American Cancer Society Professors
The American Cancer Society Research Professor and Clinical Research Professor Awards are the most prestigious research grants made by the national program. These grants provide flexible funding for full-time investigators in mid-career who have made seminal contributions to cancer research and who will continue to provide leadership in their research area. The awards, which are for a period of five years with the possibility of one five-year renewal, are made through a highly competitive peer-review process. Ordinarily, no more than two candidates in each category are appointed in any year. Only 25 Research Professors and 15 Clinical Research Professors are funded at any time. Current Research Professors and Clinical Research Professors are listed below.
New Research Professor Awards were granted to the following individuals effective January 1, 2011: Iswar K. Hariharan, MD, PhD of University of California, Berkeley and Helen Piwnica-Worms, PhD of Washington University, St. Louis. Herbert Chen, MD of University of Wisconsin at Madison was awarded a Research Professorship for the establishment of an MEN2 Thyroid Cancer Research and Training Program effective January 1, 2011.
The following three were awarded Clinical Research Professor Awards in 2010: Kenneth C. Anderson, MD of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Christine A. Miaskowski, RN, PhD, FAAN of University of California, San Francisco and Olufunmilayo Olopade, MD of University of Chicago. These individuals were awarded new Research Professor Awards in 2010: Kevin Shannon, MD of University of California, San Francisco, Titia de Lange, PhD of The Rockefeller University in New York and Anil K. Rustgi, MD of University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
American Cancer Society Professorships
On occasion, special donors or Society Divisions provide generous gifts to fund cancer research combating a particular type of cancer or its consequences. Upon receipt of such gifts, the Extramural Grants department releases a nationwide request for applications (RFA) to qualified candidates. The top candidate is identified using the Society’s stringent peer-review process and is awarded an American Cancer Society Professorship. These professorships often are named in honor of the donor or in memory of a loved one.
Melanoma is a serious and sometimes life-threatening cancer that accounts for almost 4% of cancer among men and women. The chance of getting melanoma increases with age, but people of any age can get the disease. In fact, melanoma is one of the most common cancers in young adults, with more than 50,000 people in the United States learning each year that they have melanoma. The Mary Hendrickson-Johnson Melanoma Professorship is an award targeting an outstanding, mid-career investigator who has made a landmark contribution that has changed the direction of cancer research and who continues to provide leadership in the area of melanoma research. The amount of the award is $80,000 per year for five years and may be renewed for an additional five years. In FY 2009, the professorship was awarded to Jeffrey A. Sosman, MD, of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Sosman directs the Melanoma Program at the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, which is a highly integrated effort among oncology, dermatology, surgical oncology, and radiation oncology. This program provides patients with a thorough multi-disciplinary evaluation of their disease and cutting-edge treatment options. Sosman's research includes studying skin cancers that are likely to recur and have no standard prevention treatment. He also compares chemotherapy and immunotherapy agents to determine their effects on treating skin cancers. One of his goals is to increase patient treatment options for skin cancer by studying new and investigational agents, such as vaccines.