Giants of Cancer Care Heralded: Ceremony Honors 2nd Annual Giants Class

Oncology & Biotech News, June 2014, Volume 8, Issue 6

The 2nd Annual Giants of Cancer Careâ„¢ Awards were presented at a ceremony held on May 30 in Chicago. The event recognized 16 oncology heroes whose groundbreaking contributions to the field have improved the lives of patients with cancer.

The 2nd Annual Giants of Cancer Care™ Awards were presented at a ceremony held on May 30 in Chicago. The event recognized 16 oncology heroes whose groundbreaking contributions to the field have improved the lives of patients with cancer.

The special event was attended by new and previous Giant award recipients, as well as other oncology luminaries who wanted to acknowledge their colleagues.

“The results of the 2014 Giants of Cancer Care class are as impressive as we hoped. We have 16 esteemed oncology professionals who are household names and who now join our 2013 inaugural Giants class in this hall of honor,” said Hope Rugo, MD, chair of the esteemed advisory board panel who voted for the award recipients.

Rugo, director of the Breast Oncology and Clinical Trials Program at the University of California, San Francisco Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, led a panel of 29 oncologists renowned as leaders in the field. In selecting this year’s Giants, the panel considered a nominee’s body of work, including clinical impact, significant contributions, and overall accomplishments.

2014 recipients in tumor type categories:

  • Dennis J. Slamon, MD, PhD—Breast Cancer
  • George D. Demetri, MD—Gastrointestinal Cancer
  • Philip W. Kantoff, MD—Genitourinary Cancer
  • Janet Davison Rowley, MD (posthumously)—Genetics
  • Kie Kian Ang, MD (posthumously)— Head & Neck Cancer
  • Hagop M. Kantarjian, MD—Leukemia
  • Paul A. Bunn Jr, MD—Lung Cancer
  • Riccardo Dalla-Favera, MD—Lymphoma
  • Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD—Melanoma
  • Kenneth C. Anderson, MD—Myeloma
  • Patrick C. Walsh, MD—Prostate Cancer

2014 recipients in specialty areas:

  • Outreach: Awarded to a person who donates his or her time and resources to improve the community in which he or she serves as it relates to improving or prolonging the lives of those with cancer. Giant: Edith A. Perez, MD
  • Drug Development: Awarded to an oncologist who has successfully paved the way for new, impactful medication to reach the patient population. Giant: Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, MD
  • Education: Awarded to an oncologist or an advocacy leader who advances educational efforts about cancer. Giant: John R. Seffrin, PhD
  • Scientific Advances: Awarded to an oncologist or researcher who has successfully utilized technology to advance cancer care standards. Giant: James P. Allison, PhD
  • Supportive Care: Awarded to an oncologist who excels in providing supportive care and demonstrates innovation in relieving patient pain and discomfort. Giant: Jimmie C. Holland, MD

“This year we opened the nomination process to a national audience and expanded the categories that we were awarding,” Rugo said. Rugo and her colleagues evaluated nominees in 11 tumor type categories, including breast cancer, lymphoma, lung cancer, melanoma, and prostate cancer, and in five specialty categories.

At the ceremony in Chicago, master of ceremonies Jack Lepping, vice chairman of MJH Associates, the parent company of OncLive, which presents the Giants program, discussed the meaning of the Giants of Cancer Care awards.

“Oncology is more than a profession, it’s a calling. Oncology professionals work day in and day out in medical circumstances that are well beyond reasonable challenges. Yet there is a depth of drive and passion to persevere—to be the one to make the discovery that puts us one step closer to better lives and longer lives for patients with cancer. Now in its second year, the Giants program celebrates those members of the oncology community whose contributions have already met that stringent criteria, and will provide a foundational basis for advancements in the future.”

In an interview with Oncology & Biotech News, John R. Seffrin, PhD, this year’s Giant award recipient in the Education category, also discussed the significance of the Giants program.

“The key point of this award is that my colleagues who are here have helped advance the field to where the hopeful side of cancer has never been more hopeful. In fact, most of the suffering and dying from cancer today is needless. Now we have to get about the job of finishing the fight.”

Expanded feature profiles of each Giant can be found at