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Scientists honoured at the AACR conference



Sunday 1 April 2012


Scientists from The Institute of Cancer Research have received several major honours at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting this week.


For the first time ever, the prestigious AACR Team Science Award was awarded to a team outside the US. At the AACR’s opening ceremony on Sunday, Professor Paul Workman and his colleagues from the ICR and The Royal Marsden were given the accolade for their success in taking new cancer drugs from concept to patients.


The AACR said its decision was based on “the tremendous impact this team has had in preclinical and clinical studies of cancer therapeutics”.


The Team members are from the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at the ICR, which discovers new drugs, and the Drug Development Unit at the ICR and The Royal Marsden, which progresses drug candidates into clinical trials.


Scientists from the ICR and The Royal Marsden discuss the strategy behind their drug discovery and development work, which has won the AACR Team Science Award

The AACR highlighted the team’s world-leading discovery of 16 innovative drug candidates over the past six years, and the progression of six of these drugs into Phase I clinical trials, along with the discovery and development of abiraterone acetate.


Professor Workman was also recognised for his work on PI3K inhibitors, a new type of cancer drug that is creating a stir in the cancer research community because of the potential in personalized medicine – particularly the treatment of tumours with cancer-causing genetic defects in the PI3K pathway.


A number of PI3K inhibitors are being tested in patient trials around the world, including the leading drug called GDC-0941 that was discovered by Professor Workman’s team at the ICR in collaboration with biotech company Piramed and licensed to Genentech/Roche.


The AACR announced on Sunday that an article describing the discovery and properties of the drug and its progress through the development pipeline was the most highly-cited review published in Cancer Research in 2010. Cancer Research is itself the most frequently cited cancer journal in the world. The article – written by Professor Workman, Dr Florence Raynaud and colleagues in the ICR’s Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit –  was also the journal’s third most referenced paper overall for that year, meaning that scientists around the world consider it to be the authoritative view on the topic.


Another significant honour was the announcement that Professor Johann de Bono from the ICR and The Royal Marsden has been chosen as the only non-US scientist to join the Prostate Cancer Dream Team.


The team will receive funding worth $10 million from Stand Up to Cancer and the Prostate Cancer Foundation over the next three years to defeat prostate cancer.





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


The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) is one of the world’s most influential cancer research institutes.


Scientists and clinicians at the ICR are working every day to make a real impact on cancer patients’ lives. Through its unique partnership with The Royal Marsden Hospital and ‘bench-to-bedside’ approach, the ICR is able to create and deliver results in a way that other institutions cannot. Together the two organisations are rated in the top four cancer centres globally.


The ICR has an outstanding record of achievement dating back more than 100 years. It provided the first convincing evidence that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer, laying the foundation for the now universally accepted idea that cancer is a genetic disease. Today it leads the world at isolating cancer-related genes and discovering new targeted drugs for personalised cancer treatment.


As a college of the University of London, the ICR provides postgraduate higher education of international distinction. It has charitable status and relies on support from partner organisations, charities and the general public.


The ICR’s mission is to make the discoveries that defeat cancer. For more information visit


The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Marsden opened its doors in 1851 as the world’s first hospital dedicated to cancer diagnosis, treatment, research and education.


Today, together with its academic partner, The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), it is the largest and most comprehensive cancer centre in Europe treating over 44,000 patients every year.  It is a centre of excellence with an international reputation for groundbreaking research and pioneering the very latest in cancer treatments and technologies. The Royal Marsden also provides community services in the London boroughs of Sutton and Merton and in June 2010, along with the ICR, the Trust launched a new academic partnership with Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in Middlesex.


Since 2004, the hospital’s charity, The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, has helped raise over £50 million to build theatres, diagnostic centres, and drug development units. Prince William became President of The Royal Marsden in 2007, following a long royal connection with the hospital.


Cancer Research UK

  • Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research
  • The charity’s groundbreaking work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.  This work is funded entirely by the public.
  • Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates in the UK double in the last forty years.
  • Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to beat cancer.

For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 3469 6699 or visit

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