In This Section

John E. Dick, PhD, Recognized With 2020 Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Cancer Research

PHILADELPHIA — The Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Cancer Research will be presented to John E. Dick, PhD, Fellow of the AACR Academy, at the AACR Annual Meeting 2020, to be held April 24-29 in San Diego.

Dick will deliver his award lecture on Sunday, April 26, from 12:15 to 1 p.m. PT at the San Diego Convention Center in Ballroom 20A-C.

Dick is being honored for discovering and characterizing the mechanisms by which stem cells contribute to normal and leukemic hematopoiesis. He is widely recognized for his seminal discovery of leukemic stem cells and for developing the first hematopoietic xenograft assay using human hematopoietic cells transplanted into immune-compromised mice, a technique capable of giving rise to distinct blood lineages. Using this assay, Dick has developed xenograft models of human acute lymphoid leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, and chronic myeloid leukemia that have provided crucial insights into the onset and progression of such diseases.

Dick’s findings uncovered a gene signature of leukemia stemness that can be used to predict survival rates and response to treatment. In addition, this gene signature has provided actionable targets for drug development, led to the identification of preleukemic mutations in normal hematopoietic cells, and laid the groundwork for three drugs currently being tested in clinical trials.

“Dr. Dick is a distinguished scientist who has been a world leader in the fields of cancer stem cell biology and hematopoiesis for decades,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR. “His pioneering research has been integral to advancing our understanding of the development of normal blood cells and blood cancers, and has provided new opportunities for therapeutic targeting. We look forward to honoring Dr. Dick with the 2020 Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Cancer Research.”

The Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Cancer Research was established in 1997 to annually recognize a scientist who has made a major scientific discovery in basic or translational cancer research. The awardee must be active in cancer research, have a record of recent noteworthy publications, and be conducting ongoing work that holds promise for continued substantive contributions to progress in the field of cancer.

Dick is the Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Biology, a senior scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and an investigator at the McEwen Stem Cell Institute at the University Health Network in Toronto. Additionally, Dick is a professor of molecular genetics at the University of Toronto, and co-leader of the Acute Leukemia Translational Research Initiative for the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Dick has also served as a senior scientist in the Department of Genetics at the Research Institute of the Hospital for Sick Children. He has been a member of the AACR since 2006 and was elected as a Fellow of the AACR Academy in 2016. He earned his doctoral degree in microbiology and biochemistry at the University of Manitoba. In addition to receiving the AACR G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award in 2008, Dick has been honored with many other awards throughout his career, including the International Society for Stem Cell Research Award for Innovation (2019), American Society of Hematology Mentor Award in Basic Science (2018), Canadian Institutes of Health Research Gold Leaf Prize for Discovery (2017), Keio Medical Science Prize (2017), Elected Fellow of The Royal Society (2014), Canadian Cancer Research Alliance Award for Outstanding Achievements in Cancer Research (2013), American Society of Hematology E. Donnall Thomas Prize (2009), University of Adelaide Clifford Prize for Cancer Research (2009), Israel Cancer Research Fund Men of Distinction Award (2009), International Society for Experimental Hematology Donald Metcalf Award (2007), National Cancer Institute of Canada Diamond Jubilee Award (2007), American Society of Hematology Dameshek Prize (2005), Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Academy of Sciences (2004), Leiden University Herman Boerhaave Medal (2002), National Cancer Institute of Canada Robert L. Noble Prize for Excellence in Cancer Research (2000) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Michael Smith Prize (1997).