January 28, 2022: 

The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium (Big Ten CRC) honored member institution, University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center and George Weiner, MD (pictured left), of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Iowa on Wednesday, January 26, during the monthly Big Ten CRC Grand Rounds meeting.

Big Ten CRC Institutional Leadership Award

The University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center received The Big Ten CRC Institutional Leadership Award for their exemplary participation in clinical trial working groups and strong record of accrual across several studies during 2021.

The Big Ten CRC Institutional Leadership Award is presented annually to the member institution that provides the greatest overall contribution to the success of the consortium. This award is given to the institution that led all member institutions in combined clinical trial working group participation and patient enrollment on Big Ten CRC clinical trials throughout the past year.

Photo of the Carbone Caner center, University of Wisconsin building

“Congratulations to Dr. Howard H. Bailey and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin for winning this year’s Big Ten CRC Institutional Leadership Award,” said Monika Joshi, MD, MRCP, Chief Scientific Officer of Big Ten CRC and associate professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology in the Department of Medicine at Penn State Cancer Institute.

“They have not only done a wonderful job of opening and accruing to our consortium’s clinical trials but also made significant contributions to the clinical trial working groups. They have set the bar very high for the rest of us!”


Pat Loehrer Award for Exemplary Collaboration in Cancer Research

George Weiner, MD, received the second award of the day, the Pat Loehrer Award for Exemplary Collaboration in Cancer Research.

The Pat Loehrer Award is presented annually to an individual researcher who best demonstrates collaboration within the Big Ten CRC.

George Weiner, MD is the director of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa. He also serves as C.E. Block Chair of Cancer Research, professor of internal medicine, and a faculty member in the interdisciplinary graduate program in immunology at the University of Iowa. He is director of the University of Iowa / Mayo Clinic Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in lymphoma, and president of the Iowa Cancer Consortium. For the Big Ten CRC, Dr. Weiner serves as chair of the Big Ten CRC Foundation.

“Dr. Weiner is one of the longest-serving and most respected directors among all of the NCI-Designated Cancer Centers in the country,” said Pat Loehrer, MD. Dr. Loehrer’s vision and leadership were key in the Big Ten CRC’s establishment and continued growth. Therefore, he was chosen for the inaugural award to be named in his honor.

Dr. Loehrer said Dr. Weiner is known to be a servant leader who has a vision, wisdom, and a sense of humor that enlightens and engages all who he meets. The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium is just one of Dr. Weiner’s many beneficiaries.

Headshot photo of George Weiner, MD.

From his start as director, Dr. Weiner has led the center through its $25 million naming gift from the Holden family in Williamsburg, its first National Cancer Institute (NCI) Center recognition, its designation as an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center, and watched the center transform into a world-renowned research, clinical, educational, and outreach operation.

Dr. Weiner’s research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of action of anti-cancer monoclonal antibodies, and on development of novel approaches to immunotherapy of lymphoma.

Dr. Weiner’s research extends from basic laboratory investigation to clinical trials. He was the first to demonstrate Toll Like Receptor 9 agonists could be used successfully as immune adjuvants in tumor immunization. He has made major contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms of action responsible for the anti-tumor activity of monoclonal antibodies.

Dr. Weiner is known for his ability to bring people together from diverse backgrounds and experiences, who all possess a common goal focused on cancer.

In addition to taking a collaborative approach within the Holden Cancer Center, Dr. Weiner expanded his cooperative vision beyond his home campus – designing and developing interdisciplinary programs with other institutions such as the Iowa Cancer Consortium, the IOWA/Mayo Lymphoma SPORE, and the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium.

“He embraced the notion of a new type of research collaboration and made it a reality. He engaged a disparate group of Cancer Center Directors and made them talk with each other. He encouraged a host of young faculty and facilitated their development into established translational researchers. In short, the world of oncology is a better place because of George Weiner, and I am a better person,” said Dr. Loehrer.

Dr. Weiner recognizes that bringing people together is one of the keys of a successful cancer center, a concept that has been demonstrated throughout his career as the director of the Holden Cancer Center and his leadership within the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium.

To continue collaboration across member institutions, members at University of Iowa Holden Cancer Center suggested and organized the first Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium Grand Rounds in 2020. As all member institutions became acclimated to virtual meetings due to the pandemic, this new installation emerged further collaborations between cancer centers in the Big Ten. Big Ten CRC Grand Rounds are now a monthly educational event hosted live by member institutions for faculty investigators, scientists, fellows, residents, medical students, and clinical research staff.

Big Ten CRC now invites industry representatives that hold active subscriptions to attend Big Ten CRC Grand Rounds.

The goal of the Big Ten CRC Grand Rounds is to expand awareness, dialogue, and opportunities for collaboration between its member institutions.

About the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium: The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium was created in 2013 to transform the conduct of cancer research through collaborative, hypothesis-driven, highly translational oncology trials that leverage the scientific and clinical expertise of Big Ten universities. The goal of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium is to create a unique team-research culture to drive science rapidly from ideas to new approaches to cancer treatment. Within this innovative environment, today’s research leaders collaborate with and mentor the research leaders of tomorrow with the unified goal of improving the lives of all patients with cancer.

About the Big Ten Conference: The Big Ten Conference is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in the lives of students competing in intercollegiate athletics and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. The broad-based programs of the 14 Big Ten institutions will provide over $200 million in direct financial support to more than 9,800 students for more than 11,000 participation opportunities on 350 teams in 42 different sports. The Big Ten sponsors 28 official conference sports, 14 for men and 14 for women, including the addition of men’s ice hockey and men’s and women’s lacrosse since 2013. For more information, visit www.bigten.org