The ARC Foundation

Léopold Griffuel Awards

The ARC Foundation Léopold Griffuel Awards are one of the most prestigious scientific awards in cancer research in Europe. Since 1970, the ARC Foundation honors scientists and physicians who have made major contributions in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancers. It was established according to Mrs Griffuel’s will, in honor and memory of her late husband, Mr Léopold Griffuel.

On the occasion of the Léopold Griffuel Awards Ceremony, The ARC Foundation is organising a scientific symposium in honor of the laureates. This year, the awards selection committee chaired by Prof. Jules Hoffmann, Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine 2011, decided to reward two outstanding scientists, Prof. Riccardo Dalla-Favera and Prof. Richard Marais in Basic Research and Translational and Clinical Research, respectively.

Léopold Griffuel Award in Basic Research

Prof. Dalla-Favera, Director of the Institute for Cancer Genetics at Columbia University (New York, USA), is a preeminent cancer researcher who has established basic principles regarding the origin and development of cancer. He has made ground-breaking discoveries that have illuminated the pathogenesis of leukemias and human lymphomas , and most notably of Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphomas (DLBCL), the most common form of human lymphoma, by identifying many of the most recurrently found oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes in human lymphomas. His work started by the identification of c-MYC as a human proto-oncogene, together with Carlo Croce (37th ARC Foundation-Léopold Griffuel Award laureate)  and Robert Gallo (14th ARC Foundation-Léopold Griffuel Award laureate), and then extended to BCL-6, activated by translocations in roughly 20% of all DLBCL. Importantly, BCL6 has emerged as a tractable therapeutic target that holds promise for the treatment of most human aggressive lymphomas. Finally, a remarkable recent observation by Prof. Dalla-Favera is that lymphomas evade immune surveillance by acquiring inactivating mutations in genes that mediate immune recognition.

 

Léopold Griffuel Award in Translational and Clinical Research

Prof. Richard Marais, Director of the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Manchester Institute, is an internationally known investigator in melanoma research. He has made over the past two decades a series of seminal contributions to basic cancer genetics and subsequently applied his insights to drug development and prevention in the field of melanoma. Notably, his work has led to the identification of BRAF mutations in melanoma validating BRAF as a therapeutic target. Further characterizations of BRAF biology allowed a better understanding of mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies in melanoma patients. Recently, Prof. Marais research has also contributed to public health information regarding the use of sunscreen and the need to combine this with other sun avoidance strategies to reduce melanoma risk.