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TGen expert honored for cancer research

Dr. Daniel D. Von Hoff, who has been instrumental in developing numerous new cancer treatments, is among this year’s recipients of the Award of Excellence from the Hope Funds for Cancer Research.

Dr. Von Hoff, M.D., FACP, who is Physician-In-Chief and Distinguished Professor at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), and Chief Scientific Officer for Scottsdale Healthcare’s Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials, will receive the 2014 Hope Funds Award of Excellence in Medicine.

The Hope Funds for Cancer Research is dedicated to advancing innovative research for the most difficult-to-treat cancers.

Dr. Von Hoff is being recognized for his work over the past decade in the clinical development of many new cancer treatments. He was nominated by past recipients, and selected by the Hope Funds Board of Trustees.

His accomplishments will be celebrated April 24 at the 2014 Award of Excellence Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The gala provides support for programmatic activities and raises funds for postdoctoral fellowships in cancer research.

Dr. Von Hoff is a medical oncologist and oncology drug developer whose major interest is in the development of new anticancer agents. His clinical research is conducted at Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials at Scottsdale Healthcare, a partnership between Scottsdale Healthcare and TGen in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Among the other five recipients of the 2014 Hope Funds Award is Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. James D. Watson, best known as the co-discoverer in 1953 of the double-helix structure of DNA, a scientific turning point in the understanding of life. Dr. Watson is receiving a special Award of Excellence for Extraordinary Achievement. Other recipients of this year’s Award of Excellence are: Dr. Tyler Jacks for Basic Science; Dr. Charles L. Sawyers for Clinical Development; and Dr. Jan Vilcek for Advocacy.

“With the occasion to celebrate the greatest living scientist of the 20th Century (Watson) along with this year’s Honorees, plus our past Honorees, this will be a gathering of many of the greatest minds in the field of cancer research,” Dr. Malcolm A.S. Moore, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Hope Funds for Cancer Research, said in a press release.

At the gala, Hope Funds will present its Awards of Excellence in recognition of outstanding achievements in the fields of basic research, drug development, medicine, patient support and philanthropy.

“This event, a white tie dinner set in the shadow of an ancient Egyptian temple, will highlight a remarkable group of scientists who are making a radical difference in cancer research. It is truly an extraordinary experience,” Bill Rueckert, Honorary co-chair of the 2014 Gala said in a press release.

Dr. Von Hoff and his colleagues have conducted early clinical investigations of many new cancer agents, including: gemcitabine, docetaxel, paclitaxel, topotecan, irinotecan, fludarabine, mitoxantrone, dexrazoxane, nab-paclitaxel, vismodegib, and others. These treatments are helping many patients with breast, ovarian, prostate, colon, leukemia, advanced basil cell and pancreatic cancers.

“I am truly honored to be included in the company of such distinguished physicians and scientists whose work has been furthered by the Hope Funds for Cancer Research,” said Dr. Von Hoff. “This recognition not only celebrates past accomplishments, but also is a reflection of the advances we are making right now for the benefit of our patients.”

He and his colleagues are concentrating on the development of molecularly targeted therapies for individual patients with cancer. His other major accomplishment is the development of two specific treatments, which have improved the survival for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Von Hoff also is Professor of Medicine at both Mayo Clinic Scottsdale and the University of Arizona College of Medicine; and Chief Scientific Officer at US Oncology.

Dr. Von Hoff graduated cum laude from Carroll University, and received his M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, then completed a medical oncology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Von Hoff served a six-year term on President Bush’s National Cancer Advisory Board (2004-10).

He is a Fellow and past President of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the world’s largest cancer research organization; a Fellow of the American College of Physicians; and a member and past board member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Dr. Von Hoff is a founder of ILEX™ Oncology, Inc. (acquired by Genzyme after Ilex had 2 agents, alemtuzumab and clofarabine approved by the FDA for patients with leukemia). He received ASCO’s 2010 David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award for his outstanding contributions to cancer research leading to significant improvement in patient care.