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Mary-Claire King, PhD, American Cancer Society Research Professor of Genetics and Medicine (Medical Genetics) at University of Washington, has been awarded the 2016 Szent-Gyorgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research by the National Foundation for Cancer Research. She will receive the award at a ceremony in May in Washington, D.C.


"Dr. King is the true pioneer and world leader in the research that clearly demonstrated the genetic causes of breast and ovarian cancers by identifying the BRCA1 gene and its cancer-related mutations," Fred Alt, PhD, Director of the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital, winner of the 2015 Szent-Gyorgyi Prize, and Chair of this year's Prize Selection Committee, said in a statement. "Dr. King's work has opened a new field that allows scientists to investigate and understand breast and ovarian cancers and other types of genetic diseases with a much more effective approach."

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Mary-Claire King, Ph... - Click to enlarge in new windowMary-Claire King, PhD. Mary-Claire King, PhD

King's discovery has led to the genotype-based breast cancer screening practice that can identify individuals who have inherited mutations in BRCA1 and give them a chance to take preventive measures at an early stage of their lives. Her current work uses experimental and bioinformatics genomics tools to study complex genetic diseases in humans, focusing on identifying and characterizing critical genes, and their interaction with environmental influences, that play a role in the development of conditions, including breast and ovarian cancer, schizophrenia, and hearing loss.


King has served on the National Commission on Breast Cancer of the President's Cancer Panel, the advisory board of the National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women's Health, the Council of the NIH Fogarty Center, the advisory board of the National Action Pan for Breast Cancer, the NIH Breast Cancer Program Review Group, the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute, the Board of Scientific Counselors of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the National Research Council committee to advise the Department of Defense on their Breast Cancer Research Program, and many NIH study sections. She has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, as well as several others; and she has won several prizes and awards, including the Gruber Genetics Prize from the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, the 2014 Lasker-Koshland Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science, and the 2015 National Medal of Science.


Lewis C. Cantley, PhD, the Meyer Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian, has been awarded the 2016 Wolf Prize in Medicine from the Israel-based Wolf Foundation for his discovery of enzymes fundamental to understanding cancer and diabetes. Cantley's work identified the enzyme phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) and the signaling pathway that it controls. Cantley also identified that human cancers frequently occur because of an activation of PI3K, which has led to the development of drugs that target that signaling pathway.


Wolf Prizes are given annually to scientists and researchers who have made seminal achievements in the following five categories: agriculture, the arts, chemistry, medicine, and physics. This year seven winners were selected and will split a $500,000 prize. Cantley and his fellow laureates will receive their awards in June from President Reuven Rivlin at the Knesset in Jerusalem.

Lewis C. Cantley, Ph... - Click to enlarge in new windowLewis C. Cantley, PhD. Lewis C. Cantley, PhD

Mylin A. Torres, MD, Associate Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology and Member of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, has been named Director of the Glenn Family Breast Center at Winship. Torres succeeds Ruth O'Regan, MD, who is now Division Head of Hematology and Oncology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.


"We are thrilled that Mylin will assume this key Winship leadership role," Walter J. Curran, Jr., MD, Executive Director of Winship, said in a statement. "Her expertise in defining new breast cancer research paradigms and her extraordinary leadership and organizational skills will elevate the stature and operations of the Glenn Family Breast Center."

Mylin A. Torres, MD.... - Click to enlarge in new windowMylin A. Torres, MD. Mylin A. Torres, MD

Torres is also a researcher whose work focuses on patients with breast cancer, including clinical trial development, outcomes measures, identifying patients at risk for side effects of breast cancer treatment, and quality of life metrics for breast cancer survivors. Torres has received highly competitive research grants from the National Cancer Institute, Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (now NRG Oncology) and Susan G. Komen. She was the recipient of the 2014 Health Care Heroes Rising Star Award from the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Torres has been at Winship since 2009.


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