George D. Demetri
Tumor biology


AB, Biochemical Sciences, Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1978

MD, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, 1983

My academic career has been devoted to applying novel insights from fundamental molecular biological and biochemical research to the problems of human cancer to develop rationally targeted anti-cancer therapeutics in an academic environment.

Our research program focuses heavily on translational and clinical science that will accelerate the development of novel experimental therapeutic agents targeting specific signaling pathways in molecularly defined subtypes of cancer, with a major focus on mesenchymal neoplasms and sarcomas.

Our most noteworthy successes have changed the standards of care for patients with sarcomas and gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), leading to the FDA and worldwide regulatory approval of imatinib (Gleevec in 2002), sunitinib (Sutent in 2006) and regorafenib (Stivarga in 2013) for GIST, as well as trabectedin (Yondelis outside the USA in 2007) and pazopanib (Votrient in 2012) for other sarcomas. The academic insights that we have developed in sarcomas are also highly relevant to translational and clinical investigation in more common forms of cancer, and our program is expanding across Harvard and the Broad Institute to build long-term research strategies to target cancers based on genomic, metabolomic, and immunobiologic criteria of vulnerability based on defined molecular mechanisms.

In addition to serving as the co-director of the Ludwig Center, I am an associate director for clinical sciences at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, the NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center of Harvard University. Through these roles, I am able to link basic, translational and clinical research initiatives across multiple departments to bring together new collaborations focused on experimental therapeutics within the Ludwig Cancer Research community.



The future of cancer research in the “new normal”

This panel discussion with Ludwig Harvard Co-director George Demetri, Ludwig Harvard Investigator Peter Sorger, Ludwig Lausanne Member Johanna Joyce and Ludwig MSK Member Jedd Wolchok, moderated by Rachel Reinhardt, Ludwig’s Senior Vice President for Communications, focuses on how to keep cancer research moving forward in these unprecedented times while ensuring the safety of our teams and patients. The panelists shared how they have pivoted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, best practices for conducting cancer research in our current environment, and how they are returning, or plan to return, safely to the lab.

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Clinical research in an era of disease-agnostic basket trials

Ludwig Harvard Director George Demetri discusses the next generation of pathway-targeting therapies being tested against many cancer types and how clinical trials can be designed to optimize collaboration between lab-based researchers and clinical scientists, generating new insights into cancer sensitivity and resistance to therapy.

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