A Tribute to John Mendelsohn: A Pioneer in Targeted Cancer Therapy

Posted: Monday, September 09, 2019

Cancer Research Journal
American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)


Cancer scientists and clinicians are mourning the death of one of the most accomplished members of their community: Dr. John Mendelsohn. He was a pioneer in targeted cancer therapy and was instrumental for the discovery and deployment of the first antagonist epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) therapeutic antibodies, broadening the concept of targeted EGFR therapy to encompass other receptor tyrosine kinases, such as HER2, and developing blocking antibody-combination therapy with chemotherapies or radiotherapy. Dr. Mendelsohn, who died on January 7, 2019, always led by the strength of his accomplishments and the humility of his character. Above all, he was a well-revered mentor and clinician, who extended compassion and the gift of his time to patients, colleagues, and mentees alike. In tribute to Dr. Mendelsohn, Cancer Research has invited his former mentees and colleagues who were associated with Dr. Mendelsohn for over three decades to reflect on the broad impact of his work. Here, we discuss Dr. Mendelsohn's illustrious career at three elite academic cancer institutions and hospitals in the United States, his acumen to build, grow, and uplift institutions, and train a generation of medical oncologists, physician scientists, and cancer biologists. His profound legacy on targeted therapy and cancer research and treatment continue to prolong and save the lives of cancer patients globally.

Rakesh Kumar, Marc Van de Vijver, Giampaolo Tortora, Fortunato Ciardiello, Tzipora Goldkorn, Wilson H. Miller Jr and Larry Norton

DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-19-0989 Published September 2019

WIN represents a global collaboration of cancer centers, life science and biotech organizations, pharmaceutical and technology companies and not-for-profit organizations.
The Worldwide Innovative Networking (WIN) Consortium in personalized cancer medicine was initiated in 2010 with leadership from leading cancer centers worldwide. WIN is a non-profit, non-governmental organization headquartered in Paris.

WIN was created to accelerate the pace and reduce the cost of translating novel cancer treatments to the bedside by developing and applying, through worldwide clinical trials and research projects, the most promising advances in genomic-based cancer research. WIN aims to initiate research projects each year in a global consortium guided by an independent scientific advisory board.

WIN now includes 36 institutional members. These stakeholders have come together from all parts of the world to address the challenge of increasing the efficacy of cancer diagnostics and therapeutics by understanding the genetics and biology of each individual’s tumor and accounting for genetic differences across diverse populations—from North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Our goal is to significantly improve outcomes for patients around the globe. We aim to increase the number of patients worldwide that have access to innovative, global clinical trials in the area of genomic-based cancer therapeutics. Global diversity and inclusion of all stakeholders is WIN’s most important and differentiating asset.
WIN is comprised of organizations representing all stakeholders in personalized cancer medicine.
WIN enables cross-sector collaborations designed to accelerate the speed and efficacy with which breakthroughs in personalized cancer medicine can be realized and brought to patients worldwide.

Our members include leading academic, pharmaceutical, life science, not-for-profit, health, patient advocacy and IT organizations.
Our members include 27 leading academic centers representing 20 countries and four continents, enabling coordinated studies with a global patient population.
The response to a genetically-targeted therapy can vary due to differences in ethnicity and environment. WIN's global studies are designed to identify and account for this variability, enhancing the speed and efficacy with which novel discoveries can be made and brought to patients around the world.

WIN prioritizes cross-sector interaction designed to enhance learning across and between continents and healthcare sectors.
WIN Symposia, held annually, brings together hundreds of leaders representing all stakeholders from around the world in a forum designed to promote the exchange of ideas and information.