Researcher to receive AACR- Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for achievement in cancer research

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John F. DiPersio, M.D., Ph.D., will be recognized with the 19th Annual American Association for Cancer Research-Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cancer Research at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014, to be held in San Diego, Calif., April 5-9.

This award was established in 1996 to recognize outstanding achievements in clinical cancer research. It is named for the late Dr. Joseph H. Burchenal, honorary member and past president of the AACR, and a major figure in clinical cancer research and chemotherapy.

DiPersio, chief of the Division of Oncology and deputy director of the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., is being recognized for his outstanding achievements in experimental sequencing of cancer genomes, personalized medicine, and innovations in stem cell transplantation. DiPersio is internationally recognized for his expertise in T-cell function, stem cell research, and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). He will present his lecture, "GvHD vs. GvL … and the winner is?" Tuesday, April 8, 4 p.m. in room 20D in the San Diego Convention Center.

"I was both surprised and tremendously honored to be named as this year's recipient of the AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award and to be mentioned with the others who have won this prestigious prize in the past. This award is really a testament to my family, friends, mentors, colleagues, trainees, and those courageous patients who have participated in the clinical research that I have spent my life pursuing," DiPersio said.

DiPersio's specific research interests include the control of graft-versus-host disease using genetic and epigenetic therapy, the biology of stem cell mobilization, sensitization of leukemic cells via stroma-leukemia cell blockage, and the genomics of de novo and relapsed AML. His research demonstrated that the hematopoietic stem cell mobilizer plerixafor blocks the chemokine receptor CXCR4, which enables mobilization of leukemic cells to peripheral blood and sensitizes them to chemotherapy. He has initiated a clinical trial to test plerixafor in combination with G-CSF for chemosensitization of relapsed and refractory AML. His long-term goal is to identify and characterize genomic and transcriptional alterations that contribute to the relapse of AML after chemotherapy and/or allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. He is currently a project leader of several grants aimed at AML research, and also is a co-investigator on a career development program at Washington University designed to train a new generation of highly skilled investigators.

DiPersio received his bachelor's degree from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., and his medical and doctoral degrees from the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. He completed an internship and residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. After serving as chief resident at Parkland Memorial, DiPersio completed a fellowship in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Prior to his move to Washington University, DiPersio previously served on the faculties at UCLA and the University of Rochester. Additionally, he served as director of the bone marrow transplant program at Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester.

He is a member of the National Cancer Institute's Board of Scientific Counselors, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, several external advisory boards, and is chair of the American Society of Hematology Scientific Committee on Hematopoiesis, in addition to his involvement and appointments to many other societies and committees throughout his career.

The AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cancer Research is generously supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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