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ASCO honors Ching-Hon Pui, M.D., for work advancing childhood cancer research and treatment

(MEMPHIS, Tenn. March 20, 2012) Ching-Hon Pui, M.D., a renowned leader in the research and treatment of childhood leukemia, is the recipient of the 2012 Pediatric Oncology Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The honor recognizes Pui's many contributions to better understanding the blood cancer's biology and treatment as well as his role in improving leukemia survival rates.

Pui will receive the award in June at the 2012 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago. He will also present a talk on the possibility of achieving total cure of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with personalized therapy.

"This recognition is a fitting tribute to Dr. Pui's life work and his tireless fight against pediatric leukemia," said Dr. William E. Evans, St. Jude director and CEO. "He is an encyclopedia of knowledge that physicians and scientists around the world call upon every day, and he works literally around the clock to expand our knowledge of childhood leukemias and how to better treat them in the future."

Pui has devoted 30 years to the fight against childhood cancer and is credited for innovations that have driven cure rates for pediatric leukemia to unprecedented heights. Implementing pharmacodynamics and pharmacogenetics to individualize chemotherapy and to optimize the use of existing drugs, Pui and colleagues have achieved cure rates of 90 percent at St. Jude for pediatric ALL, the most common childhood cancer.

The personalized therapy approach has allowed clinicians to discontinue the use of cranial irradiation in treatment of this disease, thus sparing children from many devastating long-term side effects. This approach also resulted in a remarkably high cure rate for older adolescents with ALL, who historically fared far worse than their younger counterparts with the disease.

Pui and colleagues also made inroads in understanding the pathogenesis of leukemia and in identifying mechanisms of drug resistance and molecular targets for treatment using genome-wide analyses.

Pui is chair of the Department of Oncology at St. Jude; co-leader of the hospital's Hematological Malignancies Program; medical director of the St. Jude International Outreach China Program; and holder of the Fahad Nassar Al-Rashid Chair of Leukemia Research. He is also an American Cancer Society Professor. In addition to his work at St. Jude, Pui helped found the International Childhood ALL Working Group to facilitate international research collaboration and has helped developing countries access modern leukemia treatments.

Pui joined St. Jude in 1977. He has authored approximately 800 original articles and chapters, edited nine books and monographs, and serves as section editor or editorial board member for several esteemed journals. He is also one of the most highly cited authors in clinical medicine research.

Pui's many awards and honors include elected memberships in the Association of American Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation; election as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the American Cancer Society F.M. Kirby Clinical Research Professorship; the 2009 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Team Science Award; the 2010 Castle Connolly National Physician of the Year Award; the 2011 AACR Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Research and the 2011 Henry M. Stratton Medal from the American Society of Hematology.

ASCO is a non-profit, professional oncology society committed to conquering cancer through research, education, prevention and delivery of high-quality patient care. More than 30,000 oncology practitioners belong to ASCO, representing all oncology disciplines and subspecialties. Members include physicians and health-care professionals in all levels of the practice of oncology.

Evans and Mary Relling, Pharm.D., St. Jude Pharmaceutical Sciences chair, received the Pediatric Oncology Award from ASCO in 2009. Larry Kun, M.D., St. Jude Radiological Sciences chair, was awarded the honor in 2008.


Contact: Carrie Strehlau
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

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