Charles L. Sawyers, Chair of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program (HOPP), has been awarded the 2009 Dorothy P. Landon Prize for Translational Cancer Research from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).
The prize has been given annually since 2002. It is one of two (the other is for basic cancer research) that was created to heighten the attention of scientists and members of the general public to landmark scientific achievements in the continuing effort to prevent and cure cancer; to recognize and reward cancer scientists for these extraordinary accomplishments; and to stimulate the development of new thinking and novel concepts in both basic and translational research.
Dr. Sawyers is a nationally recognized physician-scientist who joined Memorial Sloan Kettering in 2006 as the first Chair of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program. His work examines how signaling pathway abnormalities in cancer cells can be exploited as targets for new cancer drugs. His current focus is on developing new treatments for patients with prostate cancer who have developed resistance to drugs that fight the cancer by blocking male sex hormones, called androgens. A promising new drug, based on earlier work by Dr. Sawyers and his colleagues, is now in clinical trials.
Dr. Sawyers came to Memorial Sloan Kettering after nearly two decades at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was instrumental in the development of two drugs for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia — imatinib (Gleevec®) and dasatinib (Sprycel®). He is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, a member of the Institute of Medicine, and the incumbent of the Marie Josée and Henry R. Kravis Chair at Memorial Sloan Kettering.