E-Newsletter - October 2015

Edith PerezEdith Perez steps down as vice chair
to pursue new opportunities

Edith A. Perez, MD, has stepped down as Vice Chair of Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology for an exciting new opportunity. Dr. Perez is now Vice President and Head of Genentech/Roche BioOncology U.S. Medical Affairs. In her new role, she will provide strategic and scientific leadership for all BioOncology Medical Affairs activities in the U.S. Her primary focus will be to develop and implement medical strategies to optimize the appropriate utilization of cancer medicines, and to lead a broad spectrum of oncology medical affairs activities including phase IV trials, medical education, publications, medical communication, advisory boards, promotional material review, and product launches. She will remain a Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, where she will continue to pursue basic and translational research in breast cancer.

Dr. Perez has been a key Alliance leader since 2010, when she joined in planning and implementing the merger of three cooperative groups that created the Alliance. In addition to her Vice Chair role, she served as Vice President of the Alliance Foundation. Among her many contributions to the leadership team was her position as the “Editor-in-Chief” of Alliance. In this role, she worked tirelessly as the Chair of the Publications Committee.  Dr. Perez has also worked closely with the Alliance Patient Advocate Committee, serving as an advisor and facilitating the implementation of initiatives such as published plain language summaries of Alliance studies for patients and the general public.

Dr. Perez is a renowned cancer specialist who has gained international recognition for her work on translational research. She has played an instrumental role in a wide range of trials and research studies that explored the use of new therapeutic agents for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. Her groundbreaking work – as the principal investigator of one of the landmark trials for the adjuvant treatment of breast cancer by using Herceptin in combination with chemotherapy – paved the way for the 2005 discovery that fundamentally changed how treatment is managed for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. Dr. Perez’s roles extend nationally, including positions with leading institutions such as the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). She continues to serve on the editorial boards of multiple academic journals and has authored more than 700 research articles and abstracts. She has been recognized for her significant contributions to the oncology community through many prestigious honors, including the Susan G. Komen Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research and the Mayo Clinic Distinguished Investigator Award.

In addition to her focus on clinical trial and translational laboratory work, Dr. Perez has devoted her time speaking at conferences around the world; conducting grant reviews on behalf of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); advising companies throughout the world on studies, research and patient care; mentoring young scientists; and making educational videos for YouTube to provide broader access to her latest research. Her dedication to serving patients extends beyond the laboratory and the office. She takes great pride in her role as the co-founder of a national marathon, "26.2 with Donna” — inspired by a patient and running buddy who is a three-time breast cancer survivor. Since its launch in 2008, the event continues to attract more than 10,000 participants each year (including patients as well as elite runners), and it has raised the much needed funding for genomics research while providing critical resources for underserved breast cancer patients.

While Dr. Perez’s long list of academic and professional accomplishments are nothing short of extraordinary, those who know her best are eager to tell you that her humility, "not impossible" attitude, and infinite capacity to bring hope to the people around her are the most remarkable qualities that make her such a well-respected and beloved leader. The Alliance membership extends warm thanks and well wishes to Dr. Perez.   


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For other articles in the October issue of Alliance E-News, see below.