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AACR Recognizes Achievements of Three Cancer Researchers


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The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is honoring three clinical cancer researchers for their outstanding achievements. Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, FASCO, will receive the 2020 AACR–Joseph H. Burchenal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cancer Research. Lisa A. Newman, MD, MPH, will receive the 2020 AACR–Minorities in Cancer Research Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship. Cigall Kadoch, PhD, will receive the 2020 AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Basic Cancer Research.

Clinical Cancer Research: Dr. Wolchok

Dr. Wolchok is the Lloyd J. Old/Virginia and Daniel K. Ludwig Chair in Clinical Investigation and Chief of Immuno-Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), New York. He also serves as Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at MSK, Associate Director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy, and Professor of Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, FASCO

Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, FASCO

Dr. Wolchok is being recognized for his leadership in the groundbreaking clinical development of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) antibody therapy for melanoma and for his role in ushering in the field of checkpoint inhibitor therapies for cancer. He led the phase III clinical trial demonstrating that treatment with the anti–CTLA-4 monoclonal antibody ipilimumab and the chemotherapeutic dacarbazine yielded superior overall survival in patients with metastatic melanoma compared with dacarbazine alone. Through his work with ipilimumab, Dr. Wolchok discovered differences in the kinetics of clinical tumor responses to immunotherapy and chemotherapy, which prompted him and his team to develop new criteria for evaluating treatment responses to immunotherapy. These criteria are now standard practice for immunotherapy trials. In 2011, Dr. Wolchok founded the Immunotherapeutics Clinical Core at MSK, a program focused on novel immunotherapy phase I and II clinical trials expanding beyond melanoma.

After determining that ipilimumab is capable of promoting tumor regression in 20% of patients with melanoma, Dr. Wolchok began designing and conducting clinical trials testing immunotherapy combinations, including the combination of ipilimumab and the PD-1 monoclonal antibody nivolumab, which was subsequently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for advanced melanoma in 2015.

Dr. Wolchok received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University, his master’s and doctorate from New York University, and his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at New York University Medical Center and his medical oncology-hematology fellowship at MSK.

Minorities in Cancer Research: Dr. Newman

Dr. Newman is Chief of the Section of Breast Surgery at NewYork–Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medicine and a leader of the multidisciplinary breast oncology programs at the NewYork–Presbyterian David H. Koch Center. She is being recognized for her contributions to the identification of biomarkers for triple-negative breast cancer in African American and African women and for her dedication to mentoring students and trainees from groups traditionally underrepresented in medicine and research.

Lisa A. Newman, MD, MPH

Lisa A. Newman, MD, MPH

Dr. Newman is an expert in breast surgical oncology, whose body of research has advanced our understanding of breast cancer risk and clinical outcomes in African and African American women. To investigate the heterogeneity of breast cancer subtypes and to better understand the complex role of race and ethnicity in breast cancer risk, Dr. Newman formed an international collaboration with physicians and researchers in Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Canada, and the Caribbean.

Dr. Newman has served as Program Director for the Breast Fellowship Training Program from 2002 to 2015 and faculty associate and mentor for the Global Reach Program from 2013 to 2015 at the University of Michigan. She has also served as Program Co-Director for the Fulbright International Research Fellow Scholarship from 2010 to 2019.

Dr. Newman received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University. She earned her medical degree from the State University of New York Downstate College of Medicine (SUNY), completed her general surgery residency at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, and conducted her fellowship training at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. After her fellowship training, Dr. Newman obtained her master’s degree from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Basic Cancer Research: Dr. Kadoch

Dr. Kadoch is Assistant Professor of Pediatric Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and an institute member at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. She is being recognized for her pioneering biochemical and functional characterization of normal and aberrant SWI/SNF (switch/sucrose nonfermentable) chromatin remodeling complexes and her elucidation of the mechanisms by which the disruption of these complexes contributes to more than one-fifth of human cancers.

Cigall Kadoch, PhD

Cigall Kadoch, PhD

Dr. Kadoch’s seminal work involved the biology of ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes. In a landmark study early in her career, she discovered that more than 20% of cancers have mutations in genes encoding proteins that are part of mammalian SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes. Since then, the focus of her research has been on characterizing the role of each of the 29 potential subunits of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes in normal tissue development and defining how mutated forms of these subunits contribute to cancer development.

Dr. Kadoch received her undergraduate degree in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley, and her doctorate from Stanford University. 


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