The Targeted Anticancer Therapies (TAT) 2019 Honorary Award for cancer drug development has been given to Geoffrey Shapiro, PhD, MD, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and institute physician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), for his leadership in developmental therapeutics. The award was presented during the TAT International Congress 2019 in Paris in February. 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.
On receiving the award, Dr. 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, monitoring of toxicities and responses, and 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.”
Dr. Shapiro has built a comprehensive program in early cancer drug development, particularly in solid tumors, as the Leader of the Early Drug Development Center at DFCI, Clinical Director of the DFCI Center for DNA Damage and Repair, and Co-Leader of the Developmental Therapeutics Program at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.
In his leadership roles, Dr. Shapiro has provided scientific and clinical direction for the design of early-phase clinical trials that evaluated a broad range of investigational agents including cell-cycle inhibitors, such as those targeting cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK) and mitotic kinases, as well as DNA damage response modulators that inhibit poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and checkpoint kinases. He has also conducted studies of a variety of signal transduction and angiogenesis inhibitors. Furthermore, Dr. Shapiro 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.
Dr. Shapiro’s laboratory has made 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, and an experimental MEK inhibitor for the treatment of solid tumors. He has also established translational assays to identify target engagement of these combinations in patients. More recently, Dr. Shapiro has sought to understand the effects of several classes of agents, notably CDK and PARP inhibitors, on the immune microenvironment, to further develop rational combinations. ■