European Cancer Organisation

ECCO2017 NEWS: ECCO Clinical Research Award

The ECCO Clinical Research Award is given in recognition of an outstanding contribution internationally to the integration of scientific research and clinical practice in the field of cancer.

Award Recipients

  • Laura van ‘t Veer (Netherlands)
  • Emiel Rutgers (Netherlands)

Prof Dr. Laura van ‘t Veer, PhD is Professor of Laboratory Medicine is the Program Leader of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center Breast Oncology Program (BOP), Director of Applied Genomics with the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, and UCSF-Site Principal Investigator of the Athena Breast Health Network.

Dr. van ‘t Veer is a world renowned Molecular Biologist and inventor of MammaPrint®. A recent publication in the New England Journal of Medicine on the MINDACT trial shows that 46% of breast cancer patients who are clinically high risk and are therefor considered for chemotherapy, can safely forgo this treatment based on a Low Risk MammaPrint result (NEJM 2016, Aug 25).

Dr. van 't Veer's research focuses on personalised medicine, to advance patient management based on knowledge of the genetic make-up of the tumour as well as the genetic make-up of the patient. This allows clinicians to optimally assign systemic therapy for those patients in need of such treatment, and to ensure the selection of the therapy that is most effective. Dr. van ‘t Veer’s research shows that molecular diagnostics and microarray genomics technology increasingly impact patient management. Molecular genomics contributes to the knowledge of who is at risk for breast cancer, how external factors may influence this risk, whether breast tumours are likely to metastasize or not, and which subtype of tumours will likely respond to what therapy. Her current research, involving genomics data from various types, is aimed to understand the molecular basis for early response to therapy as a surrogate for outcome prediction. Individuals will have played an innovator role beyond that which would be normally expected of them in their particular sphere of professional endeavour. It is of great merit if he/she has performed preclinical research and shown to be capable of integrating basic and clinical research.

PROF DR Emiel Rutgers (1955) is a Surgical Oncologist at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, The Netherlands(since 1987), Head of the Department of Surgery (since 2006), Chair of the Institutes Breast Cancer Working Group and Professor at the Medical Faculty of the University of Amsterdam.  After earning a medical degree for the State University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, he completed his residency training in internal medicine at Sint Antonius Ziekenhuis, Utrecht, and his general surgery training at the St. Joseph-Ziekenhuis in Eindhoven. He earned his PhD degree in 1986 at the University of Amsterdam on a thesis investigating the value of follow up of women treated for breast cancer. Prof Rutgers is fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (London & Glasgow); treasurer and past-chair of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Breast Group. He is chair of the Eurepean Breast Cancer Council.

Prof Rutgers’ main fields of interest is breast cancer, with emphasis on prognostic and predictive factors (micro-array techniques), risk management and prevention, and optimalisation of surgical procedures including neo-adjuvant chemotherapy, sentinel node procedure and immediate breast reconstruction. He is the author or co-author of more than 350 articles and book chapters on different aspects of breast cancer. Prof. Rutgers is the principal investigator of the EORTC-AMAROS Trial (in sentinel node biopsy in breast cancer) and the EORTC MINDACT Trial, which is studying the value the 70-gene micro-array Mammaprint test in node negative and positive breast cancer.


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