Eric Lander, Gad Getz listed among “the one hundred”

Veronica Meade-Kelly, June 4th, 2014
  • (Left) Eric Lander photo by Tony Cenicola/The New York Times/
    Redux; (Right) Gad Getz courtesy photo.

For the past seven years, the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center has celebrated the one hundred.” The annual fundraising event recognizes 100 individuals and organizations that are making a difference in the fight against cancer. This year, Broad president and founding director Eric Lander made the list, as did Gad Getz, director of the computational analysis group in the Broad’s Cancer Program.

Both scientists were recognized for their remarkable contributions to the field of cancer genomics, which has provided vital insight into the biology underlying the disease since the human genome was first deciphered a decade ago. Tools and analytic techniques developed at the Broad and beyond have enabled researchers to explore and characterize the genetic makeup of cancer tumors, helping them uncover what has gone wrong in cancer cells. They are also helping to find the disease’s vulnerabilities and to test responses to drugs. These efforts have led to the identification of genetic mutations linked to various types of cancer, and have pointed to potential targets for therapies – paving the way for more precise, targeted treatment for patients.

“Computational biology – in particular cancer genomics – is revolutionizing our understanding of cancer by finding the genes that contribute to it and understanding its evolution,” said Getz, who is also the director of bioinformatics at the MGH Cancer Center and the hospital’s Department of Pathology. “At the Broad and MGH, we are proud to be at the forefront of this innovative field. It is great to be part of a process that is using this emerging knowledge to improve patient care.”

Lander, who was recognized not only for research in his own lab, but also for his leadership at the Broad, credited the close collaborations among the Boston area’s pre-eminent biomedical research organizations for the field’s rapid progress.

“The Broad Institute community brings together amazing scientists -- physicians, mathematicians, molecular biologists, and chemists -- from across Harvard, MIT, and the Harvard-affiliated hospitals to tackle some of the most important challenges in medicine," Lander said. "MGH and our other partner institutions have been a crucial part of this collaborative community."

Other members of this year’s one hundred include fellow researchers, caregivers, advocates, philanthropists, and volunteers from New England and beyond. The group will be honored at a June 10th dinner hosted by actor and Boston native Matt Damon. Funds raised at the event support the MGH Cancer Center’s patient care, research, education, and community outreach programs.