The Latest Luminaries: Meet the 2016 Giants

Tony Berberabe, MPH @OncBiz_Wiz
Published: Thursday, Nov 10, 2016
This year’s roster of candidates for the 2016 Giants of Cancer Care® awards was packed with more than 500 US and foreign nominees, a group of esteemed oncology researchers and practitioners that was narrowed down to 46 semifinalists in June. At last, the winners of the 2016 Giants of Cancer Care awards are revealed:
  • Larry Norton, MD—Breast Cancer
  • Joyce A. O’Shaughnessy, MD—Community Outreach/Education
  • Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD—Gastrointestinal Cancer
  • Robert J. Motzer, MD—Genitourinary Cancer
  • James F. Holland, MD—Hematologic Malignancies
  • Frances A. Shepherd, MD—Lung Cancer
  • Jeffrey S. Weber, MD, PhD—Melanoma
  • Samuel Hellman, MD—Radiation Oncology
  • John Mendelsohn, MD—Scientific Advances
  • Sir Murray F. Brennan, MD—Surgical Oncology
The elite group was introduced during the 34th Annual Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium: Innovative Cancer Therapy for Tomorrow®, which Physicians’ Education Resource (PER®) hosted November 9-11 in New York City. The winners were chosen from the largest field of nominees ever considered in the 4-year history of the Giants of Cancer Care awards program, which OncLive launched to honor individuals who have contributed to advances in the understanding of cancer and the treatment of patients.

The selection program for this year’s winners kicked off in November 2015 when nominations opened. The Advisory Board culled through the nominations to narrow the field to 46-worthy candidates in 10 categories. A 90-member Selection Committee then voted on each candidate, and considered each finalist’s body of work, including clinical impact, significant contributions, and overall accomplishments.

The chair of the 2016 Advisory Board, Maurie Markman, MD, said many of the outstanding nominees represent the leading edge of cancer research and clinical practice. Markman is president of Medicine & Science at Cancer Treatment Centers of America and has more than 20 years’ experience in cancer treatment and gynecologic research at some of the country’s most prominent medical centers.

The mission of the Giants of Cancer Care program is to recognize and celebrate pioneers, innovators, and rising leaders who have made remarkable achievements in oncologic research and clinical practice.

The physicians and scientists of the 2016 class span a broad range of disciplines, representing some of the most important areas in cancer research today. These individuals are leaders in oncology, and this initiative recognizes the importance of their efforts to fellow clinicians and to their patients.

Clinical practice is a common theme that emerges among the recipients of the 2016 Giants of Cancer Care awards. For some of the recipients, cancer has affected a family member or friend, which had a far-reaching effect on their careers and their professional dedication. But for other honorees this year, it was the simple compassion for other people that pushed them forward.

Many of this year’s nominees have labored tirelessly to optimize patient care. They share a profound curiosity about the biology of cancer.

When asked about personal successes, this year’s Giants, like previous classes, credited the work of others in their laboratories or on their clinical teams. They also cited the work of those scientists, clinicians, and mentors who have come before them.

This underlying graciousness and humility is a testament to the greatness of character of each of these researchers and practitioners. Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, MD, honored in 2015 in the Breast Cancer category, explained that, “We all build on the observations and accomplishments of our predecessors. It’s just that we had the opportunity and ability to synthesize the knowledge that existed at the time.” Initially launched in 2013, this dynamic program has laid the groundwork for future development and expansion, honoring not only the oncology trailblazers of today, but also cultivating the aspirations of a new generation who are the potential Giants of Cancer Care in years to come.

Kicking off the 2017 campaign will be the new chair of the Advisory Board, Patrick I. Borgen, MD. He chairs the Department of Surgery at Maimonides Medical Center Hospital and heads the Maimonides Breast Center in Brooklyn, New York. Borgen also serves as the program chair for the Miami Breast Cancer Conference®, one of the nation’s largest breast cancer meetings, which PER hosts annually in Miami Beach, Florida.

As the program moves into its fifth year in 2017, OncLive looks forward to honoring more innovators and pioneers in oncology. With each year that the Advisory Board names new Giants, more heroes in the field of cancer care are recognized and honored for their continuous efforts to light the way for other practitioners and prolong the lives of individuals with cancer.

Breast Cancer

Larry Norton, MD

Larry Norton, MD

Sarofim Chair of Clinical Oncology Director, Lauder Breast Center,
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Professor of Medicine, Weill-Cornell Medical College

Developed an approach to therapy called “dose density,” or “sequential dose density.” This is a new and more effective way of using anticancer drugs, based on a mathematical model, which maximizes the destruction of cancer cells while minimizing toxicity.

Community Outreach

Joyce O’Shaughnessy, MD

Joyce O’Shaughnessy, MD

Baylor-Sammons Cancer Center
Co-chair, Breast Cancer Research
Chair, Breast Cancer
Prevention Research

Dr O’Shaughnessy is the Celebrating Women Endowed Chair in Breast Cancer Research at the Baylor-Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center. She has made significant contributions to breast cancer care by helping to design and oversee clinical trials leading to the FDA approval of gemcitabine (Gemzar) and capecitabine (Xeloda). She also was involved in the original clinical trials of paclitaxel (Taxol) and other breast cancer regimens.

Gastrointestinal Cancer

Daniel Von Hoff, MD

Daniel Von Hoff, MD

Physician in Chief
Director, Translational Research
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGEN)

Dr Von Hoff and his colleagues were involved in the development of many agents now used routinely, including: mitoxantrone, fludarabine, paclitaxel, docetaxel, gemcitabine, irinotecan, nelarabine, capecitabine, lapatinib, vismodegib, nab-paclitaxel, nal-IRI, and others. Currently, he and his colleagues are concentrating on the development of molecularly targeted therapies for patients with pancreatic and other advanced cancers.

Genitourinary Cancer

Robert J. Motzer, MD

Robert J. Motzer, MD

Medical Oncologist
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Led more than 50 clinical trials in patients with kidney cancer and testicular cancer, including national and international multicenter clinical trials. His research has helped to identify five targeted drugs— sunitinib (Sutent), pazopanib (Votrient), axitinib (Inlyta), temsirolimus (Torisel), and everolimus (Afinitor)—as effective treatments for patients with advanced kidney cancer.

Hematologic Cancer

James F. Holland, MD

James F. Holland, MD

Professor of Medicine, Hematology, and Medical Oncology
Professor of Oncological Sciences
Mount Sinai Tisch Cancer Institute

Distinguished Professor of Neoplastic Diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. His 1953 clinical trial on acute leukemia resulted in the formation of Acute Leukemia Group B, a research collaboration that later became known as the Cancer and Leukemia Group B. He is considered a key figure in the development of cancer chemotherapy.

Lung Cancer

Frances A. Shepherd, MD

Frances A. Shepherd, MD

Princess Margaret Hospital

Frances A. Shepherd, MD, is the Scott Taylor Chair in Lung Cancer Research and a senior staff physician at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, Canada, and a professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto.
  • Developing and evaluating new and combined modality treatment strategies at the local, national, and international levels for patients with small cell and non–small cell lung cancers.
  • Spearheads development of international phase III studies in collaboration with cooperative groups and institutions throughout North America and Europe. • Helped conduct the landmark international NCIC BR. 21 trial that confirmed for the first time a survival benefit with an EGFR inhibitor, erlotinib, in patients with non–small cell lung cancer.
  • Chaired National Cancer Institute of Canada’s Clinical Trials Group Lung Cancer Site for 19 years, during which the program earned the highest rankings in 3 external reviews.
  • Recognized with numerous awards, including the Order of Ontario in 2007, and the British Thoracic Oncology Group International Award for Contributions to Lung Cancer and a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Melanoma

Jeffrey S. Weber, MD, PhD

Jeffrey S. Weber, MD, PhD

Deputy Director and Co-Director of the Melanoma Program
Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Medical Center

His research, which has been continuously funded by the NCI for over 20 years, focuses on experimental therapeutics and drug development, particularly in the areas of immunotherapy and checkpoint inhibitory antibody development in melanoma and other types of cancer. Specifically, his laboratory monitors and characterizes how T cells respond in patients with cancer who are undergoing immune therapy.

Radiation Oncology

Samuel Hellman, MD

Samuel Hellman, MD

Former Dean and A. N. Pritzker Professor of the Division of Biological Sciences
University of Chicago

Active in both clinical and laboratory investigation, Dr Hellman has been involved in studies of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and lymphoma. The breast cancer studies are of conservative management and the natural history of regionally treated disease. Both of these studies emphasize the importance of understanding the clinical evolution of the disease in order to develop effective multidisciplinary therapy.

Scientific Advances

John Mendelsohn, MD

John Mendelsohn, MD

Professor, Department of Genomic Medicine, Division of Cancer Medicine
Past President of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

He and Gordon Sato, and their collaborators in California, produced monoclonal antibody 225, which inhibits human cancer cell proliferation by blocking the signaling pathways that are activated by epidermal growth factor receptors. His subsequent research in the laboratory and clinic pioneered the universally adopted concept of anti-receptor therapy that targets key cell signaling pathways as a new form of cancer treatment.

Surgical Oncology

Sir Murray F. Brennan, MD

Sir Murray F. Brennan, MD

Vice President for International Programs
Benno C. Schmidt Chair in Clinical Oncology
Director, The Bobst International Center
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

He created the world’s largest database of sarcoma patients, which includes more than 10,000 patients treated at MSK since 1982. Based on this extensive information, his team has developed computer programs that predict local recurrence and survival for individual patients.



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