Dr. Owen N. Witte recipient of the AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Blood Cancer Research

This award, supported by AbbVie, recognizes an individual based on their meritorious achievements and contributions to any aspect of blood cancer research.

Witte, a Fellow of the AACR Academy, is the President’s Chair in developmental immunology; University Professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, and molecular and medical pharmacology; director emeritus of the Eli & Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research; and member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, Los Angeles. He is being recognized for his unprecedented contributions to elucidating the role of tyrosine kinases in hematologic malignancies and for his pivotal role in developing novel cancer treatments. He was the first to identify the ABL fusion oncoprotein in leukemia and to predict that mutated ABL kinase could serve as a viable drug target, which would, in turn, lead to the development of imatinib as a frontline therapy for chronic myeloid leukemia. He later described Bruton’s tyrosine kinases (BTK) as key drivers of antigen-activated lymphomas and autoimmune disease, a breakthrough discovery that would result in the clinical development of the FDA-approved BTK inhibitor, ibrutinib, for the treatment of B-cell lymphoma.

Witte’s award lecture was held on Tuesday, April 9 at the AACR annual meeting in San Diego. 

View the full list of recipients in the AACR Scientific Achievement Award Recipients newsroom.