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AACR CEO Margaret Foti hosts the AACR 115th anniversary event

115th Anniversary of the AACR

tooltip iconAACR Chief Executive Officer Margaret Foti, PhD, (hc), welcomes the cancer research community to the AACR 115th anniversary event.

Celebrating 115 Years as the Driving Force to Eradicate Cancer

In May 1907, 11 visionary physicians and laboratory scientists gathered at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., to establish the American Association for Cancer Research. In September, 115 years after that seminal event, AACR leaders returned to Washington and joined luminaries from across the cancer research community to commemorate the anniversary of its founding, celebrate the unparalleled progress made against cancer throughout its history, and honor its members as the driving force to eradicate cancer.

Following a stirring performance by Grammy-winning baritone John Brancy and pianist Peter Dugan, AACR Chief Executive Officer Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc) (right), welcomed attendees by reflecting upon how the AACR’s distinguished history goes hand in hand with the evolution of the cancer research field. Dr. Foti then took a moment to honor key congressional leaders for their stalwart efforts to make medical research funding a national priority.

AACR CEO Margaret Foti

AACR Award for Distinguished Public Service and Global Impact in Cancer Research and Biomedical Science

Honoring exceptional congressional service and unparalleled support of vital medical research funding for the benefit of public health.

Roy Blunt

The Honorable Roy Blunt

U.S. Senator, Missouri
Chairman, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (114th, 115th, and 116th Congress)


Honoring exceptional congressional leadership and support for vital medical research funding for the benefit of public health.

Tom Cole

The Honorable Tom Cole

U.S. Representative, Oklahoma
Chairman, Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (114th and 115th Congress)

Rosa DeLauro

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro

U.S. Representative, Connecticut
Chairwoman, House Appropriations Committee (117th Congress)

Patty Murray

The Honorable Patty Murray

U.S. Senator, Washington
Chairwoman, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (117th Congress)

If our founders could be with us tonight, they would be in absolute awe of the stunning advances in cancer science and medicine that have transformed the way we understand, prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer, and they would be extremely proud of the tremendous growth and influence of AACR.

 Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc)
AACR Chief Executive Officer

Following the recognition of Congressional Champions, AACR Fellow and Nobel Laureate William G. Kaelin Jr., MD, FAACR (right), recounted many of the recent advances in cancer treatment and reminded the attendees that all of those advances were once considered to be impossible to achieve. He also noted that none of the recent progress against cancer would have been possible without decades of investment in fundamental basic research, and he called on the assembled cancer research community to continue to value basic science as much as translational and clinical research.

William G. Kaelin Jr.

AACR President (2022–2023) Lisa M. Coussens, PhD, FAACR (right), highlighted the AACR’s central role as a catalyst for change among the six sectors of the cancer community: government, philanthropy, academia and cancer centers, industry, scientific organizations, and advocacy and the lay public.

AACR President Lisa M. Coussens


Dr. Coussens acknowledged the contributions made to cancer research by the NIH, NCI, and FDA, and noted the AACR’s long history of collaboration with these agencies to drive progress against cancer. She then honored two leaders in this sector who, through their leadership in science and advocacy, have helped maintain the NIH’s position at the forefront of medical breakthroughs that save, extend, and enhance the lives of countless patients—including patients with cancer.

AACR Distinguished Public Service Award for Extraordinary Leadership in Medical Research

Francis S. Collins

Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD

Acting Science Advisor to President Biden
Cochair, President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

Honoring exceptional leadership and sustained contributions to the advancement of science and technology during his long tenure as director of the National Institutes of Health that have significantly transformed medical research and cancer research and patient care.

AACR Distinguished Public Service Award for Exceptional Advocacy in Support of Medical Research

Jed Manocherian

Jed Manocherian

Founder and Chairman, ACT for NIH
Honoring sustained efforts to advocate for medical research funding to improve public health.

Honoring sustained efforts to advocate for medical research funding to improve public health.

As a fulcrum in the cancer research community, AACR brings together the different sectors operating in the field to support the complete life cycle of cancer research.

 Lisa M. Coussens, PhD, FAACR
AACR President, 2022–2023


AACR Past President Raymond N. DuBois, MD, PhD, FAACR (right), acknowledged the vital role of philanthropic organizations in funding critical advances in cancer research and thanked the AACR’s philanthropic partners for their help in advancing its mission. He honored two of these partners for their longstanding support of AACR programs and initiatives.

Raymond N. DuBois

AACR Outstanding Achievement Award for Service to Cancer Science and Medicine

Enzo Galligioni

Enzo Galligioni, MD

President, Pezcoller Foundation

Presented to Dr. Galligioni, the Pezcoller Foundation, and all of its distinguished former presidents to honor their sustained international efforts to recognize, promote, and support cutting-edge cancer research.

Russell Chew

Russell Chew, DDS

President, Stand Up To Cancer

Presented to Dr. Chew and the SU2C Founders and Scientific Advisory Committee to honor their sustained dedication to raising significant funds in support of innovative cancer research to improve patient care since SU2C’s inception in 2008.


AACR President (2021–2022) David A. Tuveson, MD, PhD, FAACR (near right), discussed the critical role of academic scientists in driving progress against cancer, highlighting in particular the vital contributions of cancer centers. Dr. Tuveson noted that AACR leaders facilitated the development of the cancer center system in 1909, when they petitioned President Taft to establish a cancer research division of his proposed U.S. Bureau of Public Health—and that the AACR continues to support cancer centers to this day, as demonstrated by the recent AACR-hosted meetings of cancer center directors.

In addition, AACR Board member and former Minorities in Cancer Research Council chair John D. Carpten, PhD, FAACR (far right), highlighted the AACR’s efforts to ensure that the cancer workforce is as diverse as the patients it serves.

David A. Tuveson and John D. Carpten


AACR Past President Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, FAACR (right), thanked the AACR’s colleagues in the biopharmaceutical industry for the critical role they play in the biomedical research enterprise, translating basic discoveries into new treatments for patients with cancer. He then acknowledged AstraZeneca for its steadfast commitment to progress against cancer as the AACR’s lead supporter.

Michael A. Caligiuri

AACR Outstanding Achievement Award for Service to Cancer Science and Medicine

Sir Pascal C.R. Soriot

Sir Pascal C.R. Soriot

Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca

Presented to Mr. Soriot and AstraZeneca to honor their sustained dedication to advances in innovative cancer research, development of novel therapeutics, and delivery of life-changing medicines to patients worldwide.


In her opening remarks, Dr. Foti emphasized the AACR’s role as a trusted broker that forges the collaborations necessary to drive progress against cancer. She noted that the AACR has collaborated synergistically with 85 national and international scientific organizations.


While patients are the focus of the cancer research enterprise, they are also key participants in that enterprise, sharing their perspectives with the other sectors and working to increase public awareness of and support for innovative cancer science and medicine. Dr. Foti acknowledged the vital role of patient advocates by honoring Anna D. Barker, PhD, FAACR (near right), the founder of the AACR's signature patient advocate initiative, the AACR Scientist↔︎Survivor Program®.

Dr. Barker then honored several advocates and organizations that have made critical contributions to advancing progress against cancer.

Anna D. Barker and Margaret Foti

AACR Distinguished Service Award for Exceptional Leadership in Cancer Research, Science Policy, and Advocacy

Anna D. Barker

Anna D. Barker, PhD, FAACR

Founder, Scientist↔︎Survivor Program®

Honoring visionary contributions to cancer research that have revolutionized the field, exceptional stewardship in science and public policy, and extraordinary leadership of the AACR Scientist↔︎Survivor Program® that has fostered synergies between the scientific community and hundreds of national and international patient advocates.

AACR Outstanding Achievement Award in Public Service, Cancer Research, and Advocacy

Louis J. DeGennaro

Louis J. DeGennaro, PhD

Chief Executive Officer, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Presented to Dr. DeGennaro and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to honor their steadfast commitment to promoting and supporting advances in blood cancer research and patient care.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation

Honoring steadfast commitment to the support of advances in childhood cancer research and improved patient care.

Frances M. Visco

Frances M. Visco, JD

President, National Breast Cancer Coalition

Honoring relentless efforts to establish the cancer patient advocacy movement that has significantly increased public awareness and support for research advances against cancer.

Two-time cancer survivor Col. Gary Steele (U.S. Army, ret.) (right) closed the anniversary event with an inspirational address about the vital importance of patients and caregivers to the cancer research enterprise. He made special mention of his close friend Connie Young, who participated in a clinical trial more than ten years ago for an experimental treatment for multiple myeloma. While Connie passed away in 2013, the experimental drug she helped evaluate is now a part of Col. Steele’s standard of care.

Col. Gary Steele

To emphasize the value of these connections in the fight against cancer, Col. Steele asked the attendees to stand if they have had cancer, if a member of their family has had cancer, or if they work in the field of cancer science and medicine. The entire audience stood as one, showing solidarity among all sectors of the cancer community that the AACR brings together.

In closing, it is important to underscore that defeating cancer can only be accomplished by bringing together all sectors in the cancer community and creating transformative collaborations that strategically address the monumental challenges ahead.

AACR takes great pride in knowing that today, it has the collective expertise, size, and leadership to catalyze the work of these sectors, inspire innovation, and save more lives from cancer.

 Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc)
AACR Chief Executive Officer

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