Two U.S. Scientists Share Distinguished Honors in Basic Science Research; U.K. Physician Selected for Prestigious Clinical Research Award
Dallas – October 27, 2009 – Three researchers who have focused much of their careers on developing targeted therapies that both lower the risk of developing hormone-sensitive breast cancers and effectively treat the disease are this year’s winners of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in basic science and clinical research. This is the highest award of merit given by the nation’s leading breast cancer advocacy organization.
This year’s team recipients in the category of basic science are Benita S. Katzenellenbogen, Ph.D. and Geoffrey L. Greene, Ph.D. Ian E. Smith, M.D. is recognized in the award category of clinical research.
Katzenellenbogen and Greene are being honored for their pivotal laboratory work that led to a better understanding of how drugs like tamoxifen and raloxifene work on a molecular level to fight and prevent certain breast cancers.
Smith is being recognized for his work in the early clinical development of several anti-cancer drugs and for his work in neoadjuvant – or preoperative – treatments with drugs like tamoxifen and raloxifene.
These drugs fight the hormone sensitive breast cancers that account for 70 percent of all breast cancers. The survival rate for all breast cancers is now 89 percent, largely due to the successful use of these hormone therapies before and after surgery.
“The two individuals selected for the basic science award have made important contributions to our understanding of the estrogen receptor and the role the receptor plays in breast cancer,” said Eric Winer, M.D., Komen’s chief scientific advisor. “The clinical award is made in recognition of the seminal work on the part of Dr. Smith in the field of endocrine therapy, particularly in the preoperative setting."
Each honoree will deliver a keynote lecture and be honored at the 32nd annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, a major international gathering of breast cancer researchers, clinicians and patient advocacy organizations. Each also will receive a cash award of $25,000.
The Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction was established in 1992 to recognize the efforts of pioneers in two critically important areas of the fight to end breast cancer: clinical research and basic science. The roster of Komen Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction laureates has grown to include names of researchers who have made the most significant advances in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment as well as research. This year’s awardees, as well as past laureates, are invited to a private reception during the San Antonio conference this year.
About the Brinker Award Winners
Ian E. Smith, M.D. - Clinical Research
Ian Smith is professor of Cancer Medicine at the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, where he is also head of the breast unit. His principal research interests have been in the biology and treatment of breast cancer and lung cancer, and in new drug development. He was involved in the early clinical development of several successful anti-cancer drugs including letrozole and carboplatin. One of his main interests is in preoperative endocrine treatments and in the molecular changes associated with these therapies. He is chief investigator of two international neoadjuvant endocrine therapy trials, IMPACT and IRESSA 223 and UK principal investigator for several international clinical trials. He is the first chairman of the recently formed UK Breast Trials Intergroup and recent past chairman of the British Breast Group. He has also been Chairman of several national professional bodies including the Association of Cancer Physicians, the Royal College of Physicians Specialist Advisory Committee for Medical Oncology, and the NCRI Lung Cancer Clinical Studies Group. He is a member of numerous international cancer societies and has more than 300 peer-reviewed publications.
Benita S Katzenellenbogen, Ph.D. – Basic Science
Benita S. Katzenellenbogen is the Swanlund Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As an endocrinologist and cancer researcher, she has focused on understanding the biology of estrogen receptors and in trying to clarify how drugs likes tamoxifen and raloxifene are effective in controlling breast cancer. The work of her research group has most recently involved developing hormonal agents for breast cancer treatment and prevention. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and recently served as president of The Endocrine Society, the world's largest professional society representing approximately 10,000 endocrinologists. She has published more than 270 research articles and co-edited a book on “Hormone-Dependent Cancer”. During her career she has received 5 different Komen grants.
Geoffrey L. Greene, Ph.D. – Basic Science
Dr. Geoffrey Greene is the Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Professor and Vice Chair of The Ben May Department for Cancer Research, Chair of the Committee on Cancer Biology, Associate Director of Basic Sciences for the Cancer Research Center and Co-Director of the Ludwig Center for Metastasis Research at the University of Chicago. He is internationally recognized for his work on the function of female hormones and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) in breast cancer, and for the development of estrogen and progesterone receptor antibodies, which have had major diagnostic applications in breast cancer throughout the world. Projects in Dr. Greene’s laboratory have direct relevance and application to breast cancer genesis, progression, treatment and prevention, as well as to the development of compounds that can be used for hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women. He has received several prestigious awards for his research accomplishments, including the Ernst Oppenheimer Award from the Endocrine Society, the John Brewer Distinguished Alumni Lectureship at Northwestern University, the first Tartikoff-Semel Award from the Revlon/UCLA Women's Cancer Research Program, and the first Olof Pearson Lecturer at Case Western Reserve University. In addition, he recently received the NAMS/Wyeth Pharmaceutical SERMs award from the North American Menopausal Society.