Dr. Anna Nowak Selected as Recipient of the Pioneer Award

Anna Nowak

Dr. Anna Nowak, medical oncologist, is this year’s recipient of the Pioneer Award for her exceptional achievements and dedication in mesothelioma research.

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation presents the award annually to thought-leaders and allies who have substantially contributed to the advancement of mesothelioma research, treatment, care, support, education, and advocacy.

The award will be presented at the Awards Dinner during the International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma, on March 27, in Bethesda, MD. Congratulatory messages for all award recipients, which will be published in the evening’s program, can be purchased at www.curemeso.org/ads.

Dr. Anna Nowak received her degree in medicine from the University of Western Australia in 1991, obtained advanced training in medical oncology in 1999, and then completed her PhD in 2002. Dr. Nowak’s PhD catalyzed groundbreaking publications about gemcitabine, a chemotherapy drug used on tumor antigen-specific adaptive immunity, inciting recognition on international levels through the 2002 International Mesothelioma Interest Group New Investigator Award. Dr. Nowak also worked on a combination chemo-immunotherapy project, which resulted in curing up to 80% of mice with established tumors. This project has been widely cited and has generated clinical trials in other tumor types. Amongst a multitude of awards, Dr. Nowak has been awarded the 2005 Raine Research Prize for the best biomedical research paper from the University of Western Australia, and a prestigious Raine Priming Grant.

Regarding her clinical research in mesothelioma, Dr. Nowak led a multicenter chemotherapy trial, resulting in the first published validation of a Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQL) questionnaire in this disease. With Dr. Michael Byrne, she developed the Modified RECIST Criteria for tumor assessment in mesothelioma, a system that has been adopted worldwide for clinical trials in this disease. Dr. Nowak was one of several researchers to participate in the IASLC Mesothelioma Staging Project, which was the basis of the updated mesothelioma staging system that took effect earlier this year. Dr. Nowak has been an internationally recognized and instrumental figure in the mesothelioma community, and currently serves as a member of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board.

“Not only is Dr. Nowak a talented scientist whose contributions to the field of mesothelioma research and treatment bring hope to our patient community; she is also an incredibly caring and humble clinician whose first and foremost priority is always the patient,” said Melinda Kotzian, the chief executive officer of the Meso Foundation.

“This Pioneer Award is one way in which we are able to honor her dedication and success,” Ms. Kotzian added.

The award will be presented at the Awards Dinner on March 27 as part of the International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma. Learn more at curemeso.org/symposium.

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