John Mendelsohn, M.D., director of MD Anderson’s Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy and former MD Anderson president, has been elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The 230-year-old academy was established to cultivate the arts and sciences and to gather scholars, professionals, government officials and business leaders to work together in the national interest. In addition to its role as a prestigious honorary society, the academy is a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to academy publications and studies of science, technology, energy, global security, the humanities, culture and education.
“I’m honored to join this collection of thinkers from many walks of life and look forward to collaborating with them to address important public issues,” says Mendelsohn.
Mendelsohn, president of MD Anderson from 1996-2011, is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He’s the L.E. and Virginia Simmons Fellow in Health and Technology Policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute.
As director of MD Anderson’s personalized cancer treatment institute, he leads efforts to tailor cancer treatment for individual patients by analyzing tumor genetics to match an optimal, targeted therapy to their disease.
Mendelsohn is a pioneer in the development of targeted therapy. His research on how the binding of growth factors to receptors on the surface of cells regulates cell functions led to his development of an antibody to block growth signals to the epidermal growth factor receptor. The resultant drug, known as cetuximab or Erbitux, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat colon (2004) and head and neck (2006) cancers.