American Cancer Society Presents 2002 Medal of Honor Awards

Former President George Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush will be among those honored by the American Cancer Society for their leadership in the battle against cancer. The Society, the nation's leading voluntary health organization, will present its most prestigious award, the Medal of Honor, during a special evening ceremony on Friday, May 31, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. The American Cancer Society's Medal of Honor recognizes outstanding contributions in the areas of clinical research, basic research, and cancer control.

The Society's 2002 award for contributions in cancer control will be presented to former President George Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush. The award for contributions in clinical research will be presented to Brian J. Druker, M.D. The award for contributions in basic research will be presented to V. Craig Jordan, Ph.D., D.Sc.

George Bush, the 41st President of the United States and Barbara Bush, former First Lady of the United States, are co-chairs of the National Dialogue on Cancer (NDC). As a forum that brings together principal leaders of top national cancer organizations, agencies, and institutes, plus central figures from other public, private, and nonprofit entities, the NDC fosters and supports efforts to eradicate cancer as a major public health problem at the earliest possible time. There are currently as many as 160 NDC participants, all of whom share the mission to rid our world of this devastating disease.

President and Mrs. Bush have a long-standing interest in the fight against cancer. As President from 1989 through 1992, President Bush received delegations from the American Cancer Society each year and participated in the presenting of the Society's Annual Courage Award. As president, he signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Clean Air Act. President and Mrs. Bush were also the keynote speakers at the closing session of the Society's 1999 World Conference for Cancer Organizations. In 2001, President Bush was elected chairman of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center's Board of Visitors.

President and Mrs. Bush's passionate dedication to the fight against cancer dates back to 1953, when they lost their three-year-old daughter, Robin, to leukemia. This and the loss of other family members and friends to the disease have made the Bushes even more steadfast in their pursuit of a cure.

Brian J. Druker, M.D., is the JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Cancer Institute. He is also a Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology at OHSU. He has joint appointments in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Dr. Druker played an integral part in the development of imatinib mesylate, or Gleevec´┐Ż ? a molecularly targeted pill used for treating chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). The American Cancer Society first became familiar with Druker early in his career when he was awarded a Society grant to advance his research.

Druker continues his research with Gleevec, convinced there is more to learn about the drug. He focuses on understanding and predicting how individual patients respond to the treatment, determining mechanisms of resistance if it occurs, and ultimately, working toward a cure for CML. He is driven by hopes that what he has learned about the use of Gleevec can be applied to other molecularly targeted agents being developed for other cancers ? eventually leading to a gentler form of cancer therapies.

V. Craig Jordan, Ph.D., D.Sc., is the director of the Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Research Program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Diana, Princess of Wales Professor of Cancer Research at Northwestern University Medical School. Dr. Jordan is internationally recognized for his research that resulted in the development of tamoxifen for the treatment of breast cancer and in the use of the drug as the first breast cancer preventive agent.

In recent years, Jordan has turned his focus to the effects of anti-estrogens on women's risk of other illnesses. Examining tamoxifen as a template for other compounds, he conducted the original laboratory studies that resulted in the development of raloxifene to help prevent osteoporosis. Jordan is currently the Scientific Chairman for the National Cancer Institute-sponsored STAR (Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene) clinical trial comparing the two drugs for prevention of breast cancer.

A faculty member at the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research and Leeds University, Jordan also helped found the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Bern, Switzerland. He served as Professor of Human Oncology and Pharmacology and Director of the Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Program at the Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center. Jordan is currently the principal investigator for a Special Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in breast cancer at Northwestern University. Jordan became an American Cancer Society research grantee in 1984.

Honorees are chosen by the Society's National Awards Committee, which is chaired by the immediate past president of the Society. Past honorees include: George N. Papanicolaou, M.D., inventor of the Pap smear; Robert C. Gallo, M.D., recognized for his achievements in pioneering the field of human retrovirology; J. Michael Bishop, M.D., recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize for Medicine/Physiology; Judah Folkman, M.D., a leading researcher in the field of anti-angiogenesis; C. Everett Koop, M.D., former U.S. Surgeon General; Mary Lasker, former chairman of the board of the American Cancer Society and founder of the Lasker Foundation; advice authors Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren; and Benno Schmidt Sr., former chairman of the board of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service.

For more information, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit http://www.cancer.org.