The American Cancer Society honors four cancer crusaders

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During its annual meeting in Los Angeles this past weekend, the American Cancer Society presented its highest honor, the Medal of Honor, to four Americans who have made "outstanding contributions to the fight for a world with less cancer and more birthdays."

This year's four recipients are:

Lance Armstrong

Awarded the Medal of Honor for Cancer Control.

World-class cyclist, testicular cancer survivor and founder of LIVESTRONG, Armstrong has become the global face of the fight against cancer, advocating for raised awareness and hundreds of millions of government dollars to be redirected towards the fight against cancer.

Said Armstrong, “I am extremely humbled to receive the American Cancer Society’s Medal of Honor. During my own battle with cancer, I established LIVESTRONG with a modest goal to help at least one person affected by this disease. While we exceeded that goal long ago, the burden of cancer tragically continues to grow worldwide."

Arnold J. Levine, Ph.D.

Awarded the Society’s Medal of Honor for Basic Research.

Professor of Pediatrics and Biochemistry at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Levine's work has focused on understanding the protein p53 as a tumor suppressor, and according to the ACS, Levine's "pivotal demonstration of the true role of p53 revolutionized thinking about the pathogenesis of cancer."

Said Levine, "As a scientist, it is a privilege to be recognized by an organization which is committed to furthering cancer research. It is also an honor to receive this award in the company of some of the cancer community’s most dedicated individuals. While each of us plays a unique role in our respective areas, it is truly as a collective that we will see our greatest accomplishments in the fight against cancer."

Edward E. Harlow, Ph.D.

Awarded the Society’s Medal of Honor for Basic Research.

Chief scientific officer of Constellation Pharmaceuticals, former chair of the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School, Harlow work has focused on the role viruses and bacteria play in driving tumor formation.

Said Dr. Harlow, "The pleasure of being chosen as a Medal of Honor winner, or for any award in science for that manner, comes primarily from the recognition by your colleagues. Having a group of your peers single out your contributions is remarkable, but it also reminds you of all many steps and individual’s work that combine to allow any significant step forward."

Marvin Zelen, Ph.D.

Awarded the Society's Medal of Honor for Clinical Research.

Professor of Statistical Science at the Harvard School of Public Health and at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Zelen is being recognized for having introduced "statistical science as a pre-eminent component of the national program in cancer clinical trials."

Said Zelen, "I don't regard this Medal as a personal award. Rather, I am a symbol representing the many biomedical scientists, clinical investigators, nurses, data specialists and computer scientists who have worked so hard to make clinical trials in cancer credible for the scientific evaluation of cancer therapies. It is their Medal."

By Ross Bonander

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