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Aflac Expands Decade-Long Partnership with AACR


PHILADELPHIA -- Recognizing the growing need to nurture the next generation of cancer researchers, Aflac, a leading provider of insurance products, has expanded its generous commitment to the American Association for Cancer Research by sponsoring the new AACR-Aflac Career Development Award for Pediatric Cancer Research, in addition to renewing its support for the AACR Associate Member Council and the AACR-Aflac Scholar-in-Training Awards, now in their 10th year.

At the heart of Aflac’s corporate mission and philanthropy is support for pediatric cancer. The AACR-Aflac Career Development Award for Pediatric Cancer speaks to this mission by providing four young investigators with research funding as they seek to establish a name for themselves in the field of pediatric cancer research.

Likewise, the Scholar-in-Training Awards enhance the education of early-career scientists by providing financial support to attend AACR Annual Meetings. Attended by more than 17,000 scientists from around the globe, the AACR Annual Meeting enables young investigators to present research, learn from various educational sessions and symposia, and take advantage of mentorship and networking opportunities.

“We are so grateful to Aflac for their continued support of promising young cancer researchers,” said AACR Chief Executive Officer Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.). “Not only do these awards provide a vital foundation for those just starting out in their careers, but they also help retain in cancer research some of the brightest scientists who might otherwise pursue careers in other areas of science.”

During a year of noteworthy anniversaries, Aflac increased their support in 2007 to mark its decade-long partnership with AACR, as well as the AACR Centennial. Commemorating 100 years of progress in cancer research, in 2007 the AACR honors past achievements and looks to foster future advancements in the fight against cancer.

“Providing scholarship and training awards toward cancer treatment and research is a part of Aflac’s commitment to help stamp out the disease,” said Buffy Swinehart, Aflac’s Manager of Philanthropy and Cause Related Marketing. “AACR highlights the best and brightest individuals to help make this possible and we are delighted to continue honoring those scientists who have committed their works to this great effort.”

Since 1997, more than 721 AACR-Aflac Scholar-in-Training Awards have been presented to AACR Associate Members, with an overwhelming number of these recipients remaining in the cancer research field and successfully moving ahead to the next stages of their careers. As part of Aflac’s 10th anniversary celebration, a special alumni event will be held during the AACR Annual Meeting on Monday, April 16, 2007, to reunite these young minds and marvel at their progress.

One such success story is Heather Cunliffe, Ph.D., a 2001 recipient of the AACR-Aflac Scholar-in-Training Award. Dr. Cunliffe is currently an investigator and head of the breast cancer research unit at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix, Ariz.

“Receiving the AACR-Aflac Award played an important role in my progress, as it allowed me to travel and present at the AACR-NCI-EORTC Meeting, where I met my now primary collaborator,” Cunliffe explained. “I am grateful to AACR and Aflac for their support, as it is likely that I would not have begun this fruitful collaboration without the necessary funding to attend this meeting.”


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