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‘Father of Tamoxifen’ receives Sir James Black Award

V. Craig Jordan, Ph.D., a breast cancer research pioneer known for his development of the therapeutic drug tamoxifen, has been named a recipient of the Sir James Black Award from the British Pharmacological Society.

Jordan, a professor in the Department of Breast Medical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, was presented the award at an award ceremony in London. The award recognizes scientists for discoveries of important principles for drug treatment.

The award is named for Sir James W. Black, a Nobel-prize winning scientist known for his discovery of the beta blocker propranolol and the H2 blocker cimetidine that contributed significantly in the treatment of angina and stomach ulcers. Black was chancellor of the University of Dundee, Scotland.

Jordan is credited with reinventing a failed contraceptive (known as ICI 46,474) as a breast cancer treatment. The drug, in existence since the 1960s, was originally created to block estrogen in the hopes of preventing pregnancy. Jordan developed the strategy of long-term adjuvant tamoxifen therapy, as well as describing and deciphering the properties of a new group of medicines called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). He was the first to discover the preventive abilities of both tamoxifen and the drug raloxifene. The medicines were approved by the Food and Drug Administration for reducing breast cancer incidence in high-risk women.

Jordan, who was born in New Braunfels, Texas and raised in England, has dual British and U.S. citizenship. In 2002, he received the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II for services to international breast cancer research. He earned a Ph.D. and D.Sc. from the University of Leeds and in 2001 received an honorary M.D. from his alma mater.