Dr. Slamon received his Ph.D. in cell biology and M.D. from the University of Chicago in 1975. He serves as Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Medicine and Director for the Division of Clinical/Translational Research at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is best known for his work studying the HER2 gene and the role it plays in one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer. He led some of the initial preclinical and ultimately clinical research that resulted in the breakthrough treatment, trastuzumab (Herceptin) that is now used worldwide to treat the 20% of human breast cancers in which this pathway is involved. His most recent work resulted in the approval of a new class of agents to treat the most common type of breast cancer, those that are hormonally driven. This class of agents inhibits the cdk-4/6 pathway which is critical in certain breast cancers and accounts for some 60-65% of this disease. His laboratory has expanded their research work into identifying new and novel therapies for a number of other human malignancies including ovarian, pancreatic, colorectal and lung cancers.
He has received numerous national and international awards for his research including the Albert & Hinda Rosenthal Award from the AACR in 1999, the Salk Translational Research Award from UCSD, the Bristol-Myers-Squibb Millenium Award in 2000, the Dorothy P. Landon Award from the AACR in 2003, the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor in 2004, the Karnofsky Award from ASCO in 2006, the Lister Award from the University of Glasgow in 2006, the Gairdner Foundation International Award fro Research in 2007, the Warren Alpert Foundation Award from Harvard Medical School in 2007, the MTTC International Award for Molecular Targeted Therapy in 2013, the Hope Fund for Cancer Research Award in 2013, the Sjöberg Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and the Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award in 2019.