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Oettlé Memorial award 2020 to Professor Paul Ruff

History of the Medal

Professor Paul Ruff

Paul Ruff has been selected to receive the coveted A.G. Oettlé Memorial medal from CANSA in recognition of his outstanding contributions to cancer research. Paul clearly aligns the spirit and action required of the AG Oettlé Medal awardees. In particular, his approach entails the use of scientific evidence-based research to optimise the prevention and management of cancer in South Africa.

Professor Paul Ruff has been Chief Specialist, Professor and Head of the Division of Medical Oncology of the Department of Medicine at the University of Witwatersrand Faculty of Health Sciences and Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital since 2002.

Professor Ruff runs the Medical Oncology Research Laboratory at the University of the Witwatersrand Faculty of Health Sciences with Professor Clement Penny. This laboratory studies metastasis and angiogenesis in gastrointestinal cancer and has previously studied mutations in the oestrogen receptor and brca-1 and brca-2 genes in breast cancer.

In collaboration with the Wits Health Consortium, Professor Ruff also runs the Johannesburg Oncology Clinical Trial Unit performing clinical trials in hepatocellular carcinoma, colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, renal cell cancer, carcinoma of the nasopharynx, chronic myeloid leukaemia, lymphomas as well as with antiemetic agents.

As a medical oncologist, Professor Ruff sees all types of cancer patients, but his primary research interest is in colorectal cancer. He also has an interest in AIDS-related malignancies.

Paul serves on a number of committees appointed by the Minister of Health for the South African Department of Health, including the Medicines Control Council (MCC), the Clinical Trials Committee of the Medicines Control Council (MCC CTC), the Expert Committee on Tertiary/Quaternary Essential Medicines (EML Committee) and the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Cancer (MACC).

He is also chairman of the South African National Cancer Registry Scientific Advisory Committee and is a past member of the Inaugural South African Bone Marrow Registry Management Board. He is a member of the Research Committee of the Cancer Association of South Africa and has held various posts in the South African Society of Medical Oncology, including its chairmanship from 2008 – 2013.

Professor Ruff was also appointed as one of two African representatives to the International Affairs Committee of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO IAC) in 2013.

Paul’s publication record illustrates his extensive research in the field of cancer. He has authored or co-authored over 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals, recently including a number of landmark papers on the use of biological therapies for advanced colorectal cancer. In addition, Professor Ruff has presented over 140 papers and 45 posters at local and international scientific meetings. His overall h-index stands at 33. He has published a paper on the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2009, which was cited 2 937 times and for which he was named the most cited researcher in the Wits Faculty of Health Sciences in 2015. Paul has three other publications in the field of cancer that have each been cited over 830 times.

Other recent Honours are invitations to deliver the Geoffrey Falkson Honorary Lecture at SASMO Conference (2018) and University of Witwatersrand, Faculty of Health Sciences Distinguished Lecture on “Advances in the management of colorectal cancer” (2017).

CANSA honours this distinguished clinician and scientist in recognition of his remarkable contribution to the use of research and experimental evidence to advance the management of cancer.

Read more about previous winners of the medal

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