Winners of ESMO 2019 awards announced

Lugano, Switzerland, 3 September 2019 – The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), the leading organisation for medical oncology, has revealed the 2019 winners of its annual awards. The four distinguished clinicians and scientists will be formally honoured during the ESMO Congress 2019 in Barcelona, on Friday, 27 September

ESMO Congress 2019
Official Congress Hashtag: #ESMO19

ESMO Award 2019 honours Eric Van Cutsem

This year’s ESMO Award goes to Prof. Eric Van Cutsem, the architect and current head of one of the earliest specialist oncology units for gastrointestinal cancers in Europe at University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium. The ESMO Award comes in recognition of Van Cutsem’s role as a pioneer in the field of gastrointestinal oncology and honours the contribution of the unit he created – one of the largest in western Europe today – to promoting medical oncology as a specialty within the GI oncology community.
“The award is an important stimulus to persevere in our efforts to understand gastrointestinal cancers more profoundly,” Van Cutsem said. “The most rewarding measure of our success is seeing that we can improve outcomes for patients. If you look at the number of big projects currently ongoing in fundamental and translational research, there are many biomarkers and molecular targets that I hope we will be able to make actionable to generate innovative treatment options in the future.”
Angelo Di Leo receives ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award 2019
Dr. Angelo Di Leo is to be presented with the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award 2019 in tribute to his outstanding career dedicated to cancer research and education. Di Leo is an internationally renowned expert in breast cancer, who pioneered research into the biology of these tumours and contributed significantly to the development of personalised treatment approaches for cancer patients. He also developed the medical oncology department at the Hospital of Prato, Italy, into a leading national centre for integrated cancer care and clinical research.
“It is a huge pleasure for me to receive such a prestigious award from what is now a global society,” he said. “I believe I have had two big achievements in my career: one has been to create this place in Prato, starting from nothing, where people now come to be cured of such a critical disease as cancer, with a lot of confidence in our programme. The other is that I have had the opportunity to work with and develop a team of young, extremely skilled oncologists and researchers – I am proud to say that the programme will successfully continue without me one day.”
ESMO Women for Oncology Award 2019 distinguishes Cristiana Sessa 
Prof. Cristiana Sessa, Scientific Clinical Consultant of the Clinical Trial Unit at Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale and Consultant for Gynaecological Cancer at the Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland (IOSI) in Bellinzona, Switzerland, is to receive the ESMO Women for Oncology Award 2019 for her contributions to supporting the career development of women in oncology and for her role in sensitising organisations to perceive the female oncology workforce as a valuable resource. A respected clinician and expert in the field of gynaecological cancers, Sessa has worked tirelessly to help the next generation of women climb the professional ladder, be it through direct mentorship or through her many activities aimed at facilitating access to education and development programmes for female oncologists.
“I appreciate this award very much, because it comes from people whom I admire and trust: being recognised by your peers is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have,” Sessa stated. “We need to keep spreading the message that female oncologists should have the chance to be visible, and to be represented on scientific committees. We must make today’s leaders understand that it’s time to promote young women. Women, in turn, should be ready and well-prepared to take on those responsibilities, so we need to provide them with the right education. The ESMO Women for Oncology Committee’s awareness and support programmes are crucial in this respect.”
Charles Swanton wins the ESMO Translational Research Award 2019
The 2019 ESMO Translational Research Awardee is Prof. Charles Swanton, Royal Society Napier Professor and Chief Clinician at Cancer Research UK. The Award honours Swanton’s exceptional achievements in translational research: among other things, his research group provided conclusive evidence that the way in which tumours evolve over time follows Darwinian principles of natural selection and branched evolution – and that this frequently constitutes an underlying cause of treatment failure.
“Our research is contributing to clinical trials of new treatment possibilities like T-cell therapies targeting clonal neoantigens. We are particularly excited about the role of circulating tumour DNA in the detection of minimal residual disease following surgery, to allow treatment escalation in the adjuvant setting within new clinical trial designs,” Swanton commented. “This award is an encouragement to continue with our work and I gratefully accept it on behalf of my team: it is for them, more than for me, because none of our progress would have been possible without their contributions. The funding and support of Cancer Research UK, UCL Hospitals BRC and the Francis Crick Institute have also been vital.”       

Share this article

More services


This article is featured in:
Companies and People


Comment on this article

You must be registered and logged in to leave a comment about this article.