Dr Jo Waller is the first recipient of the Cancer Research UK Jane Wardle Prevention and Early Diagnosis Prize, presented at an awards ceremony at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool.
The prize is given to those who have produced world-leading research in the field of prevention and early detection of cancer.
Dr Waller’s team, based at UCL, carry out pioneering research on the public perception of cervical screening and HPV testing and vaccination. Dr Waller’s work has had a clear clinical impact on the Cervical Screening Programme in England and has helped to understand screening non-participation and ways that women can be supported to attend.
The prize is named after pioneering researcher Professor Jane Wardle who died last year and will commemorate her life and career which has left an incredible legacy of research. This is the first year that the prize has been awarded.
Also honoured were the recipients of the Cancer Research UK Future Leaders in Cancer Research Prize. This prize recognises scientists early in their career whose significant contribution to cancer research demonstrates their potential to become world-class leaders in their field.
Dr Georgios Lyratzopoulos is a population health researcher studying variations in the time it takes from when symptoms begin until a diagnosis is made. His work has highlighted how effective improvements can be made to improve cancer diagnosis.
Dr Florian Markowetz’s work is providing insights into how tumours interact with their environment. By studying the cancer’s genes in the context of the tissue around it, they are finding which signals indicate how a cancer will behave.
Dr Andrea Sottoriva’s lab is developing highly original mathematical and computational models to study cancer’s complex behaviour. Dr Sottoriva’s models could help doctors predict how a tumour is likely to evolve, and what treatments are best to stop it.
As announced last month Professor Stan Kaye, a consultant medical oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and emeritus professor at The Institute of Cancer Research, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research Prize for his lifelong commitment to early phase clinical trials. The prizes ceremony concluded with a plenary session from Professor Kaye, in which he reflected upon his ground-breaking 40 year research career.
Sir Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “I’m delighted to announce this year’s prize winners. These pioneering scientists are receiving awards for their extraordinary and wide-ranging contributions to cancer research. Although their work spans many different areas and types of cancer, they all share a determination to beat cancer for good. Through their pioneering work they open up new opportunities to detect and treat cancer which will help us save lives.”