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UNC Lineberger’s Patty Spears leads the Patient Advocates for Research Council.

The American Association of Cancer Research presented UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Patty Spears with the AACR 2020 Distinguished Public Service Award for Exceptional Leadership in Cancer Advocacy.

Spears, chair of the UNC Lineberger Patient Advocates for Research Council, is being recognized for her longstanding advocacy on behalf of cancer patients, their loved ones and caregivers through her work at the AACR, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the National Cancer Institute, the Food and Drug Administration and other organizations. A breast cancer survivor, Spears also educates cancer patients on the importance of participating in clinical trials, and she advocates for the need to include patient-reported outcomes in clinical trials.

“I am truly grateful and honored by this recognition. AACR has been supportive of advocacy and as an alumni of the AACR Scientist-Survivor program, I have been given the tools and knowledge to pursue so much more as an advocate for research,” Spears said.

The award presentation was scheduled to take place in the presence of more than 13,000 attendees at the AACR annual meeting’s opening ceremony in April, but AACR moved the meeting to a virtual format in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Spears was honored instead on June 23, and she made her presentation via a recorded video.

“Patty is a true force of nature and an incredibly effective and thoughtful advocate for those who are affected by cancer,” said Lisa A. Carey, MD, FASCO, deputy director of clinical sciences and the Richardson and the Marilyn Jacobs Preyer Distinguished Professor in Breast Cancer Research at UNC Lineberger. “As a cancer survivor, she knows how to make cancer research possible and to help patients partner with us to create the next best treatments. This is a wonderful honor and well deserved.”

About the AACR

The AACR was founded in 1907 and is the oldest and largest scientific organization in the world focused on every aspect of high-quality, innovative cancer research. Through its programs and services, the AACR fosters research in cancer and related biomedical science; accelerates the dissemination of new research findings among scientists and others dedicated to the conquest of cancer; promotes science education and training; and advances the understanding of cancer etiology, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment throughout the world.