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Bruce A. Chabner, MD

Bruce A. Chabner, MD

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
Boston, Massachusetts

Class of 2015

Renowned for his research on the cellular mechanisms of antifolates and other antimetabolites, Dr. Chabner led the development of paclitaxel as well as high-dose chemotherapy regimens that are now the standard of care for the treatment of various cancers, including lymphoma.

Dr. Chabner first began investigating antifolates under the tutelage of Dr. Joseph R. Bertino, AACR Past President and Fellow of the AACR Academy. They identified the first folate-cleaving enzyme and pioneered research on chemotherapies such as leucovorin (folinic acid) and methotrexate. This research would lead to their discovery that leucovorin possesses the ability to alleviate methotrexate toxicity in a competitive process that is highly dependent on relative drug levels. His group established diagnostic assays and algorithms for monitoring plasma levels of methotrexate, allowing physicians to better gauge leucovorin usage, specifically in the bone marrow, and create more effective rescue drug strategies. They purified and demonstrated the effectiveness of now commercialized carboxypeptidase used for cleavage of methotrexate in patients with drug retention.

In collaboration with Drs. Patrick Elwood and Kenneth Cowan, his laboratory cloned the folate receptor 1 protein (folate receptor alpha; FRA), now known to be commonly overexpressed in several cancers. This discovery would contribute to the development of monoclonal antibodies capable of targeting cancer cells expressing specific cell surface markers such as FRA. His current research centers on the use of targeted therapeutics in solid tumor therapy

In addition to his own research, Dr. Chabner is also regarded for his time spent as the Director of the Division of Cancer Treatment at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), where for 13 years he guided the development of cell line screening, taxanes and platinum analogues, and the first AIDS antivirals.

Career Highlights

2013 Honoree, The One Hundred, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
2010 Bloch Award, Ohio State University Cancer Center
2009 George S. Mitchell Award, Queen ‘s University, Belfast, Ireland
2006 Member, National Cancer Advisory Board, National Cancer Institute
2005 Timothy Gee Humanity in Medicine Award, Lauri Strauss Leukemia Foundation
2005 Paul Calabresi Award, National Cancer Institute
1998 AACR-Bruce F. Cain Memorial Award
1996 Kantor Family Prize for Cancer Research Excellence
1989-1992 Board of Directors, AACR
1987 Meritorious Service Medal, U.S. Public Health Service
1986 Melville Jacobs Award, American Radium Society
1986 Distinguished Oncologist Award, Dayton Oncology Society
1985 David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award and Lecture, American Society of Clinical Oncology
1976 Elected Member, American Society for Clinical Investigation
1965 MD, Harvard Medical School