PHILADELPHIA — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) welcomes José Baselga, MD, PhD, as president of the organization for 2015-2016. He was inaugurated during the Annual Business Meeting, held here during the AACR Annual Meeting 2015.
Baselga, an internationally recognized physician-scientist whose research focuses on the clinical development of novel molecularly targeted agents for the treatment of cancer, particularly breast cancer, is physician-in-chief and chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
“It is an honor to serve as president of the AACR,” Baselga said. “We are currently in the midst of a revolution in cancer research, where new technologies and therapies are being developed at a record pace. The AACR is uniquely positioned to advance the promise of precision medicine initiatives. As president, I am eager to work with the AACR community as a whole to integrate basic and clinical research, improve access to clinical trials, coordinate our regulatory policies, and increase our ability to collaborate on the many breakthroughs occurring in cancer prevention, detection, and treatment.”
He is a pioneer in the development of treatments for women with HER2-positive breast cancer. He conducted the initial clinical trial that demonstrated that patients with advanced HER2-positive breast cancer benefited from treatment with the anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody trastuzumab. In addition, he led the clinical development of the second anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, pertuzumab (Perjeta). His most recent focus in the laboratory and clinic is the identification of mechanisms of resistance to anti-HER2 agents and the clinical development of novel agents—including PI3-kinase inhibitors and antiestrogen therapies.
Baselga has been actively involved in the AACR for more than 20 years. Together with Lewis C. Cantley, PhD, Baselga is a founding editor-in-chief of the AACR’s high-impact scientific journal Cancer Discovery. He has served the AACR in many other key capacities, including: Annual Meeting 2013 Program Committee chair, member of the board of directors (2009-2012), and member of the editorial boards of Clinical Cancer Research and Cancer Prevention Research. In addition, Baselga has served on numerous committees, including: chair of the Clinical Trials Committee (2012-2013), chair of the Research Grant Review Committee (2009), member of the Landon Foundation-AACR INNOVATOR Award for International Collaboration in Cancer Research Committee (2006-2008), the Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research Committee (2004-2005), and the AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research Committee (2002-2003). He was inaugurated into the 2014 class of fellows of the AACR Academy. Additionally, he is a principal of the Stand Up To Cancer Dream Team, “Targeting the PI3K Pathway in Women’s Cancers.”
Baselga has received numerous awards and accolades for his work in cancer research, including the 32nd annual AACR Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Family Foundation Award in 2008 and the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute Gold Medal in 2010. He is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Association of Physicians, and the Institute of Medicine. He has also served as a past president of the European Society for Medical Oncology and on the board of directors for the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the European Cancer Organisation.
Prior to becoming physician-in-chief and chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Baselga was the chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology and associate director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. He was also the director of medical oncology, hematology, and radiation oncology and chairman of medical oncology service at Vall d’Hebron University and Hospital, in Barcelona, Spain, and professor of medicine at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. He also served as a faculty member of the Breast/Gynecological Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Memorial Hospital.
Baselga received his medical and doctoral degrees from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and completed residencies at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and the State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn, as well as a fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Additionally, Nancy E. Davidson, MD, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC Cancer Center, was inducted as president-elect, and Carlos L. Arteaga, MD, professor of medicine and cancer biology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, associate director for clinical research, director of the Center for Cancer Targeted Therapies, and director of the Breast Cancer Program at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, now serves as past-president.