Oncology pioneer Dr. Vincent T. DeVita Jr., the Amy and Joseph Perella Professor of Medicine at Yale Cancer Center, and professor of epidemiology and public health at Yale School of Medicine, was named a fellow of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Academy Class of 2014. DeVita is one of 38 internationally-renowned cancer scientists being inducted during the AACR’s annual meeting in San Diego.
The AACR Academy was created to recognize and honor distinguished scientists whose major scientific contributions led to significant innovation and progress against cancer. Only scientists considered to have “stellar scientific achievements” are considered for the academy, according to the AACR.
“It is a unique honor to join so many distinguished colleagues as an AACR fellow,” said DeVita, who served as the director of Yale Cancer Center from 1993 to 2003, and director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) from 1980 to 1988. “We have all toiled together these many years at the bench and bedside, and watched the exciting story of the cancer cell unfold before our eyes.”
DeVita’s work has contributed significantly to the scientific understanding of cancer’s immense complexities. While at the NCI, he developed combination chemotherapy programs that ultimately led to an effective regimen of curative chemotherapy for Hodgkin's disease and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas. Along with colleagues at the NCI, he developed the four-drug combination, known by the acronym MOPP, which increased the cure-rate for patients with advanced Hodgkin's disease from zero to over 70%. DeVita and his colleagues played a major role in the development of similar treatments for other lymphomas, and cancers of the ovary and breast.
In 1972, DeVita was awarded the Albert Lasker Clinical Research Award for his outstanding contribution to the concept of combination therapy in the treatment of Hodgkin's disease.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed DeVita director of the NCI and the National Cancer Program. He was later appointed physician-in-chief, and attending physician, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he also served in the molecular pharmacology program.
DeVita serves on the editorial boards of numerous scientific journals, and is the author or co-author of more than 450 scientific articles. He is one of the three editors of Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. The 10th edition is planned for publication in November. He is also the editor-in-chief of The Cancer Journal.
Other accomplishments include: president, American Cancer Society (2012); fellow, American Society of Clinical Oncology (2012); Distinguished Medical Science Award, Friends of the National Library of Medicine (2009); and elected, European Academy of Sciences (2002).