After comprehensive training and certification in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, as well as then acquiring additional expertise in Cancer Pharmacology and Transplant at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, I joined the Division of Hematologic Oncology and the Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center in December 1999. Since joining, I have led several novel, biologically-derived translational efforts in multiple myeloma under the overall direction and mentorship of Kenneth Anderson, M.D. I currently serve as Clinical Program Leader and Director of Clinical Research of the Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center.
Through my career, I have led the study and clinical development of numerous novel drugs in the treatment of multiple myeloma including thalidomide, lenalidomide, bortezomib, ixazomib, panobinostat, pomalidomide, elotuzumab and recently daratumumab, all of which have contributed to a remarkable improvement in outcome for patients over the last 15 years, with median survival increasing from 2-3 years to 7-10 years and beyond.
I also led the practice-changing work that demonstrated the effectiveness of combination therapy (lenalidomide, bortezomib and dexamethasone - also known as RVD) for multiple myeloma and established this as the standard therapy in the upfront.
This highly effective combination has also provided the foundation for a series of studies examining the timing and evolving role of autologous stem cell transplant in myeloma that we have led in partnership with colleagues in France (DFCI/IFM). Results from the French study show progression free but no overall survival advantage to early ASCT in the era of novel agents, and the pivotal US "DETERMINATION" study performed across 56 centers nationally has just been completed with over 730 patients enrolled and results pending.
Recently, the further development of pomalidomide in combination with bortezomib and the very recent positive results of the global phase 3 randomized "OPTIMISSM" trial will establish this combination in first relapse worldwide. In addition, I have led another global phase 3 study of a next generation CD38 antibody isatuximab with pomalidomide that is fully accrued and the results of which should establish this combination in second relapse.
In addition to these landmark approvals in myeloma, I spearheaded the testing of defibrotide for the treatment and prevention of hepatic veno-occlusive disease, a previously critical unmet need in the care of stem cell transplant patients, from first concept, early phase trials to approval-finding pivotal phase 3 studies. Defibrotide was approved by the FDA in 2016 for this indication, with EMA approval in 2013, and is used worldwide, with further studies in prevention and other settings (including GVHD) now underway.
As a clinical researcher in myeloma and transplant, I have published 340 original papers and 280 reviews, chapters and monographs in many leading peer-reviewed publications, including New England Journal of Medicine, Blood, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Lancet Oncology, Lancet Haematology, Clinical Cancer Research, Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation, JAMA Oncology and the British Journal of Haematology.
I am grateful to have been recognized for my work with the Warren Alpert Prize from Harvard Medical School in recognition of the discovery, preclinical and clinical development of bortezomib to FDA approval and front line therapy for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma; the Accelerator Award from the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation in recognition of the outstanding efforts and exceptional contributions to the rapid completion of clinical trials for multiple myeloma; the Ernest Beutler Prize and Lecture from the American Society of Hematology in recognition of major translational advances related to a single topic, specifically enabling achievements in clinical science in the area of multiple myeloma; the international COMy award in multiple myeloma for global contributions in this disease; and most recently, the highly prestigious Robert Kyle Award from the International Myeloma Foundation for lifetime contributions to the treatment of myeloma and outstanding care of myeloma patients.