Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) is proud to announce that Fumiko Chino, MD; Craig B. Thompson, MD; and Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, FASCO, have been honored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, with three prestigious awards. The special honors are presented to researchers and global oncology leaders who have reshaped cancer care around the world and include the inaugural Excellence in Equity Award, the Science of Oncology Award, and the David Karnofsky Award. Dr. Chino, Dr. Thompson, and Dr. Wolchok will be recognized at the 2022 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago on June 3–7, 2022.
Fumiko Chino, MD, radiation oncologist at MSK, will receive the inaugural Excellence in Equity Award. Created in 2021, the Excellence in Equity Award recognizes ASCO members who have made significant and measurable contributions toward increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion within the field of oncology, or increasing access to equitable care for cancer patients. Recipients of this award have demonstrated their dedication to activities that foster and promote equitable treatment and care for historically underrepresented groups through efforts within their practice, advocacy, applied research, volunteering, mentorship, or other activities that create equitable, sustainable, and measurable change in the field of oncology.
Dr. Chino’s commitment to improving the physical, financial, and psychological outcomes of people with cancer has been ongoing for more than a decade. Her research focuses on patient-reported outcomes, health equity/access, and improving affordability of cancer care. She primarily focuses on the “financial toxicity” of cancer treatment — how the financial stress of cancer treatment can cause both subjective and objective strain on patients. Dr. Chino is a member of the Affordability Working Group at MSK. The group is a team of dedicated clinicians, researchers, and administrators working to address financial toxicity issues facing people with cancer through innovating care delivery, improving interventions, and bridging the gap between patient care and research. She also works collaboratively with many teams at MSK, including the Immigrant Health & Cancer Disparities Service, Social Work Support, and the Center for Health Policy & Outcomes. She mentors students underrepresented in medicine through the MSK Summer Pipeline and Summer Clinical Oncology Research Experience Program (SCORE) programs.
“I am honored and profoundly grateful to receive this award,” said Dr. Chino. “I have really appreciated ASCO’s ongoing commitment to advancing equity in healthcare. Certainly, my work in affordability and access shows that these are equity issues that are a significant obstacle in delivering equal care.”
Craig B. Thompson, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of MSK, will receive the Science of Oncology Award. The Science of Oncology Award is presented annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to basic or translational research in cancer.
A board-certified medical oncologist with 37 years of clinical experience, Dr. Thompson has extensive research experience in cancer, immunology, and translational medicine and continues to lead a lab at MSK. In collaboration with immunologist Carl June, Dr. Thompson was the first to describe the unique co-stimulatory properties of the receptor CD28 in augmenting lymphoid effector function, proliferation, and survival. The Thompson Lab identified the evolutionary duplication of CD28 into CD28 and CTLA-4 and, together with Jeff Bluestone at the University of Chicago, demonstrated that CTLA4 had an inhibitory effect on immune activation. Patents arising from this work have been licensed for the development of abatacept (Orencia®) and for use in T cell cloning and CAR T cell production. Dr. Thompson has published more than 455 peer-reviewed articles and is a named inventor on more than 30 patents.
“It’s an incredible honor to be recognized in my medical specialty,” said Dr. Thompson. “It’s a very important and meaningful tribute to the years I spent studying the basic and generalizable principles of cell growth and survival.”
Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, FASCO, Chief of the Immuno-Oncology Service, Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program (HOPP), and the Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at MSK, will receive the David Karnofsky Award. The David Karnofsky Award is presented annually in memory of the late David A. Karnofsky, MD, to honor his outstanding contributions to research in the diagnosis and/or treatment of cancer.
Dr. Wolchok is a clinician-scientist exploring innovative immunotherapeutic strategies in laboratory models and a principal investigator in numerous pivotal clinical trials. He was instrumental in the clinical development leading to the approval of ipilimumab for advanced melanoma and has received numerous honors for his work. Dr. Wolchok leads the Wolchok Laboratory at MSK, where he and his team investigate novel immunotherapeutic agents in preclinical laboratory models. The focus of his translational research laboratory is to investigate innovative means to modulate the immune response to cancer as well as to better understand the mechanistic basis for sensitivity and resistance to currently available immunotherapies.
“This recognition from ASCO means a tremendous amount to me, personally, because the name Karnofsky has special importance. Dr. Karnofsky’s research at MSK led to the development of numerous chemotherapeutics. In fact, the metric that we use to help assess a patient’s activity status is named after him and is therefore part of the conversation of every patient’s care,” Dr. Wolchok said.