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Leading cancer specialists from Europe and beyond recognized at ESMO 2012

Lugano, Switzerland, 16 August 2012 -- The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) announced today the names of two eminent cancer specialists and one European institution that will be recognized for their contribution to the advancement of medical oncology at the ESMO 2012 Congress. The awards will be presented to Professors Ian Tannock and Jean Yves Blay and to the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) during the Opening Ceremony of the 37th ESMO Congress, 28th September 2nd October, Vienna, Austria.

Prof Ian Tannock will be bestowed with the 2012 ESMO Award for his work on clinical trials for men with metastatic prostate cancer and laboratory-based research on the microenvironment of solid tumors, their resistance to drugs and methods to overcome it.

"His notable efforts have undoubtedly impacted on cancer control and better outcomes for many patients," notes Dr Josep Tabernero, Chair of the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee. "More specifically, this award recognizes his tremendous contributions in improving methodology for undertaking clinical trials with emphasis on endpoints of clinical benefit and, at a laboratory level, unmasking aspects of solid tumor biology as well as improving outcomes of treatment with chemotherapy."

Based at the University Of Toronto, Canada, where he is Professor of Medicine and Medical Biophysics, Prof Tannock has led and helped to design trials that led to the identification of optimal chemotherapy for men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

"ESMO is a truly international and intercontinental society but I am particularly honored to be the first oncologist not based in Europe to receive this award" Prof Tannock comments.

"If the ESMO award is in recognition of my career in oncology, part of it should be given to the many international fellows who have collaborated with me --their ideas and enthusiasm have sustained my career and my greatest reward is observing their success," he continues.

The recipient of the 2012 Hamilton Fairley Award is Professor Jean Yves Blay, for his contribution to translational cancer research. "His work has afforded increased visibility of his country, France, on the international map; the referral system developed by the French Sarcoma group, which he co-chairs, is also setting new standards," says Dr Tabernero.

Jean-Yves Blay is Professor of Medicine in Medical Oncology and Head of the Medical Oncology Department and the Translational Research Pole at the Centre Lon Brard of the Universit Claude Bernard in Lyon, France. He is one of Europe's most published lead and co-authors, with more than 350 peer-reviewed papers, principally on sarcomas, GIST and immunotherapy. He writes and lectures on public health issues such as breast and prostate cancer screening programs. He is a president of the EORTC and serves as scientific committee member of 5 cancer centers in France. He has been a reviewer for the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Blood, Cancer, Annals of Oncology, and the European Journal of Cancer.

"His citation for the distinguished Hamilton Fairley Award which was established in 1998 to commemorate one of the founding fathers of medical oncology in Europe notes the international recognition he has achieved for his lifetime of work in cancer science and research," highlights Dr Tabernero.

"It is an immense privilege to receive this award. The recognition by ESMO, an organization I cherish particularly, is extremely important for me." says Prof Blay.

"Translational research has been my focus overall these years, with the ups and downs of all research activities. So this is a major encouragement to continue. Even more importantly, I am certain that this award will help me to convince the young medical researchers --the next generation to focus on applied research. This is happening here and now!" he adds.

The 2012 ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) represented by Professor Franoise Meunier, who has been the EORTC Director General for over 20 years.

"This unique pan-European non-profit clinical cancer research organization comprising over 300 hospitals and cancer centers in over 30 countries, including some 2,500 collaborators from all disciplines involved in cancer treatment and research has been and continues to be the largest organization which carries out independent clinical studies at the European level in all types of cancer," notes Dr Tabernero.

"EORTC is a truly unique organization'' emphasizes Prof Meunier. It was built 50 years ago on a European spirit and its mission remains essential today: "Facing the increasing incidence of cancer, it is our role and responsibility to define optimal therapeutic strategies for all patients.''

The ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to individuals or groups possessing an international reputation and demonstrated commitment to cancer treatment and research.

"We would like to thank all the presidents for their unrestricted support, the Board members, the dedicated network and the committed staff who understood the vision and allowed EORTC to become a reference research institute in Europe and beyond."

"We are very honored by this award, which is a tremendous recognition of EORTC's contribution to improve cancer care,'' she concludes.

The ESMO awards are in recognition of excellence in oncology; each year ESMO bestows its highest accolades to those eminent people for the continued endeavors of cancer research and treatment.


Contact: Vanessa Pavinato
European Society for Medical Oncology

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