PHILADELPHIA – Two esteemed leaders from the Penn Medicine Abramson Cancer Center and Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania will be honored with 2023 Special Awards from the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, during the 2023 ASCO Annual Meeting, taking place June 2-6 in Chicago, Illinois.
Angela DeMichele, MD, MSCE, the Jill and Alan Miller Endowed Professor in Breast Cancer Excellence, co-leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program in the Abramson Cancer Center, and co-director of the 2-PREVENT Breast Cancer Translational Center of Excellence, is the 2023 recipient of the Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award. Carmen E. Guerra, MD, MSCE, FACP, the Ruth C. and Raymond G. Perelman Professor of Medicine, vice chair of Diversity and Inclusion in the department of Medicine, and associate director of Diversity and Outreach for the Abramson Cancer Center, is the 2023 recipient of the ASCO Excellence in Equity Award.
“We are delighted to see Dr. Guerra and Dr. DeMichele recognized for their impactful contributions to equity in cancer care and in breast cancer research,” said Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, director of the Abramson Cancer Center. “Through bench-to-bedside research and community outreach and engagement, their work has made a difference for cancer patients and families across our community and the country. We are so grateful to have them as part of our team.”
Angela DeMichele, MD, MSCE, Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award
The Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award was created to honor the profound contributions of Dr. Gianni Bonadonna, who made several pioneering contributions to the field of oncology. The award recognizes an active clinical and/or translational researcher with a distinguished record of accomplishments in advancing the field of breast cancer and with exceptional mentoring abilities. DeMichele is recognized for her instrumental role in the development of palbociclib, one of the first CDK4/6 inhibitors—a class of targeted therapy drugs used to treat certain types of HR-positive and HER2-negative breast cancer. As a physician-scientist, her research centers on the development of experimental therapeutics, investigation of prognostic and predictive biomarkers, and design of novel approaches to identify and treat minimal residual disease to prevent recurrence for breast cancer. The 2-PREVENT Breast Cancer Translational Center of Excellence that she co-directs at Abramson Cancer Center is focused on identifying and treating dormant or “sleeper” cells that may persist after initial breast cancer treatment through innovative clinical trials. She holds leadership roles in numerous national oncology groups, including ECOG-ACRIN and the I-SPY Consortium and is the chair-elect for the ASCO Scientific Program Committee.
DeMichele’s award lecture will be available to attendees on demand for online viewing.
Carmen E. Guerra, MD, MSCE, FACP, Excellence in Equity Award
The ASCO Excellence in Equity Award, endowed by the American Cancer Society, recognizes ASCO members who have made significant and measurable contributions towards increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion within the field of oncology, or increasing access to equitable care for cancer patients. Guerra is recognized for her persistent work to advance equitable access to cancer clinical trials, cancer screenings, and care. She has led the development of several cancer screening patient navigation programs, including the Flu-FIT program, an effort that began as a drive-through event during the COVID-19 pandemic, where participants could receive both a flu shot and a FIT kit for at-home testing to screen for colorectal cancer. She has also established community outreach and engagement programs to increase participation of Black patients in cancer clinical trials, which have resulted in doubling the percentage of Black participants enrolled in clinical trials at Abramson Cancer Center. As the co-chair of two ASCO-Association of Community Cancer Centers workgroups, Guerra helped create an unconscious bias training and a self-assessment on equity, diversity, and inclusion for cancer research teams.
Guerra will participate in the Mentorship and Career Development Roundtable Discussion with ASCO’s Special Award Recipients on Sunday, June 4 at 10 a.m. CT in S103.
Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, excellence in patient care, and community service. The organization consists of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Penn’s Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine, founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school.
The Perelman School of Medicine is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $550 million awarded in the 2022 fiscal year. Home to a proud history of “firsts” in medicine, Penn Medicine teams have pioneered discoveries and innovations that have shaped modern medicine, including recent breakthroughs such as CAR T cell therapy for cancer and the mRNA technology used in COVID-19 vaccines.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities stretch from the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania to the New Jersey shore. These include the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Chester County Hospital, Lancaster General Health, Penn Medicine Princeton Health, and Pennsylvania Hospital—the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.
Penn Medicine is an $11.1 billion enterprise powered by more than 49,000 talented faculty and staff.