SEATTLE — Feb. 7, 2011 — A team of researchers from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington whose work was instrumental in the development of the vaccine for cervical cancer and other human papillomavirus-related malignancies will receive the fifth annual AACR Team Science Award, the American Association for Cancer Research announced today.
The team of internationally renowned molecular biologists, epidemiologists, biostatisticians and clinicians, led by Denise Galloway, Ph.D., head of the Cancer Biology Program at the Hutchinson Center, has worked together on HPV for more than 20 years.
“Our team is thrilled to receive such a wonderful honor,” said team leader Galloway, a member of the Hutchinson Center’s Human Biology and Public Health Sciences divisions. “Credit is due to the entire HPV research community — the investigators, research fellows, students and study participants — who helped to make our efforts a reality. We are delighted to have been able to contribute to an international team of scientists that collectively moved the field from a state in which the etiology of cervical cancer was not known, to now have vaccines to prevent HPV.”
The AACR Team Science Award will be presented April 3 in Orlando, Fla., at the organization’s 102nd annual meeting.
This award recognizes an outstanding interdisciplinary research team for its innovative and meritorious science that has advanced or will likely advance cancer research, detection, diagnosis, prevention or treatment.
“This team’s work exemplifies how cancer research can dramatically impact public health,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D., chief executive officer of the AACR. “The researchers’ long-term collaborations in basic science, epidemiology and clinical research played a vital role in increasing our understanding of HPV and developing the HPV vaccine, which has the potential to prevent more than half a million HPV-associated cancers each year, worldwide.”
By combining molecular assays to detect and characterize HPV infections with epidemiologic approaches, the 12-member team showed that HPVs are associated with nearly all genital-tract cancers and with a significant proportion of head and neck cancers. They conducted what is among the largest case-control studies of HPV-associated cancers and revealed that a variety of exposures — notably a high number of sexual partners and early age at first intercourse — were common across most of the anogenital cancer sites. The researchers also identified factors beyond sexual activity, such as immunosuppression, that contributed to HPV infection.
The team played a pivotal role in making virus-like particle-based vaccines a reality, from the early basic science work to the epidemiology, to the proof-of-principle clinical trial that showed that a monovalent HPV 16 vaccine protected against HPV 16 infection and disease.
Additionally, Galloway and colleagues developed and tested new strategies for early detection and treatment of HPV-related cancers. Their clinical studies demonstrated the cost-effectiveness of using HPV DNA testing of clinician-collected cervical samples or self-collected vaginal samples in screening programs as well as the potential for using novel biomarkers to more accurately diagnose HPV-related cancers and precancerous lesions.
The AACR Team Science Award, generously supported by a grant from Eli Lilly and Company, is given to affect change within the traditional cancer research culture by recognizing those individuals and institutions that value and foster interdisciplinary team science. The team will collectively receive a $50,000 prize and will be cited for its leadership role in fostering team science. Honorees include (in alphabetical order):
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, our interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our researchers, including three Nobel laureates, bring a relentless pursuit and passion for health, knowledge and hope to their work and to the world. For more information, please visit www.fhcrc.org.
American Association for Cancer Research
The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 33,000 basic, translational, and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowships and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 18,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment, and patient care. Including Cancer Discovery, the AACR publishes seven major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. AACR journals represented 20 percent of the market share of total citations in 2009. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians, and scientists.
AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011 is free to qualified journalists and public information officers.