Edelson Named Director of Yale Cancer Center
Yale University School of Medicine Dean David A. Kessler, M.D., and Yale-New Haven Hospital President Joseph A. Zaccagnino today announced the appointment of Richard L. Edelson, M.D. as the new director of the Yale Cancer Center effective July 1, 2003.
Edelson will succeed Vincent T. DeVita, Jr., M.D., who is stepping down from his position as director on June 30 after completing his second term. “Dr. Edelson has been selected to lead the Yale Cancer Center because he is a world-class clinical investigator, institutional leader and valued colleague,” Kessler said.
Edelson is internationally acclaimed for his fundamental contributions to the study of Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma (CTCL), a disease caused by malignant T lymphocytes that affects the skin. His research group has played a central role in deciphering the basic biologic properties of CTCL cells, in delineating the pathogenesis of that serious malignancy, and in developing effective scientifically grounded therapies for it. Edelson and his research team were the first to successfully use anti-T cell antibodies in the treatment of lymphoma and have recently demonstrated that CTCL is an antigen-driven malignancy.
Edelson devised and implemented the first FDA approved selective immunotherapy for any cancer, a treatment now referred to as transimmunization. Transimmunization has been administered worldwide to patients with Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma and to patients with graft versus host disease. This treatment has proven to be a remarkably safe and clinically effective cellular “vaccine” for CTCL patients. Transimmunization is one of the most impressive examples that immunotherapy of advanced cancer is possible.
Edelson, a 1970 graduate of Yale University School of Medicine, regularly receives CTCL referrals from around the world and continues to direct his own clinical research program. Prior to returning to his alma mater, in 1986, he served as the head of the Immunobiology Group in Columbia University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and as associate director of that institution’s General Clinical Research Center. At Yale School of Medicine, Edelson currently serves as professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology; as director of the Cancer Center, he will continue to hold these appointments.
A former director of the National Cancer Institute, DeVita has directed the Yale Cancer Center for the past 10 years and is world renowned for his cure of Hodgkin’s disease and as editor of “Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology.” Kessler thanked him for his contributions and stated, “As one of the founders of the field of medical oncology, he has guided the Cancer Center with immense skill and the highest integrity.” DeVita will remain on the Yale School of Medicine faculty as professor of Internal Medicine and of Epidemiology and Public Health.
Established in 1974, Yale Cancer Center was one of the first university-based comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute. Today, it is one of a select network of only 39 in the United States, and the only one in Southern New England.