The Targeted Anticancer Therapies (TAT) 2019 Honorary Award for cancer drug development has been given to Dr Geoffrey Shapiro, MD, PhD, Institute Physician at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, for his leadership in developmental therapeutics, particularly in solid tumors. The award will be presented during the International Congress on Targeted Anticancer Therapies (TAT) 2019, to be held in Paris, France on February 25-27, 2019. Shapiro will present his keynote lecture entitled “Development of Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitors: A brief history and future directions”, during the TAT 2019 opening session.
The TAT Honorary Award was established in the early 1990s to acknowledge distinguished cancer drug development experts who have devoted a major part of their careers to the discovery and development of better anticancer medicines. Shapiro has built a comprehensive program in early cancer drug development, particularly in solid tumors, as Leader of the Early Drug Development Center at the Dana-Farber, Clinical Director of the Dana-Farber Center for DNA Damage and Repair, and co-Leader of the Developmental Therapeutics Program at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC). In his leadership roles, Shapiro has provided scientific and clinical direction for the design of early phase clinical trials evaluating a broad range of investigational agents including cell cycle inhibitors, such as those targeting CDKs and mitotic kinases, as well as DNA damage response modulators that inhibit PARP and checkpoint kinases. He has also conducted studies of a variety of signal transduction and angiogenesis inhibitors. He has made proof-of-mechanism studies a mission of his program and has worked closely with basic and translational scientists at his institution and elsewhere to establish robust preclinical rationale for many trials.
On receiving the award, Shapiro said: “For many years, the TAT International Congress has been a critical venue for the presentation of translational research and discussion of all facets of early drug development, from biology of novel drug classes to clinical trial design, to monitoring of toxicities and responses, to reporting of early clinical results. There is no other place where those involved in early drug development can find such a strong and supportive community of premier investigators with international representation. It is therefore a great honor to be selected by my peers for the TAT Honorary Award this year, one of my proudest accolades for which I am tremendously grateful.”
Shapiro’s laboratory has made major contributions toward the development of several combinations of targeted agents that are currently in clinical evaluation, such as the combination of palbociclib, a CDK4 inhibitor, and PD-0325901, an experimental MEK inhibitor, for treatment of solid tumors. He has also established translational assays to identify target engagement of these combinations in patients. More recently, he has sought to understand the effects of several classes of agents, notably CDK and PARP inhibitors, on the immune microenvironment, in order to further develop rational combinations.
Shapiro contributes to the field of early drug development in cancer through membership of several committees. These include the TAT Scientific Advisory Committee, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Investigational Drug Steering Committee, the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Committee, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Scientific Program Committee for the Developmental Therapeutics Track.
Professor Giuseppe Curigliano, Chair of the ESMO Nomination Committee, said: “Shapiro has dedicated his career to developing better anticancer medicines. His work has been a key factor in the successful advancement of a number of drugs, including CDK 4/6 inhibitors, now approved in breast cancer and under active investigation in other cancers. It is therefore a great pleasure for ESMO to present him the TAT 2019 Honorary Award for cancer drug development.”