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November 30, 2006

King receives American Cancer Society’s highest award

Dr. Mary-Claire King, UW professor of medicine and genome sciences, has received the American Cancer Society’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor. The society gives the award annually to five Americans who have made outstanding contributions to fighting cancer.

King was recognized with the Medal of Honor for Clinical Research for her visionary work in delineating breast cancer genetics. She is credited with proving the existence of the first gene for hereditary breast cancer, know as BRCA1. Her work has changed the face of breast cancer and genetics research. In 1990, she proved that mutations in a single gene, BRCA1, can cause breast cancer in many high-risk families. This groundbreaking work changed the field of human genetics and saved the lives of thousands of women. King, an American Cancer Society Professor in the Departments of Medicine (division of Medical Genetics) and Genome Sciences, is also an affiliate member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Other Medal of Honor recipients were:

Katie Couric, anchor and managing editor of CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, received the Medal of Honor for Cancer Control for her leadership in raising public awareness of colorectal cancer and her support of cancer research.

Alice T. and William H. Goodwin Jr. received the Medal of Honor for Cancer Philanthropy for their donations to cancer research and higher education. According to Business Week, the Goodwins have donated 60 percent of their wealth to cancer research and education.

Patrick O. Brown was awarded the Medal of Honor for Basic Research for the development of low-cost, accessible automated microarrays, and his life-saving contributions to the field of functional genomics. Brown is a biochemistry professor at Stanford University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

Medal of Honor recipients for 2006 were chosen by the American Cancer Society’s National Awards Committee, which was chaired by the immediate past president of the society, Dr. Stephen Sener.