Medical Advisory Board

John M. Kirkwood, M.D., Chairman
After graduating from Yale Medical School in 1973, Dr. Kirkwood pursued specialization in Medicine at Yale and in Subspecialization in Medical Oncology at Harvard.  He joined the faculty in Medicine and Dermatology in 1978 and in that year also joined the American Cancer Society’s tack force on interferon designing the early studies of nonrecombinant interferons for advanced melanoma and renal cell cancer. In 1986 Dr. Kirkwood was named Roosevelt Fellow of the ACS at the NCI-Milan where he worked in the Laboratory of Giorgio Parmiani. He returned to be the first Professor and Chief of the Division of Medical Oncology at the Univerity of Pittsburgh, where he designed and conducted the national trials that established IFN as the first effective therapy of melanoma. There, he also undertook the first application of purified activated NK cells with IL-2 for advanced melanoma and renal cell cancer, and investigated the therapeutic role of antibodies to melanoma. Dr. Kirkwood assumed Chairmanship of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group’s Melanoma Committee in 1995 and became Vice Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh in 1996.  He won the Milstein Award of the International Society of Cytokine Research in 1999, and over the past 29 years has established a broad foundation of laboratory and clinical understanding of melanoma, which is now focused upon targeted therapies and particularly vaccines and novel immunotherapies for treatment and ultimately for the prevention of melanoma. 

Dr. Mark Ernstoff
Dr. Ernstoff received his medical degree from NYU Medical School and completed his residency in internal medicine at the Bronx Municipal Hospital Center and the Hospital of Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  In 1984, he finished his oncology training at Yale University Medical School where he remained as an Assistant Professor of Medicine until moving to the Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 1986.  In 1991 he moved to the Norris Cotton Cancer Center and Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center where he is currently Professor of Medicine.

The laboratory and clinical research teams directed by Dr. Marc Ernstoff study the translation of immunological concepts into clinical practice to treat malignant diseases.  Laboratory efforts focus on developing vaccine approaches to melanoma, renal cell carcinoma and prostate cancer using defined immunodominant peptide, target peptides, dendritic cells, and autologous tumor cell preparations.  Additional laboratory efforts have evaluated pathways of human cancer related immunologic tolerance or resistance and have explored T-cell and DC pathways.  Using cell culture techniques, laboratory based research has developed a foundation for combining chemotherapy with bispecific antibody directed macrophage cytotoxity.  Clinical studies with laboratory biological endpoints include DC vaccines in renal cell carcinoma and melanoma, GM-CSF cytokine therapy for prostate cancer patients, and high dose IL-2 vs IL-2 plus IFN alfa for renal cell carcinoma patients.

Dr. Susan Swetter
Dr. Swetter has directed the Pigmented Lesion and Cutaneous Melanoma Clinic at Stanford and the VA since 1996 and is the Co-Director of the Stanford Multidisciplinary Melanoma Clinic. She serves as the national dermatology liaison to the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Melanoma Committee and Co-Chairs the interdisciplinary Melanoma Prevention Working Group.  Dr. Swetter's research interests include secondary melanoma prevention, including early detection of melanoma and melanoma precursors in atypical mole syndrome patients with the use of digital dermoscopy and other surveillance techniques, enhanced skin cancer screening targeting high-risk groups, and research focused on increasing professional and public education to improve melanoma awareness. She is also engaged in clinical studies of the epidemiology, prognostic factors, and therapy of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers.

Mohammed Kashani-Sabet, M.D.
Mohammed Kashani-Sabet, M.D. is Associate Professor of Dermatology at the University of California San Francisco. He is the Herschel and Diana Zackheim Endowed Chair in Cutaneous Oncology and serves as Director of the UCSF Melanoma Center, and Clinical Leader of the Cutaneous Oncology Program at the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Kashani-Sabet's research is focused on the prognostic approach to patients with melanoma, the identification of melanoma progression genes, and the development of gene therapies for patients with melanoma, areas in which he has published extensively. Dr. Kashani-Sabet is a member of numerous professional societies, and serves on the editorial board of Cancer Gene Therapy.

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Martin A. Weinstock, M.D., Ph.D.
Martin A. Weinstock, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Dermatology and Community Health, Chair of the American Cancer Society Skin Cancer Advisory Group, Founder of the International DermatoEpidemiology Association, and Chief of Dermatology at the VA Medical Center Providence.  His clinical activities also include a Multidisciplinary Melanoma Program and Pigmented Lesion Unit, and directorship of the Photomedicine Unit at Rhode Island Hospital.  He is a board-certified dermatologist and an epidemiologist whose career has focused on the epidemiology of cutaneous malignancies and dysplasias.  He is Associate Editor of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology and the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery.  He is author of 102 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 145 other publications.