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Dr. Mothaffar Rimawi, medical director of the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Mothaffar Rimawi, medical director of the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine, has been selected to receive the C. Kent Osborne Award for Medical Excellence for his outstanding contributions to breast cancer research, advocacy and patient care.

“I'm honored to receive this award and proud to be a member of a team that works tirelessly every day to eliminate the pain and suffering of breast cancer,” said Rimawi, who also oversees the clinical breast program at the Harris Health System Smith Clinical and Ben Taub Hospital, both of which are staffed by Baylor physicians.

Rimawi, both a physician and leading scientist at Baylor, completed his residency and fellowship training at Baylor before becoming a full-time faculty member in 2005.

“Dr. Rimawi is a great credit to the breast center, and thoroughly deserves this award,” said Dr. Matthew Ellis, director of the Smith Breast Center. “His clinical care and devotion to clinical research is exemplary.”

His research focuses on translating laboratory findings to the clinic to develop new treatments, and then taking clinical findings and materials back to the lab to study them with other scientists.

A project Rimawi initiated in the lab as a fellow, under the mentorship of Drs. Kent Osborne, director of the NCI-designated Dan L Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor, and Rachel Schiff, associate professor in the Smith Breast Center, is now being studied in clinical trials nationally and at Baylor.

In the lab, Rimawi studied a protein called HER2, which is overexpressed in 20 to 25 percent of breast cancers, and drives the cancer cells’ growth and proliferation.

Rimawi studied a way to attack the protein with multiple different targeted drugs that did not include chemotherapy, which can be toxic and decrease quality of life in some patients.

He proved this concept in the lab, and clinical trials have so far shown some women may benefit from this combination of targeted treatment without chemotherapy.

The C. Kent Osborne Award was established last year by the Center’s Advisory Council to recognize outstanding contributions to breast cancer research, advocacy and patient care.

It will be presented at the 2015 Neiman Marcus Stiletto Strut and Luncheon Sept. 25, one of the center’s largest fundraising events.

It is named for Rimawi’s mentor Dr. Kent Osborne, currently director of the NCI-designated Dan L Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor.