Progress in cancer research continues to be prolific and has led to improvements in patient outcomes. To date, groundbreaking discoveries have shed light on the significance of numerous genetic and epigenetic alterations that define neoplastic cell progression, as well as a myriad of interactions in the tumor microenvironment that promote and sustain cancer. Indeed, the basic scientific insights that led to the development of immune-stimulating therapies have dramatically prolonged the survival of many melanoma and blood cancer patients. Additionally, decades of fundamental research in our field have produced the precision medicine approaches that yield major responses in some patients with a variety of malignancies. However, the translation of basic research into tangible and effective applications remains elusive for most cancer patients, primarily due to a lack of active therapies or the emergence of therapy resistance and toxicity. I believe the President of AACR is uniquely positioned to advance the large-scale translation of promising research findings into efficacious therapies given their visibility in the global cancer community, and I would be honored to lead these endeavors.
As our goal is to cure and not palliate cancer, we must first greatly expand our arsenal of therapies, and then reconsider how they are administered and assessed in patients. For example, many dependencies in tumors are atypical drug targets that lack effective modulators. Emergent chemical, genetic, biological, immunological, and computational methods provide an opportunity for cancer researchers to create new therapies for currently intractable targets. Secondly, modifying the earliest phase clinical trial approaches to simultaneously seek indications of efficacy and toxicity will allow for a more rapid assessment of new agents in patients. Experimental drug testing methods—such as personalized tissue models and implanted micro-dosing devices—and the continuous monitoring of predictive biomarkers using imaging and analytes enable the rapid testing of new therapy combinations to deliver maximal benefits to patients. The inclusion of patients with precancers will also allow us to develop methods to prevent cancer initiation. To apply such an intensive effort longitudinally during patient care will require a much closer alignment of scientists with clinicians, biopharmaceutical companies, regulatory authorities, and funding bodies. The AACR will serve as an educational medium to bring together these parties with its special conferences and workshops.
We are fortunate to be participating in an exciting time period for cancer research, and yet there are several key threats to consider. These include the insufficient grant funding rate for cancer researchers, which dampens the optimism and creativity of our health science and industrial workforce and hinders progress. Diminished funding also dissuades the entry of new trainees into cancer research, without whom we will not be able to advance our field. Lastly, a lack of resources prohibits many disadvantaged sites throughout the world from conducting cancer research. As President of the AACR, I would champion the cause for greater funding to support both basic and translational cancer research globally, and foster a community that generates, develops, and distributes new effective approaches for cancer patients.
Pancreatic cancer biology and experimental therapeutics; Ras-dependent cancer biology; fibroblast heterogeneity in cancer; therapeutic profiling organoids for personalized medicine approaches; redox regulation in cancer; drug delivery; mechanisms of metastasis.
Professor and Director of Cancer Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), Cold Spring Harbor, New York; Chief Scientist, Lustgarten Foundation, Woodbury, New York; Professor of Pancreatic Cancer Medicine, Cambridge University, Cambridge, United Kingdom; Medical Staff (Affiliate), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.
Director of Research, Lustgarten Foundation (2012-2017), Woodbury, New York; Professor and Deputy Director of CSHL Cancer Center and Director, Cancer Therapeutics Initiative, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (2012-2016), Cold Spring Harbor, New York; Senior Group Leader (with tenure), Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute (2006-2012), Cambridge, United Kingdom; Honorary Consultant in Oncology, Addenbrooke’s NHS Hospital (2009), Cambridge United Kingdom; Assistant Investigator, Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute (2002-2006) and Assistant Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine (2002-2006), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Attending Physician, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Veteran’s Administration Hospital (2002-2006), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Instructor of Medicine and Associate Physician, Harvard Medical School, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (2000-2002), Boston, Massachusetts.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1997-2002), Cambridge, Massachusetts; Fellow in Hematology/Oncology, Dana-Farber/Partners CancerCare, Harvard Medical School (1997-2000), Boston, Massachusetts; Resident in Internal Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School (1994-1997), Boston, Massachusetts.
Selected AACR Service, Honors, and Awards
Member, Board of Directors (2018-2021); Vice Chair, Annual Meeting Program Committee (2018-2019); Chair (2019) and Member (2018), Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research Committee; Chair, Plenary Session, Special Conference, “Pancreatic Cancer: Advances in Science and Clinical Care” (2016); Member, Tumor Microenvironment Working Group (2014-2016); Cochair, Special Conference, “Pancreatic Cancer: Innovations in Research and Treatment” (2014); Member, Education and Training Committee (2012-2015); Scientific Editor, Cancer Discovery (2010-present); Member, Scientific Review Committee (2010) and Cochair, Program Committee (2008), AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research; Cochair (2008) and Member (2007), Mentored Grants and Research Fellowships Committee; Member, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-AACR Innovative Grants Scientific Review Committee (2008-2010); Member, Program Committee (2008) and Member, Scientific Review Committee (2007), AACR International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development; Member, Annual Meeting Education Committee (2006, 2011); Faculty, Educational Workshop, “Molecular Biology in Clinical Oncology” (2005-2010); Associate Editor, Cancer Research (2004-2009).
Selected Non-AACR Service, Honors, and Awards
Member, Board of Scientific Advisors, National Cancer Institute (2017-present); Elected Member, American Society for Clinical Investigation (2016); Recipient, Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence – Pancreatic Diseases (2016); Recipient, Jan Waldenstrom Medal, Swedish Society of Oncology (2014); Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, Stand Up To Cancer (2012-present); Chair (2010-present) and Member (2005-2010), Pancreatic Cancer Action Network; Recipient, Ruth C. Brufsky Award for Excellence in Clinical Research on Pancreatic Cancer, PancreasFest (2010); Member, Scientific Board, Lustgarten Foundation of Pancreatic Cancer Research (2007-2010); Recipient, Norbert and Suzanne Schnog Lectureship, Yale University (2005); Recipient, Frank Brooks Memorial Lectureship, American Pancreatic Association (2004); Member, American Society of Clinical Oncology (2003-present); Recipient, Rita Allen Foundation Scholar Award (2003); Recipient, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-AACR Career Development Award in Pancreatic Cancer Research (2003); Recipient, Forbeck Scholar Award, William Guy Forbeck Research Foundation (2000); Recipient, Physician-Scientist Early Career Award, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (1999).
MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland(1994); BS, Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1987).