M. D. Anderson neurosurgeon, Amy Heimberger, M.D., receives presidential award

December 19, 2008

HOUSTON - Amy Heimberger, M.D., associate professor of neurosurgery at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center has received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), in recognition for her research on the central nervous system's immune biology, tumor evasion of immune detection and immunotherapeutic approaches for patients with malignant gliomas.

Heimberger was presented the award today by John H. Marburger III, Science Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director, in a White House ceremony.

She is the first M. D. Anderson faculty member to receive the distinction - one of the most prestigious awards honoring investigators in the early stages of promising careers - since its inception in 1996. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on scientists and engineers beginning careers.

With the award, Heimberger's research grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) studying the role of immunotherapy in glioma, will be automatically renewed.

"This Presidential award is a tremendous distinction for Dr. Heimberger, as it recognizes her many and continuing contributions to an area of cancer in need of much research - therapy for glioblastoma and other brain cancers," said Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., provost and executive vice president of M. D. Anderson. "Just as important is the award's premise that it supports the achievements of young scientists early in their independent research careers. Nurturing those accomplished scientists, like Dr. Heimberger, is paramount to both the future of cancer research, and the overall field of scientific discovery."

Heimberger became intrigued with research while working as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute research associate at Washington University School of Medicine, where she designed a transgenic murine model that now is used throughout the world to study peptide-specific immunological responses. After earning a medical degree from Washington University in 1995, she completed postgraduate training in neurosurgery and neuro-oncology research at Duke University Medical Center.

Recruited to M. D. Anderson in 2002, Heimberger directs her own lab, coordinates novel clinical trials and cares for many brain tumor patients. Heimberger's translational research focuses on the epidermal growth factor variant III protein, which occurs in about one-third of those with glioblastoma. She has directly applied her laboratory evaluations of the immune responses within the tumor micro-environment to design pivotal immunotherapy clinical trials for patients with glioblastoma.

"This award bestowed upon Dr. Heimberger is recognition of her personal and professional commitment to making lives better for those with brain cancer," said Raymond Sawaya, M.D., professor and chair of M. D. Anderson's Department of Neurosurgery. "I'm extremely proud of Dr. Heimberger ? her translational research discoveries have helped M. D. Anderson lead the way in accelerating the transition of basic knowledge into the clinic for our patients in greatest need."

Among her many other awards and distinctions, Heimberger most recently received a major institutional recognition, the Faculty Scholar Award. She's also received the American Association of Neurological Surgeons' Young Clinical Investigator of the Year Award in 2006, and her research discoveries have been reported in numerous peer-reviewed journals and conferences around the world. Heimberger's research is supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the Brain Tumor Society, the National Brain Tumor Foundation, and numerous pharmaceutical companies.
-end-
About M. D. Anderson

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. M. D. Anderson is one of only 41 Comprehensive Cancer Centers designated by the National Cancer Institute. For four of the past six years, M. D. Anderson has ranked No. 1 in cancer care in "America's Best Hospitals," a survey published annually in U.S. News and World Report.

University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.