NEW ORLEANS--Ernst L. Wynder, MD, DSc, Dr.med.h.c., has received the seventh AACR American Cancer Society Award. Dr. Wynder is president and medical director of the American Health Foundation in New York.
The award, given yearly to honor research accomplishments in cancer epidemiology, biomarkers, and prevention, was presented at the 89th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).
Dr. Wynder was chosen for this years award because he was the first scientist in the United States to demonstrate the link between smoking and lung cancer.
At the award presentation, Anna D. Barker, PhD, president and CEO of OXIS International, Portland, Oregon, described how Dr. Wynder began his research while still a medical student. He went to 50 hospitals to interview 684 people with lung cancer and 1,332 controls about their smoking history. This survey established that only eight of the lung cancer patients did not smoke.
Results Published in 1950
Dr. Wynder published his results jointly with surgeon Ewarts Graham, MD, in 1950 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, but it took years for these results to be accepted.
Since that seminal article in 1950, Dr. Wynder has published more than 750 papers. He helped show that smoking also causes cancer of the mouth, larynx, pharynx, and esophagus, and leads to an increased risk for cancer of the pancreas, kidney, and bladder. He also established the American Health Foundation, an institute devoted to research on cancer causation and prevention.
Michael Thun, MD, vice president for epidemiology and surveillance research of the American Cancer Society, presented the award to Dr. Wynder. "Hes a pioneer in the tobacco wars," Dr. Thun said. "He has been way ahead of his time in recognizing the importance of different disciplines working together."