner is an internationally renowned physician-scientist who has dedicated his research career to developing and optimizing monoclonal antibody-based immunotherapy. His current work focuses on deepening our understanding of why tumors become resistant to these and other immunotherapies with the goal of developing new treatments to overcome drug resistance. His expertise in the field led him to become the main proponent of AACR’s increasing support of cancer immunology. The resulting efforts to bolster support of the field were prescient to the emergence of cancer immunology and resulted in Weiner serving as the inaugural chair of the AACR Cancer Immunology Working Group. This group provides a forum for immunologists and non-immunologists alike to meet, exchange knowledge and ideas, and discuss the present status and future promise of cancer immunology. Thanks to his leadership, the working group has flourished over the past nine years and currently consists of nearly 8,000 members.

Weiner earned his bachelor’s degree in biology with honors from the University of Pennsylvania and his medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. After completing his internship, residency, and service as chief medical resident at the University of Vermont’s Medical Center Hospital, he held clinical and research fellowships in hematology and oncology at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.

Nancy F. Goodman, JD, will receive the 2019 AACR Distinguished Public Service Award in recognition of her outstanding leadership in cancer policy and advocacy.

Goodman is a leading pediatric cancer advocate and is the founder and executive director of Kids v Cancer, whose mission is to promote pediatric cancer research by identifying policy impediments at key junctures in the research process and developing new strategies to address them. Goodman founded Kids v Cancer in 2009 in response to the death of her 10-year-old son, Jacob, from medulloblastoma, a pediatric brain cancer. In addition to her role at Kids v Cancer, Goodman is also an active member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Patient Representative Program.

Goodman has been an exceptional steward of two significant federal laws that are providing pediatric cancer patients with additional treatment options. She was a champion for the Creating Hope Act Rare Pediatric Priority Review Voucher Program, which provided significant incentives for pediatric rare disease drug development. She also advocated for the RACE for Children Act, passed in 2017, which ensures that all cancer drugs in development may now also be tested for use against childhood cancers by allowing the FDA to require pediatric assessments of drugs under FDA review when the molecular targets in question are also relevant to pediatric cancers. She serves on a number of committees including the AACR Pediatric Cancer Working Group, the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Counselors, and the Stand Up To Cancer Scientific Advisory Committee.

Goodman earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s in public policy from Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a juris doctor from the University of Chicago Law School.