Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD, section chief
The Section of Medical Oncology has a long and rich tradition of excellence in clinical care, research, and training. Its 100+ faculty members are led by Section Chief Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD.
Daniel P. Petrylak, MD, partnered with Craig M. Crews, PhD, to formulate a new medication to treat prostate cancer—proteolysis-targeting chimeric molecules, or PROTACs.
Sarah Schellhorn, MD, presented an initiative to offer patients next-day access to oncologic consultations designed to improve care at Yale Cancer Center (YCC) at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Annual Conference in May 2022. The Phase I Clinical Trial Infusion Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital celebrated its sixth year in May 2022. Patricia LoRusso, DO, is director of the center, and Joseph Paul Eder, MD, directs the Phase I Clinical Trial Program. Stacey Stein, MD, and Neal Fischbach, MD, were named assistant medical directors of the Yale Cancer Center’s Clinical Trials Office in October 2021.
In March, Barbara Burtness, MD, and Jong Woo Lee, PhD, presented their findings on mutations in the KRAS gene on chromosome 12, and describing two drugs that target KRAS-G12C. Two months later, the FDA approved one of these drugs, sotorasib, for use against these cancers; during the next month, the agency designated the other drug, adagrasib, as a “breakthrough therapy,” putting it on the fast track toward approval—which was granted on December 12, 2022. The Smilow Hospitalist Program, which was launched in July 2021, expanded to 10 clinicians this year. The team has been able to shorten the patients’ length of stay by 1.1 days so far.
Herbst presented results from the Phase III ADAURA trial at the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress in September 2022. The trial revealed that osimertinib yielded a 5.5-year median disease-free survival in the postsurgical treatment of patients with EGFR-mutated lung cancer.
In June, medical oncologists presented their research at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference: Herbst; Harriet Kluger, MD; Pamela L. Kunz, MD; Maryam Lustberg, MD, MPH; Lajos Pusztai, MD, DPhil; and Tara Sanft, MD.
In a study led by Pusztai that published in May 2022, researchers across various institutions developed a novel continuous residual cancer-based metric, the Treatment Efficacy Score, to compare the effectiveness of neoadjuvant chemotherapy between randomized trial arms in preoperative breast cancer trials.
An analysis by researchers led by Mariya Rozenblit, MD, identified accelerated genetic aging in breast tissue adjacent to breast cancer tumors and showed that adjacent breast tissue is “biologically older” than the chronologic age of the patient. This finding may explain why some women develop breast cancer at relatively young ages; it may become a future marker of breast cancer risk. The monoclonal antibody sotigalimab combined with the immunotherapy drug nivolumab resulted in tumor shrinkage in patients with advanced melanoma whose tumors had progressed with prior immunotherapy. Kluger and Mario Sznol, MD, participated in the research.
Anna Kress, MD, and Benjamin Y. Lu, MD, created the first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion curriculum as part of the Yale Medical Oncology/ Hematology Fellowship Program in December 2021.
The section welcomed the following new faculty members:
- David Braun, MD, PhD
- Jacquelyne Gaddy, MD, MSc
- Michael Grant, MD
- Sharynn Hall, MD, PhD
- Christi Kim, MD
- So Yeon Kim, MD
- Ian Krop, MD, PhD
- Eric Winer, MD
- Kim Blenman, PhD, MS, received the 2022 Joint Breast Cancer Research Foundation-American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Career Development Award.
- D. Barry Boyd, MD, MS, was awarded the inaugural Spirit of Excellence in Oncology Award from Gilda’s Club of Westchester.
- David Braun, MD, PhD, received a Trailblazer Award from the Kidney Cancer Association.
- Burtness is co-director of the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund-Farrah Fawcett Foundation Head and Neck Cancer Research Team, as part of Stand Up to Cancer.
- Michael Cecchini, MD, earned a K08 grant, or a Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award, from the National Cancer Institute to continue his clinical trial efforts for patients with colorectal cancer.
- Herbst won the 2022 Giants of Cancer Care award for lung cancer. He was also honored by Friends of Cancer Research in 2022 as one of their 25 scientific and advocacy leaders who have been instrumental over the course of the last 25 years in making significant advancements for patients through their work and partnership. Herbst was named chair of the AACR’s Scientific Policy and Government Affairs Committee. He was also honored by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer in recognition of his years of dedication and invaluable service to the organization and the lung cancer community. Herbst was named the inaugural Deputy Director for Clinical Affairs at YCC and Smilow Cancer Hospital.
- Kluger was named vice chair of Collaborative Research for the Department of Internal Medicine, and appointed the Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Internal Medicine (Oncology) and Dermatology in July.
- Patricia LoRusso, DO, was named a Fellow of ASCO. She also was awarded the 2022 Joseph H. Burchenal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cancer Research from the AACR.
- Maryam Lustberg, MD, MPH, was named president of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) in June 2022.
- Edward Perry Jr., MD, won an educational scholarship grant from the department for his project titled Development and Implementation of a Novel Opioid Pain Management Curriculum
- for Oncology Fellows.
- Winer was appointed professor of medicine (medical oncology); named the Alfred Gilman Professor of Pharmacology and Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology); and started his term as president of the ASCO in June.