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2010 Grace Award Winners Announced

Michael Kors, Andrew Witty to receive 2010 Oliver R. Grace Award

NEW YORK, NY – March 15, 2010 – The Cancer Research Institute, Inc. (CRI), a nonprofit organization that supports and coordinates laboratory and clinical efforts to harness the disease-fighting power of the immune system to treat, control, and prevent cancer, announced today the winners of the 2010 Oliver R. Grace Award for Distinguished Service in Advancing Cancer Research. This annual award recognizes the contributions of exceptionally dedicated individuals whose leadership has had significant impact on medical research, patient care, or public education. 

Fashion designer Michael Kors will receive the Cancer Research Institute 2010 Oliver R. Grace Award in celebration of his charitable contributions. Mr. Kors is the leading American fashion designer for luxury accessories and sportswear and is known as a celebrity judge on the hit TV show Project Runway. His support of Saks Fifth Avenue’s Key to the Cure campaign and other cancer causes, as well as his commitment to supporting research and awareness for HIV/AIDS and other immune-related diseases, including diabetes and lupus, together embody the spirit of this prestigious award.

“I am so incredibly honored to be receiving an award from the Cancer Research Institute,” Mr. Kors commented upon receiving news of his selection as one of this year’s Grace Award honorees. “CRI has been on the forefront of research, and in today’s world it’s so important that we all do our part to help raise funds and support organizations such as CRI in the hopes of one day eradicating these awful diseases that have affected the lives of so many.”

Andrew Witty, chief executive officer of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, will receive the Cancer Research Institute 2010 Oliver R. Grace Award in honor of his company’s many important contributions to the development and delivery of new immune-based therapies to combat infectious diseases and cancer, and for GSK’s world-leading efforts to research and develop a new class of immune-based cancer therapeutics.

Mr. Witty also expressed his feelings about the award. “I am delighted to be honored with this award, which is testimony to the dedication, commitment, and expertise of the team involved in the research and development of our Antigen-Specific Cancer Immunotherapy (ASCI) who have been working in this field of research for over 15 years. One of our key focuses at GSK is the production of innovative cancer treatments, and with ASCIs, which aim to educate the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer, we hope to provide the oncology community with new treatment options for cancers where they are especially needed including non-small cell lung cancer and melanoma.”

“The annual awards dinner provides an elegant platform for our organization to recognize the important contributions of scientists and industry leaders to the advancement of immunology, tumor immunology, and cancer therapies, all of which provide the underpinnings for the ultimate development of new, immune-based approaches to the treatment, control, and prevention of cancer,” said Cancer Research Institute executive director Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D.

Honorees will receive their awards at a black-tie gala, which will take place on the evening of June 16, 2010, at the Mandarin Oriental in New York City. MSNBC anchor and correspondent Alex Witt will emcee the event.

The dinner will also include the presentation of the 2010 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology. The Cancer Research Institute has not yet announced this year’s Coley Award winner(s). This award honors one or more scientists for outstanding achievements in the field of basic immunology and cancer immunology. CRI established the award in 1975 in honor of Dr. William B. Coley, a pioneer of cancer immunotherapy, whose daughter, Helen Coley Nauts, founded the Institute.

“The annual awards dinner provides an elegant platform for our organization to recognize the important contributions of scientists and industry leaders to the advancement of immunology, tumor immunology, and cancer therapies, all of which provide the underpinnings for the ultimate development of new, immune-based approaches to the treatment, control, and prevention of cancer,” said Cancer Research Institute executive director Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D.


Event Contact
Lynne Harmer, Director of Special Events, Cancer Research Institute
+212-688-7515, ext. 238 or events@cancerresearch.org

Media Contact
Brian M. Brewer, Director of Communications, Cancer Research Institute
+212-688-7515, ext. 242 or bbrewer@cancerresearch.org

About the Oliver R. Grace Award for Distinguished Service in Advancing Cancer Research
This award, established in 1995, recognizes the contributions of dedicated laypersons whose leadership has had a significant impact on cancer research. The award is named in memory of the late Oliver R. Grace, founding chairman of the Cancer Research Institute, whose vision, wisdom, and generosity benefited the Institute for nearly 40 years. Former Grace Award winners include, among other champions of cancer research: Fred Hassan (2009), chairman and CEO of Schering-Plough Corporation; Wade F.B. Thompson (2007), chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Thor Industries; Julian H. Robertson Jr. (2006), chairman, Tiger Management LLC; Katie Couric (2002), anchor of CBS Evening News; and Andrea Jung (2001), chief executive officer, Avon Products, Inc. Each Grace Award winner will receive a gold medallion designed by Van Cleef & Arpels.

About the William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology
This award was established in 1975 in honor of Dr. William B. Coley, a pioneer of cancer immunotherapy, whose daughter Helen Coley Nauts (1907-2001) founded the Cancer Research Institute. Award winners are nominated by CRI’s Scientific Advisory Council, the Academy of Cancer Immunology, and former Coley Award winners, including: Cornelis J.M. Melief (2009), Leiden University Medical Center; Klaus Rajewsky and Frederick W. Alt (co-recipients, 2009), Immune Disease Institute; Michael J. Bevan (2008), HHMI, University of Washington; Jeffrey V. Ravetch (2007), The Rockefeller University; Ian H. Frazer (2006), University of Queensland; James P. Allison (2005), The Ludwig Center/Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and Robert D. Schreiber (2001), Washington University School of Medicine. Each winner will receive a cash prize of $5,000 and a gold medallion designed by Van Cleef & Arpels.

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