President Biden announced on September 15 his appointment of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) medical oncologist and Head of the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology, Luis Alberto Diaz, Jr., MD, as one of seven distinguished members of the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB).
The NCAB plays an important role in guiding the Director of the National Cancer Institute in setting the course for the national cancer research program. The NCAB will complement the Administration’s efforts to build on the spirit and learnings of the Cancer Moonshot, which President Biden led in the Obama-Biden Administration. MSK’s Charles Sawyers, MD, previously served on the NCAB under the Obama-Biden Administration.
An accomplished physician, pioneering researcher, and leader in the field of clinical oncology, Dr. Diaz serves as Head of the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology and holds the Grayer Family Chair. He is a medical oncologist who cares for people with advanced colon cancer and pancreatic cancer. Dr. Diaz is an internationally recognized physician-scientist with a special interest in cancer genetics and immuno-oncology. He helped pioneer the application of circulating tumor DNA as a cancer diagnostic and a strategy for monitoring emergence of therapeutic resistance in the blood. His landmark proof-of-principle study using the immunotherapy PD-1 blockade in patients with mismatch repair deficient tumors in colorectal cancer showed dramatic responses in patients who had failed standard therapy, resulting in a paradigm-shifting FDA approval. He has pioneered several diagnostic and therapeutic genomic approaches to cancer and, with his colleagues, is working to develop a “molecular pap smear” that is able to diagnose early-stage ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer based on genetic markers. As Head of Solid Tumor Oncology, he is committed to improving mentorship for young scientists and is also involved in projects to improve patients’ experience as well as their access to MSK’s unmatched cancer care.
Dr. Diaz received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Michigan. He completed his residency training at the Osler Medical Service at Johns Hopkins and medical oncology training at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.