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Fox Chase Cancer Center's Alfred G. Knudson Honored

PHILADELPHIA (May 20, 2002) -- For the second time, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has honored Fox Chase Cancer Center Distinguished Scientist Alfred G. Knudson Jr., M.D., Ph.D. Knudson was presented with a 2002 Special Award for his significant contributions to both ASCO and the practice of clinical oncology at ASCO's 38th Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Knudson's 2002 Special Award is the Pediatric Oncology Lectureship which recognizes individuals who are accomplished in the field of pediatric oncology. Knudson's lecture was titled "Genetics of Pediatric Cancer: Implications for Treatment and Prevention."

Knudson, a geneticist and physician, is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of cancer genetics, where his work has been seminal to the spectacular advance in the understanding of the pathogenesis of cancer in children and adults. From his observations and studies of children with an eye cancer, retinoblastoma, and their families, he theorized that cancer resulted from two distinct genetic mutations. This became known as the "two-hit theory." Knudson's theory not only turned out to be true but also formed the basis for an entire field of study in cancer genetics. His explanation of the relationship between hereditary and non-hereditary forms of a cancer predicted the existence of tumor-suppressor genes that can suppress cancer cell growth.

His powerful insights into the development of cancer hold implications for both treatment and prevention. Tumor-suppressor genes, in particular, are important targets for prevention research, since they normally function to apply the brakes to errant cellular growth.

Since defects in tumor-suppressor genes permit abnormal, cancerous growth, devising ways to remedy such flaws or replace the gene's missing product through medications or other agents are of interest to researchers. Fox Chase has launched a major research initiative focusing on a comprehensive scientific approach to cancer prevention. This is the second time that ASCO has recognized Knudson for his work. The Society presented him with the 1997 David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award which is given to an individual who is known for his or her clinical research and who has changed the way oncologists think about the general practice of oncology.

Others receiving an ASCO 2002 Special Award include General H. Norman Scwarzkopf, Richard Klausner, M.D., the Honorable Deborah Pryce, Peter Greenwald, M.D., Dr.P.H., John Mendelsohn, M.D., Ellen V. Sigal, Ph.D., and Joseph V. Simone, M.D.

Knudson has been a senior member of the basic science staff at Fox Chase Cancer Center since 1976. Among Knudson's many professional distinctions is the 1998 Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research. The Lasker Awards rank among the highest recognition for careers of distinguished work because of the extremely rigorous process of nomination and selection conducted by a jury of the world's top scientists. Knudson has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and was named a Fox Chase Distinguished Scientist and senior advisor to the president in 1992. He was an instrumental leader of Fox Chase's molecular oncology program from 1989 to 1999.

Previously, Knudson served as director of Fox Chase's Institute for Cancer Research until 1982, Fox Chase Cancer Center president from 1980 to 1982 and scientific director from 1982 to 1983.

Knudson received his B.S. from California Institute of Technology in 1944, his M.D. from Columbia University in 1947 and his Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology in 1956. He held a Guggenheim fellowship from 1953 to 1954. Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at or call 1-888-FOX CHASE.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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