Samuel Waxman, MD
The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF), an international nonprofit organization that funds cancer research, recently announced that its founder and Chief Executive Officer, Samuel Waxman, MD, has received China’s highest honor granted to a foreigner. The Vice-Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Liu He, presented the “Friendship Award” to Dr. Waxman at a ceremony in Beijing.
The award was established in China in 1991 and is conferred annually to foreign civilians who have made contributions to the country’s “national development.” This year, more than 50 individuals from more than 20 countries were presented with the Friendship Award, including experts in health care, engineering, and education.
Dr. Waxman was named Honorary Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and received the Magnolia Award from the city of Shanghai. Currently, he is Distinguished Service Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and continues to lead research on behalf of the SWCRF and serves as the foundation’s Chief Executive Officer.
More than 30 years ago, Dr. Waxman started a collaboration with investigators at China’s cancer research universities and institutions, including Shanghai Second Medical University and Ruijin Hospital Shanghai Institute of Hematology. “The SWCRF established a collaboration between my laboratory at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Shanghai-based scientists who previously had minimal contact with Western medicine. The SWCRF provided funding to train these scientists, who then returned to China and became leading clinical investigators,” said Dr. Waxman. “The SWCRF also provided new laboratory equipment and materials and upgraded the leukemia treatment facilities that became the Shanghai Institute of Hematology.”
Dr. Waxman and China-based investigators focused on researching leukemia and achieved significant breakthroughs that indelibly changed the outcome for thousands of patients diagnosed annually with acute promyelocytic leukemia. Later, Dr. Waxman and the SWCRF established its Institute Without Walls™ to drive further collaboration among scientists in China, the United States, and Europe.
The collaboration for researching and developing differentiation therapy took it from proof of principle to the standard treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Once APL was a fatal disease, and now more than 95% of patients are cured through differentiation therapy. ■