Foundation for Women’s Cancer Contact: Ellen Sullivan: 708-220-6483

Claudia Cohen Research Foundation Contact:Christine Taylor: 212-572-5988

Dr. Michael Birrer Named Recipient of the 2016 Claudia Cohen Research Foundation Prize for Outstanding Gynecologic Cancer Researcher

Newswise — SAN DIEGO (March 20, 2016)—The Claudia Cohen Research Foundation and the Foundation for Women’s Cancer announced today that Michael J. Birrer, MD, PhD, has been selected as the 2016 recipient of the Claudia Cohen Research Foundation Prize for Outstanding Gynecologic Researcher. The $50,000 prize was presented today at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology’s 47th Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer in San Diego.

Dr. Birrer is Professor, Harvard Medical School, and Director, Gynecologic Medical Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“I am thrilled to have been selected for this prestigious award,” Dr. Birrer said. “To receive the Claudia Cohen Research Foundation prize is a great honor and I am humbled to be among such impressive previous honorees. In the thirty I have been involved in gynecological cancer research, I have never been as excited and optimistic as I am now for developing more effective tools to detect, diagnose and to treat these diseases.

“One of my favorite expressions I use with my patients suffering recurrent gynecological cancers is to tell them ‘Thirty years ago, this conversation would be very short but now there are many, many options.’ And with options comes great hope and with hope comes the very basis for progress.”

This is the seventh annual prize from the Claudia Cohen Research Foundation, which was formed in honor of Claudia Cohen, who lost her battle with uterine leiomyosarcoma in 2007. Ms. Cohen was a highly respected journalist and philanthropist. The Claudia Cohen Research Foundation was founded by Ms. Cohen’s daughter Samantha Perelman, with her sisters Caleigh and Debra, to foster cutting edge research in gynecologic cancer.

“The Claudia Cohen Research Foundation is proud to support leading scientific researchers who are striving for solutions to combat gynecologic cancers,” said Founder Samantha Perelman. “My mother Claudia was a strong and determined fighter, and in her honor, we are delighted to recognize Dr. Birrer for his diligence and dedication to improving the diagnosis and treatment of patients affected by reproductive cancers.

“Claudia was an incredibly kind and compassionate woman, who would be pleased to see how Dr. Birrer’s innovative research is benefitting women everywhere. CCRF applauds Dr. Birrer and his colleagues for their continued efforts to help women across the world.”

It was estimated that an estimated 98,000 women would be diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer in 2015 and about 30,000 would die from these cancers. Gynecologic cancers include cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar cancers.

The Claudia Cohen Prize for Outstanding Gynecologic Researcher is one of six prizes: four ovarian cancer grants, one endometrial research grant and one gynecologic cancer grant announced during the SGO Annual Meeting.

Since announcing its first grant in 1995, the Foundation for Women’s Cancer has awarded 120 research grants totaling more than $6 million. Its program targets promising young researchers who often receive their initial funding from the Foundation. The Foundation is grateful to the many families, individuals and corporate donors who give generously each year to support this important research endeavor.

“I extend our congratulations to Dr. Birrer for this well-earned recognition of his outstanding accomplishments,” said David Mutch, MD, Chair of the Foundation for Women’s Cancer. “We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Claudia Cohen Research Foundation, which recognizes the most productive researchers and provides key support as they continue to explore critical questions about how to improve outcomes for women diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer.”

For more information about the Foundation for Women’s Cancer and the prevention, early detection and optimal treatment of gynecologic cancers, visit

For more information about the Claudia Cohen Foundation, visit

About the Foundation for Women’s CancerAs the official foundation of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, the Foundation for Women’s Cancer supports the society’s mission to eradicate gynecologic oncology through research, education, and awareness. The Foundation has provided more than $6 million in research funding since 1995.

About the Claudia Cohen Research FoundationThe Claudia Cohen Research Foundation, established in 2009, is dedicated exclusively to support research to improve the treatment, control, and prevention of gynecologic cancer, with a special emphasis on gynecologic sarcoma. The purpose of The Claudia Cohen Prize for Outstanding Gynecologic Cancer Research is to champion the achievement of leaders in cutting-edge scientific research.


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