4/02/2004 - ORLANDO, Fla. With the snip of a pair of scissors, Lynn Matrisian, Ph.D., chair of Cancer Biology, became president of the worlds largest organization for basic, translational and clinical cancer research at the American Association for Cancer Researchs 95th annual meeting here this week.
Because gavels are so rarely used anymore, Karen Antman, M.D., now AACRs past-president, decided that cutting the word elect from Matrisians badge to leave only president would be more appropriate. (The pair did pose for an official passing-the-gavel photo later).
Matrisian, Ingram Professor of Cancer Research, began her year-long term by outlining her vision for leading the organization on what she jokingly called a roller coaster ride between two resort cities dominated by Disney theme parks. The 96th annual meeting over which she will preside next spring will be in Anaheim, Calif., home to Disneyland. (And, yes, jokes also were made about having a mouse model theme).
Her goals include finding new and innovative ways to embrace the talents and diversity within the scientific community as well as to reach beyond those boundaries to inform and involve cancer survivors, private industry, government leaders and the public at large.
Specific plans include developing a Progress in Cancer Research report for scientists as well as a version for non-scientists that would report the state of cancer research in an easily understandable way.
Two specific collaborations on her to-do list include work with the Lance Armstrong Foundation to help make cancer a national priority and with two other important cancer organizations to address the need for basic scientists and clinicians to work even more closely together in designing and conducting clinical trials.
Discussions among the AACR and the other two the Association of American Cancer Institutes (led by Hal Moses, M.D., Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center director) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (to be led in June David Johnson, M.D., VICCs deputy director) are in the earliest stages.
However, Matrisian noted that she and her colleagues wanted to take advantage of the coincidence that leaders of all three are at the same institution to tackle a problem of common concern.
Also during the meeting, Carlos Arteaga, M.D., Ingram Professor of Cancer Research, joined the AACR board of directors. (Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., the VICCs associate director of Cancer Prevention and Control, is also an AACR director).
And DuBois delivered the Dorothy P. Landon Lecture. DuBois outlined his laboratorys groundbreaking work linking the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) with colorectal cancer development for which he was honored with the Landon-AACR Prize for Translational Research (See VUMC Reporter, March 12, 2004).
Altogether, nearly 50 abstracts were presented by VICC scientists during the meeting, which drew more than 15,000 people from around the world to share the latest findings in cancer research.
Among them: a study by Charles Matthews, Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine, and his colleagues showing that women can reduce their risk for endometrial cancer through increased physical activity including moderate activity such as walking or cycling for transportation or housework.
The AACR selected the findings among women in Shanghai to be highlighted to the news reporters covering the meeting. Coverage of the work was picked up by dozens of newspapers, broadcast stations and news web sites. A press release about the paper is available online at www.vicc.org.©2014 Vanderbilt University Medical Center