John Katzenellenbogen reflects on career of cancer research

Date

06/19/18

A recent award ceremony gave Illinois chemistry professor John Katzenellenbogen a chance to reflect on his long and successful career. 

Dr. Katzenellenbogen received the AACR Award for Outstanding Achievements in Chemistry in Cancer Research at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Chicago. This prestigious AACR award recognized Katzenellenbogen for his research and contributions in the use of chemistry for improving cancer diagnosis and treatment. 

Dr. Katzenellenbogen delivered his award lecture entitled "Nuclear Receptors, PET Imaging, and Advances in Understanding Therapy Resistance in Breast and Prostate Cancers" at the AACR Annual Meeting 2018 in Chicago, IL. The award presentation and lecture was held Tuesday, April 17, 2018, at the McCormick Place Convention Center.

Dr. Katzenellenbogen is the Swanlund Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois. He and his research team have made major contributions to improve the diagnosis and therapy of breast and prostate cancers, and to illuminate the structure and function of nuclear receptors in these cancers. He is a graduate of Harvard University, where he received his BA, MS, and PhD in chemistry. 

"The Award Lecture gave me a wonderful opportunity to think in broad strokes about what I have done in my past and current research that has had a positive impact in cancer research and in cancer clinical care," he said. 

The American Association for Cancer Research is home to the premier group of scientists in the field. The Association has more than 44,000 members from 120 countries around the world. Over 22,000 people attended the recent conference where Katzenellenbogen was honored. 

In his lecture, he highlighted two main areas in which his research group has focused during their work on breast cancer and addressed two key questions they have worked to answer:  "One is, how can you best select patients who will benefit from endocrine therapy?" he said. "The other question is, why do many patients who initially respond to these therapies become resistant at later times?"

The conference honored Katzenellenbogen in a news release:

John A. Katzenellenbogen, PhD, is honored for his seminal work on the development of chemical and biophysical tools to study the estrogen receptor, which is an important biomarker and a target for endocrine therapy in breast cancer. We also honor his outstanding work in developing PET imaging agents which are used in the clinic to diagnose prostate and breast cancer, and in developing new endocrine therapy agents. Dr. Katzenellenbogen’s creativity and unwavering commitment to the cancer field truly embody the spirit of the award.

Dr. Katzenellenbogen is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received numerous awards and honors, including the Paul C. Aebersold Award from the Society of Nuclear Medicine (1995), the Cope Scholar Award (1999), the E. B. Herschberg Award for Important Discoveries in Medicinally Active Substances (2007), and the Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest (2008) from the American Chemical Society, the Fred Conrad Koch Lifetime Achievement Award from the Endocrine Society (2016, shared with Benita Katzenellenbogen), and the President’s Award from the Society for Radiopharmaceutical Sciences (2017). He is a cofounder of Radius Health, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on women’s health. In his professional role in academia, Dr. Katzenellenbogen has trained over 130 PhDs, MD-PhDs, and postdoctoral fellows.

 

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