PHOENIX, Ariz. - Nov. 13, 2008 -- Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, a world-renowned cancer scientist and Physician-In-Chief of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), was named Arizona's Community Service Leader of the Year today at the 2008 Governor's Celebration of Innovation.

Dr. Von Hoff, who also is Chief Scientific Officer of TGen Clinical Research Services at Scottsdale Healthcare, won the William F. McWhortor Community Service Leader of the Year award, presented annually to an individual or organization from industry, government or academia that contributes to Arizona's technology industry through relentless community involvement, leadership, visibility and excellence in economic development activity.

"Dr. Von Hoff has devoted a lifetime toward advancing the understanding and treatment of cancer. He shared the vision for the establishment of (TGen) a premier center for the application of the understanding of the human genome to the treatment of diseases," according to the presentation made by the Arizona Technology Council in partnership with the Arizona Department of Commerce and the Honorable Janet Napolitano, Governor of Arizona.

"The quality and diversity of this year's award recipients is a positive indication that technological innovation in both large established and emerging small companies is thriving in Arizona," said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council.

The prestigious awards ceremony, celebrating excellence in innovative technological advancement, was emceed at the Dodge Theatre by author Jane Poynter, one of eight people who lived sealed for two years in the early 1990s inside the artificial environment near Tucson known as Biosphere 2. She now is President of Paragon Space Development Corp., which develops technologies for extreme environments, such as space, under water and hyper-efficient buildings.

Other winners included:

-- Paolo Soleri - Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his many contributions in addressing environmental sustainability. Soleri is an internationally recognized Paradise Valley architect, artist and philosopher, and creator of the innovative city Arcosanti.

-- Jeff Morhet - Ed Denison Business Leader of the Year Award. Morhet is President and Chief Executive Officer of InNexus Biotechnology Inc., a drug development company at the Mayo Clinic Collaborative Research Building in Scottsdale.

-- Rep. Michele Reagan, R-Scottsdale, "Representative of the Year."

-- Sen. Barbara Leff, R-Paradise Valley, "Senator of the Year."


In addition to his work at TGen, Dr. Von Hoff is Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona, and a member of the Mayo Clinic's Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Von Hoff is a founder of TGen, a founder of the non-profit International Genomics Consortium based in Phoenix, and has helped bring countless other jobs to this community. His commitment was instrumental in helping establish the Scottsdale Clinical Research Institute, a hospital-based research institute that serves as a bridge between cure and care. It is one of the finest programs in the nation in its ability to help patients with advanced cancer. It is emblematic of the translation of discoveries in genomic science to specific treatments for individual patients.

Dr. Von Hoff earned his medical degree at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1973. Following an internship and residency at the University of California, San Francisco, he spent four years at the prestigious National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md.

After experience at the forefront of cancer research at NCI, he joined the faculty of the University of Texas in San Antonio, where during the next 20 years he expanded the knowledge of cancer biology and tumor growth factors.

Dr. Von Hoff moved to Arizona in 1999, serving as Director of the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson, and as Professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, before joining TGen.

In addition to his other duties, Dr. Von Hoff is serving a six-year presidential appointment (June 2004-March 2010) on the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Advisory Board. He also is past president of the American Association for Cancer Research, which with more than 28,000 members is the world's largest cancer research organization. He has published more than 540 scientific papers, more than 130 book chapters, and nearly 950 scientific abstracts. He is the holder of a dozen patents for new anti-cancer agents and medical devices.

For more than 35 years, Dr. Von Hoff has been devoted to advancing the understanding and treatment of cancer. His programs have two main goals:

-- Applying new knowledge to identify the best new targeted anti-cancer agents to treat individual cancer patients.

-- Curing pancreatic cancer.

The William F. McWhortor Community Service Leader of the Year award is named in honor of the late co-founder of the Arizona Innovation Network and its successor professional groups in Arizona, including the Arizona Technology Council, which have supported creative technological thinking. McWhortor, a Fountain Hills resident who died in 1997, patented a pattern recognition device in 1989 to help stop counterfeit checks.

Past winners of the McWhortor award include:

-- Ira A. Fulton, chairman and chief executive officer of Tempe-based Fulton Homes Inc.

-- Former Arizona State University President Lattie Coor.

-- Richard Mallery, partner and founding director of the Phoenix law firm Snell & Wilmer, for his successful efforts to bring the Translational Genomics Research Institute to Arizona.


About the Governor's Celebration of Innovation
The Governor's Celebration of Innovation was established in 2003 by combining two technology award ceremonies: the High Tech Industry Cluster's 17-year Innovator of the Year awards ceremony and the Arizona Software and Internet Association's 10-year "Celebration of Innovation." With the addition of the Governor's support, the Governor's Celebration of Innovation has become the premier technology community gathering of its kind in Arizona. For more information on GCOI, please visit

About the Arizona Technology Council
The Arizona Technology Council is a private, not-for-profit trade association founded to connect, represent and support the state's expanding technology industry. To promote economic growth and professional development in Arizona's technology sector, the Council provides members networking opportunities, business support and access to educational forums. The Council strives to distinguish Arizona as a leader in the technology community and offer resources that are exclusive to its members. To become a member or to learn more about the Arizona Technology Council, please visit

About the Arizona Department of Commerce
Collaborating with economic development partners statewide, the Arizona Department of Commerce works to create jobs, expand the tax base, increase per capita income and promote a globally competitive business environment. The agency provides reliable information and research, community assistance, targeted business attraction and development coupled with strategic workforce development. Nationally and internationally, the Department of Commerce promotes Arizona assets: a growing, high-tech workforce; competitive operating environment; easy access to major markets; affordable, available real estate; reliable utilities; abundant natural resources and an unmatched quality of life. For more information, visit

About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process.

Media Contact
Steve Yozwiak
Senior Science Writer
Translational Genomics Research Institute
(602) 343-8704
[email protected]

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