Duane Roth Achievement Award
Duane Roth


Duane Roth Achievement Award

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The Duane Roth Achievement Award is bestowed upon patient-focused leaders in health care whose work has overcome scientific, financial, institutional, political and cultural challenges to create new paradigms in research and treatment. Named after Duane Roth, an esteemed leader in the biotech industry who died tragically following a bicycle accident in 2013, the award is given to those who demonstrate his deep commitment to innovation and the patient.

The UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center Industry/Academia Symposium

Since 2005, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center's Office of Industry Relations annually organizes the Industry/Academia Translational Oncology Symposium - a unique forum where distinguished investigators, scientists, and clinicians join top industry decision-makers to discuss the latest breakthroughs in translational oncology research. Presentation subjects include personalized medicine, targeted therapy discoveries, collaborative clinical trials and case studies of successful collaborative projects. An interactive panel session composed of industry and academia panelists and the concluding networking reception allow for further dialogue of ideas and the fostering of collaborative relationships.

The Duane Roth Achievement Award has proudly been presented as part of the Symposium since 2014.

Past Recipients

Susan Band Horwitz, Ph.D

Susan Band Horwitz, Ph.D attended Bryn Mawr College, then received her Ph.D in Biochemistry from Brandeis University. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Departments of Pharmacology at Tufts Medical School, Emory Medical School and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She joined the faculty at Albert Einstein in 1970 and is presently a Distinguished Professor and the Rose C. Falkenstein Professor of Cancer Research.

Dr. Horwitz has received numerous honors and awards including the C. Chester Stock Award from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize from Harvard Medical School, The Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Research, The American Cancer Society’s Medal of Honor and the AACR Lifetime Achievement Award in Cancer Research.

Carl June, M.D.

Carl June, M.D., is the 2018 recipient of the Duane Roth Endowed Award Lecture . He is a leading pioneer of T-cell treatments, and his accomplishments have ushered in a new era in immunotherapy that transformed the field as a whole.

In 2011, his research team published findings detailing a new therapy in which patients with refractory and relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia were treated with genetically engineered versions of their own T cells— giving the patient's own immune system the lasting ability to fight cancer. In 2012, Novartis and the University of Pennsylvania entered an agreement to further develop this therapy—eventually leading to the first FDA approval of a therapy based on gene transfer in 2017, Kymriah. In addition, his foundational work has sparked a new field of research around these “CAR-T cell therapies” that has transformed the landscape in immuno-oncology. Amidst his success in delivering unique treatment options to the patient, Dr. June believes that there is much more work to be done in the immunotherapy space.

Dr. June is the director of translational research and a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine in University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center and Perelman School of Medicine. He maintains a research laboratory at the university. The June Lab studies various mechanisms of lymphocyte activation that relate to immune tolerance and adoptive immunotherapy for cancer and chronic infection.

Sandra Horning, M.D.

Sandra Horning, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of global development for Genentech, was named the 2017 recipient of the Duane Roth Endowed Award Lecture. She is a champion of personalized therapies and she led the development and launch of multiple cancer therapies.

Dr. Horning, a cancer survivor, has focused much of her work on developing new treatments for lymphoma, a cancer that affects the immune system, including leading clinical trials that eventually resulted in new, approved drug treatments for patients. In addition to bringing new treatments forward, she is a champion for the importance of an individual being mindful of his or her family and anticipating survivorship issues, such as fertility, secondary malignancies, cardiopulmonary and endocrine side-effects.

Dr. Horning has had a distinguished career in cancer treatment and research, first as a practicing oncologist, investigator and professor at Stanford University for 25 years, then at the San Francisco-based biotech company Genentech, in which multiple cancer therapies were approved under her leadership. Dr. Horning also served as the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) president from 2005 to 2006.

Dennis Slamon, M.D., Ph.D.

Dennis Slamon, M.D., Ph.D., was named the 2016 recipient of the Duane Roth Endowed Award Lecture. Dr. Slamon stood at the forefront of targeted therapy at a time when the technology was not supported by his peers. Despite facing much resistance, Dr. Slamon and his team at UCLA played an integral role in the development of HERCEPTIN (trastuzumab)—the first molecularly targeted therapy for breast cancer. It was approved by the FDA in 1998.

Dr. Slamon dedicated much of his career to the creation of targeted therapies, despite opposition faced around the concept in its earliest days. His latest success involves the development of IBRANCE (palbociclib), granted FDA approval in 2017 for use in combination with letrozole for the treatment of postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative advanced breast cancer as initial endocrine-based therapy for their metastatic disease. The Pfizer study was conducted in collaboration with the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Revlon/UCLA Women’s Cancer Research Program, led by Dr. Slamon.

Dr. Slamon serves as director of Clinical/Translational Research and director of the Revlon/UCLA Women's Cancer Research Program at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is a professor of medicine, chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology and executive vice chair for research for UCLA's Department of Medicine. Dr. Slamon has spent his career working on therapies targeting various genes and ensuring that advanced breast cancer patients across the globe can access them.

Brian Druker, M.D.

Brian Druker, M.D., was named the 2015 recipient of the Duane Roth Endowed Award Lecture. Dr. Druker's research focuses on activated tyrosine kinases with an emphasis on signal transduction, cellular transformation and the application of this knowledge to cancer therapies.

Early in his career, tyrosine kinases were not considered proper therapeutic targets and he received tremendous backlash for pursuing these targets for cancer drug development. Dr. Druker’s tenacity was instrumental in developing imatinib, a specific inhibitor of the ABL protein tyrosine kinase that has proven to be an effective therapeutic agent in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). After completing a series of preclinical studies, Dr. Druker spearheaded the highly successful clinical trials of imatinib for CML. Imatinib is currently FDA approved for CML and gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST). His role in the development of imatinib and its application in the clinic has impacted countless cancer patients.

Dr. Druker is director of the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Knight Cancer Institute, JELD-WEN chair of leukemia research at OHSU and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Laura Esserman, M.D., MBA

Laura Esserman, M.D., MBA, was named inaugural recipient of the Duane Roth Endowed Award Lecture in 2014. Dr. Esserman is widely recognized for envisioning and implementing new clinical trial design in oncology that forced a shift in the industry. Through her lobbying efforts and ability to secure support from key industry members, she was able to successfully combat rigid trial design—thus allowing new treatment options to reach patients much faster.

Dr. Esserman’s various research experience is vast. Her role as a principal investigator of the Biomarker Discovery Laboratory for the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) led to the development of the ATHENA Breast Health Network, an integrated network across the University of California campuses and the Sanford Medical Center. The project followed 150,000 women through biopsy, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up in an effort to create an engine that provides and improves breast cancer prevention services for patients.

Dr. Esserman is a surgeon and breast cancer oncology specialist practicing at the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center where she has also held the position of director since 1996. She co-leads the Breast Oncology Program, the largest of the UCSF Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center's multidisciplinary programs. She is a professor of surgery & radiology at UCSF and faculty at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center where she founded the program in Translational Informatics. As part of this program, her research has focused on bioinformatics, medical and clinical informatics, systems integration, and clinical care delivery.


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