The Foundation Council of „St. Gallen International Oncology Conferences“ (SONK) proudly announces the recipient of the „2017 St. Gallen International Breast Cancer Award“, which was presented at the opening session of the 15th St. Gallen International Breast Cancer Conference to Prof. Dr. med. Martine J. Piccart-Gebhardt, Head of the Department of Medical Oncology, Institut Jules Bordet, Brussels/Belgium.
Professor Dr. med. Martine Piccart-Gebhart, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor of oncology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)/Belgium and head of the department of Medicine at the Jules Bordet Institute of Cancer in Brussels/Belgium. She has earned her medical degree at ULB and her oncology qualifications in New York, USA and in London/GB, and is also a member of the Belgium Royal Academy of Medicine. Professor Piccart is the immediate past president of the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO). She has also held presidencies of the European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO), and has served on the Board of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
A strong advocate for, and leader of, international research collaborations, Professor Martine Piccart, together with Professor Aron Goldhirsch/Lugano, Switzerland, co-founded in 1996 the world-wide „Breast International Group" (BIG) to foster global research collaboration in clinical research and to accelerate the development of improved breast cancer treatments worldwide. This institution, which she chairs, unites 56 academic breast cancer research groups from around the world. BIG usually has more than 30 clinical trials under its umbrella at any given time, and several of BIG’s past studies are considered to be landmark events and practice-changing. Professor Piccart’s relentless drive for improved results of primary and curative breast cancer treatments has made her an international leader, who has forged collaborations all over the world, and has successfully managed a number of high-profile, Phase-3-trials, that have involved multiple international investigators and top institutions. Some examples in this line include: the HERA-trial (HERceptin adjuvant), the MINDACT-trial (Microarray in Node-Negative and 1-3 Node-Positive Lymphnode Disease May Avoid Chemotherapy) and ALTTO (Adjuvant Lapatinib and/or Trastuzumab Treatment Optimisation).
Throughout her career, Professor Martine Piccart has been honoured with numerous prestigious awards for her research contributions, including the Jill Rose Award for distinguished biomedical research in cancer (2009, New York, USA), the William McGuire Award in recognition of her contributions to breast cancer research (2009, San Antonio/USA), the Umberto Veronesi Award for the Future Fight Against Cancer (2012, Cancun, Mexico), the David Karnofsky Memorial Award in recognition of innovative clinical research and developments (2013, ASCO. Chicago/USA), and most recently, the Susan G. Komen’s Brinker Award for Scientfic Distinction (2015, SABCS, San Antonio/Texas, USA). As a longstanding clinician and clinical scientist, Professor Piccart is author or co-author of over 500 publications in peer-reviewed journals.
On a more private and cultural level, Martine Piccart, is a passionate piano-player, married to a renowned orthopaedic surgeon (Dr. Michael Gebhart), himself a passionate violinist. Together with their 3 daughters, who all have inherited the „musical genes“ from their parents, they are repeatedly performing as a family to benefit cancer research.
St. Gallen International Oncology Conferences (SONK) is greatly privileged to count on professor Martine Piccart as an active member of the scientific committee and as a regular invited speaker at the bi-annual St. Gallen International Breast Cancer Conferences, and we especially appreciate her well-founded and thought-provocative contributions in delicate post-presentation discussions! With the conferment of the 2017 St. Gallen International Breast Cancer Award, Foundation SONK wants to honour Professor Martine Piccart for her extraordinary clinical research contribution in the advancement of early, curative breast cancer research and treatment, and also for her faithfulness to the cause and mission of our ongoing line of international, practice-optimising St. Gallen International Breast Cancer Conferences.