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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The Westchester Women's Award

Area(s) of Focus

Jose Baselga, MD, PhD

Physician in Chief
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York
Member, Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program
Attending, Department of Medicine

Current Research

At least 70% of breast cancers are classified as estrogen receptor positive (ER+), meaning that the tumor cells make the estrogen receptor and that tumor growth requires estrogen. Inhibiting estrogen-driven pathways with anti-estrogen drugs such as tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors can stop the growth of these tumors. However, not all ER+ breast cancers respond to these targeted therapies. Research suggests that the increased activity of a growth pathway called PI3K in ER+ breast cancers may play a role in resistance of these cancers to anti-hormone therapies. Work by Dr. Baselga’s team has shown that inhibition of both PI3K and the estrogen receptor dramatically inhibits tumor cell growth in laboratory models of breast cancer, but the precise reason for this is not well understood. The focus of his 2014-2015 BCRF research is to characterize the coordinated events between the PI3K pathway and estrogen receptor signaling that lead to drug resistance, to identify possible therapeutic targets that mediate this process and to validate them in laboratory models.


José Baselga, MD, PhD, is a researcher and clinician focusing primarily on breast cancer. His laboratory focuses on mechanisms that limit the sensitivity to targeted therapy in solid tumors, in particular to PI3K/Akt/mTOR inhibitors and anti-HER2 agents. He has also been involved in the development of several molecularly targeted agents including trastuzumab (Herceptin®) and lapatinib (Tykerb®).

Dr. Baselga is currently the Physician-in-Chief of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and has also been named as AACR President-Elect for 2014-2015. He has received a number of awards including a Young Investigator Award (1992) and a Career Development Award (1994) from ASCO, Elected Member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation (2004), AACR-Rosenthal Family Foundation Award (2008), and King James I Award (2008). In October 2014 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine.  He has published over 300 peer-reviewed articles and is the founding editor of Cancer Discovery. 

Dr. Baselga received his MD degree from the Universidad Autonoma of Barcelona in 1982. From 1996 to 2010, he was the Chairman of the Medical Oncology Service and Founding Director of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) at the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona. From 2010 to 2012, he was the chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology and associate director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. 

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