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International Award for Prostate Cancer Drug Developer



Monday 19 September 2011



An oncologist from The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden Hospital who played a leading role in developing important new prostate cancer drugs will this week be honoured with a prestigious European cancer award.

Professor Johann de Bono will be presented with the 2011 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Award on Sunday September 25 2011 during the European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress (EMCC) in Stockholm, Sweden.

Professor de Bono works in the Phase I trials programme at the ICR and The Royal Marsden, and has been involved in developing more than 100 new anti-cancer compounds. He specialises in developing personalised medicines for prostate cancer patients and has a particular interest in finding tests that can help identify which patients will benefit from a drug. 

Many of the drugs he has helped develop have now been approved for patient use, including abiraterone acetate and cabazitaxel, both for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer.

Professor de Bono, Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology and Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine at the ICR and The Royal Marsden, and Leader of the ICR’s Prostate Cancer Team, says:  “Drug development in oncology has made substantial strides forward over the last decade. Our approach of developing customised clinical trials for each individual drug is bearing fruit. While much still needs to be done, we can now be confident that many cancer patients and their families will benefit in the years ahead.”

“This award is a great encouragement and will spur me on to continue to serve cancer patients.”

The ESMO Award, established in 1985, is conferred on an ESMO member who has made an outstanding contribution to the development of oncology in Europe and who recognizes the importance of promoting oncology as a specialty within the international community. Professor de Bono was cited for his “outstanding contributions in translational and clinical research, innovative treatment, education and development of international guidelines for prostate cancer management.”

Dr Josep Tabernero, Chair of the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee, said: “Professor de Bono has undertaken exceptional work in the development of a number of new innovative compounds for several new indications in oncology and has made important contributions to the development of new drugs in prostate cancer, particularly through excellence in translational research and study design."

Professor de Bono is the second of the ICR and The Royal Marsden’s leading oncologists to be honoured with the ESMO Award. Professor Stan Kaye, Head of the Drug Development Unit at the ICR and The Royal Marsden and Professor de Bono’s mentor, was presented with the award in 1995. The ICR’s Chief Executive Professor Alan Ashworth received the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.


Media Contact: Science Communications Manager Jane Bunce on 0207 153 5106 or after hours 077217 47900

Notes to editors:

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)

  • The ICR is Europe’s leading cancer research centre
  • The ICR has been ranked the UK’s top academic research centre, based on the results of the Higher Education Funding Council’s Research Assessment Exercise
  • The ICR works closely with partner The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust to ensure patients immediately benefit from new research. Together the two organisations form the largest comprehensive cancer centre in Europe
  • The ICR has charitable status and relies on voluntary income
  • As a college of the University of London, the ICR also provides postgraduate higher education of international distinction
  • Over its 100-year history, the ICR’s achievements include identifying the potential link between smoking and lung cancer which was subsequently confirmed, discovering that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer and isolating more cancer-related genes than any other organisation in the world
  • The ICR is home to the world’s leading academic cancer drug development team. Several important anti-cancer drugs used worldwide were synthesised at the ICR and it has discovered an average of two preclinical candidates each year over the past five years.

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