A pioneer in oncology research, Dr. DeVita is internationally recognized for developing combinatorial anti-cancer therapy regimens that cured advanced Hodgkin’s disease and diffuse large cell lymphoma. With colleagues at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the 1960s, he developed the four-drug combination therapy of mechlorethamine, oncovin, procarbazine, and prednisone (MOPP), which resulted in proof of principle that chemotherapy could cure advanced Hodgkin’s disease with cure rates increasing from nearly zero to over 70 percent. The administration of MOPP was the first instance whereby chemotherapy was utilized to essentially cure an advanced adult cancer in a major organ system, a treatment option that continues to be used as a second-line treatment.
Dr. DeVita also developed the combination therapy, cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil (CMF) with Dr. George Canellos for breast cancer. After his son Ted was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, Dr. DeVita began research devoted to understanding the genetic and molecular basis of immunologically related diseases. Ted’s life was immortalized in the TV movie, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.
He was named director of the NCI by President Ronald Regan in 1980 and served until 1988. In 2000, he was appointed chair of the National Cancer Legislative Advisory Committee. This Senate advisory committee worked with the National Dialogue on Cancer, spearheaded by President George W. Bush, to make recommendations for the revision and modernization the National Cancer Act of 1971. Dr. DeVita is one of three editors of Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology, long recognized as one of the world’s leading oncology references.
2017 AACR 50-Year Member
2015 ASCO Oncology Luminary
2013 American Cancer Society Honorary Life Member
2013 Giants of Cancer Care Award, OncLive
2012 President, American Cancer Society, Volunteer Board of Directors
2009 Distinguished Medical Science Award, Friends of the National Library of Medicine
2007 FREDDIE, International Health & Medical Media Award
2002 Elected Member, European Academy of Sciences
2000 Saul Rosenberg Research Award, Lymphoma Research Foundation of America
1999 Mary Waterman Award, Breast Cancer Alliance
1998 Commendatore of the Italian Republic Order of Merit
1990 Armand Hammer Prize for Cancer Research
1988 Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research
1986 AACR-Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award
1985 Elected Member, Institute of Medicine
1985 Pierluigi Nervi Award for Cancer Research
1976-1979 Board of Directors, AACR
1972 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award
1961 MD, George Washington University School of Medicine