Newswise — Douglas R. Lowy, MD, acting director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), will receive the
AACI Distinguished Scientist Award on October 21, during the 2019 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting
in Washington, DC.
The Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) is recognizing Dr. Lowy for his long-term
research on the molecular biology of tumor viruses and growth regulation, his role in enabling
the development of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, and his exploration of oncogenes
and tumor suppressor genes and their signaling pathways.
“The AACI board and national membership is honored to have this opportunity to recognize Dr.
Lowy’s scientific achievements,” said AACI President Roy A. Jensen, MD. “Doug has been a
champion of AACI cancer centers throughout his tenure at the NCI, and his breakthrough
laboratory discoveries have been an invaluable resource for the cancer research community.”
Dr. Lowy was named NCI’s acting director in April 2019 following the appointment of then-NCI
Director Norman Sharpless, MD, as acting commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration. Dr. Lowy also served as acting director from April 2015 to October 2017. Prior
to these appointments, Dr. Lowy had held the NCI deputy director position since 2010, helping
to lead NCI’s key scientific initiatives.
Dr. Lowy’s current research is examining the DLC1 tumor suppressor, which encodes a Rho-GAP
that is down-regulated in a wide variety of cancers, leading to the high Rho activity seen in
many advanced cancers. This work has identified important scaffold functions for DLC1,
including protein-protein interactions that contribute to the regulation of its activity and its role
as a tumor suppressor, and identified kinases that activate and inactivate the functions of DLC1
and the mechanisms by which they do so. Dr. Lowy also continues to pursue research on HPV.
In addition to serving as NCI acting director, Dr. Lowy is chief of the Laboratory of Cellular
Oncology in NCI’s Center for Cancer Research. In 2014, Dr. Lowy, with his colleague John
Schiller, MD, were honored by President Obama with the National Medal of Technology and
Innovation. In 2017, the scientists received the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research
Award, the country’s most prestigious honor for biomedical research, for their significant
research leading to the development of HPV vaccines. They were also recognized for their
contributions toward the development of HPV vaccines with the 2018 Szent-Györgyi Prize for
Progress in Cancer Research.
“At a time when AACI members are striving to eliminate cervical cancer and other HPV-related
cancers, Dr. Lowy’s contributions to science are especially significant,” said AACI Executive
Director Jennifer W. Pegher. “AACI is proud to honor Dr. Lowy for his positive impact on cancer
research and prevention.”
Previous AACI distinguished scientist honorees are Drs. Charles Perou, Carl June, James Allison,
Lewis Cantley, Tim Ley, Brian Druker, Lee Hartwell, Mary-Claire King, Janet Rowley, Stuart
Schreiber, Bert Vogelstein, Robert Weinberg, and Irving Weissman.
Representing 98 of North America's premier academic and freestanding cancer centers, the Association
of American Cancer Institutes is dedicated to reducing the burden of cancer by enhancing the impact of
leading cancer centers.