Hamilton Fairley Award

The distinguished Hamilton Fairley Award was established in 1988 to commemorate one of the founding fathers of medical oncology in Europe. It is presented to candidates who are internationally recognised for outstanding achievements in cancer science and clinical/translational research

The 2016 ESMO Awards will be presented during the ESMO 2016 Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark.

2016 – Carlos Caldas, UK

Carlos Caldas’ research focus is the functional genomics of breast cancer and its biological and clinical implications. His laboratory redefined the molecular taxonomy of breast cancer, revealing novel subtypes and their respective drivers. It also completed microRNA (miRNA) profiling of 1,300 of the same tumours, which uncovered a new role for miRNAs as modulators of the immune response in a subset of breast cancers.

Caldas’ group co-led seminal studies defining the clonal heterogeneity of triple negative breast cancers and the patterns of whole-genome oestrogen receptor binding in primary tumours, which revealed new biology. Finally, his group co-led studies that established circulating tumour DNA as a monitoring biomarker and a liquid biopsy to unravel therapy resistance. More recently Caldas’ laboratory has been developing the use of patient-derived tumour explants as a model system for breast cancer.

Carlos Caldas

I feel extremely honored and humbled with receiving this award. In particular, as a Portuguese physician-scientist based in the UK. I would like to acknowledge all current and past members of my group as well as my colleagues at the Cambridge Cancer Centre and at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. I would also like to acknowledge the support I have received from Cancer Research UK, which has funded most of the work in my group. Without them I would have never even been considered for this prestigious award.

Carlos Caldas, 2016 ESMO Hamilton Fairley Award Award winner

Caldas has been Professor of Cancer Medicine at the University of Cambridge, UK, since 2002. He is Head of the Breast Cancer Functional Genomics Laboratory at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, Honorary Consultant Medical Oncologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Lead of the Cambridge Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre, and Director of the Breast Cancer Programme at the Cambridge Cancer Centre.

On behalf of the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee, Christoph Zielinski said: “Prof. Carlos Caldas has excelled in molecular analyses and its implications in breast cancer where he has analysed an abundance of genomic and transcriptomic landscapes leading to a vastly ameliorated insight into the biology of the disease. Besides having published almost 400 original contributions on the topic, his research achievements have been published in such eminent journals as Nature, the New England Journal of Medicine, Oncogene and Nature Medicine.”

Previous winners of the Hamilton Fairley Award:

2015 – Cornelis Punt, Netherlands

Professor Cornelis Punt is a world leader in the field of gastrointestinal cancer and tumour immunology. A pioneer in the translation of immunotherapy approaches from the laboratory to the clinic, he has made a significant contribution to the development of dendritic cell vaccination. He is known as the designer and principal investigator of the Dutch Colorectal Cancer Group (DCCG) phase 3 CAIRO studies in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).

Punt is highly respected for involving other disciplines in his research, sharing his data with others, and creating a network including approximately 80% of Dutch hospitals. He is currently conducting CAIRO-4 and CAIRO-5 which, in common with the previous CAIRO studies, are addressing issues that are highly relevant for clinical practice and will provide a wealth of clinical and translational research data.

Punt has been an active ESMO member for more than 25 years and has been chairman of the ESMO Publication Committee, a member of the ESMO Educational Committee’s Faculty groups on Gastro-Intestinal Tumours; Melanoma; and Tumour Immunology and Immunotherapy. He was an associate editor of ESMO’s scientific journal, Annals of Oncology, from 1999 to 2014.

2014 – Heikki Joensuu, Finland

Heikki Joensuu is a member of the ESMO Faculty for Sarcoma. He is known internationally for his clinical and translational research on breast cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST). In 2000 Joensuu and his colleagues discovered that imatinib was effective for most advanced GISTs. In 2004 they began to research imatinib as adjuvant treatment of GIST and in 2011 found that it improved recurrence free survival and possibly overall survival. Joensuu has chaired important studies on breast cancer including the FinHer trial.

Joensuu took the International Baccalaureate examination at the United World College of the Atlantic, UK, before studying medicine at the University of Turku, Finland, where he graduated in 1981. He became a specialist in oncology and radiation therapy in 1987 and was appointed as a Lecturer in Experimental Oncology in 1988, then Lecturer in Clinical Oncology in 1990. Heikki Joensuu became Professor of Oncology at the University of Helsinki in 1994 at the age of 37, and acted as Medical Director of the Department of Oncology, Helsinki University Central Hospital from 1995 to 2009. He is currently an Academy Professor at the University of Helsinki and Research Director at the Helsinki Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

2013 – Roger Stupp, Switzerland

Prof Stupp is known worldwide for his research on malignant gliomas, head and neck as well as lung cancers. He has been the lead investigator for establishing the use of temozolomide chemotherapy in conjunction with radiotherapy in newly diagnosed glioblastoma and determining the predictive value of MGMT gene-promoter methylation. His special clinical interests include new drug development and the association of chemotherapy and radiation. His work in clinical research has contributed to an important practice change in the neurooncology filed, introducing novel chemotherapeutics after many years.

He is Professor at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, Chair and Director of the Department of Oncology of the University Hospital Zurich and the Zurich Cancer Centre. Prof Stupp has been lead investigator on several EORTC-sponsored large phase III trials and is closely involved in bringing new anti-angiogenic and biological treatments to the clinic.

  • 2012 – Jean-Yves Blay, France
  • 2011 - Rafael Rosell, Spain
  • 2010 - Bengt Glimelius, Sweden
  • 2009 - T.Andrew Lister, United Kingdom
  • 2008 - Yosef Yarden, Israel
  • 2006 - V. Diehl, Germany
  • 2004 - B.A.J. Ponder, United Kingdom
  • 2002 - A. Levitzki, Israel
  • 2000 - P. Borst, The Netherlands
  • 1998 - T. Tursz, France
  • 1996 - A. de la Chapelle, Finland
  • 1994 - B. Coiffier, France
  • 1992 - H.M. Pinedo, The Netherlands
  • 1990 - R. Mertelsmann, Germany
  • 1988 - G. Klein, Sweden

Nomination process and eligibility

Nominations can be made by any ESMO Full, Junior, Honorary or Emeritus member. You cannot nominate yourself. To access the nomination form, you will be asked to sign in to your  myESMO account

In order to be considered for election, a nominee must:

  • Be an individual (institutions and organisations are not eligible) who has made an impact in cancer science throughout their career and are recognised for their outstanding contribution to translational medicine, which has led to successful application in the clinic.
  • Have published research results in significant and peer-reviewed journals
  • Be an oncology professional, medical or clinical oncologist
  • Be an ESMO member
  • Have not previously received the Hamilton Fairley Award
  • Not be a current or recent (last two years) member of either the ESMO Executive Board or the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee

Selection process and recognition

All nominations received by the nomination deadline will be evaluated by by the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee. After careful deliberations by the committee, its recommendations are forwarded to the ESMO Executive Board for final consideration and selection.

The award consists of a prize and the opportunity to give a lecture at the annual ESMO 2016, free registration, free accommodation and reimbursement of travel expenses.