NFF Medical Advisors
John A. Glaspy, M.D., M. P.H, is a researcher and oncologist who has gained a national reputation in clinical medicine as an acute diagnostician and outstanding clinician. His research areas include: studies to test the ability to successfully treat breast cancer with stem cell transplantation; understanding the role of gene therapy in cancer; showing that a specific, low-fat diet can alter the composition of human breast tissue in a way that could make it resistant to breast cancer.
Dr. Glaspy also has played in major role along with Dr. Dennis Slamon in developing the community-based UCLA Oncology Research Network, a community outreach program aimed at bringing UCLA expertise and clinical research programs to patients well beyond the immediate vicinity of UCLA.
Dr. Glaspy is the inaugural recipient of the Sanders Endowed Chair in Cancer Research at UCLA in recognition of his eminence as a faculty member at the UCLA School of Medicine and his distinguished contributions in the area of cancer research.
Dennis J. Slamon, M.D., Ph.D., is a highly respected physician/scientist whose work resulted in the first molecularly targeted treatment for breast cancer, a drug that attacks the disease by targeting defective genes. For 12 years, Slamon and his colleagues conducted the laboratory and clinical research that led to the development of Herceptin, which targets a specific genetic alteration found in about 25 percent of breast cancer patients.
Herceptin, approved by the FDA for patients with metastic disease in September 1998, was the first in a wave of new treatments that attempt to fix what is broken in a cancer cell - finding the genetic defects that cause a cell to become malignant and targeting those alterations. Because it targets only malignant cells, Herceptin does not cause side effects such as hair loss and nausea that often are attributed to conventional therapies. Later international clinical trials conducted under Dr. Slamon's leadership demonstrated a 51% reduction in risk of recurrence for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients treated with Herceptin and chemotherapy compared to patients treated with chemotherapy alone. These data, combined with parallel trials conducted by the National Cancer Institute, represented the single greatest advance in breast cancer therapy in more than six decades.
For his groundbreaking work, Dr. Slamon has been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the Dorothy P. Landon-AACR Prize for Translational Cancer Research from the American Association for Cancer Research, the 2007 Gairdner International Award, and the American Cancer Society's Medal of Honor, the top award bestowed by the organization.