“Dr. Kirkwood has been leading numerous, highly promising clinical trials focused on melanoma through immunotherapy at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center for more than 30 years,” said Stanley Marks, M.D., chairman of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “He’s a pioneer in this field, and this recognition is well-deserved.”
The inductees were nominated by the oncology community, and finalists were selected by a five-member advisory board of world-renowned oncologists. The finalists in each category are then voted on by a 90-plus member selection committee comprising the nation's leading oncology physicians. The winners represent 12 categories: breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, genitourinary cancer, hematologic malignancies, lung cancer, melanoma, radiation oncology, scientific advances/drug development, pediatric oncology, supportive/palliative/geriatric care, immuno-oncology and surgical oncology.
“Each Giants of Cancer Care inductee continues to help propel the field of oncology forward through their commitment to innovative and groundbreaking contributions in cancer treatment and research,” said Michael J. Hennessy Jr., president of Michael J. Hennessy Associates Inc., parent company of OncLive. “They provide hope to cancer patients and their families and are an inspiration to the future generations of researchers and practitioners who continue advancing toward a cure for these diseases.”
Kirkwood’s research focuses on melanoma immunobiology, therapy and prevention. He developed the first FDA-approved immunotherapy of melanoma back in 1996, decades before immunotherapy reached its current level of attention. He now is pioneering new approaches to the assessment of the most recently approved new immunotherapies and molecular therapies that are anticipated to be the focus of the next decade of clinical translational research.
Kirkwood is a member of the Association of American Physicians, the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Society for Clinical Oncology, the American Association for Cancer Research, the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, the National Cancer Foundation, the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, the Society for Melanoma Research, the Clinical Immunology Society, and the Society of Natural Immunity. He has received numerous awards, most recently from the American Skin Association and was named the Elsie Hillman Distinguished Scholar.