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Cancer Research Institute to Honor Leaders in Cancer Immunotherapy

Kenneth Frazier of Merck and CRI Trustee Lauren Veronis Will Receive the 2015 Oliver R. Grace Award at Cancer Research Institute’s 29th Annual Awards Dinner

NEW YORK, August 10, 2015—The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to fueling the discovery and development of immunotherapies for all forms of cancer, announced today the winners of the 2015 Oliver R. Grace Award for Distinguished Service in Advancing Cancer Research. This annual award recognizes the contributions of individuals, corporations, and foundations that have made a significant impact on medical research, patient care, or public education in the fields of cancer immunology and immunotherapy. 

CRI will present the award to Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck & Co., Inc., (also known as MSD outside the United States and Canada), in recognition of the company’s commitment to advancing immuno-oncology research and drug development and its support of educational programs for patients and caregivers. In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, Keytruda® (pembrolizumab), for the treatment of patients with advanced melanoma following treatment with other therapies. Keytruda is a humanized monoclonal antibody that works by increasing the ability of the body’s immune system to fight advanced melanoma, and is being studied in a wide range of cancers today.

Also receiving the 2015 Grace Award will be Cancer Research Institute trustee Lauren Veronis in recognition of her many years of devotion to advancing immunological research through her leadership and fundraising efforts. As president and chairman of the Irvington Institute for Immunological Research, which merged with the Cancer Research Institute in 2007, and then as a CRI trustee, Mrs. Veronis has distinguished herself as an active proponent of laboratory research in immunology and cancer immunology and a champion of young scientists. The Institute’s annual Through the Kitchen Party, conceived by Mrs. Veronis over 30 years ago, has raised many millions of dollars to support promising young scientists focused on studying the immune system and its power to conquer cancer. These CRI/Irvington fellows have made remarkable discoveries and have pioneered life-saving new treatments for cancer and other diseases. Through her efforts, Mrs. Veronis has rallied philanthropic, political, entertainment, and media luminaries to the Cancer Research Institute’s mission. 

The honorees will receive the award at CRI’s 29th annual awards dinner on September 17, 2015, at The Metropolitan Club in New York City.

“We honor the important roles both our Grace Award honorees have played in enabling the Cancer Research Institute to carry out its work to make immunotherapy an effective treatment option for all cancer patients,” said Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., CEO and director of scientific affairs at CRI.

In addition to the Grace Award, CRI will present the William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology to Glenn Dranoff, M.D., of Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research; the William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic Immunology to Alexander Rudensky, Ph.D., of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and the Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology to Nina Bhardwaj, M.D., Ph.D., of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. CRI presents these awards annually to scientists whose outstanding contributions to cancer immunology have made tremendous impact on the lives of cancer patients.

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