PHILADELPHIA and NEW YORK — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) have collaborated to establish a new award to honor the memory of the late Lloyd J. Old, M.D., a scientist whose lifetime of outstanding and innovative research in cancer immunology, as well as his decades of leadership in fostering the field, has had a far-reaching impact on cancer.
The recipient of the AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology will receive an honorarium of $10,000. In addition, he or she will be provided support to attend the AACR Annual Meeting 2013, to be held April 6-10 in Washington, D.C., and will be invited to give a 50-minute lecture during the meeting.
“The AACR is honored to collaborate with the Cancer Research Institute and offer this award in honor of Dr. Old, who was elected an honorary member of the AACR in 1995 and was CRI’s founding scientific and medical director,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. “Dr. Old was a long-standing supporter of the AACR and an exceptional cancer immunologist who had a global impact on the field. He was internationally recognized as one of the founders and standard-bearers of the field of tumor immunology, and therefore became rightfully recognized as the ‘Father of Modern Tumor Immunology.’ Dr. Old’s vision and leadership brought basic and clinical investigators together, across both institutional and international borders, to take tumor immunology from animal models into clinical research and develop promising new cancer therapies.
“Cancer immunology is an exciting and growing field of research, and the AACR values its importance. This is evident not only in our joint partnership with CRI of this new award, but also in our recent announcement of the AACR’s newest journal, Cancer Immunology Research, which will launch online at the AACR Annual Meeting this spring,” added Foti.
Researchers in the field of cancer immunology explore the complex relationship between cancer and the immune system, with the goal of discovering immune-based solutions to curing cancer.
“Dr. Old’s prescient vision for the future of cancer treatment was rooted in his unwavering belief that the study of the immune system would ultimately yield the key to providing cancer patients with new and lifesaving treatment options,” said Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., chief executive officer and director of scientific affairs at CRI. “Many of Dr. Old’s own important discoveries laid the foundation for today’s successes in clinical cancer immunotherapy, and it is fitting that the AACR and CRI have so named an award that celebrates others who are unlocking the cancer-fighting secrets of our own immune system.”
Old’s research spanned 45 years — from proving that tumor immunity is dependent on specific tumor cell characteristics, first in animals and then in man, to detecting the first true human tumor antigens. He also developed cutting-edge techniques for monitoring human immunological responses to cancer vaccines, enabling the development of tumor-specific vaccines and targeted antibodies. Such innovations represent the most promising strategies for cancer therapies today.
When he began his career in 1958, tumor immunology was considered to be phenomenology based on single observations. However, through careful building of the field, principally by Old and his students, tumor immunology is now being understood at the molecular level. This fundamental knowledge is utilized to create novel immunotherapies that represent some of the greatest advances in cancer therapy since the development of the first chemotherapies.
Old’s contribution to science has extended far beyond his own research interests. Aside from his tireless dedication to developing the field of tumor immunology, Old was also a devoted and selfless mentor to hundreds of young researchers around the world for more than four decades.
The AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology was established to honor the testament of Old’s legacy. The award is intended to recognize an active cancer immunologist who, like Old, has done outstanding and innovative research in cancer immunology that has had a far-reaching impact on the field. The award is open to all cancer immunologists who are affiliated with any institution involved in cancer research, cancer medicine or cancer-related biomedical science anywhere in the world. Such institutions include those in academia, industry or government.
Candidates will be considered by a joint AACR-CRI Award Selection Committee on the basis of the significance of their innovative research, the impact of these discoveries on the cancer field and the degree with which their research has or will stimulate new directions in cancer immunology. All areas of cancer immunology will be considered for this award.