Charles L. Sawyers, MD

Charles L. Sawyers, MD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York

Charles L. Sawyers, MD | Class of 2014

As a physician scientist and leader in the development of targeted therapies for cancer, Dr. Sawyers investigates the signaling pathways that drive the growth and drug resistance of cancer cells. He and his colleagues played a critical role in developing the molecularly targeted cancer drug, Gleevec (imatinib), for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia. Dr. Sawyers’ research into treatments for cancer that becomes resistant to established therapies led to the development of Sprycel for patients with Gleevec-resistant chronic myeloid leukemia and Xtandi for metastatic prostate cancer that has become resistant to Taxotere.

Dr. Sawyers has continued to expand his pursuit of novel anti-cancer drugs by collaborating with structural biologists to ascertain how potential drugs may fit within a potential therapeutic target. This research technique has since been expanded alongside recent efforts to sequence and map resistance-enhancing genetic mutations to understand how drugs must be manipulated to allow for efficacy even in patients harboring specific genetic abnormalities.

Through his dedication to improving precision medicine and patient care, Dr. Sawyers continues to positively influence the cancer research field. He has also been a strong advocate for biomedical research and has served on National Academy of Science and Institute of Medicine panels that have made recommendations to national leaders on topics such as biomarker use as well as clinical trial design and implementation.

Career Highlights

2019  AACR-Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship
​2014  Hope Funds for Cancer Research Honoree
2013  Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences
2013-2014  President, AACR
2010  Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC
2009  Lasker-Debakey Clinical Medical Research Award
2009  Dorothy P. Landon-AACR Prize for Translational Cancer Research
2008  Elected Member, Institute of Medicine
2007  Emil J Freireich Award for Clinical Research, MD Anderson Cancer Center
2005  David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award and Lecture, ASCO
2005  AACR-Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award
2003-2006  Board of Directors, AACR
2003  Freedom-to-Discover Research Award in Cancer, Bristol-Myers Squibb
2001  Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award
2000  Stohlman Scholar Award, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
1985  MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine