MD Anderson cancer research revealed, honored at AACR annual meeting

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  AACR faces edit v5.jpgMD Anderson scientists Jim Allison and Hagop Kantarjian, at left, and Guillermina Lozano and Gabriel Hortobagyi, at right, won four of 14 individual awards for senior scientists at the AAACR Annual Meeting 2013 in Washington, D.C.


Scientists and clinicians from across MD Anderson presented their latest research findings at the AACR Annual Meeting 2013 in Washington, D.C. 

A record six scientists, from post-doctoral fellows to junior faculty to senior investigators, won awards at the meeting run by the American Association for Cancer Research, the oldest and largest organization dedicated to cancer research in the world.

By the numbers, MD Anderson faculty members, post-docs and graduate students presented (follow link to Advanced Search, type MD Anderson in institution box):

  • 160 research posters in 152 poster sessions.
  • 25 oral presentations or invited talks
  • 10 educational sessions
  • 4 lectures tied to major awards.

Highlighted work included research by Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, showing that low bilirubin levels in the blood are a sign of high risk for lung cancer among male smokers.

Elsa Flores, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Her presentations included one that shows p63 and p73 can provide back-up tumor suppression when their more famous sibling, p53, is inactivated.  However, they also need to be protected from themselves or they might shut down all three tumor-blocking genes.

Ellen Gritz, Ph.D., chair and professor of the Department of Behavioral Sciences, co-authored a new AACR statement urging physicians to more closely monitor their patients' tobacco use and to provide smoking cessation information during clinical visits. 


Guillermina Lozano, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Genetics, was awarded the 16th Annual AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship.

Gabriel Hortobagyi, M.D., professor of Breast Medical Oncology, was honored with the 8th Annual AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship.

Hagop Kantarjian, M.D., chair and professor of the Department of Leukemia, won the AACR Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Research.

James Allison, Ph.D., chair and professor of the Department of Immunology, earned the First AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology.

Kenneth Tsai, M.D., Ph.D.,  assistant professor in the Departments of Dermatology and Immunology, won the Sixth Annual Landon Foundation-AACR INNOVATOR Award for Cancer Prevention Research, the second year in a row an MD Anderson scientist has won the honor..

Postdoctoral fellow Maria Pia Morelli, M.D., Ph.D., was awarded the 2013 Fight Colorectal Cancer-AACR Fellowship in Memory of Lisa Dubow.

Also, Anirban Maitra, M.B.B.S., who will soon join MD Anderson as scientific director and co-director of the  Sheikh Ahmed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research, was part of the Johns-Hopkins pancreatic cancer genetics group that won the AACR's team science award.

AACR Academy

Five scientists also were among the first appointed to the newly created AACR Academy.

·         Isaiah Fidler, Ph.D., D.V.M., professor, Cancer Biology

·         Waun Ki Hong, M.D., vice provost, Clinical Research; head, Cancer Medicine

·         Margaret Kripke, Ph.D., professor emerita, Immunology

·         John Mendelsohn, M.D., co-director, Khalifa Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy; professor, Experimental Therapeutics

·         Louise Strong, Ph.D., professor, Genetics


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