Weill Cornell's Dr. John P. Leonard Leads National Cancer Institute's Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Lymphoma Committee

Jan 17, 2013


Dr. John Leonard, an internationally-recognized hematology and oncology expert specializing in the treatment of lymphomas at Weill Cornell Medical College, has been named chair of the Lymphoma Committee for the prestigious National Cancer Institute-sponsored group, the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. Dr. Leonard is the associate dean for clinical research at Weill Cornell and director of the Joint Clinical Trials Office at Weill Cornell and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

In his role as chair, Dr. Leonard will help guide the national agenda for lymphoma research by developing, supporting and shepherding Phase II and Phase III clinical trials funded by the National Cancer Institute at medical centers across the country. He will direct a team of lymphoma clinical and translational researchers from academic and community medical centers across the United States to create and implement new standards of treatment as well as foster the development of novel therapeutics.

"I am honored and deeply humbled to be chosen to lead this vital national effort to improve cancer care for patients in the United States," says Dr. Leonard, who also serves as the Richard T. Silver Distinguished Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology, vice chairman for clinical research in the Department of Medicine and professor of medicine at Weill Cornell. "This appointment, I believe, is a true reflection of the programs and major accomplishments we've made here at Weill Cornell in advancing lymphoma research and clinical care. We are recognized as a leading center internationally in contributing new approaches to lymphoma management, and I am excited to continue collaborating with colleagues both here and across the country to move the field forward and improve the effectiveness of therapies that are available for patients."

The Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology is a national clinical trials network sponsored by the National Cancer Institute that consists of nearly 10,000 cancer specialists at hospitals, medical centers and community clinics across the United States and Canada. The Alliance is dedicated to developing and conducting clinical trials with promising new cancer therapies, and utilizes the best science to develop optimal treatment and prevention strategies for cancer, as well as researching methods to alleviate side effects of cancer and cancer treatments. The Alliance was formed in 2011 by the merger of three NCI-funded cooperative groups with a history dating back more than 50 years: the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group, Cancer and Leukemia Group B and the North Central Cancer Treatment Group. The merged organization is one of the cooperative clinical trials groups that comprise the NCI-funded National Clinical Trials Network.

As the main mechanism by which national Phase III lymphoma clinical trials are conducted, the Lymphoma Committee, one of the Alliance's nine scientific committees, is dedicated to developing novel therapies and therapeutics that advance the standards of care for patients with the disease.

Dr. Leonard will head a team of physicians and scientists from the country's leading medical institutions who together will identify, develop and implement NCI-funded Phase III clinical trials nationwide. The committee typically maintains a portfolio of 15 to 20 clinical trials that have been identified as promising concepts, amid trial or have been successfully completed.

As an internationally-recognized hematology and oncology expert specializing in the treatment of lymphomas, Dr. Leonard has been a pioneer in novel lymphoma therapeutics. Dr. Leonard received his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Medicine. He has been at Weill Cornell since his training as a resident, chief resident and hematology-oncology fellow.

Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside, aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances — including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with the Methodist Hospital in Houston. For more information, visit weill.cornell.edu.

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