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Lynch Earns National Award for Lifetime Work in Hereditary Cancer

Lynch Earns National Award for Lifetime Work in Hereditary Cancer

Henry Lynch, M.D., director of Creighton University’s Hereditary Cancer Center and Charles F. and Mary C. Heider Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, will receive the prestigious Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for Clinical Research from the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR).

The award, which will be presented on Saturday, April 17, at the association’s 101st annual meeting in Washington D.C., recognizes Lynch’s “outstanding achievements in clinical cancer research.” Lynch is the 15th person to receive the annual award.

Lynch will also present a lecture on “Phenotypic and Genotypic Update of Lynch Syndrome” at the conference.

Lynch has long been considered a pioneer in the field of hereditary cancer research and prevention. As an internal medicine resident in the 1960s, Lynch met patients who had many family members who were affected by or had died from the same type of cancer; he hypothesized the cancer could be triggered by hereditary factors. That launched a lifelong pursuit to uncover genetic links to certain types of cancer that, at the time, his peers thought to be triggered almost solely by environmental causes.

In the 1970s, Lynch was the first to describe a hereditary breast ovarian cancer syndrome, findings that led to the identification of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 germline mutations that predispose women to this syndrome. Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, the most common form of hereditary colorectal cancer, is named after him as the Lynch syndrome.

The Burchenal award honors the late Dr. Joseph H. Burchenal, a past AACR chair and a major figure in clinical cancer research. It is the latest award that Lynch has received for his groundbreaking work in the hereditary cancer field. In 2009, he earned the National Consortium of Breast Centers IMPACT award.