Clinical research award 2009

The European CanCer Organisation Clinical Research Award

The ECCO Clinical Research Award is conferred in recognition of an outstanding international contribution to the integration of scientific research and clinical practice in the field of cancer.

In 2009, ECCO confered 2 Clinical Research Awards, to Professor Martine Piccart (Belgium) and to Professor R.J. Heald (UK). Both awards were presented by Professor Alexander M.M. Eggermont during a Presidential session at the joint ECCO 15 – ESMO 34th Multidisciplinary Congress in Berlin.



Martine J. Piccart, M.D., Ph.D, is Professor of Oncology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Director of the Medicine Department at the Institut Jules Bordet, in Brussels, Belgium.   

Dr. Piccart earned her M.D. and Ph.D. at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, and received her oncology qualifications in New York and London.

She is a member of the ‘Académie Royale de Médecine de Belgique’.

With a primary interest in breast cancer and drug development, Dr. Piccart has a genuine interest for international research collaborations, and is the principal or co-principal investigator of many clinical trials, including HERA, MINDACT, and ALTTO.  She is co-founder and chair of the Brussels-based  Breast International Group (BIG), created in 1996 to facilitate international breast cancer clinical trials, and TRANSBIG, a European Commission supported translational research consortium to complement BIG’s clinical research network. BIG brings together 41 collaborative groups from around the world and has over 30 trials under its umbrella; TRANSBIG represents 39 institutions in 21 countries. 

Professor Piccart is an active member of many professional organisations, currently serving on the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Board and as president of the European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC).

She is author or co-author of more than 300 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and has received numerous prestigious awards for her contribution to research in oncology, including the ESMO Award for Exceptional Contribution to the Advancement of Medical Oncology in Europe (1997), a ‘Jacqueline Seroussi Memorial Foundation for Cancer Research Award’ for ‘International leadership in translational and clinical research that has improved treatment outcomes for women with early stage and advanced breast cancer’ (2005), the 14th Claude Jacquillat Award for achievements in clinical oncology (2006) and the ESMO-GSK Lifetime Achievement Award in Breast Cancer  Research (to the Breast International Group in 2006). She was awarded the ‘Miami Breast Cancer Conference Award of Excellence for 2007’ and will receive the Jill Rose Award for distinguished biomedical research at the 2009 BCRF Symposium in New York.




Bill Heald OBE, M.Chir., FRCS is Professor of Surgery at the North Hampshire Hospital and Surgical Director of the Pelican Cancer Centre, Basingstroke .

His main interest for the past 20 years has been the research and development of the total mesorectal excision (TME) technique for rectal cancer.

TME has become the new gold standard for the treatment of bowel cancer – improving cure rates and  reducing local recurrence. The technique was developed by Professor Heald at the North Hampshire Hospital, and is now being adopted across the country by surgeons who attend interactive workshops which are held at the Pelican Centre. Professor Heald’s expertise has been recognized throughout the world. He was recipient of the Gold Medal in Surgery from the Association of Surgery of the Netherlands , the Bengt Ihre Silver Medal from the Swedish Medical Society and the Cancer Bacup Award for Clinically Relevant Cancer Research.

Prof. Heald is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland . He is an elected member of council and has been vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He holds a Personal Chair at the University of Southampton and has an honorary doctorate from the University of Linkoping, Sweden. He was formerly President of the Coloproctology and Surgery sections of the Royal Society of Medicine. Professor Heald has been recognized throughout Europe with Honorary Professorships and Fellowships.

Prof. Heald and Mr Brendan Moran have conducted hundreds of TV-based operation  demonstrations and practical workshops.


Previous recipients of this award have been E. van der Schueren , K. Lundhom, H. zur Hausen, G. Bonadonna, M. Overgaard, L. Pahlman, P. Kleihues, P. Isaacson, R. Peto and C. van de Velde.


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