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In memory of Jose Baselga MD, PhD, an exceptional breast cancer specialist

Jose Baselga MD, PhD (1959-2021)

EBC Council are deeply saddened to learn that Professor Jose Baselga died on 21 March 2021 at the age of 61. Jose Baselga was internationally recognised for his clinical research in breast cancer and studies of growth factor receptors and downstream molecules as targets for cancer therapy. He made important contributions to the clinical development of several new agents, including the insulin-like growth factor receptor inhibitors trastuzumab (Herceptin®) and lapatinib (Tykerb®) and a variety of antiangiogenic agents. He has been a National Organising Chair for the 3rd and 7th European Breast Cancer Conference when it was held in Barcelona. In 2018, EBC Council gave Jose Baselga the European Breast Cancer Science Award for his outstanding contribution to cancer research.

He received his MD and PhD from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 1982. He then went on to complete a fellowship in Medical Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York, and subsequently stayed on as a faculty member of its Breast Medicine Service. From 1996 to 2010, Jose Baselga was the Chairman of the Medical Oncology Service and Founding Director of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona. In 2010, he moved back to the USA, to take up the position of the chief of the Division of Haematology/Oncology and associate director of the MGH Cancer Centre in Massachusetts. In 2012, he was appointed Physician-in-chief at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre as well as the Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. In 2019, he joined AstraZeneca as Head of Research and Development in oncology, where he worked until his death.

“We have a lost a brilliant scientist and friend. Jose was a visionary leader who helped to progress research in cancer. Many patients have benefited from his endeavours. He will be missed”, said Professor Emiel Rutgers, President of EBC Council. “We send our heartfelt condolences to his family”