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Patricia S. Steeg, PhD, Receives Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Lectureship


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Patricia S. Steeg, PhD

Patricia S. Steeg, PhD

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has honored Patricia S. Steeg, PhD, with its 2020 Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship. Dr. Steeg, Co-Director of the Office of Translational Resources and Associate Director of the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), was recognized for her groundbreaking research on breast cancer metastasis, including the discovery of the first metastasis-suppressor gene and development of a clinical-translational program dedicated to investigating brain metastases of breast cancer.

The AACR Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship was established in 1998 in honor of renowned virologist and discoverer of the Friend virus, -Charlotte Friend, PhD, for her pioneering research on viruses, cell differentiation, and cancer.

Innovative Research

Dr. Steeg is best known for performing pioneering research on breast cancer metastasis. In 1988, she discovered the first metastasis-suppressor gene, NM23 (NME). Her work demonstrated that the previously unknown NME gene is commonly downregulated in cells with increased metastatic potential. She later cloned the NME family of genes and further characterized the biologic and enzymatic activities of NME. Her work has since helped to establish an entire field devoted to understanding the structure and function of metastasis-suppressor genes.

Charlotte Friend, PhD

Charlotte Friend, PhD

In addition to her scientific achievements, Dr. Steeg has made it a priority to mentor female scientists at the NCI and beyond. As a Woman Scientist Advisor at the NCI from 1993 to 1994, she participated in a comprehensive review of NCI salaries by gender, ultimately resulting in pay increases for many female employees. Later, she helped establish a National Institutes of Health sexual harassment policy, universal unconscious bias training for principal investigators, and targeted programs dedicated to enhanced training opportunities and career planning for women scientists. 

Editor’s Note: The AACR Virtual Annual Meeting II was held on June 22–24, 2020. Visit ASCOPost.com/video for interviews with experts who gave presentations during the virtual program.


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