Internationally renowned medical oncologist Thomas J. Lynch Jr, MD, has been named the new president and director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Thomas J. Lynch, Jr, MD
Internationally renowned medical oncologist Thomas J. Lynch Jr, MD, has been named the new president and director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, according to a press release issued by the institution.1
Lynch’s appointment, which begins on February 1, 2020, comes just a few months after D. Gary Gilliland, MD, PhD, announced his plans to step down from his post, a position he has held for 5 years. Lynch is also a 2013 Giants of Cancer Care® recipient for Lung Cancer.
“Tom is a highly respected scientist, physician and cancer center leader who will continue guiding the Hutch to even greater impact in the future,” Matt McIlwain, managing director at Madrona Ventura Group and chair of the Fred Hutch board of trustees, stated in the press release. “Tom knows he’s succeeding a bold and visionary leader and is eager to continue driving innovative basic research, facilitating prevention and clinical translation, pursuing industry and technology partner collaborations and advancing the Hutch mission of eliminating cancer.”
Lynch has been a leading pioneer in academic medicine for over 3 decades. His extensive resume includes serving as chairman and CEO of Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, director of Yale Cancer Center, physician-in-chief of Yale’s Smilow Cancer Hospital, and professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine. He has also served as chief of Hematology/Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
“When I learned Fred Hutch was searching for a new leader, I immediately knew where I wanted to be,” Lynch said. “The Hutch is legendary for being where breakthrough discoveries in basic science happen. This institution is unafraid to do what science is best at: taking bold, unconventional approaches to solving hard problems.”
Most recently, Lynch held the title of chief scientific officer at Bristol-Meyer Squibb (BMS). He was appointed to the position in March 2017, succeeding Francis Cuss, MB, MChir, FRCP.2 While working at the pharmaceutical company, Cuss led research and development efforts in the field of oncology, as well as cardiovascular disease, fibrosis, and immunoscience. Notably, Lynch is recognized for strengthening the company’s translational immuno-oncology research efforts, which led to the emergence of several novel therapeutic options for patients with both solid tumors and hematologic malignancies.
While at MGH, Lynch was part of a research team that was credited with the significant discovery that certain genetic mutations were correlated with how effective certain therapies would be in patients with lung cancer, specifically in those with EGFR mutations. This revelation led to a deeper understanding of the importance of molecular profiling and how it can be used in the development of new agents to more effectively treat patients with the disease.
“Tom’s depth of experience in academic research, clinical care, cancer center leadership and his pharmaceutical industry experience provide an unprecedented perspective that will strengthen the link between Fred Hutch’s commitment to scientific excellence and our pursuit of delivering cures,” Gilliland added in the release. “Tom is a compassionate, approachable, and values-based leader who is dedicated to ensuring research results are translated into accessible therapies and treatment for patients who need them most.”
Lynch was also a founding board member of the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, which developed The Schwartz Rounds program, a forum for hospital staff from all backgrounds to collaborate and discuss the emotional and social challenges of patient care.3 In contrast with traditional medical rounds, Schwartz Rounds focus on the human dimension of medicine. As such, caregivers are also able to share their own perspectives on important topics drawn from patient cases. Schwartz Rounds have been adopted by over 500 hospitals worldwide.
Lynch also serves as a member of AACR, ASCO, and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC). His work at BMS, Yale, and MGH has received team science awards from both AACR and IASLC. Over his career, he has published more than 100 scientific papers as well as authored or co-authored over 90 review articles and book chapters.
“The Hutch is well-positioned to make an enormous difference in how patients and caregivers manage cancer and related diseases,” Lynch stated in the press release. “In the next 5 years, we are going to make remarkable leaps.”
Beyond Gilliland, Lynch is preceded by Larry Corey, MD, Nobel laureate Leland H. Hartwell, Robert W. Day, MD, PhD; and William Hutchinson, MD, who is the founder of the institution.