Medelis co-founder Daniel Von Hoff receives prestigious ASCO scientific honor

We are pleased to share the news that Medelis co-founder and Medical Advisory Board member Daniel D. Von Hoff, M.D. was recently awarded the 2010 David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award by the American Society of Clinical Oncologists during their 26th annual meeting in Chicago. One of ASCO’s highest scientific honors, the award honors pioneering oncologists who, through clinical research, have changed the way oncologists think about the practice of oncology. 

In his award lecture, “The Last 12 Weeks,” Dr. Von Hoff discussed a model for helping patients whose solid tumors are refractory to standard therapies and are searching for help in their last 12 weeks. The key is, as described by ASCO, “to look deep into the tumor genome in search of its Achilles’ heel, a mutation that defines the tumor’s vulnerability and provides a therapeutic target.” 

“Rather than reach for the next agent to come along,” select one that is thought to have selectivity for the target on the basis of either preclinical studies or activity in other cancers containing the same vulnerability, Dr. Von Hoff said. The result is an initial phase I trial with one patient. “I believe that if we can work smarter, phase I trials can be more therapeutic,” he explained. 

Dr. Von Hoff also discussed his preference for the term “precision medicine” rather than “personalized medicine.” He told ASCO, “I don’t like the term ‘personalized medicine.’ Most nurses and doctors already try to deliver personalized medicine. We don’t always achieve it, but that’s why we got into medicine in the first place — to listen and engage with the patient,” he said. Instead, Dr. Von Hoff prefers the phrase “precision medicine” to describe the ongoing efforts to characterize individual patients and the tumors they have, to discover new genetic markers, and to develop targeted therapies with the maximum potential for disease response. “My primary goal is to optimize the care of the patient sitting in front of me.”

Congratulations, Dan, on this prestigious honor and your deep dedication to your patients and our field.

Links:  ASCO article about the Karnofsky award  |  Highlights from Dan’s lecture, “The Last 12 Weeks” |  Full list of 2010 ASCO awards