ESMO Press Release: ESMO Honours Exceptional Oncologists

  • Date: 24 Aug 2015

Lugano, Switzerland -- The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), the leading European professional organisation for advancing medical oncology, announced today the three exceptional medical oncologists who will receive its acclaimed awards.

Nathan Cherny is given the ESMO Award for his visionary integration of palliative care into clinical oncology1

Nathan Cherny

Nathan Cherny

Cherny helped to establish the ESMO Palliative Care Working Group in 1999, and was instrumental in setting up the ESMO Designated Centres of Integrated Oncology and Palliative Care programme in 2003, the premier initiative of its kind worldwide. Cherny spearheaded the European and Global Opioid Policy Initiatives on formulary availability and regulatory barriers to access to opioids for cancer pain which were published in Annals of Oncology 2 in 2010 and 2013, respectively. Most recently he formulated the idea to develop a scale to evaluate the magnitude of clinical benefit of cancer medicines and the resulting ESMO Task Force produced an acclaimed publication in May 2015.3

“Prof Cherny has contributed impressively to the integration of palliative care into clinical oncology which has proved to be highly beneficial to patients with cancer ever since,” said Christoph Zielinski, Chair of the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee, a group of renowned cancer leaders charged with selecting top class international researchers and clinicians for recognition. “His important and visionary contributions range from community based medicine to issues of international importance translatable to the access of modern drugs for the individual patient.”

On receiving the award, Cherny said: “ESMO gave me a chance to help make a difference, and together I think that we have made an impact on the culture of cancer care and the manner in which it is delivered in Europe and beyond. For that opportunity and support, I am overwhelmingly and forever grateful.”

Read the Press Release: ESMO Award Goes to Nathan Cherny

Nagahiro Saijo wins the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award for consolidating the field of medical oncology in Japan4

Nagahiro Saijo

Nagahiro Saijo

Saijo raised the status of medical oncology in Asia, especially Japan, with strong support from ESMO. He is a founder and the first president of the Japanese Society of Medical Oncology (JSMO). He is currently CEO of JSMO. He adapted the ESMO/ASCO Global Curriculum for Training in Medical Oncology and launched the certification of medical oncologists in Japan in 2006. Under his leadership, ESMO’s official journal Annals of Oncology also became JSMO’s official scientific publication.

Christoph Zielinski said: “It is a rare privilege to award the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award to a person who has dedicated his entire life so impressively to ameliorate treatment of thoracic malignancies and its outcome.”

“This is the first time an Asian oncologist has been given the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award and I strongly believe it will encourage medical oncologists in Europe and other regions,” said Saijo on receiving the award. “I am very much delighted and honoured, both for myself and for my colleagues who have been devoted to the development of medical oncology in Asian countries including Japan.”

Read the Press Release: ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award Recognises Nagahiro Saijo

Cornelis (Kees) Punt is presented with the Hamilton Fairley Award for his pioneering work in the translation of immunotherapy approaches from the laboratory to the clinic5

Cornelis Punt

Cornelis Punt

Punt is a world leader in the field of gastrointestinal cancer who has made a significant contribution to the development of dendritic cell vaccination. He is internationally known as the designer and principal investigator of the Dutch Colorectal Cancer Group (DCCG) phase 3 CAIRO studies in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) which have contributed to the international standard of care for mCRC.

Christoph Zielinski said: “Prof Punt is a leader in European contributions to the field of colorectal cancer. He has played decisive roles in the generation of important advances in the field leading to an amelioration of the prognosis and disease course of patients with this particular group of diseases. ESMO is proud to have important leaders in the field of oncology within its ranks and recognises this by presenting one of its highest accolades to Prof Punt.”

On receiving the award, Punt said: “I am very honoured to have been selected for this prestigious ESMO award. Given the line of my research, I consider this award as recognition of the great value of investigator-initiated clinical and translational research.”

Read the Press Release: ESMO Declares Cornelis Punt Winner of Hamilton Fairley Award


  1. The ESMO Award will be presented to Nathan Cherny during the ESMO Society Session on Monday 28 September 2015 at 16:45 to 18:45 in Hall A5.
  2. Published in Annals of Oncology:
    1. 2010
    2. 2013
  3. ESMO Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale
  4. The ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Nagahiro Saijo during the ESMO Society Session on Monday 28 September 2015 at 16:45 to 18:45 in Hall A5. Prof Saijo will give a lecture during this session.
  5. The Hamilton Fairley Award will be presented to Cornelis Punt during the Presidential II Session on Sunday 27 September 2015 from 14:45 to 16:45 in Hall D1. Prof Punt will give a scientific lecture on his area of expertise during this session.

Info on all ESMO awards is available at

About the European Society for Medical Oncology

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) is the leading European professional organization committed to advancing the specialty of medical oncology and promoting a multidisciplinary approach to cancer treatment and care.
ESMO’s mission is to advance cancer care and cure through fostering and disseminating good science that leads to better medicine and determines best practice.
ESMO’s scientific journal, Annals of Oncology, ranks among the top clinical oncology journals worldwide. ESMO events are the meeting place in Europe for medical oncologists to update their knowledge, to network and to exchange ideas.