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ESMO recognizes leading oncologists with prestigious awards

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) has recognized the outstanding achievements of three leading cancer specialists with its three prestigious annual awards: the 2009 ESMO Award, Hamilton Fairley Award and ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award.

Professor T. Andrew Lister, Center Lead for Medical Oncology, Institute of Cancer, Barts and the London School of Medicine, UK, has been awarded the 2009 Hamilton Fairley Award. The award commemorates one of the founding fathers of medical oncology in Europe and is presented to candidates who are internationally recognized for lifetime achievements in science and clinical / laboratory research.

Professor Lister is a physician, clinical academic and teacher who is recognized internationally for his leading role in improving the outcome of hematologic cancer malignancy. He is particularly well known for his pioneering work on the biology and treatment of follicular lymphoma, and the Medical Oncology Unit he leads in the Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry is one of the leading cancer centres in the UK, with a worldwide reputation. Professor Lister was chairman of the Association of Cancer Physicians and of the Royal College of Physicians Committee on Medical Oncology from 1988-1991. The award for Professor Lister is especially significant as he had the privilege of having Gordon Hamilton Fairly as his as his mentor and role model.

"I am most flattered and honored to receive the Hamilton Fairley Award in respect of the work that has been carried out in the Unit of which he was the first director," Professor Lister said. "I am delighted to accept it on behalf of the CR-UK Medical Oncology Unit at Barts.

Professor Elisabeth de Vries, head of the department of medical oncology at University Medical Center Gronigen in The Netherlands has been named as the recipient of the 2009 ESMO Award. The ESMO Award is conferred on an ESMO member who has made an outstanding contribution to the development of oncology in Europe and who recognizes the importance of promoting oncology as a specialty within the international community.

Professor de Vries is working to develop personalized treatments for cancer patients. She uses interdisciplinary, translational research to improve the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and other malignancies, and applies molecular imaging to search for drug targets in cancers of the breast and neuroendocrine tissue. In 1997, she was appointed as the first female Professor in Medical Oncology in the Netherlands and the first female head of a department of medical oncology in a Dutch university medical centre. In addition to her experimental work, Professor de Vries treats patients and teaches medical students. She has also been part of initiatives run by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Alan Ashworth, Director of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, has been awarded the 2009 ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is open to all international research teams/individuals with demonstrated commitment to cancer research treatment.

In 1995, Professor Ashworth contributed to the discovery of the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA2, and ten years later his team uncovered the exquisite sensitivity of cells that carry mutant forms of BRCA1 or BRCA2 to a class of drugs known as PARP inhibitors. The early results from clinical trials of this approach have generated considerable excitement. Professor Ashworth has been director of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre since 1999 and the Centre now has more than 120 staff working on diverse aspects of the disease. In 2008 he was elected as a fellow of Britain's Royal Society.

"I am delighted and honored to receive this important award which is testament to all the hard work of my colleagues in the Breakthrough Centre over the past 10 years," Professor Ashworth said.


Contact: ESMO Press Office
European Society for Medical Oncology

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