The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will present the 2015 William Dameshek Prize to John C. Byrd, MD, of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center–Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC–James) for his contributions to the development of transformative treatments for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
This prize, named after the late William Dameshek, MD, a Past President of ASH and the original editor of Blood, recognizes a recent outstanding contribution to the field of hematology. Dr. Byrd will accept his award on Tuesday, December 8, during the 57th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in Orlando.
Dr. Byrd is the D. Warren Brown Chair of Leukemia Research at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, where he holds the academic rank of Professor of Internal Medicine; Medicinal Chemistry; Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; and Veterinary Bioscience. He is the Director of the Division of Hematology and Program Co-Leader of the Leukemia Research Program in the OSUCCC.
Throughout his more than 20-year career, Dr. Byrd has revolutionized the way CLL is viewed and treated, yielding practice-changing therapies for patients with the disease. Early in his career, Dr. Byrd developed and defined the mechanism of action of the anti-CD20 antibody rituximab, the first therapy to prolong survival in CLL. He led the preclinical and clinical development of the targeted therapy ibrutinib. Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved ibrutinib in 2013, Dr. Byrd has continued to facilitate research addressing drug resistance and exploring alternative treatment strategies.
Dr. Byrd earned his medical degree at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine and fellowship in hematology, oncology, and bone marrow transplantation at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. Dr. Byrd received translational laboratory training at Johns Hopkins University under the mentorship of Michael Grever, MD, with whom he has continued to work closely throughout his career.
In 2001, Dr. Byrd joined OSUCCC, where he has transformed the Hematologic Malignancies Program from a joint Hematology-Oncology Program with seven members into a distinct Division of Hematology with nearly 50 members. He is active in cooperative group research, serving as a member of the CLL Research Consortium and in several leadership roles within the Cancer and Leukemia Group B and Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology.
Dr. Byrd has been involved in ASH throughout his career, serving as faculty and Co-Director of the ASH Clinical Research Training Institute. He is also active in ASCO and AACR.
“[ASH] is honored to recognize Dr. Byrd with the William Dameshek Prize for his outstanding contributions in the area of CLL that extend or improve the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of patients each year,” said ASH President David A. Williams, MD, of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and Harvard Medical School.” ■