Giants of Cancer Care® Program Inductees
Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
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- Wolchok earned international recognition for his critical role in the clinical development of ipilimumab, an antibody that undermines immune "checkpoints" to allow more robust activation of T cell responses to growing cancers.
- He served as the principal investigator for the pivotal phase III trial comparing ipilimumab and dacarbazine versus dacarbazine alone for meta- static melanoma that formed the basis for the approval of ipilimumab (Yervoy) by the FDA.
- Conduct of the trial necessitated changes in the way in which patients with metastatic melanoma were monitored for treatment efficacy versus treatment failure; the antitumor response criteria historically used for cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs proved inadequate for immunotherapy. The trial design and results were described in what has become a landmark paper in The New England Journal of Medicine.
- He has continued his work to improve anticancer immunotherapy, undertaking a trial of ipilimumab given along with nivolumab, an immune checkpoint inhibitor with a different target. Early trial results hint that this combination may be even more effective than ipilimumab alone, leading to a global phase III trial to be directed by Wolchok.
- To extend immunotherapy beyond melanoma, Wolchok organized the immunotherapeutics program at Memorial Sloan Kettering, which carries out all of the phase I trials of immunotherapy at the cancer center in order to enhance efforts to test new immunotherapies and expand testing on various tumor types.