Charles Sawyers Named to Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Charles Sawyers, MD Charles Sawyers, MD Chair, Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program

Charles L. Sawyers, Chair of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, is one of 15 patient-oriented researchers to be appointed a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator.

Dr. Sawyers’ work examines how signaling pathway abnormalities in cancer cells can be exploited as targets for new cancer drugs. His current focus is on developing new treatments for patients with prostate cancer who have developed resistance to drugs that fight the cancer by blocking male sex hormones, called androgens. A promising new drug is now in clinical trials.

Dr. Sawyers came to Memorial Sloan Kettering in 2006 after nearly two decades at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was instrumental in the development of two drugs for leukemia, imatinib (Gleevec®) and dasatinib (Sprycel®). His awards include the Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award, the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award, and the David A. Karnofsky Award. He holds the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Chair at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Established in 1953, the HHMI is a nonprofit medical research organization and one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the United States. These latest appointments are part of HHMI’s commitment to ensuring that basic research discoveries are translated into improved treatments for patients. “These physician-scientists
are changing the way we think about and treat a variety of diseases.” said HHMI President Thomas R. Cech in announcing the appointments. “As a group,” he added, “they have demonstrated extraordinary creativity and innovation.