Stephen B. Baylin, MD
Dr. Baylin is a leader in the field of epigenetics and has been investigating the genetic bases of cancer for most of his distinguished career. He was an original principal investigator on the epigenetic portion of the Cancer Genome Atlas project, whose goal was to identify the genomic changes that occur in cancer, and his research has provided valuable insights into promoter hypermethylation and its key role in human cancers. His efforts have shown that runaway methylation negatively affects the expression of tumor suppressor genes. These densely methylated genes have proved to be a useful marker for cancer risk assessment, early diagnosis, and prognostic monitoring, resulting in direct therapeutic value for clinical examination of DNA methylation markers. Currently, Dr. Baylin is Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Professor in Cancer Research, Associate Director of Cancer Center for Research, and Director Cancer Biology Program.
Dr. Baylin’s laboratory has also identified chronic inflammation as a rapid promoter of the widespread methylation of genes, potentially laying the groundwork for cancer. His investigation into how excess methylation could be prevented and the suppressor genes reactivated has important translational significance. Epigenetic therapy is the focus of the Stand Up to Cancer Dream Team that he and Dr. Peter Jones currently lead. Early in his career, when he was at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Dr. Baylin also characterized the biology and genetics of a rare hereditary thyroid cancer. Dr. Baylin received his medical degree from Duke University.
George D. Demetri, MD
Dr. Demetri has long been a leader in translational research aimed at developing the most rational practical applications of new discoveries to understand and treat sarcomas. He was a pioneer in the development of the Gleevec as one of the first examples of targeted cancer therapies focused on a molecularly-defined subset of sarcoma: gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). Subsequently, his work has led to the FDA and worldwide regulatory approval of several other “smart drugs” for cancer, including Sutent and Stivarga for GIST, as well as Votrient and Yondelis for other sarcomas. In a related contribution, Dr. Demetri served on the Scientific Advisory Board for Plexxikon and was a critical member of the team which developed the mutant BRAF inhibitor, Zelboraf, as the first mutation-targeted therapy for a molecularly-defined subset of melanomas. Currently he is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Director at the Ludwig Center at Harvard, SVP for Experimental Therapeutics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Associate Director for Clinical Sciences at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. At Dana-Farber and Harvard, Dr. Demetri leads a large multidisciplinary center focused on the specialty cancer care and science of sarcomas with a team that has consistently been at the cutting edge of developing personalized cancer therapeutics for sarcomas as a model for all cancers. Outside of the laboratory, Dr. Demetri has been instrumental in raising awareness of issues relating to sarcoma, serving as a chair of the Medical Advisory Board of the Sarcoma Foundation of America, and a member of the Board of the Hope Funds for Cancer Research. Dr. Demetri also developed and teaches an innovative Freshman Seminar at Harvard College to introduce undergraduates to the social, ethical, scientific and humanistic aspects of cancer. Dr. Demetri received his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Harvard College and medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine, after which he completed his internal medicine residency and chief residency at the University of Washington Hospitals in Seattle. He completed a fellowship in Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School.
Lillian L. Siu, MD, FRCPC
Dr. Siu has been a Senior Staff Medical Oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre since 1998, and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto since 2009. She is also the Director of the Phase I Program and Co-Director of the Robert and Maggie Bras and Family Drug Development Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. She is currently serving a four-year term on the Board of Directors for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). She also serves as a member of the Nomination Committee for the American Association for Cancer Research.
Dr. Siu’s research focuses on new anti-cancer drug development, particularly on phase I trials and head and neck malignancies. In addition to her active research in early phase clinical trials, Dr. Siu has been leading genomics initiatives in the area of precision medicine at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Under Dr. Siu’s leadership, the Cancer Genomics Program launched multiple high-impact precision medicine projects, including the Integrated Molecular Profiling in Advanced Cancers Trial (IMPACT) and Community Oncology Molecular Profiling in Advanced Cancers Trial (COMPACT), which have recruited more than 3,000 patients since March 2012. She has published more than 240 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and is currently a scientific editor for Cancer Discovery and is on the editorial boards for the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cold Spring Harbor Molecular Case Studies and JAMA Oncology. Dr. Siu received her medical degree from the University of Toronto followed by her Certification in Internal Medicine at The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.