On Sunday April 7, 2013 the pancreatic cancer sequencing team at Johns Hopkins was awarded the 2013 Team Science Award from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). This prestigious award “recognizes an outstanding research team for innovative work that has advanced or will advance fundamental knowledge of cancer or a team that has applied existing knowledge to advance cancer detection, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment.”
When she presented the award to the team at the opening ceremonies of the annual AACR meeting in Washington D.C., Dr. Willman said that the Hopkins team was selected “because of the tremendous impact it has made on understanding of the fundamental genetic changes that characterize pancreatic cancer, research that has immediate clinical implications.”
While it is wonderful for the pancreatic cancer research team to be recognized in this way, the award also highlights something we firmly believe in here at Johns Hopkins- the power of collaborative science. While there is great power in individual scientist initiated research, we need to recognize that pancreatic cancer is a complex disease, and that this complexity can best be studied by collaborative teams- teams in which each member has a shared vision- alleviating the suffering caused by pancreatic cancer, and teams in which each member of the team brings their own unique expertise to the research and each selflessly gives their time and effort to the cause.
We obviously still have a long way to go in the war against pancreatic cancer, but it is nice on this occasion to recognize the collaborative science being conducted by the pancreatic cancer research team at Hopkins.