Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center Celebrates 40 Years, Bestows Inaugural Abramson Award

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Media Contact:Steve Graff | stephen.graff@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-349-5653December 18, 2013

This December marks the 40th anniversary of the Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) of the University of Pennsylvania being designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. To celebrate this momentous milestone, over 400 people gathered together early this month for an event recognizing the center’s vast achievements in cancer research, patient care, and education during the last four decades.

Leaders from the ACC, including its director Chi V. Dang, MD, PhD, also bestowed Bert Vogelstein, MD, a world-renowned geneticist from The Johns Hopkins University and a University of Pennsylvania alumni, with the inaugural Abramson Award. The award recognizes key achievements made by the world's most innovative contributors in the field of oncology -- those whose work has changed the paradigm of modern cancer research and clinical care.

Dr. Vogelstein’s pioneering studies of the genetic causes of human cancer have placed him among the most influential biomedical scientists in the world, and his work has helped provide the conceptual basis for what is now called "personalized medicine.”  He and his team were the first to map cancer genomes and use genome-wide sequencing to identify the basis of a hereditary form of cancer.  

Dr. Vogelstein and his colleagues have demonstrated that colorectal tumors result from the gradual accumulation of genetic alterations in specific oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. A recent recipient of the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, his work on colorectal cancers forms the foundation for much of modern cancer research, with profound implications for diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in the future.

The celebratory evening also included remarks from Penn Medicine leaders J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean of the Perelman School of Medicine, and Ralph W. Muller, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, and Daniel J. Keating, III, Chair of the ACC Director's Leadership Council, who shared his personal cancer journey and the stories of a several remarkable cancer patients and survivors.

Endowed professorships are the highest honor a Perelman School of Medicine faculty member can achieve, and these important posts were highlighted throughout the evening. They are vital to the ACC’s mission to stay at the forefront of cancer research and care by attracting and supporting extraordinary minds, allowing them to explore new avenues of discovery treatment, and cures. Click here for a full listing of endowed professors and the generous donors who support them.

Click here to view the full release.

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