New opportunities for accelerating the conquest of human cancer

July 11, 2003

Washington, D.C. - Fifty years ago, the double helical structure of DNA was revealed, ushering in a new era of genetics that promised to radically alter the way medicine is practiced. For much of the last half of the 20th Century, that promise remained largely unfulfilled.

But with the recently announced historic completion of the Human Genome Project, and other advances in molecular biology and proteomics, medical science is about to take its largest leap, probably since the discovery of antibiotics.

The results for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer are expected to be profound. "We are now in a position to rapidly and continuously accelerate the engine of discovery, so we can eliminate suffering and death from cancer by 2015," said Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, Director of the National Cancer Institute. "We may not yet be in a position to eliminate cancer entirely," he continued, "but eliminating the burden of the disease by preemption of the process of cancer initiation and progression is a goal within our grasp."

To describe how the genetics revolution -- and other scientific and policy-related issues - are presenting new opportunities to accelerate the conquest of cancer, Dr. Eschenbach will chair a panel of experts, to be held 2:15-4:45 p.m., Friday, July 11, during the opening plenary session of the 94th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Washington, D.C.

In addition to Dr. von Eschenbach, other scientists participating in the session include: Drs. Michael R. Stratton, professor of cancer genetics at The Institute of Cancer Research in London and head of the British Cancer Genome Project; Joan S. Brugge, professor of cell biology with the Harvard Medical School; Joan Massague, chairman of the Cell Biology Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and A. Thomas Look, M.D., Harvard Medical School professor of pediatrics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The panel is expected to describe studies inspired by the genetics revolution, and new molecular insights into the processes that result in cancer. They're also expected to peer into the future, offering a glimpse of how cancer will be tackled in the coming years, based on these new advances.

This work includes:
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is a professional society of more than 20,000 laboratory and clinical scientists engaged in cancer research in the United States and more than 60 other countries. AACR's mission is to accelerate the prevention and cure of cancer through research, education, communication and advocacy. Its principal activities include the publication of five major peer-reviewed scientific journals (Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention). AACR's annual meeting attracts more than 12,000 participants who share new and significant discoveries in the cancer field, and the AACR's specialty meetings throughout the year focus on all the important areas of basic, translational and clinical cancer research. Contact: Warren Froelich/AACR

Aimee Frank/Spectrum Science

In Washington, DC: (7/11-7/14)
Washington Convention Center

American Association for Cancer Research

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