ATLANTA, GA -- Nov. 7, 1999 -- The American Cancer Society, the nation's leading voluntary health agency, today presented its most prestigious award, the Medal of Honor, to three outstanding leaders in the battle against cancer. Researchers in genetic epidemiology, genetics, and cancer control were honored at the Society's annual meeting at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel.
The Society's award in clinical research went to Frederick P. Li, MD, of Boston, Massachusetts, the basic research award was presented to Lee Hartwell, PhD, of Seattle, Washington, and the medal for contributions to cancer control was presented to C. Everett Koop, MD, ScD, of Washington, DC.
Dr. Li received his clinical research award for "his insightful research that identified the inherited susceptibility to cancer that marks some families and the Li-Fraumeni syndrome that bears his name; for the integrity and leadership he has shown in addressing the ethical,
psychological, legal, and other issues of genetic testing; for his early understanding that the successful treatment of childhood cancers could have related side effects years later; and for his perceptivity, sharpened by his training as an epidemiologist, that disease is more likely to be conquered by addressing it in populations rather than in one person at a time."
Dr. Li is professor of clinical cancer epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. In 1991 he was appointed the head of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Control, and is currently vice chair for Population Sciences in the Department of Adult Oncology, at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Dr. Li's studies helped highlight the exceptionally high risk of cancer among genetically predisposed individuals and families and led to the clinical description of the Li-Fraumeni syndrome and the identification of germline p53 mutations as the inherited defect in these families. Recently his genetic research has been expanded to include hereditary retinoblastoma, breast cancer, and colon cancer.
Dr. Li is currently a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board of the National Cancer Institute and Editor-in-Chief of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention. In July 1998, he was appointed the Harry and Elsa Jiler Clinical Research professor by the American Cancer Society.
Dr. Li did his undergraduate work in physics at New York University. He received his MD from the University of Rochester, and master's degree from Georgetown University.
Dr. Hartwell was honored "for his groundbreaking research into genetics, using yeast to examine the cell cycle and its complicated choreography of growth and division; for his insight
that within the cell cycle are many so-called checkpoint genes and that each functions at a single specific point in the cycle, ensuring that the individual developmental steps occur in the proper order; and for his recognition that the yeast cell and its processes can provide a unique avenue into the examination of tumor cell biology, the behavior of cancer cells, and the possible creation of novel therapies based on his findings."
By studying yeast, Dr. Hartwell has been able to identify more than 50 genes that are crucial to controlling the intricate program of instructions by which a cell grows, rests, and divides to replicate itself.
Dr. Hartwell is president and director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and professor of genetics at the University of Washington College of Arts and Sciences, both in Seattle. He is also an American Cancer Society Professor.
Dr. Hartwell earned his BS degree at the California Institute of Technology, and his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He did postgraduate work at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies before joining the University of Washington faculty in 1968, where he has been a professor of genetics since 1973. In 1998 he was one of three recipients of the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Prize. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Hartwell lives in Seattle with his wife, Theresa Naujack.
Dr. Koop's citation reads: "For more than five decades of dedication to improving and protecting the health of the American people; for his outspoken advocacy in public forums and in the halls of Congress about the need to implement stronger tobacco control policies to protect all our citizens, but especially the young; for his commitment to educating the American public in
his writing, speaking, and on the World Wide Web about other critical health issues including nutrition, disease prevention and immunization, and protection from environmental hazards; and for his contributions to the medical literature on the practice of medicine and surgery, and biomedical ethics and health policy."
Dr. Koop graduated from Dartmouth College and received his MD degree from Cornell Medical College. After serving an internship at the University of Pennsylvania hospital, he did postgraduate work at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, and the Graduate School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, from which he received the degree of Doctor of Science (Medicine). He was Professor of Pediatric Surgery and later Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Koop is presently the Elizabeth DeCamp McInery Professor of Surgery at Dartmouth Medical School.
From November 1981 until October 1989, Dr. Koop served as Surgeon General of the United States. In May 1982, he was appointed Director of the Office of International Health.
Dr. Koop is the author of more than 230 articles and books on the practice of medicine and surgery, biomedical ethics and health policy. He was awarded an Emmy in 1991 in the News and Documentary category for "C. Everett Koop, M.D," a five-part series on health care reform.
Dr. Koop is married to the former Elizabeth Flanagan and has three children and seven grandchildren.
The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer,
saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service.
For information about cancer, call toll free anytime 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit the American Cancer Society web site at www.cancer.org.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
The American Cancer Society