November 5, 2010 – (BRONX, NY) – Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University researcher Jeffrey Pollard, Ph.D., has received the prestigious Medal of Honor in Basic Science from the American Cancer Society (ACS) in recognition of his research into the critical role the tumor microenvironment plays in modulating cancer behavior, specifically the role that members of the innate immune cells called macrophages play both in normal development and in promoting tumor progression. These macrophages could hold the key to more targeted cancer treatments.
Insights into how normal body cells support tumor growth have led the way to a new wave of research and the development of therapeutics specifically targeting the support cells in the body that can aid in tumor development. Dr. Pollard's research has found that when macrophages are removed from the tumor microenvironment, the risk of cancer progressing to malignancy is reduced and its spread from the primary tumor site to distant sites lessens.
“I think that one of the major components of the therapeutic arsenal as we go forward will be to combine chemo-therapeutic drugs with drugs that target macrophages so that they can no longer support the tumor’s ability to be malignant,” said Dr. Pollard. “Further it gives another opportunity for therapy by using vaccination against tumor antigens combined with altering macrophages from tumor promoting to tumor rejecting. It gives us another prong in the attack on cancer.”
"I think that one of the major components of the therapeutic arsenal as we go forward will be to combine chemo-therapeutic drugs with drugs that target macrophages so that they can no longer support the tumor’s ability to be malignant."
-- Jeffrey Pollard, Ph.D.Dr. Pollard is deputy director of the Albert Einstein Cancer Center, director of the Center for Study of Reproductive Biology and Women’s Health and the Louis Goldstein Swan Chair in Women’s Cancer Research at Einstein. He is also professor in the departments of developmental and molecular biology and obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health at Einstein.
This award from the American Cancer Society, the nation’s leading voluntary health organization and largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, represents the Society’s highest honor in recognition of outstanding contributions to fighting cancer.
The award was presented at the American Cancer Society’s annual meeting in Atlanta, GA. In addition to Dr. Pollard, the ACS recognized Joseph Fraumeni, M.D., M.Sc., for Cancer Control, and Patricia Ganz, M.D., for Clinical Research.