LBNL Mina Bissell Receives the American Cancer Society’s Highest Award


LBNL scientist Mina Bissell will receive the American Cancer Society (ACS) Medal of Honor for Basic Research at a formal presentation scheduled for November 21, 2008. The Medal of Honor is the highest award given by the American Cancer Society. It is presented to people who have made the most outstanding and valuable contributions in cancer research, clinical oncology, and to the public’s understanding of cancer. This is the latest of many honors awarded to Dr. Bissell for fundamental discoveries on the role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) on gene expression in tissues, and in particular the roles of ECM in modulating breast cancers. Bissell and collaborators showed that mammary cells in culture only attained proper three-dimensional conformations and behavior when embedded in ECMs. Moreover, the ECM has a potent inhibitory role in cancer. Cells with otherwise carcinogenic capability can be forced to behave normally when embedded in ECM. These and related discoveries by the Bissell group have fundamentally revolutionized many sectors of research into organ development and cancer.