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Expert oncologist named to key posts at Smilow, Yale Cancer Center

Demonstrating its commitment to translational medicine, Yale Cancer Center has appointed Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD., who has had a distinguished career in the development of cancer therapies, to the positions of chief of medical oncology and associate director for translational research.

Effective in March, Herbst will lead the section of medical oncology at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven — integrating clinical, laboratory and research programs at Yale Cancer Center to expand to bring new treatments to cancer patients. Herbst comes to Yale from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. This appointment marks Herbst's return to New Haven, where he received his undergraduate and masters degrees from Yale.

"Dr. Herbst is nationally recognized for his leadership and expertise in lung cancer treatment and research," said Dr. Thomas J. Lynch, Jr., director of Yale Cancer Center and physician-in-chief of Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven. "Dr. Herbst is best known for his work in developmental therapeutics and the personalized therapy of non-small cell lung cancer, in particular the process of linking genetic abnormalities of cancer cells to novel therapies. He is a natural leader and will have a critical role in building our cancer program while mentoring the next generation of cancer doctors at Yale."

Over the last several years, Herbst has initiated novel, first-in-man clinical studies with such agents as gefitinib, bevacizumab, erlotinib and cetuximab — all of which are now approved for use in cancer patients. His pioneering work using erlotinib in combination with bevacizumab was among the first to combine multiple molecular targeted agents for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Herbst currently serves as co-principal investigator of the Biomarker-based Approaches of Targeted Therapy for Lung Cancer Elimination Program (BATTLE) Trial, which has had a significant impact on driving forward the field of personalized therapy of NSCLC by assessing real-time tissue biopsies in patients for molecular analysis to determine the targeted treatment recommendation for each patient.

Currently, Herbst serves as a professor of medicine, chief of the Section of Thoracic Medical Oncology, and the Barnhart Family Distinguished Professor in Targeted Therapies at MD Anderson. He is a member of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), where he chairs the Tobacco Task Force, as well as the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Institute of Medicine's National Cancer Policy Forum. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians. Herbst is also a vice chair of the Southwest Oncology Group's lung committee, a member of the medical advisory committee for the Lung Cancer Research Foundation and chair of the communications committee for the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. He has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and has current grant funding for his work from numerous sources including the National Cancer Institute, AACR and multiple charitable foundations.

Herbst received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College and earned a Ph.D. in molecular cell biology from the Rockefeller University. He completed his medical oncology fellowship at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and a medical hematology fellowship at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, where he additionally received a master's degree from Harvard University in their clinical investigator training program.

Yale Cancer Center is one of a select network of comprehensive cancer centers in the country designated by the National Cancer Institute and the only one in Southern New England. Bringing together the resources of Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven and the Yale School of Medicine, its mission encompasses patient care, research, cancer prevention and control, community outreach and education. 

Contact: Renee Gaudette 203.436.8533 or [email protected]

For Immediate Release: December 2, 2010

Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven is part of Yale New Haven Hospital and is affiliated with Yale Cancer Center. Smilow Cancer Hospital, the most comprehensive cancer facility in New England, is a 14-story, 500,000-square-foot cancer hospital, which includes: 168 private inpatient rooms, outpatient multidisciplinary treatment centers, 12 operating rooms, infusion suites, diagnostic imaging services, a floor for children with cancer, a specialized women's cancer center and diagnostic and therapeutic radiology services for children and adults. For the latest news and information, follow us on Twitter

Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH), part of Yale New Haven Health, is a nationally recognized, 1,541-bed, not-for-profit hospital serving as the primary teaching hospital for the Yale School of Medicine (YSM). Founded as the fourth voluntary hospital in the U.S. in 1826, today, YNHH has two New Haven-based campuses, and also includes Yale New Haven Children's Hospital, Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and Smilow Cancer Hospital. YNHH has received Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the nation’s highest honor of nursing excellence. YNHH has a combined medical staff of about 4,500 university and community physicians practicing in more than 100 specialties.