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AACR's Seventh Annual Landon Awards
Date:2/21/2008

tivating receptors on the surface of the cells. Mendelsohn and his colleagues were the first to propose a new approach to cancer therapy by suggesting that blocking the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) could prevent cancer cell growth and reproduction.

Mendelsohn and his colleagues proved their hypothesis by producing an anti-EGF receptor monoclonal antibody that blocked receptor kinase activation and inhibited cancer cell growth. Mendelsohns findings ignited intense and continued interest in this area of clinical cancer research. Continued research on EGF receptors, carried out by Mendelsohn and numerous collaborators for almost two decades, proved the original demonstration that both inhibition of a growth factor receptor and inhibition of a tyrosine kinase could be useful approaches to creating new categories of anti-cancer agents.

The eventual landmark development of C225, the human chimeric version of the anti-EGF receptor monoclonal antibody, has changed the way some advanced cancers, including advanced head and neck and pancreatic cancers, are treated and it led to the 2004 FDA approval of cetuximab for treatment of advanced colorectal cancer. Today, there are more than 130 active clinical trials using C225 to treat 15 cancer subtypes and two non-cancer diseases.

Dr. John Mendelsohn had a hunch that paid off. When he identified an antibody against the EGF receptor in the early 1980s, he immediately forged ahead on the path to evaluate and develop this antibody as a treatment for tumors that expressed high levels of the receptor and relied on it for growth, said Stanton L. Gerson, M.D., director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and chair of the Dorothy P. Landon-AACR Prize for Translational Cancer Research selection committee.

While the path was arduous, as it often is for pioneers in cancer therapy, Dr. Mendelsohns hypothesis turned out to be spectacular, resulting in a new and effective treat
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Contact: Jennifer Ryan
jennifer.ryan@aacr.org
267-646-0558
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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