AACR Annual Report 2021


Policy and Advocacy

The AACR and its Associate Member Council brought together 28 early-career scientists in February to engage lawmakers via videoconference and advocate for federal funding for cancer research during the sixth annual AACR Early-Career Hill Day.


The AACR Office of Science Policy and Government Affairs serves as a powerful voice for the cancer research community, advocating for sustained federal investment in innovative cancer science. The office also serves as an authoritative source of information for policy makers and regulators, demonstrating the critical value of cancer research and supporting evidence-based policies that advance public health.

Science Policy and Government Affairs Committee: George D. Demetri, MD, FAACR, Chair

The AACR Science Policy and Government Affairs Committee identifies public issues of concern to the cancer research community and focuses on mechanisms for expediting cancer research. Its members engage with legislators and government agencies to educate them about these issues and to advocate for increased funding for cancer research.

2021 AACR-AACI Virtual Hill Day Program

AACR Cancer Progress Report 2021: Congressional Briefing

Regulatory Science and Policy Subcommittee: Kenneth C. Anderson, MD, FAACR, Chair

The AACR Regulatory Science and Policy Subcommittee develops and implements programs and policy initiatives to improve the development, evaluation, and regulation of cancer drugs, biologics, and devices.

Tobacco Products and Cancer Subcommittee: Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD, Chair

The AACR Tobacco Products and Cancer Subcommittee fosters scientific and policy initiatives to reduce the incidence of disease and mortality due to tobacco use.

Health Policy Subcommittee: Gilbert S. Omenn, MD, PhD, Chair

The AACR Health Policy Subcommittee advances policies and educational initiatives that foster the closer integration of clinical practice and cancer research.

Building Vaccine Confidence: Best Practices to Combat Misinformation and Vaccine Hesitancy in COVID-19 Vaccines

Survivor and Patient Advocacy

Through its Survivor and Patient Advocacy initiatives, the AACR fosters patient engagement in the research enterprise by building relationships between patient advocates and the scientific community.

Cancer Today Magazine

Cancer Today is the AACR’s award-winning magazine and website for cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers, which celebrated its tenth year of publication in 2021. For the past decade, the magazine has provided a vital resource for those navigating a cancer diagnosis, treatment, or survival. Among the most read stories published in 2021 were the following:

Distinguished Public Service Awards

The AACR Distinguished Public Service Award honors the extraordinary contributions of an individual or group whose groundbreaking, innovative work exemplifies the organization’s mission. The AACR honored three individuals in 2021 for their outstanding efforts to advance cancer science for the benefit of patients.

2021 AACR Distinguished Public Service Awards

Charles L. Sawyers, MD, FAACR
Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Chair in Human Oncology and Pathogenesis
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York

A world-renowned physician-scientist whose work was instrumental in developing the molecularly targeted cancer drug imatinib (Gleevec), Dr. Sawyers conceptualized AACR Project GENIE (Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange). Launched in 2015, AACR Project GENIE is an international, pancancer registry of real-world data, built through data sharing among participating institutions, with the goal of powering precision oncology and clinical decision-making. As the founding chair of the AACR Project GENIE executive and steering committees, Dr. Sawyers provided critical guidance during the project’s early years, expanding the size of the registry while promoting open science and collaboration.

Thanks to his leadership, the most recent public data release of AACR Project GENIE contained nearly 113,000 sequenced samples from more than 104,000 patients treated at 19 participating institutions, making the registry one of the largest fully public cancer genomic data sets. Dr. Sawyers received the Distinguished Public Service Award in recognition of his dedication to advancing precision medicine.

Nancy P. Pelosi
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC

Throughout her distinguished congressional career and now as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Pelosi has consistently advocated for robust, sustained, and predictable annual funding increases for the NIH and the NCI. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Pelosi helped to secure the doubling of the NIH budget from 1998 through 2003. In 2010, she provided critical support for the $10 billion the NIH received as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which funded innovative science that improved public health and drove progress against the myriad of diseases faced by individuals all over the world, including cancer. Rep. Pelosi received the Distinguished Public Service Award in recognition of her incredible leadership and extraordinary efforts on behalf of science-related issues.

Kathy Giusti, BS, MBA
Founder and Chief Mission Officer
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
Boston, Massachusetts

A 25-year multiple myeloma survivor, Ms. Giusti has served as the founder and chief mission officer of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) for more than two decades. She also founded the Harvard Business School (HBS) Kraft Precision Medicine Accelerator in 2015 and serves as its cochair. Drawing upon her experience as a patient and as a pioneer in precision medicine, she developed innovative models across patient registries, big data, and clinical trials. Under her leadership, the MMRF has raised more than $500 million to advance research and has played a significant role in bringing 15 new treatments to patients. Through the HBS Kraft Precision Medicine Accelerator, Dr. Giusti has worked with more than 300 leaders from throughout the health care ecosystem to identify and share best practices for advancing precision medicine. She received the Distinguished Public Service Award in recognition of her extraordinary, steadfast, and inspirational leadership in advancing innovative multiple myeloma research and drug discovery efforts.

Scientific Review and Grants Administration