September 12, 2008

California Researcher and Surgeon to Receive ACCC’s Clinical Research Award

Donald L. Morton, MD, will receive the Association of Community Cancer Centers' 2008 Clinical Research Award. He will be honored for his extensive research, leadership, and commitment to individuals with melanoma. Dr. Morton is chief of the Melanoma Program and director of the Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program at the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif.

Dr. Morton is an accomplished surgical oncologist and a renowned clinical scientist whose fundamental discoveries have profoundly changed the treatment of human cancer. His pioneering work with intratumoral bacille Calmette-Guerin for melanoma represented the first successful clinical application of immunotherapy against a metastatic human cancer. His innovative studies of sentinel node mapping changed the standard of care for patients with early-stage malignant melanoma and other solid cancers that drain via the lymphatic system.

He will receive the award on Thursday, September 18, 2008, during ACCC's 25th Oncology Economics Conference in San Francisco, Calif. ACCC's Clinical Research Award is given to an individual whose research has significantly and positively impacted oncology patients, their families, and the community.

Dr. Morton has received NIH peer-reviewed research funding for 35 years; in the year 2000 he topped a list of clinical investigators who received the most grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (Science June 15, 2001). Dr. Morton's scientific contributions towards the immunology of cancer and surgical oncology have yielded more than 600 publications in peer-reviewed journals and have garnered him a long series of prestigious awards and honors. Dr. Morton is the past president of the International Sentinel Node Society, past president of the Society of Surgical Oncology, and past president of the World Federation of Surgical Oncology Societies.

Dr. Morton was chief of the division of surgical oncology at UCLA before establishing the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. As Chief of the Melanoma Program, Dr. Morton has guided the Institute to its present position as an internationally respected melanoma center. As Director of the Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program, Dr. Morton has trained more than 100 postdoctoral fellows, most of whom hold academic positions in medical schools or cancer institutes.

He received his MD degree from the University of California in San Francisco, and completed his residency and fellowship in surgery at the Cancer Research Institute, University of California Medical Center in San Francisco.

Among the past winners of ACCC's prestigious annual Clinical Research Award are David H. Johnson, MD; Lillian M. Nail, PhD, RN, FAAN; Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD, FACP; Saul Rivkin, MD; Henry Lynch, MD; and Vincent DeVita, Jr, MD.

The Association of Community Cancer Centers provides a national forum for addressing issues that affect community cancer programs, such as regulatory and legislative issues, measurements of the quality of care, and clinical research. Its unique membership of more than 670 hospital cancer programs and oncology private practices includes all members of the cancer care team: medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons, cancer program administrators and medical directors, oncology nurses, pharmacists, radiation therapists, oncology social workers, and cancer program data managers.