F. Stephen Hodi, MD
An internationally recognized leader in developing immune therapy and melanoma therapeutics, F. Stephen Hodi, MD, is particularly known for the clinical development of checkpoint inhibitors. He led the first human trial of ipilimumab, which blocks the CTLA-4 checkpoint, and later led the Phase III registration trial, which was the first study to show a survival advantage for a melanoma drug, and which led to FDA approval of ipilimumab. The dramatic and long-lasting responses seen with this agent provided proof that reactivating the suppressed immune system of cancer patients could be enormously beneficial.
Subsequently, Dr. Hodi has continued as a key investigator in the clinical development of the second family of checkpoint inhibitors, which block PD-1 and PD-L1. This work has not only changed the paradigm for treating melanoma but has also been applied to improve outcomes in many other malignancies, such as lung and kidney cancer. He has also led pioneering, investigator-initiated trials combining immune checkpoint blockade with cytokines and the first combination of immune checkpoint blockade with anti-angiogenesis agents. Hodi is also known for his work in treating KIT-mutated melanoma.