Nomination letters praise Sigal as 'fundamental change agent' for field
WASHINGTON (June 20, 2018)
In recognition of her impact as a “fundamental change agent” for personalized medicine, the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC) is pleased to announce its selection of Ellen V. Sigal, Ph.D., Chairperson, Founder, Friends of Cancer Research (Friends), as the recipient of the 14th Annual Award for Leadership in Personalized Medicine. In their letters nominating Sigal for the award, PMC Board members Steven D. Averbuch, M.D., Vice President, Head of Precision Medicine, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Michael Pellini, M.D., Managing Partner, Section 32, highlighted Sigal’s extraordinary contributions to proactive science policies that promote personalized medicine.
“Dr. Sigal is a true force in the world of personalized medicine,” Pellini wrote.
Under Sigal’s leadership in 2014, Friends launched a first-of-its-kind personalized medicine clinical trial called the Lung Cancer Master Protocol (Lung-MAP). Lung-MAP uses a single diagnostic test to match participating patients to one of multiple trial sub-studies, each of which tests a different personalized medicine. The innovative scientific study, which was funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute in collaboration with commercial sponsors, has served as the basis for many other public-private clinical trials in personalized medicine. Pellini notes that it was Sigal who “willed” the trial into existence.
Sigal also led the advocacy efforts for a series of policy reforms at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that facilitate timely access to safe and effective personalized treatments. FDA’s Breakthrough Therapy Designation program and its Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE), for example, both trace their origins to Friends’ work. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., told the U.S. Congress last year that the OCE, in particular, was vital to the approval of the first CAR-T therapies, which provide a more effective treatment option for some patients by re-engineering immune cells to combat cancer.
“Dr. Sigal has been a fundamental change agent in bringing revolutionary precision cancer treatments to patients more efficiently,” Averbuch noted in his nomination letter.
Averbuch will present the award to Sigal on the second day of the 14th Annual Personalized Medicine Conference at Harvard Medical School, which will take place from November 14 – 15, 2018.
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