Alan Ashworth to receive award for his breakthrough work in breast cancer

April 23, 2010

Molecular biologist Alan Ashworth, Ph.D., FRS, the director of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research in London will receive the David T. Workman Memorial Award on May 17. The two-year grant of $50,000 from the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation will support Dr. Ashworth's work with PARP inhibitors in BRCA-mutated cancers.

"I'm both surprised and delighted that the Waxman Foundation has thought to honor me in this way," said Dr. Ashworth. "Recognition from your peers is incredibly important and I'm thrilled."

Dr. Ashworth helped discover the BRCA2 breast cancer gene in 1995. After realizing that BRCA-related cancers had a flawed DNA repair pathway, Dr. Ashworth and his team worked with a biotechnology company to study the use of PARP inhibitors to treat these cancers. They learned that BRCA-defective cancer cells were 1,000 times more sensitive to PARP inhibitors than cells that were normal. His lab is studying the use of PARP inhibitors to treat cancers such as endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer and breast cancer, including triple-negative breast cancer, which responds poorly to normal chemotherapy.

Speaking about Dr. Ashworth's research in triple-negative breast cancer, Samuel Waxman, M.D., the Scientific Director of the Waxman Foundation said it represents a contribution from a scientist unraveling a genomic defect in breast cancer that has resulted in a novel treatment for women who would otherwise have a poor prognosis.

Michael Nierenberg, the Chair of the Foundation added, "The Waxman Foundation is committed to bridging the gap between lab science and the patient. We are excited to help further the important work of Dr. Ashworth and his lab."

Recent recipients of the Workman Award include Stephen Baylin, M.D., and Peter Jones, Ph.D., in 2008 for the development of demethylating agents and epigenetic therapy for hematologic malignancies and Douglas Lowy, M.D., and John Schiller, Ph.D., in 2006 for their advance in preventing cervical cancer with the HPV vaccine.
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About the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation

The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation is an international organization dedicated to curing and preventing cancer. The Foundation is a pioneer in cancer research, focusing on uncovering the causes of cancer and reprogramming cancer cells. We dedicate ourselves to delivering tailored, minimally toxic treatments to patients. Our mission is to eradicate cancer by bridging the gap between lab science and the patient. Through our collaborative group of world-class scientists, the Institute Without Walls, investigators share information and tools to speed the pace of cancer research. Since our inception in 1976, the Foundation has awarded more than $70 million to support the work of more than 170 researchers across three continents.

For more information, visit www.waxmancancer.org

Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation

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