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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital pediatric oncologist Ching-Hon Pui, M.D., is the recipient of the 2011 Annual AACR Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Research for contributions to childhood cancer research and treatment.
Ching-Hon Pui, M.D., a world renowned leukemia physician and researcher at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is the recipient of the 2011 Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Research from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).
The AACR Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Research is presented to a scientist who has made exceptional achievements in clinical cancer research. Pui will accept the award during the 102nd AACR Annual Meeting, in Orlando, Fla., in April.
Pui is chair of the Department of Oncology at St. Jude and an American Cancer Society Professor. Additionally, he is co-leader of the hospital’s Hematological Malignancies Program; medical director of the St. Jude International Outreach China Program; and holder of the Fahad Nassar Al-Rashid Chair of Leukemia Research.
“One of Dr. Pui’s great strengths, beyond his unsurpassed wealth of knowledge about treating leukemia, is that he brings together a broad array of scientists and clinical investigators to participate in developing and conducting new ALL treatment protocols,” said Dr. William E. Evans, St. Jude director and CEO, and a long-time collaborator of Dr. Pui’s. “He is like a great conductor drawing together the best musicians to create something that is extraordinary and far greater than any one person playing alone.”
Pui has played a key role in a series of treatment protocols responsible for raising cure rates of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common childhood cancer, from about 70 percent in the early 1980s to an unprecedented 90 percent at St. Jude today. His work has shown that cranial irradiation, once regarded as a standard treatment for childhood ALL, can be omitted altogether, thus sparing patients from devastating side effects and enhancing their quality of life.
More recently, his treatment approach resulted in a remarkably high cure rate approaching 90 percent in older adolescents with ALL. Pui’s team pioneered the use of pharmacodynamics and pharmacogenetics to individualize chemotherapy and to optimize the use of existing drugs; and used genome-wide analyses to accurately classify leukemias, to identify cooperative genetic mutations of leukemic cells and molecular targets for therapy, and to disclose host genes associated with the development of leukemia.
Pui has authored more than 700 original articles and chapters, edited seven books and monographs, and serves as section editor or editorial board member for several esteemed journals. He is also one of the most highly cited authors in clinical medicine research. Pui’s many awards and honors include elected memberships in the Association of American Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation, election as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the 2009 AACR Team Science Award, and the 2010 Castle Connolly National Physician of the Year Award.
Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 33,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering research and treatment of children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Ranked the No. 1 pediatric cancer hospital by Parents magazine and the No. 1 children’s cancer hospital by U.S. News & World Report, St. Jude is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world, serving as a trusted resource for physicians and researchers. St. Jude has developed research protocols that helped push overall survival rates for childhood cancer from less than 20 percent when the hospital opened to almost 80 percent today. St. Jude is the national coordinating center for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium and the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. In addition to pediatric cancer research, St. Jude is also a leader in sickle cell disease research and is a globally prominent research center for influenza.
Founded in 1962 by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world, publishing more research articles than any other pediatric cancer research center in the United States. St. Jude treats more than 5,700 patients each year and is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. St. Jude is financially supported by thousands of individual donors, organizations and corporations without which the hospital’s work would not be possible. In 2010, St. Jude was ranked the most trusted charity in the nation in a public survey conducted by Harris Interactive, a highly respected international polling and research firm.