– Two leading UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
immunologists and cancer researchers have received the 2021 PNC Elsie Hillman Distinguished Scholar Award for their groundbreaking work in successfully treating patients with late-stage melanoma.
The award, now in its 10th year, honors the advancements being made in cancer research and treatment and recognizes those who support these efforts at UPMC Hillman, the region’s only National Cancer Institute
-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The 2021 honorees—Hassane M. Zarour, M.D.
and Diwakar Davar, M.B.B.S., M.Sc.
—specialize in the development of early-phase studies to test new immunotherapeutic approaches to treat advanced cancers. Earlier this year, the two were credited with demonstrating that changing the gut microbiome could transform patients with advanced melanoma who never responded to immunotherapy into patients who do. This first in-human study will lead to expanding the treatment to more patients in a larger clinical trial.
“Because of funding from awards such as this, we are able support our scientists who are making new discoveries that change the way we treat cancer and make an impact on patient care,” said Robert Ferris, M.D., Ph.D.
, director of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “Drs. Zarour and Davar have proven that with this initial study.”
“UPMC Hillman is continually ranked among the leading cancer centers in the nation and remains the only NCI-designated cancer center in western Pennsylvania because of the cancer research, such as that of Drs. Zarour and Davar,” said Stanley M. Marks, M.D.
, chairman of UPMC Hillman.
Davar is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
and a medical oncologist and hematologist at UPMC Hillman. Zarour is a professor of medicine at Pitt, a dermatologist and cancer immunologist at UPMC Hillman.
PHOTO INFO: (click images for high-res versions)
CREDIT BOTH: UPMC
Left: Hassane M. Zarour, M.D.
Right: Diwakar Davar, M.B.B.S., M.Sc.