An Extraordinary Legacy Continues

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
July 9, 2020

The entire childhood cancer community knew that when it came to honoring the legacy of Robert J. Arceci, M.D., Ph.D., only something extraordinary would do.

Known for thinking outside the box and his passion for finding cures, Bob was something of a Renaissance man – treating patients, conducting lab research, editing research publications, creating a PBS documentary on childhood, serving as board member and chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for St. Baldrick’s and much more.

Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award recipient, Dr. Paul A. Northcott of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Giving outstanding researchers the freedom to pursue innovative science with no strings attached, the St. Baldrick’s Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award totals $750,000 over a three-year period. It is a fitting award for someone who pushed boundaries.

In its fifth year, the award bearing Bob’s name has been presented to another exceptionally innovative researcher, Dr. Paul A. Northcott of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Only a handful of researchers are nominated each year, and an expert Selection Committee has the difficult job of choosing one recipient from the U.S. or Canada each spring, and one from another country each fall.

Dr. Northcott’s work focuses on medulloblastoma, a common and too often deadly form of brain cancer. Already he has led research that shows this isn’t one disease, but a collection of subgroups, each of which is associated with distinct genetics, age of onset and survival patterns. These findings are now beginning to directly impact how children with medulloblastoma are diagnosed and treated.

The nomination letter for Dr. Northcott for the award said he has “a natural talent for identifying significant research areas and fearlessly moving in new directions to address the most interesting questions. He forges productive collaborations to drive rapid progress.”

“I think it is fair to say that Paul Northcott has been one of the key researchers worldwide in the field of medulloblastoma biology over the past decade,” said Dr. Stefan Pfister of the Hopp Children’s Cancer Center in Heidelberg, Germany. “He has proven in three different labs in three different countries by now that he will deliver world-class contributions to science… and he is always in search of opportunities to translate research discoveries into patient benefit.”

The only requirement of Dr. Northcott, as recipient of this award, is to report on progress every six months. If his work is as impressive as past recipients – as is it sure to be – that will be exciting to watch.

“Receiving the prestigious St. Baldrick’s Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award provides my lab with the opportunity to more aggressively tackle additional high-risk, high-reward research projects that address fundamental questions in medulloblastoma that would not otherwise be feasible,” said Dr. Northcott. “Funding for biomedical research is vital to continue progress toward finding cures for life-threatening diseases. I am thus most grateful to have been selected for this award and to receive this generous level of support for my research program.”

Your support of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and the Robert Arceci Memorial Fund make innovative research like this possible, to cure childhood cancers.

Join us today and #DFYchildhoodCancers!


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