Lee J. Helman received his M.D. from the University of Maryland School of Medicine magna cum laude in 1980 and was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Barnes Hospital Washington University also serving as Chief Resident. Dr. Helman began his fellowship training at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1983. He did his post-doctoral training in the Molecular Genetics Section, Pediatric Branch, NCI, and became Head of the Molecular Oncology Section, Pediatric Oncology Branch, NCI, in 1993. He served as Chief of the Pediatric Oncology Branch from 1997-2007 and served as Scientific Director for Clinical Research in the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute from 2007 to 2016. He joined CHLA and the University of Southern California (USC) on March 12, 2017, as the Section Head of Basic and Translational Research within the Cancer and Blood Disease Institute (CBDI) and the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation. He also serves as Director of the Cancer and Blood Diseases Research Program at The Saban Research Institute. In addition Dr. Helman is a Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and a member of the Sarcoma Program and executive leadership team at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
He was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American Association of Physicians and is a founding member and past president of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society. Dr. Helman is the past Chairman of the Board of Directors and is currently a member of the Board of Directors and is a Clinical Advisor to The Children’s Inn at NIH and is a past member of the Board of Governors of the Clinical Center at NIH. Dr. Helman is a past member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and a past chair for its Bylaws Committee. He received the 2011 ASCO Pediatric Oncology Award and is a Fellow of ASCO. He has served on the Science Education, Publications, and Clinical & Translational Research committees of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and was the inaugural chair of its Pediatric Oncology Task Force and has been on the Scientific Program Committee for several of its annual meetings. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Committee of Stand Up To Cancer, a scientific partner to the AACR. In the fall of 2017, Dr. Helman was appointed director of the Osteosarcoma Institute – and organization created by the What Would Willie Want (QuadW) Foundation.
Dr. Helman’s laboratory currently studies the biology and treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma, Ewing’s sarcoma, osteosarcoma, and pediatric GIST tumors. Major areas of research include the study of the pathophysiologic consequences of IGF signaling; identification of the molecular/biochemical determinants of the biology of these sarcomas; and the application of functional genomics to develop novel clinical studies for these sarcomas.