AACR to honor two pioneering researchers at SABCS


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Helen M. Piwnica-Worms, PhD
Helen M. Piwnica-Worms, PhD

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), an SABCS cosponsor, will honor two researchers for their significant contributions to breast cancer research at the 2021 SABCS in San Antonio.

Helen M. Piwnica-Worms, PhD, is the recipient of the 2021 AACR Distinguished Lectureship in Breast Cancer Research, supported by Aflac Inc. Fabrice André, MD, PhD, will receive the 2021 AACR Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research, supported by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

“This year’s recipients of the two AACR awards to be given at SABCS have greatly contributed to our understanding of mechanisms of breast cancer progression, translational research, clinical trials, and new drug approvals. Their findings have helped to inform new insights for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer that hold great promise for patients,” said Carlos Arteaga, MD, FAACR, ex officio member of both award selection committees, Past President of the AACR, and SABCS Co-Chair. “We applaud Dr. Piwnica-Worms and Dr. André for their innovation, hard work, and commitment and are thrilled to honor them with these awards.”

Dr. Piwnica-Worms is Senator A.M. Aikin Jr. Distinguished Chair and professor of experimental radiation oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Dr. Piwnica-Worms is being recognized for her pioneering contributions to understanding how the cell cycle is regulated and how alterations in cell cycle control mechanisms contribute to human cancer. Her seminal biochemical studies have been translated into numerous clinical trials and have paved the way for the development of new therapies for cancer patients.

Dr. Piwnica-Worms’ work has led to the identification of the mechanisms behind CDK1 activation and inactivation during the cell cycle and has defined how CDK1 activation is able to be inhibited by cell cycle checkpoint mechanisms. Further, her elucidation of CHK1, CDC25, and 14-3-3 protein interactions has provided the first direct link between cell cycle checkpoints and mitotic control mechanisms. This work has been essential to understanding breast cancer onset and progression and has led to additional clinical investigations aimed at targeting cell cycle-related protein kinases, including ATR, CHK1, and WEE1 in various cancers.

Dr. Piwnica-Worms’ lecture, Translation of Fundamental Cell Cycle Principles to Targeted Cancer Therapies, will be presented on Thursday, December 9, at 12:30 pm CT.

Fabrice André, MD, PhD
Fabrice André, MD, PhD

Dr. André is Director of Research and a consultant medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer at Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France, and a Professor of Medicine at the Paris-Saclay University. He is being recognized for his pioneering and extensive work in translational and clinical breast cancer research, including his contributions to leading several high-impact clinical trials including MOSCATO, SAFIR01, SAFIR02, BOLERO, CANTO, and other notable trials dedicated to testing the PI3K inhibitor alpelisib. Through these efforts, Dr. André has helped to establish the concept of using real-time high throughput genomic analysis of cancer biopsies to identify potential therapeutic targets.

He is also being recognized for describing the existence of tumor-derived exosomes in humans, clarifying the role of interferon and CD4-positive T helper cell signaling in mediating chemotherapy response, and identifying the spliceosome and TLR3 as therapeutic targets in breast cancer.

Dr. André’s lecture, Moving Toward Precision Medicine for Patients with Breast Cancer, will be presented on Friday, December 10, at 12:30 pm CT.


The 2021 SABCS offers attendees the unique opportunity to participate in person in San Antonio, or virtually. The new meeting model will cater to both onsite and virtual meeting attendees. For those attending in-person, SABCS is committed to attendees’ safety and will adhere to safety guidelines and protocols. Onsite registration includes access to the virtual meeting as well.

Mandatory masks are required prior to joining the conference. For attendees who are not able to travel, the virtual option is available. UT Health continues to monitor COVID-19. Our priority is always on the health and safety of our community.


Preregistration is now closed. Registration will reopen on Monday, December 6.