Professor Heather A. Wakelee: facing new progress in lung cancer research, keep in mind how do we best help patients
Professor Heather A. Wakelee (Figure 1) is a Professor of Medicine at Stanford University in the Division of Oncology where she leads the thoracic medical oncology research program and has authored or co-authored over 180 medical articles on thoracic malignancies. She attended Princeton University as an undergraduate with a major in molecular biology and then went to medical school at Johns Hopkins University. She returned to her native California for internal medicine residency and fellowship training in medical oncology at Stanford University. Dr. Wakelee’s focus is in clinical research in thoracic malignancies including lung cancer and thymic malignancies. She was the principal investigator of the international lung cancer intergroup trial E1505 that studied the potential role of bevacizumab in addition to adjuvant chemotherapy for resected early stage non-small cell lung cancer. Dr. Wakelee has led multiple investigator-initiated protocols and played a central role in clinical trials with bevacizumab and many other anti-angiogenic agents. Additional areas of interest include drugs and drug combinations focused on overcoming epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitor resistance, and novel immune modulatory agents. She also does population science research looking at sex differences in lung cancer, lung cancer in never-smokers and ethnic differences in lung cancer. She is the faculty director of the Stanford Cancer Clinical Trials office and is the lead investigator for ECOG-ACRIN clinical trials group at Stanford. She serves on the steering committee and is the chair of the Research Working Group of the International Thymic Malignancies Interest Group (ITMIG) and has written and conducted 2 phase-II trials of novel agents in this rare disease entity. She is very active in the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and also the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), for which she serves on the Board of Directors, as a Regent for the United States and on the Communications Committee.