Cancer-fighters honoured by national association

01 November 2010 | Story by Newsroom

Emeritus Professor Basil Bloch & Professor Anna-Lise WilliamsonSalute: UCT's Emer Prof Basil Bloch (second from left) and Prof Anna-Lise Williamson (second from right) hold their AG Oettlé Memorial Medals, presented to them by Sue Janse van Rensburg, CEO of CANSA, and Dr Carl Albrecht, head of research at CANSA.

The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) has awarded its prestigious AG Oettlé Memorial Medal to two UCT scholars - Emeritus Professor Basil Bloch and Professor Anna-Lise Williamson - for their outstanding contribution to cancer research and service to CANSA.

Bloch, internationally renowned as a gynaecologic oncologist, was honoured for his long service to a number of medical societies and committees, including an 18-year stint as council member and vice-president of CANSA, as well as three years as president of the association. He headed UCT's Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology for 10 years until his retirement in 1995.

In turn, Williamson was recognised for her work on the human papillomavirus, the leading cause of cervical cancer. Williamson is based in UCT's Division of Medical Virology, where she also holds the chair in vaccinology under the South African Research Chairs Initiative.

The CANSA medal is named in memory of cancer-research pioneer Dr Alfred George Oettlé, who started a small research unit at the South African Institute for Medical Research. The unit grew and in 1958 became the responsibility of CANSA. Oettlé died in 1967 aged just 47, and CANSA established the AG Oettlé Memorial Medal in 1969.

Bloch and Williamson were presented with their medals from CANSA at the Women's Health Conference in Johannesburg in early September.

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