New Endowments Ensure Conquer Cancer Foundation’s Ongoing Support of Cancer Research

May 2, 2016

Media Contact:
Gina Comottor
(571) 483-1375
gina.comottor@asco.org

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The Conquer Cancer Foundation (CCF) has received generous grants from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Helsinn, and Aaron and Barbro Sasson to establish three endowed Young Investigator Awards (YIA), research grants that support promising investigators and encourage quality research in clinical oncology. Ongoing support of this kind will ensure that the Foundation is well-equipped to continue funding oncology leaders of tomorrow through a program that has helped jump-start the careers of more than 894 physician-scientists since it first began.

Jane C. Wright, MD, Endowed Young Investigator Award 

ASCO's endowment of a Young Investigator Award is the Society's first in its nearly 52-year history, and signals its continued commitment to investing in the future of cancer research. ASCO has chosen to name its YIA in memory of one of its seven founding members - the only woman among them - and a venerable giant in the field of oncology, Jane Cooke Wright, MD. 

A renowned researcher, mentor, and chemotherapy pioneer, Dr. Wright dedicated 40 years to cancer research and treatment. Her successful career included many noteworthy titles and accomplishments, including head of the Cancer Research Foundation at Harlem Hospital at the age of 33; appointee to the President's Commission on Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke by President Lyndon B. Johnson; the highest ranked African American woman at a nationally recognized medical institution; and the first woman president of the New York Cancer Society. She was also undeniably instrumental in establishing ASCO as a new society during a pivotal time. 

"This newly endowed Young Investigator Award pays tribute to Dr. Wright's remarkable leadership at ASCO, her many contributions to the field of oncology, and her tenacity in finding a cure for cancer," said Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO, President of ASCO. "Our endowment is a meaningful way for us, as a Society, to support rising leaders and promising investigators who are approaching their research with the same focus on patients and the quality of their care that Dr. Wright maintained throughout her inspiring career. We look forward to its recipients' potential improvements and advances in cancer care for many years to come."

Anna Braglia Endowed Young Investigator Award in Cancer Supportive Care

Swiss pharmaceutical Group Helsinn is a family-owned business focused on building quality cancer care and helping patients enjoy a better quality of life. In celebration of its 40th anniversary, Helsinn has endowed a YIA that commemorates Anna Braglia, wife of Helsinn Group Founder and Chairman Gabriele Braglia and mother of Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO Riccardo Braglia, who passed away in 2015.

Anna is remembered fondly as a constant source of support to Helsinn's management, particularly as the company grew and evolved. She played a significant role in the creation of the Helsinn Group and contributed to the development of the cancer supportive care industry at large.

"Anna Braglia cared passionately about encouraging high-quality research in oncology," said Riccardo Braglia, Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO. "Endowing a Young Investigator Award gives us the opportunity to both honor her devotion and support the next generation of oncology professionals as it moves through the critical transition from academic study into clinical research."

Åke Bertil Eriksson Endowed Young Investigator Award

Conquer Cancer Foundation Board Member Aaron Sasson and his wife, Barbro, know the impact of cancer on patients and their families firsthand; Barbro's father, Åke Bertil Eriksson, passed away from cancer in 1988. His passing is the driving force behind their support of the Foundation. Both are compelled by its mission to conquer cancer and help build a world free from the fear of it. 

Eager to make a difference in the lives of young researchers working tirelessly to improve global cancer care, the Sassons have endowed a YIA in honor of Mr. Eriksson. Their investment not only leaves a lasting legacy for its family namesake, but also represents their belief in helping bright young researchers make their mark on the future of cancer care.

"The Conquer Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award provides a necessary balance of research time, funding, and mentoring so that its recipients can successfully realize their end goals of improving cancer care," said Mrs. Sasson. "It is our hope that this gift provides consistent, dependable support for the top young investigators of oncology today and encourages the rising leaders of tomorrow to pursue a career in research."

Investing in the Future of Cancer Research

The Conquer Cancer Foundation received funding to establish its first three endowed YIAs in 2013. These three new endowments add to a growing base of long-term support for breakthrough cancer research. The Foundation is grateful to the generous supporters who have endowed YIAs, and hopes that this positive momentum will raise awareness of the opportunity to fund a greater number of cancer researchers who have the potential to accelerate the pace of discovery and, ultimately, improve global cancer care.

The inaugural recipients of the Jane C. Wright, MD, Endowed YIA and Åke Bertil Eriksson Endowed YIA will be honored at the Foundation's Grants & Awards Ceremony on Sunday, June 5, during the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Learn more about CCF's endowments and funding opportunities.

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About The Conquer Cancer Foundation 

The Conquer Cancer Foundation (CCF) was created by the world's foremost cancer doctors of the American Society of Clinical Oncology to seek dramatic advances in the prevention, treatment, and cures of all types of cancer. Toward the vision of a world free from the fear of cancer, CCF works to conquer this disease by funding breakthrough cancer research and sharing cutting-edge knowledge with patients and physicians worldwide, and by improving the quality of care and access to care, enhancing the lives of all who are touched by cancer.