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Cancer Drug Development Award Given to Geoffrey Shapiro [ESMO Press Release]

24 Jan 2019
Anticancer agents & Biologic therapy;  Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy;  Personalised medicine

LUGANO, Switzerland - The TAT 2019 Honorary Award for cancer drug development has been given to Dr Geoffrey Shapiro, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Institute Physician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, for his leadership in developmental therapeutics, particularly in solid tumours. The award will be presented during  the International Congress on Targeted Anticancer Therapies (TAT) 2019, to be held in Paris, France, 25–27 February. (1)


The TAT Honorary Award was established in the early 1990s to acknowledge distinguished cancer drug development experts who have devoted a major part of their careers to the discovery and development of better anticancer medicines.

Shapiro has built a comprehensive programme in early cancer drug development, particularly in solid tumours, as Leader of the Early Drug Development Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), Clinical Director of the DFCI Center for DNA Damage and Repair, and co-Leader of the Developmental Therapeutics Programme at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC).

In his leadership roles, Shapiro has provided scientific and clinical direction for the design of early phase clinical trials evaluating a broad range of investigational agents including cell cycle inhibitors, such as those targeting CDKs and mitotic kinases, as well as DNA damage response modulators that inhibit PARP and checkpoint kinases. He has also conducted studies of a variety of signal transduction and angiogenesis inhibitors. He has made proof-of-mechanism studies a mission of his programme and has worked closely with basic and translational scientists at his institution and elsewhere to establish robust preclinical rationale for many trials.

On receiving the award, Shapiro said: “For many years, the TAT International Congress has been a critical venue for the presentation of translational research and discussion of all facets of early drug development, from biology of novel drug classes to clinical trial design, to monitoring of toxicities and responses, to reporting of early clinical results. There is no other place where those involved in early drug development can find such a strong and supportive community of premier investigators with international representation. It is therefore a great honour to be selected by my peers for the TAT Honorary Award this year, one of my proudest accolades for which I am tremendously grateful.”

Shapiro’s laboratory has made major contributions toward the development of several combinations of targeted agents that are currently in clinical evaluation, such as the combination of palbociclib, a CDK4 inhibitor, and PD-0325901, an experimental MEK inhibitor, for treatment of solid tumours. He has also established translational assays to identify target engagement of these combinations in patients. More recently, he has sought to understand the effects of several classes of agents, notably CDK and PARP inhibitors, on the immune microenvironment, in order to further develop rational combinations.

Shapiro contributes to the field of early drug development in cancer through membership of several committees. These include the TAT Scientific Advisory Committee, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Investigational Drug Steering Committee, the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Committee, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Scientific Programme Committee for the Developmental Therapeutics Track.

Professor Giuseppe Curigliano, Chair of the ESMO Nomination Committee, said: “Shapiro has dedicated his career to developing better anticancer medicines. His work has been a key factor in the successful advancement of a number of drugs, including CDK 4/6 inhibitors, now approved in breast cancer and under active investigation in other cancers. It is therefore a great pleasure for ESMO to present him the TAT 2019 Honorary Award for cancer drug development.”

Notes to Editors

Please make sure to use the official name of the meeting in your reports: TAT International Congress 2019

Official Congress Hashtag:  #TAT19


  1. Dr. Shapiro will present his keynote lecture entitled “Development of Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitors: A brief history and future directions”, during the TAT 2019 opening and welcome session, Monday 25 February, from 08:45 to 09:30 in Amphithéatre Bordeaux
About the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO)

ESMO is the leading professional organisation for medical oncology. With more than 20,000 members representing oncology professionals from over 150 countries worldwide, ESMO is the society of reference for oncology education and information. ESMO is committed to offer the best care to people with cancer, through fostering integrated cancer care, supporting oncologists in their professional development, and advocating for sustainable cancer care worldwide.

About the International Congress on Targeted Anticancer Therapies (TAT)

The TAT Congress is a well-differentiated ESMO event focusing on early phase drug development and translational research. The TAT Congress series has been at the forefront of revolutionary transformation in early drug development and has succeeded in broadening the conversation on phase I trials to include a wide circle of stakeholders.

Last update: 24 Jan 2019

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