Leading Researchers Recognized for Groundbreaking Contributions to Cancer Genetics, Research Methodology and Transformative Approaches to Patient Care
SAN ANTONIO – October 10, 2022 – Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, named Geoffrey M. Wahl, PhD, and Norman Wolmark, MD, FACS, FRCSC, two leading breast cancer researchers, as recipients of this year’s Brinker Awards, Komen’s highest scientific honor.
“Both recipients have made significant contributions to the field of breast cancer that have led to a better understanding of the molecular processes that contribute to drug resistance and disease progression in breast cancer and improved patient care, “said Victoria Wolodzko Smart, Senior Vice President of Mission at Komen. “We are excited to recognize their commitment to scientific innovation and their impact on patients worldwide.”
Established by Komen in 1992, the Brinker Awards for Scientific Distinction are the marquee scientific awards for honoring leading scientists who have made the most significant advances in breast cancer research and medicine. The awardees are named for their exceptional contributions to our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of breast cancer (Basic Science) and advances in breast cancer care (Clinical Research), which are both critical to fighting the disease.
Leading Investigator in Breast Cancer Genetics, Disease Progression and Research Methodology Named Brinker Awardee for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science
Geoffrey M. Wahl, PhD, Daniel and Martina Lewis Chair and Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies Gene Expression Laboratory, will receive the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science.
Wahl is recognized for his significant contributions to the field of cancer genetics, including the mechanisms of drug resistance and genome stability. His body of work and the techniques he pioneered have enabled discoveries across many disciplines. Wahl’s commitment to understanding mammary cell development paved the way for future discoveries in breast cancer research and treatment. His work has also led to a better understanding of the underlying signaling changes that influence the onset and progression of breast cancer cells as well as identifying opportunities for targeted drug therapies.
“Dr. Wahl’s dedication to innovation and discovery has led to new methodologies and expanded our understanding of breast cancer initiation. His innovative approaches and vision have allowed for major advancements in research and engagement with the breast cancer community,” said Komen’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD, Chief Scientific and Strategy Officer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Expert Who Changed the Standard of Breast Cancer Care Honored with the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research
Norman Wolmark, MD, FACS, FRCSC, Professor of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Chairman of the NSABP Foundation, Inc. and an NRG Oncology Group Chair & Contact Principal Investigator will receive the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research.
Dr. Wolmark is recognized for his innovation and significant contributions to patient care. He was instrumental in establishing breast-conserving surgery as the standard of care for invasive and non-invasive breast cancer, eliminating the need for radical mastectomy, offering options and improving the quality of life for breast cancer patients. Over the last four decades, Dr. Wolmark has led numerous clinical trials, including two of the largest chemoprevention clinical trials leading to FDA approval of the use of tamoxifen and raloxifene for breast cancer prevention in high-risk patients. He also led the development of the 21-gene recurrence score assay, Oncotype DX, a tumor profiling test that predicts the chance of metastasis and helps determine the benefit of using chemotherapy in addition to hormone therapy in certain patients.
“Dr. Wolmark’s contributions can be seen in breast cancer clinics worldwide. His efforts have afforded women more effective and less invasive options for breast cancer care. Additionally, his research has shifted the breast cancer field into preventative and more personalized care leading to better outcomes for so many,” said Dr. Pietenpol.
The 2022 Brinker Award winners will present their keynote lectures at the 45th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, which will return in-person and virtually Dec. 6-10, 2022.
Driving innovation in breast cancer research toward improved patient care has been a top priority for Komen since its founding in 1982. Komen is the leading breast cancer research organization that has invested nearly $1.1 billion in breast cancer research, making it the largest funder of breast cancer research outside of the U.S. government.
About Susan G. Komen®
Susan G. Komen® is the world’s leading nonprofit breast cancer organization, working to save lives and end breast cancer forever. Komen has an unmatched, comprehensive 360-degree approach to fighting this disease across all fronts and supporting millions of people in the U.S. and in countries worldwide. We advocate for patients, drive research breakthroughs, improve access to high-quality care, offer direct patient support and empower people with trustworthy information. Founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life, Komen remains committed to supporting those affected by breast cancer today, while tirelessly searching for tomorrow’s cures. Visit komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at www.komen.org/contact-us/follow-us/.