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Friends of Cancer Research Honors Oncology Leaders at 20th Anniversary and Announces Partnership


Janet Woodcock, MD

Janet Woodcock, MD

Eric Lander, PhD

Eric Lander, PhD

Sean Parker

Sean Parker

Friends of Cancer Research (Friends) celebrated its 20th anniversary September 21 at a special event in Washington, DC. The event honored Janet Woodcock, MD; Eric Lander, PhD; and Sean Parker.

Dr. Woodcock, Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), received the Ellen V. Sigal Advocacy Leadership Award. She was honored for her dedication to patients by providing safe and timely drug reviews, her continued work on spearheading initiatives designed to improve drug safety management, and her expertise and commitment to cancer research.

“Dr. Woodcock is a longtime friend of the organization and a personal inspiration,” said Ellen Sigal, PhD. “She has been a stalwart at CDER throughout the years, and there is no one more deserving of this award.”

Dr. Lander and Mr. Parker each received Friends of Cancer Research Cancer Leadership Awards for their efforts and contribution in the fight against cancer.

Dr. Lander was honored for his work decoding a molecular taxonomy for cancers, which has allowed for an increased understanding of the molecular origins of these cancers. These taxonomies and increased understanding have in turn aided the design of more effective therapies.

Mr. Parker has contributed significant time and money over the years to cancer research. He was honored for his dedication of $250 million to start a new collaborative center focusing on cancer immunotherapy: The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. The goal of this new Institute is to enable real collaboration, thereby accelerating the most ambitious research to deliver new immunotherapies engineered to save lives. 

Friends Partnership With Parker Institute

In addition to honoring its namesake, Friends launched a partnership with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy by hosting a summit in early October. The summit, Optimizing the Use of Immunotherapy, aimed to establish a collaborative trial to test multiple programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) inhibitors using a common control; outline a design for a study that could address resistance and refractoriness to PD-1 antibodies; and develop a standardized approach for optimal toxicity management of multiple PD-1 inhibitors.

“We have come a long way in the fight against cancer since I joined Friends 10 years ago,” said Jeff Allen, President and CEO of Friends. “Through our partnership with the Parker Institute and others, I have no doubt that we can continue to transform cancer care for the benefit of patients. I look forward to continuing to lead the fight against cancer here at Friends and in collaboration with so many others across the country.” ■



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