Keeping progress in oncology on the agenda: ESMO honours recipients of its 2020 awards

The global coronavirus pandemic has disrupted cancer research, prevention and treatment to an extent never seen before. To sustain the development of medical knowledge and therapeutic progress for patients worldwide, particular attention must now be paid to the future of the discipline – and to the individuals who continue to work tirelessly to make it evolve. The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) is proud to honour the 2020 recipients of its annual awards, all of whom share the Society’s commitment to advancing the field of oncology, no matter how difficult the circumstances.

In keeping with its determination to stay the course and continue driving oncology forward throughout the ongoing health crisis, ESMO maintained nominations for the awards usually presented at specialised congresses, some of which had to be cancelled in 2020. These distinctions go to the following dedicated investigators and illustrious experts with major research contributions to their name:

  • Lillian L. Siu, Canada – Targeted Anticancer Therapies (TAT) Honorary Award
  • Fiona Blackhall, UK – Heine H. Hansen Award, jointly bestowed by ESMO and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC)
  • Sherene Loi, Australia – ESMO Breast Cancer Award
  • Jedd D. Wolchok, USA – ESMO Award for Immuno-Oncology

The ESMO Award for Immuno-Oncology, which was created in commemoration of ESMO’s founding father Georges Mathé, is of particular significance this year as it marks the 10-year anniversary of Mathé’s death. “Mathé was a pioneer of immunotherapy and visionary who paved the way for ESMO to become what it is today: the leading professional organisation for medical oncology,” said ESMO President Solange Peters. “All of this year’s winners have in common with Mathé the ambition to break new ground in their respective fields and the will to improve cancer patients’ lives,” she added. “Their successes are a worthwhile reminder that progress is possible through adversity – and ESMO prides itself on offering its unwavering support to those who make progress happen.”

On the occasion of the ESMO Virtual Congress 2020, the well-known ESMO awards were conferred to four outstanding oncology researchers and clinicians with a track record of exceptional achievements:

  • Hans-Joachim Schmoll, Germany – ESMO Award
  • Nadia Harbeck, Germany – ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Antoni Ribas, USA – ESMO Award for Translational Research
  • Caroline Robert, France – ESMO Women for Oncology Award

Their lectures can be watched on the meeting resources’ section of OncologyPRO, freely available to all ESMO members and ESMO Virtual Congress 2020 attendees.
The 2020 recipients of the TAT 2020 Honorary Award, the Heine H. Hansen Award, the ESMO Breast Cancer Award and the ESMO Award for Immuno-Oncology will have the opportunity to give their award lectures at the respective meetings in 2021.

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