Oncologist Dr. Azra Raza Wins Prestigious Award for Contribution

Jul 12, 2012


Dr. Azra Raza, director of the Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, will be awarded the prestigious Hope Funds For Cancer Research Award for outstanding contributions to cancer research and treatment. Dr. Raza will receive the award July 21 in Newport, Rhode Island. The Hope Funds for Cancer Research supports scientific and medical research aimed at increasing knowledge related to cancer care and prevention for the most difficult-to-treat and understudied cancers. The organization supports programs that it believes have a high probability of success in addressing unmet medical needs.

The award is presented annually to cancer researchers and clinicians who are at the top of their fields in advanced cancer care, demonstrate integrity and character, and have earned high regard from their peers. The recipients have advanced the field of oncology in ways that have meaningfully and significantly improved patient outcomes, as measured by increased life expectancy and/or improved quality of life. Dr. Raza is one of four cancer researchers and clinicians from around the country who will receive the award this year.

"I am deeply honored to be a recipient of a Hope Funds for Cancer Research Award," says Dr. Raza, who is also a professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. "I've dedicated my entire career to the pursuit of new therapies for myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and it's truly humbling to be recognized for these efforts."

"A leading oncologist and researcher in MDS since 1982, Dr. Raza is among an elite group of investigators who are proficient in both basic and clinical research," says Dr. Stephen G. Emerson, director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. "Determined to move these advances from bench to bedside, she has focused her basic research on developing new therapies and treatment for MDS, in an effort to improve patient outcomes."

While at Rush University in Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Raza established a highly productive translational research program in MDS that, along with a tissue repository containing more than 50,000 samples from MDS patients, was successfully relocated in 2004 to the University of Massachusetts, which she served as chief of hematology at its Worcester campus. In 2007 the program and repository were relocated to St. Vincent's Comprehensive Cancer Center, and finally, in 2010, to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. Raza has published the results of her basic research and clinical trials in numerous journals, including the Blood, British Journal of Hematology, Cancer, Cancer Research, Leukemia, Leukemia Research, Nature, and the New England Journal of Medicine. In total, she has published 250 papers, 15 book chapters and 510 abstracts, and has served as editor of a book on MDS.

Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center

The Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) of Columbia University and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is dedicated to the cure of cancer through innovative basic, clinical and population-based research and outstanding patient care. HICCC researchers and physicians are dedicated to understanding the biology of cancer and to applying that knowledge to the design of cancer therapies and prevention strategies that reduce its incidence and progression and improve the quality of the lives of those affected by cancer. Initially funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1972 and designated comprehensive in 1979, the HICCC is one of 40 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States, of which only three are in New York State. The designation recognizes the Center's collaborative environment and expertise in harnessing translational research to bridge scientific discovery to clinical delivery, with the ultimate goal of successfully introducing novel diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive approaches to cancer. For more information, visit www.hiccc.columbia.edu.

Columbia University Medical Center

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The Medical Center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree and is now among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and state and one of the largest in the United States. For more information, please visit www.cumc.columbia.edu.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,409 beds. The Hospital has nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including 12,797 deliveries and 195,294 visits to its emergency departments. NewYork-Presbyterian's 6,144 affiliated physicians and 19,376 staff provide state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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