MUSC Hollings Cancer Center director receives AACR Distinguished Service Award

April 11, 2022
Dr. Raymond N. DuBois gives an acceptance speech onstage during the opening ceremony of the 2022 American Association of Cancer Research convention
Dr. Raymond N. DuBois delivers his acceptance speech after receiving the Distinguished Service Award during the opening ceremony of the 2022 AACR convention on April 10. Photo provided

Raymond N. DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., received the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Distinguished Service Award during the opening ceremony of the 2022 AACR convention on April 10.

DuBois, who is director of MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, AACR past president and president and chair of the AACR Foundation, said he was surprised and honored to receive the award. Having been a member of the organization since 1991, DuBois said he has benefited from its strong network of cancer scientists and exposure to the latest in cancer research developments over the past three decades.

Philip Greenberg, M.D., AACR president elect and head of the Program in Immunology Clinical Research Division at the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, presented the award to DuBois. The award recognizes people whose extraordinary work has exemplified the AACR’s mission to prevent and cure all cancers through research, education, communication, collaboration, science policy, advocacy and funding for cancer research.

“Dr. DuBois is a physician scientist and administrator with far-reaching expertise in basic translational and clinical research. His innovative work, including the use of nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory mediators for the prevention of colorectal cancer has made him an international leader in the field of early detection, interception, and prevention of the disease.”

Dr. Raymond N. DuBois sits in front of a microscope in his research lab 
DuBois is an international leader in colorectal cancer research. Photo by Marquel Coaxum

Greenberg also cited DuBois’ exceptional leadership in the scientific community that has garnered national and international acclaim. “The AACR has benefited enormously from his time and expertise. Since he joined AACR more than 25 years ago, he has served in many critical leadership roles, including as AACR president, as a member of the board of directors and as an editor in chief of the AACR Journal of Cancer Prevention Research. For the past eight years, he served as the president and chair of the AACR Foundation Board of Trustees, and during that time, he transformed AACR’s ability to fund the pursuit of our mission.”

DuBois, in his acceptance speech, recognized the impact his various roles with AACR has made on his career. “This has been and continues to be a crucial component of my professional life as a career cancer researcher,” he said. “This organization provides many ways to meet other cancer scientists worldwide, connect to the latest advances in cancer medicine and help develop the best treatments from the more than 200 diseases that we call cancer.”

Celebrating its 115th anniversary this year, the AACR was founded in 1907, when a cancer diagnosis was essentially a death sentence. “Nobody understood why human cells became cancer cells. They didn't understand how they could evade the immune system, and ultimately take over our healthy organs. One hundred and fifteen years later, a deep and comprehensive understanding of cancer remains elusive, but we know so much more than we did back then.”

DuBois said the AACR has been invaluable in a sea change that has happened in how cancer is perceived and treated and that he has been privileged to contribute to the demystification of what now is seen as a complex collection of diseases.

“To have this kind of impact is hard to achieve in isolation. The AACR has opened the door for me to attend some of the most enlightening research conferences worldwide and meet the best and brightest researchers and advocates on the planet in cancer research,” DuBois said. “The various roles in the AACR and the foundation that I've assumed have given me insight into the ever-changing waves of politics, funding, medical advances and research breakthroughs, as I've run my own lab and served in leadership positions at a range of academic institutions.”

Greenberg noted many of DuBois’ accomplishments, including being recipient of the Dorothy P. Landon AACR Cancer Research prize for translational cancer research, the Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Gastroenterology Association, the AACR Richard and Linda Rosenthal Foundation Cancer Research Award and the AACR Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research.

DuBois also is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Gastroenterology Association and the Royal College of Physicians. He was elected as a member of the inaugural class of fellows of the AACR Academy in 2013. DuBois recently was appointed executive chairman of the Board of the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research.

“Even though Dr. DuBois will be stepping down from his role as president of the AACR Foundation Board of Trustees this year,” Greenberg said, “his forward focus and guidance will continue to propel AACR toward its goal of preventing and curing all cancers.”