Oncology Board of Advisors

Keith T. Flaherty, MD, is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Termeer Center for Targeted Therapy and Director of Clinical Research at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, where he was named as the Richard Saltonstall Endowed Chair in Oncology. The goal of Dr. Flaherty’s research is to understand the molecular and clinical consequences of inhibiting oncogenes and oncogenic pathways in melanoma, while establishing individual therapeutic approaches and constructing rational combinatorial therapies. A pioneer in developing targeted therapies matched to the genetic characteristics of a patient’s tumor, Dr. Flaherty led early clinical trials on the development of vemurafenib and trametinib and the dabrafenib/trametinib combination. He has authored or co-authored nearly 200 peer reviewed primary research reports and review articles. Dr. Flaherty serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Cancer Research and is an active member of the American Association for Cancer Research. He is the principal investigator of the NCI MATCH trial, the first NCI-sponsored trial assigning patients to targeted therapy independent of tumor type on the basis of DNA sequencing detection of oncogenes. He is also the Deputy Chair for Biomarker Sciences and the Chair of the Developmental Therapeutics Committee in the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, a Scientific Advisory Committee member for the Melanoma Research Foundation and President of the Society for Melanoma Research.

Dr. Kirkwood is Usher Professor of Medicine, Dermatology, and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh and Senior Investigator for the University in ECOG-ACRIN. He served as founding Associate Director for Medical Oncology of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) and was Chief of Medical Oncology until 1996. Dr. Kirkwood has directed the Melanoma Center of the UPCI and is the PI of the recently renewed Pittsburgh SPORE in Melanoma and Skin Cancer. He holds a T32 Training Grant for Melanoma and Skin Cancer and his research focuses upon the immunotherapy and molecular therapy of melanoma and its precursors. He is Chairman of the Melanoma Committee of ECOG-ACRIN and is Chairman of the International Melanoma Working Group founded with the Aim at Melanoma. Dr. Kirkwood completed his MD at Yale University and postgraduate work at Yale-New Haven Hospital and Harvard University/Dana-Farber Cancer Center. He directed the Yale Melanoma Unit before moving to Pittsburgh.

Dr. Levy is the Robert K. Summy and Helen K. Summy Professor of Medicine and Director of the Lymphoma Program at Stanford University School of Medicine. He is also the Associate Director of Translational Science for the Stanford Cancer Institute. For more than 25 years, his research has focused on monoclonal antibodies and the study of malignant lymphoma, currently using the tools of immunology and molecular biology to develop a better understanding of the initiation and progression of the malignant process. He was the first to successfully treat cancer with a monoclonal antibody, and went on to help develop rituximab (Rituxan®) for the treatment of patients’ lymphomas. Dr. Levy is using lymphocyte receptors as targets for new therapies for lymphoma, and is currently conducting clinical trials of lymphoma vaccines. Dr. Levy has published over 300 articles in the fields of oncology and immunology. In 1982, Dr. Levy he shared the first Armand Hammer Award for Cancer Research and was later awarded the Ciba-Geigy/Drew Award in Biomedical Research, the American Society of Clinical Oncology Karnofsky Award, the General Motors Charles Kettering Prize, the Key to the Cure Award by the Cure for Lymphoma Foundation, the Medal of Honor by the American Cancer Society, the Evelyn Hoffman Memorial Award by the Lymphoma Research Foundation of America, the 2004 Damashek Prize from the American Society of Hematology and in 2009 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and he won the King Faisal International Prize in Medicine.

Dr. Lotze is Professor of Surgery, Immunology, and Bioengineering as well as Senior Advisor to UPMC Enterprises, Immunotransplant and Therapy Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Previously, he served as founding director of the Division of Surgical Oncology, Co-leader of Biologic Therapy and Gene Therapy in its Cancer Institute; vice chair of research in the department of surgery; and assistant vice chancellor in the university’s six schools of health sciences. He was also director of strategic partnerships within the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and the Catalyst Program in the Clinical and Translational Research Institute. Dr. Lotze previously held senior scientific and research positions at GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals (Vice President), Metacine, Inc. (CMO and CSO) and Lion/Iovance as CSO. Dr. Lotze is Past President of the current Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer, Director of the Centers of Excellence for the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies, Co-founder of the Translational Research Cancer Center Consortium and the Translational Research in Mitochondria, Aging, and Disease Symposia (with Penn and Penn State), as well as the International DAMPs and HMGB1 Symposia. Dr. Lotze received his MD and BMed Sciences from Northwestern University and he is an inventor of ten patents in dendritic cell vaccines and antigen discovery and has authored over 500 scientific papers and over ten books.

Dr. Sandler is the Senior Vice President and Surgeon-in-Chief of the Joseph E. Robert, Jr. Center for Surgical Care at Children’s National Health System. He is the Diane and Norman Bernstein Chair in Pediatric Surgery and is a Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at George Washington University. He is also a principal investigator in the Immunology Initiative of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. Dr. Sandler’s research interests include tumor immunology and tumor vaccine therapy, as well as the application of novel devices and technologies in surgical practice. Dr. Sandler is internationally known for his work on childhood solid tumors and operative repair of certain congenital anomalies of the gastrointestinal tract. He has served as the Chair of the Publications Committee and the Ethics and Advocacy Committee for the American Association of Pediatric Surgery and also served on several committees of the Children’s Oncology Group. He is currently on the Board of Examiners for the Pediatric Surgery Qualifying examination. Dr. Sandler’s research interests focus on solid tumors of childhood, in which his current research in tumor immunology investigates immunotherapeutic vaccine strategies. He has also co-developed a surgical sealant that is NIH funded and currently in pre-clinical trials. Dr. Sandler has published more than 100 peer reviewed manuscripts in clinical and scientific medical journals.

Dr. Speiser is head of Clinical Tumor Biology and Immunotherapy group, dedicated to Investigator-Initiated Trials at the Department of Oncology and Ludwig Cancer Research Center, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. His focus is identifying and exploring drugs that contribute to therapeutic tumor-antigen specific human T cell responses through clinical studies representing a step-by-step development towards more efficient cancer immunotherapy. He received his medical training in internal medicine with specialization in clinical immunology and oncology at the University of Zürich, Switzerland and specialized in experimental infectious and tumor immunology in the lab of Rolf M. Zinkernagel (then future Nobel Laureate). Moving to the University of Toronto, Dr. Speiser’s research established that T cells in cancer have a molecular and functional setting termed “exhaustion,” providing new therapeutic insights. Returning to Europe, he joined Ludwig Cancer Research and the Department of Oncology in Lausanne, where he leads a team that optimizes cancer therapies and combinations of therapies with the aim to enhance immune and clinical responses. Dr. Speiser promotes academic bio-medical progress at local, national and international levels. His goal is to advance clinical research to support progress in medicine, in the framework of dedicated programs for integrated personalized diagnosis and therapy.

Dr. Welsh is a Tenured Physician Scientist at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Welsh started his oncology career in the Department of Molecular Oncology at Genentech Inc., at an exciting time when some of the first personalized target therapies were developed. While at Genentech he helped to discover and clone the Wnt-Induced secreted proteins (WISP) family of oncogenes. He later attended Dartmouth Medical School, and completed a residency in radiation oncology at the University of Arizona, where he helped develop a novel drug targeting c-Met kinase (MP-470). At MD Anderson he is the director of the immune radiation program, where he aims to use radiation to turn the tumor into an “in-situ” vaccine in order to prime T cells, turning radiation into a systemic therapy. Dr. Welsh has gained insights on how to improve patient care from his clinical work with patients and his efforts leading his lab, resulting in the founding of three new companies – Healios Oncology, MolecularMatch and OncoResponse.
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