Twenty-one changemakers have been selected to receive a 2018 OncLive
Giants of Cancer Care®
award. The august group represents the largest class of inductees since the awards program was established in 2013. Recipients must be catalysts for change, demonstrating great accomplishment, imagination, inspiration, courage, and—perhaps most important—a true sense of urgency. The 2018 winners were recognized on Thursday, May 31, during an exclusive celebration at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois.
program honors individuals who have contributed to the advancement in the understanding of cancer and the treatment of patients. Recipients must embody a set of sterling qualities: selflessness, compassion for patients, and a desire to understand and develop life-changing anticancer treatments.
George W. Sledge Jr, MD
Professor, Medicine and Oncology, and Chief of the Division of Oncology, Stanford University Medical Center
George W. Sledge Jr, MD, specializes in breast cancer treatment and has worked extensively to employ bioinformatics to improve the understanding and prediction of disease.
- Dr Sledge directed the first large nationwide study (ECOG 2100) on the use of paclitaxel to treat advanced breast cancer.
- He has served as president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), as a member of the National Cancer Institute
- As chair of the ECOG Breast Cancer Committee he oversaw the development of several important phase III trials, including the TAILORx trial being presented at this year’s ASCO plenary session.
- His research led to the development of CLEVER, a biomedical informatics tool that can identify distant metastatic relapse and locoregional relapse with high accuracy. Investigators will use this expanded bioinformatics approach to characterize the patterns and predictors of disease-free and overall survival among women with metastatic breast cancer. Dr Sledge has published over 350 scientific articles spanning both laboratory and clinical topics.
Laura J. Esserman, MD, MBA
Professor, Surgery and Radiology, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Laura J. Esserman, MD, MBA, is a professor of surgery and radiology at UCSF, where she is also director of the multidisciplinary Breast Care Center.
- Dr Esserman led efforts to address harms of screening including overdiagnosis, and proposed tools including the development of molecular diagnostics to help reclassify tumors as indolent lesions of epithelial origin or ultralow risk.
- She leads the I-SPY Trials, a groundbreaking national public-private collaboration designed to reduce the time and cost for drug development, to find the right drug for the right patient earlier in the disease course when cure is possible.
- She led the creation of the University of California-wide, and now national, Athena Breast Health Network, which integrates clinical care and research, and follows 150,000 women from screening through treatment and outcomes. This spawned the WISDOM study to determine weather personalized screening has higher healthcare value than the standard of annual screening.
- Dr Esserman was included as one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2016 and was the recipient of the 2016 Stanford Business School Ernest C. Arbuckle Award and the 2016 Personalized Medicine World Conference Luminary Award.
W. K. Alfred Yung, MD
Professor, Neuro-Oncology, and the Margaret and Ben Love Chair of Clinical Care, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
W. K. Alfred Yung, MD, an expert in neuro-oncology, has helped develop new therapeutic strategies targeting the EGFR and PTEN/PI3K pathways and the mechanisms that promote glioma progression.
- Dr Yung was instrumental in expanding The University of Texas MD Anderson’s Brain Tumor Center. He has been co-chair of the National Cancer Institute’s Brain Malignancy Steering Committee since 2011, is special adviser to the chief executive officer of the National Brain Tumor Society, and in 2016 was named to the blue-ribbon panel advising the Cancer Moonshot initiative, led by former Vice President Joe Biden. He also serves on the executive committee of GBM AGILE, a global collaboration to test and develop new brain cancer treatments.
- As a fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr Yung explored the therapeutic potential of the newly discovered information that EGFR is a key oncogene mutated in cancers and likely a major culprit in the development of malignant gliomas. He and Peter Steck, PhD, later discovered that deletion of the PTEN tumor-suppressor gene was involved in progression of glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and aggressive type of brain cancer.
- His work on the EGFR and PTEN/PI3K pathways and glioma progression ultimately resulted in the 1997 FDA approval of temozolomide for recurrent malignant glioma and glioblastoma multiforme. In 2009, based on a study coauthored by Dr Yung, the FDA granted accelerated approval of bevacizumab (Avastin) for recurrent glioblastoma.
- Dr Yung is the Margaret and Ben Love Chair of Clinical Cancer Care at MD Anderson, where he led the Department of Neuro-Oncology from1999 to 2015. He was the second editor in chief for Neuro-Oncology, the official journal of the Society for Neuro-Oncology.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH, EDUCATION, AND CANCER POLICY
Richard L. Schilsky, MD
Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, American Society of Clinical Oncology
Richard L. Schilsky, MD, a specialist in new drug development and treatment of gastrointestinal cancers, has extensive experience and accomplishments in clinical medicine and research.
- Dr Schilsky is a former president of ASCO, from 2008 to 2009, and currently serves as senior vice president and chief medical officer, a newly created position he assumed in February 2013.
- He was chair of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B from 1995 to 2010. The national clinical research group, now incorporated into the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, is focused on applying multimodality treatments to multiple cancer types.
- Dr Schilsky has served as an associate dean for clinical research in the Biological Sciences Division and director of the University of Chicago Cancer Research Center. He joined the university as a faculty member in 1984.
- He has worked extensively with the NCI and the FDA, serving as a member and chair of the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors, a member of the NCI Clinical and Translational Research Committee, and a member and chair of the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee of the FDA.
Joseph R. Bertino, MD
Senior Adviser to the Director, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Joseph R. Bertino, MD, focuses on mechanisms of action and resistance mechanisms of anticancer drugs, and new drug development.
- Dr Bertino and colleagues reported the observation of amplification of DHFR, opening a new era in drug-resistance research. Later, his studies of methotrexate helped explain why some cancer drugs work and others fail.
- He and his colleagues published one of the first examples of a cure for diffuse large cell lymphoma with combination chemotherapy (ACOMLA). His pioneering work led to the use of leucovorin rescue after high-dose methotrexate to treat lymphomas and solid tumors.
- He is currently researching potential new drug targets for tumor stem cells in prostate cancer and exploring new treatments for T-cell lymphoma.
- His research has resulted in new analogues and new treatments being introduced in the clinic, and Dr Bertino earned international recognition for his role in finding treatments for leukemia and lymphoma.
- Dr Bertino, a University Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is a translational researcher who seeks to build bridges between the laboratory and the clinic.
- The founding editor in chief of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, he is an inspirational teacher and collaborator who has guided many of the current leaders in the field of cancer research.
Josep Tabernero, MD, PhD
Director, Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology
Josep Tabernero, MD, PhD, is involved in translational research and the effects of molecularly targeted therapies on the body.
- Dr Tabernero is active in phase I and II studies with pharmacodynamic endpoints with novel agents directed to cancer and immune cells' targets.
- His laboratory is developing molecular therapies that target specific oncoproteins, with particular emphasis on EGFR-family, ERK- and PI3K-pathway inhibitors and IGFR/PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway inhibitors, for patients displaying genetic lesions or pathway dysregulation.
- The objectives of his laboratory include identifying new predictive markers of response to diverse treatments and studying circulating biomarkers (detection and genotyping of circulating free DNA). His group develops new xenograft models with explant tumors from patients (“xenopatients”) in mice to study tumor development.
- Dr Tabernero heads the Department of Medical Oncology at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital. He is a member of several editorial boards, including those of Clinical Cancer Research, Cancer Discovery, Clinical Colorectal Cancer, and Annals of Oncology. He is also serving as ESMO president for the 2018-2019 term.
Nicholas J. Vogelzang, MD
Medical Director, US Oncology Research/Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada (CCCN)
Nicholas J. Vogelzang, MD, is a medical oncologist who has been heavily involved in advancing genitourinary (GU) oncology through clinical trials in the cooperative group setting.
- Dr Vogelzang has been instrumental in the progress of GU oncology over the past 4 decades, providing extraordinary leadership in the development of clinical trials and therapeutics. He helped organize GU oncologists early on and worked to ensure that the field would have the necessary multidisciplinary emphasis.
- He has been the principal or co-principal investigator in trials that led to the regulatory approval of new therapeutics. These include atezolizumab (Tecentriq) in bladder cancer, pemetrexed (Alimta) in mesothelioma, abiraterone (Zytiga), mitoxantrone (Novantrone), radium 223 dichloride (Xofigo), sipuleucel-T (Provenge) in prostate cancer, and etoposide in testis cancer.
- He was the inaugural Fred C. Buffett Professor of GU Oncology at the University of Chicago, 1999 to 2003, and served as director of the university’s Cancer Research Center, 1999 to 2003, and director of the Nevada Cancer Institute, 2004 to 2009.
- He is medical director of the CCCN in Las Vegas and a former chair of the US Oncology Research GU program..
Maurie Markman, MD
President, Medicine & Science, Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA)
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