Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Announces Appointment of New Physician-in-Chief

Pictured: José Baselga

New Physician-in-Chief José Baselga

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center announced today that José Baselga has been named Physician-in-Chief of Memorial Hospital. He will begin on January 1, 2013. Currently, Dr. Baselga is Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Associate Director of the MGH Cancer Center.

“Memorial Sloan Kettering is embarking on a new period of growth and development across our range of clinical programs, and in José Baselga we are fortunate to have recruited a leader with the vision, skill, and experience to work with us during this exciting time,” said Memorial Sloan Kettering President and CEO Craig B. Thompson. “Dr. Baselga is a dedicated clinician and a distinguished researcher. I know he will collaborate energetically and enthusiastically with his colleagues throughout this great institution to accelerate cancer discovery and help bring new and more-effective treatments to the clinic, while ensuring the highest and most humane standards in patient care.”

More than 123,000 patients are seen annually at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. As Physician-in-Chief, Dr. Baselga will direct the clinical component of Memorial Sloan Kettering, leading a staff of approximately 834 attending physicians. His responsibilities will include the management of patient care delivery in Memorial Hospital as well as at Memorial Sloan Kettering’s clinics and regional sites. He will also focus on clinical strategic planning and will oversee clinical and translational research.

Dr. Baselga is an internationally recognized physician-scientist with a special interest in translational and early clinical research as well as the identification of novel mechanisms of resistance to current cancer therapies. His laboratory investigations have focused primarily on breast cancer, in particular in the area of growth factor receptors and signaling pathways as targets for breast cancer therapy. He has also been involved in the preclinical and clinical development of several molecularly targeted agents including trastuzumab (Herceptin®) and lapatinib (Tykerb®), and insulin-like growth factor receptor inhibitors. More recently, he led the early clinical development and the pivotal clinical studies that resulted in approval by the US Food and Drug Administration of two drugs for the treatment of breast cancer – pertuzumab (Perjeta) for the treatment of patients with HER2-positive metastatic disease, and everolimus (Afinitor®) for the treatment of advanced hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer. His current work focuses on the development of PI3K inhibitors in patients with tumors that have PI3K mutations.

“One of today’s major challenges in clinical oncology is translating as rapidly as possible findings made in the laboratory into effective therapies for patients,” said Dr. Baselga. “Memorial Sloan Kettering is uniquely positioned to do this – and at a time when the opportunities in cancer research and treatment have never been greater. I am delighted, and feel privileged, to be rejoining the MSKCC family.”

Dr. Baselga completed a medical oncology fellowship at Memorial Hospital and remained as a faculty member on the Breast/Gynecological Oncology Service from 1994 through 1996. He received his MD and PhD degrees from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, in Spain, and did residencies at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona and the State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn.

Dr. Baselga is a past president of the European Society for Medical Oncology, has served on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and is the author or co-author of more than 300 peer-reviewed articles and publications. He is also a founding editor-in-chief (with Lewis C. Cantley) of the AACR’s new journal Cancer Discovery. He has received numerous awards and honors, among them ASCO’s Young Investigator and Career Development Awards and the Rosenthal Family Award from the AACR.

Dr. Baselga succeeds Robert E. Wittes, who announced in August 2011 his intention to step down at the end of this year after serving for a decade as Physician-in-Chief.