The 2021 Award goes to: Rebecca Fitzgerald MD FMedSci, MRC Cancer Unit, University of Cambridge
We are honoured to award this year’s Don Listwin Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cancer Early Detection to Rebecca Fitzgerald MD FMedSci, MRC Cancer Unit at the University of Cambridge and an internationally recognized pioneer for her exceptional research into the prevention and detection of oesophageal cancers.
This award is given to recognise and thank Rebecca for the work she has done to develop, grow and establish the research needed to detect cancer early.
She is the Interim Director of the MRC Cancer Unit, Hutchison-MRC Research Centre, Professor of Cancer Prevention, and Clinician Scientist leading research in the Early Detection of Cancer for the University of Cambridge and the CRUK Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED). Rebecca is known for the development of the Cytosponge technology, a sponge on a string that patients can swallow instead of undergoing an endoscopy. The Cytosponge collects cells from the oesophagus for staining, which can flag the presence of TFF3-positive cells indicative of Barrett’s oesophagus, a precursor to oesophageal cancer. Recently Rebecca and her team published work demonstrating that Cytosponge increases the identification of Barrett’s in individuals with frequent heart-burn symptoms by 10-fold compared to standard of care. The building of evidence for its clinical implementation for surveillance of high-risk individuals and in endoscopy sparing due to COVID-19 related pressures on health systems continues to make a vital impact to patients’ lives and is internationally recognised for its contribution towards breaking barriers in research.
Recognised by colleagues far and wide, her commitment to improving the wider research environment by enabling global research capabilities in oesophageal cancers and developing the research base in early detection through fostering collaborations are just a few of the reasons why we’re lucky to have her within the early detection community.