Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) is proud to announce Luis Alberto Diaz, Jr., MD, Head of the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology; Grayer Family Chair at MSK, has been elected to the 10th class of Giants of Cancer Care® for his contributions in translational science. The mission of the Giants of Cancer Care® program is to recognize and celebrate pioneers, innovators, and future generations of leaders who have made remarkable achievements in oncology research and clinical practice. Dr. Diaz is one of 14 inductees this year whose body of work was considered by a committee of more than 120 oncologists, clinicians, and researchers. He joins eight MSK experts previously elected including Richard J. O’Reilly, MD; Dean F. Bajourn, MD; Larry Norton, MD; Robert J. Motzer, MD; Sir Murray F. Brennan GNZM, MD, FACS; Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, FASC; Jimmie C. Holland, MD; and Charles L. Sawyers, MD.
“I am honored to be joining the 2022 Class of the Giants of Cancer Care®,” said Dr. Diaz. “This is a reflection of the great teams I have been a member of over the course of my career. It also represents the fulfilling aspects of connecting the dots between science and clinical research and witnessing its application in the bedside setting.”
Dr. Diaz is a renowned medical oncologist and scientist who cares for patients at MSK with advanced colon cancer and pancreatic cancer. His research focuses on applied cancer genetics and identifying precise targets and diagnostics, with an added focus on immuno-oncology. Dr. Diaz helped spearhead the application of circulating tumor DNA as a cancer diagnostic and a strategy for monitoring the emergence of therapeutic resistance in the blood, and along with his colleagues, is developing a “molecular pap smear” to diagnose early-stage ovarian and endometrial cancer.
Prior to joining MSK, Dr. Diaz was a Professor of Medicine at John Hopkins. There, his team’s research led to an FDA approval of an immunotherapy for cancers that share a genetic abnormality called mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency. This was the first time a therapy was approved based on a specific genetic profile rather than where a cancer originated.
In September 2021, President Biden appointed Dr. Diaz as one of seven advisors to the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB). He has also been the recipient of the American Academy for Cancer Research (AACR) Team Science Award in 2013, 2014, 2017 and was recently elected to the prestigious Fellows of AACR Academy class of 2022.