SOURCE: Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation

Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation

March 15, 2017 12:34 ET

Dr. Anna Nowak Selected as Recipient of the Pioneer Award

ALEXANDRIA, VA--(Marketwired - March 15, 2017) - Dr. Anna Nowak, medical oncologist, is this year's recipient of the Pioneer Award for her exceptional achievements and dedication in mesothelioma research.

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation presents the award annually to thought-leaders and allies who have substantially contributed to the advancement of mesothelioma research, treatment, care, support, education, and advocacy.

The award will be presented during the International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma, on March 27, in Bethesda, MD. Congratulatory messages for all award recipients, which will be published in the evening's program, can be purchased at

Dr. Anna Nowak received her degree in medicine from the University of Western Australia in 1991, obtained advanced training in medical oncology in 1999, and then completed her PhD in 2002. Dr. Nowak's PhD catalyzed groundbreaking publications about gemcitabine, a chemotherapy drug used on tumor antigen-specific adaptive immunity, inciting recognition on international levels through the 2002 International Mesothelioma Interest Group New Investigator Award. Dr. Nowak also worked on a combination chemo-immunotherapy project, which resulted in curing up to 80% of mice with established tumors. This project has been widely cited and has generated clinical trials in other tumor types. Amongst a multitude of awards, Dr. Nowak has been awarded the 2005 Raine Research Prize for the best biomedical research paper from the University of Western Australia, and a prestigious Raine Priming Grant.

Regarding her clinical research in mesothelioma, Dr. Nowak led a multicenter chemotherapy trial, resulting in the first published validation of a Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQL) questionnaire in this disease. With Dr. Michael Byrne, she developed the Modified RECIST Criteria for tumor assessment in mesothelioma, a system that has been adopted worldwide for clinical trials in this disease. Dr. Nowak was one of several researchers to participate in the IASLC Mesothelioma Staging Project, which was the basis of the updated mesothelioma staging system that took effect earlier this year. Dr. Nowak has been an internationally recognized and instrumental figure in the mesothelioma community, and currently serves as a member of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation's Scientific Advisory Board.

"Not only is Dr. Nowak a talented scientist whose contributions to the field of mesothelioma research and treatment bring hope to our patient community; she is also an incredibly caring and humble clinician whose first and foremost priority is always the patient," said Melinda Kotzian, the chief executive officer of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.

"This Pioneer Award is one way in which we are able to honor her dedication and success," Ms. Kotzian added.

Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor of the lining of the lung, abdomen, or heart known to be caused by exposure to asbestos. With the life expectancy of less than one year after diagnosis, medical experts consider it one of the most aggressive and deadly of all cancers. An estimated one-third of those who develop mesothelioma were exposed while serving in the Navy or working in shipyards. Currently, few treatment options exist. There is no cure.

The Meso Foundation is the only 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating mesothelioma and easing the suffering caused by this cancer. The Meso Foundation actively seeks philanthropic support to fund mesothelioma research; provide patient support services and education; and advocate Congress for increased federal funding for mesothelioma research. The Meso Foundation is the only non-government funder of peer-reviewed scientific research to develop life-saving treatments for this extremely aggressive cancer. To date, the Foundation has awarded over $9.8 million to research. More information is available at

Contact Information

  • Maja Belamaric
    (703) 879-3822
    Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
    1317 King Street
    Alexandria, VA 22314