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Award for Breast Cancer Professor


Friday 14 December 2007


A Professor from The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research has received one of the highest tributes awarded within international breast cancer research.


Professor Mitch Dowsett, Head of Biochemistry at The Royal Marsden and The Institute, has been given the honour of delivering the William L McGuire Memorial Lecture at the 2007 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium on Friday 14 December to around 6,000 specialists from across the world.


The first part of his lecture will focus on some of the substantial gains made in the hormonal treatment of breast cancer over the past two decades. In particular the development of aromatase inhibitors, which are now recognised as the most effective hormonal treatment for the 70% of breast cancers arising in postmenopausal women.


Together with The Royal Marsden Breast Cancer Unit, Professor Dowsett’s research team has played a leading role in these developments.


The second part of his lecture will then turn to his team’s more recent findings on the varied molecular changes in breast tumours that underpin responses and resistance to hormonal therapy. He will also discuss the expectation that the team’s current work will lead to an improved selection of therapies for individual patients over the next few years.


Professor Dowsett is also Head of Academic Biochemistry at The Institute and he is Professor of Translational Research in the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre based at The Institute.


He said: "I am delighted to have been given the enormous privilege of giving this lecture. William McGuire was a giant of translational research in breast cancer and somebody whose research continues to influence our understanding and treatment of breast cancer.


"It is particularly pleasing to have this recognition of the work of the department which has been made possible only by my research team’s close collaboration with excellent clinical colleagues at The Royal Marsden, and the work of a highly skilled and dedicated group of scientists and support staff.


"The Royal Marsden and The Institute provide a terrific environment in which to advance the study, treatment and prevention of breast cancer."


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For further information, please contact:

Nadia Ramsey

The Institute of Cancer Research

0207 153 5359 / 07721 747900

[email protected]


Notes to editors:

  • Professor Dowsett leads a team of 22 people based mainly at The Royal Marsden. There is also a research team at the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre.


The Royal Marsden Hospital

  • The Royal Marsden Hospital was the first hospital in the world dedicated to cancer treatment and research into the causes of cancer. Today the hospital with its academic partner, The Institute of Cancer Research, forms the largest comprehensive cancer centre in Europe with over 40,000 patients from the UK and abroad seen each year. It provides inpatient, day care and outpatient services for all areas of cancer treatment.
  • The hospital received the highest possible ranking of double excellent in the Healthcare Commission’s Annual Health Check 2007, the only hospital in the country to do so for two years in a row.

The Institute of Cancer Research

  • The Institute of Cancer Research is Europe’s leading cancer research centre with expert scientists working on cutting edge research. It was founded in 1909 to carry out research into the causes of cancer and to develop new strategies for its prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. Website at:
  • The Institute is a charity that relies on voluntary income. The Institute is one of the world’s most cost-effective major cancer research organisations with over 90p in every £ directly supporting research.
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