Friday, April 4, 2014

Cancer Center physicians honored

ADVANCING RESEARCH: From left, Sequist, Engelman and Flaherty

The Henri and Belinda Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies in the MGH Cancer Center has three new endowed leadership positions. Launched in 2012, the center’s goal is to develop more effective treatments for patients with cancer as quickly and as safely as possible. During a March 26 celebration at the Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation, MGH President Peter L. Slavin, MD, said recipients of the Laurel W. Schwartz Professorship, the Richard Saltonstall Endowed Chair in Oncology and the Mary B. Saltonstall Endowed Chair in Oncology all understand the importance of finding the right therapy for specific patients.

“Endowed chairs and professorships such as these play a major role in the MGH’s success,” said Slavin. “I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to Laurie Schwartz and the Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation for making these endowed cancer positions possible and offering new hope for cancer patients here and around the world.”

Daniel Haber, MD, PhD, director of Cancer Center, introduced the three MGH physicians – Jeffrey Engelman, MD, PhD; Keith Flaherty, MD; and Lecia V. Sequist, MD, MPH.

“Dr. Engelman, Dr. Flaherty and Dr. Sequist have made major contributions to the development of novel precision therapies in cancer, which is the driving force of the Termeer Center at the MGH,” said Haber.

The Laurel W. Schwartz Professorship in Oncology was established in 2004 through the generosity of Laurie Schwartz and her late husband Peter Schwartz. Engelman, director of the Center for Thoracic Cancers and director of the Molecular Therapeutics Program, is its third recipient. Since joining the Cancer Center in 2005, he has actively translated discoveries from the lab into the clinic to improve treatment outcomes and quality of life for patients with lung cancer.

“I am so thankful for this endowed chair and the support it provides for our continued efforts to develop better therapeutics for patients with cancer,” said Engelman.

The Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation and its trustees have been investing in the advancement of cancer research and care since 1972. The two inaugural MGH endowed chairs will help retain and honor top cancer scientists.

Flaherty, director of the Temeer Center, was named as the Richard Saltonstall Endowed Chair in Oncology. His research and clinical focus is melanoma, with a particular expertise in targeted therapies. He has a long history of accomplishments that have changed the way melanoma is treated. “In addition to the honor of receiving this chair, I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity this support provides for me to work with our junior faculty to broaden the approach that has proven so successful in melanoma to other cancers,” Flaherty said.

Sequist, the recipient of the Mary B. Saltonstall Endowed Chair in Oncology, is a clinical researcher in both the Center for Thoracic Cancers and the Termeer Center. She is a recognized leader in research to understand and overcome the development of resistance to targeted therapies in patients with lung cancer. This honor will provide important support for her to continue to thrive and advance critical research.

“I am honored to receive this generous support from the Saltonstall Foundation and the Cancer Center,” said Sequist. “It is an exciting time. These funds will enable us to probe deeper into each patient’s tumor and understand resistance, response to therapy and how to achieve better survival with lung cancer.” 


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