The American Association for Cancer Research, or AACR, has awarded Dr. Owen Witte, founding director emeritus of the UCLA Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, with the 2024 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Blood Cancer Research. Witte was chosen for his involvement in elucidating the role of tyrosine kinases — a type of enzyme — in blood cancers and for his pivotal role in developing novel cancer treatments.

Witte’s research also led to the discovery of Brutons tyrosine kinase, a protein essential for immune function, which can lead to the onset of immunodeficiency disease when mutated. This finding resulted in a targeted therapy for several types of leukemia and lymphoma with drugs like Ibrutinib. 

“It’s truly an extraordinary honor to receive this recognition,” said Witte, who is a member of the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. “For me, it’s an honor shared with all the researchers in my laboratory and collaborators who are working tirelessly to improve the lives of people diagnosed with cancer.”

Witte holds the Presidential Chair in Developmental Immunology at UCLA and has been appointed a University Professor by the University of California Board of Regents. He will be recognized at the AACR’s annual meeting in San Diego during an award lecture on April 9 at 4:30 p.m.