BIG Breast International Group
We will find a cure for breast cancer through global research and collaboration.

Executive Board

The Executive Board is BIG's main scientific and decision-making authority.


The Board meets several times a year to see that decisions taken by the General Assembly are carried out and to ensure the smooth running of the association. Board members are elected every four years at the General Assembly, which comprises all member groups and serves as highest authority with respect to overall direction of the association.
 

The 2014-2018 BIG Executive Board consists of:



 

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Martine Piccart-Gebhart, MD, PhD, Chair

Martine J. Piccart, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor of oncology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and head of medicine at the Jules Bordet Institute (Brussels/Belgium). Earning her medical degrees at ULB and oncology qualifications in New York and London, she is also a member of the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine. Prof. Piccart is the immediate past president of the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO, 2014-2015). She has also held presidencies of the European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), and has served on the American Society of Clinical Oncology Board (ASCO).

A strong advocate for and leader of international research collaborations, Prof. Martine Piccart, together with Prof. Aron Goldhirsch, co-founded in 1996 the Breast International Group (BIG) to foster collaboration and accelerate the development of better breast cancer treatments. The organisation, which she chairs, unites 56 academic breast cancer research groups from around the world. BIG has more than 30 clinical trials under its umbrella at any one time, and several of BIG’s past studies are considered landmark and practice-changing.

Prof. Piccart’s relentless drive for results has made her an international leader, who has forged collaborations all over the world and has successfully managed a number of high-profile, Phase 3 clinical trials that have involved multiple international investigators and institutions. Those clinical trials include HERA (HERceptin Adjuvant), MINDACT (Microarray In Node-Negative and 1 to 3 Positive Lymph Node Disease May Avoid Chemotherapy), and ALTTO (Adjuvant Lapatinib and/or Trastuzumab Treatment Optimisation).

 

In 2014, BIG launched AURORA, an innovative molecular screening programme aiming to understand the molecular aberrations driving breast cancer metastasis and why tumours respond differently to therapy. Over 80 hospitals associated with 10 BIG research groups in 14 countries are taking part. Prof. Piccart believes this type of research will enable a much more effective treatment of metastatic breast cancer in the future.

Throughout her career, Prof. Piccart has been honoured with numerous prestigious awards for her research contributions, including the Jill Rose Award for distinguished biomedical research (2009, New York, USA), the William L. McQuire Award in recognition of her contribution to breast cancer research (2009, SABCS, San Antonio/Texas, USA), the Umberto Veronesi Award for the Future Fight Against Cancer (2012, Cancun, Mexico), the David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award in recognition of innovative clinical research and developments that have changed the way oncologists think about the general practice of oncology (2013, ASCO, Chicago, USA) and, most recently, the Susan G. Komen’s Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction (2015, SABCS, San Antonio/Texas, USA).

An accomplished clinician and scientist, Prof. Piccart is author or co-author of over 500 publications in peer-reviewed journals.

 


 

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Aron Goldhirsch, MD, PhD (h.c.), Vice-chair

Aron Goldhirsch is a medical oncologist and clinical trials research scientist.

Dr Goldhirsch is currently Director of the Breast Health Program at the European Institute of Oncology (IEO), Milan, Italy, and Consultant for Senology at the Regional Hospital of Lugano, Switzerland. He is Co-Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG, formerly Ludwig Group) and Professor (by title) for Medical Oncology at the University of Bern, Switzerland.

Dr Goldhirsch’s areas of research include new treatments for breast cancer, definition of biological features that predict responsiveness or resistance to anti-cancer treatments, and quality-of-life-oriented approaches.


Dr Goldhirsch has received several international prizes and recognitions among which a PhD Honoris Causa (University of Gothenburg), and, more recently, the Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award (San Francisco). He is author of nearly 700 peer-reviewed articles in reference books and editor or co-editor of 10 books. He is also on the editorial board of several oncology and breast cancer research journals.                          


 

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Michael Gnant, MD, Treasurer

Michael Gnant is Full Professor of Surgery at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, where he also serves as President of the Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group (ABCSG) since 2005.

His medical career began in 1988 when he graduated in medicine in Vienna. He then specialised in surgery (1994) and surgical oncology. In 1997 and 1998 he worked as a Visiting Scientist at the National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, USA, and in 2004 he became Full Professor at the Medical University of Vienna, where he also heads the Breast Health Center. Currently, he is the Director and Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Chief of General Surgery at Vienna Medical University.  

Prof Gnant has published more than 400 original papers in peer-reviewed journals, including 90 as first author. He has given more than 1000 lectures at national and international meetings, and has been the recipient of multiple national and international awards.

Prof. Gnant co-leads the Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna and serves as Co-chair and local host of the prestigious St Gallen/Vienna Consensus Panel for Early Breast Cancer since 2007. He was elected to the European Academy of Science and Arts in 2009. Among other honors, he is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

 

Prof Gnant’s research interests include several fields of surgical oncology, in particular breast and pancreatic cancer, immunotherapy using antibodies, vaccination with dendritic cells, endocrine intervention, dormant tumour cells, the use of bone targeted treatments in order to silence tumor micrometastases, and pathway directed therapies such as mTOR and CDK4/6 inhibition. He has been the Principal Investigator of more than 30 clinical trials.

He is involved in many scientific societies, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) and the European Society of Surgical Oncology (ESSO). Among his numerous activities, he also serves as Reviewer for the European Union, the EORTC and other international bodies.

In addition, Prof. Gnant serves as Editor-in-chief as well as on editorial boards and as reviewer for many peer-reviewed journals such as The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine and Annals of Oncology.


 

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Fabrice André, MD, PhD

Fabrice André, MD, PhD, received his MD in Grenoble in 2002, and a PhD in Biotechnology from Paris University in 2005.

He is a past recipient of Young Investigator and Career Development awards from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). He is currently Professor in the Department of Medical Oncology at Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France.

Professor André is conducting research in the field of biomarkers and personalised therapies. His research work focuses on biomarker discovery, development of targeted agents and implementation of personalised medicine. His team includes 70 people working on basic sciences, bioinformatics, biotechnologies and clinical research. Professor André is also leading phase I-III trials testing targeted agents in the field of breast cancer and large national trials testing implementation of high throughput technologies in the health care system.

 

He has published more than 200 peer reviewed papers, including papers in the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Nature Medicine, Science, Lancet Oncology and Journal of Clinical Oncology, either as main or co-author.

Professor André is chairman of the biomarker group at UNICANCER (French cooperative group). He was a member of several scientific committees for international meetings, including SABCS, AAACR, ECCO, ESMO, and IMPAKT.


 

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José Baselga, MD, PhD

José Baselga is Physician-in-Chief and Chief Medical Officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and Professor of Medicine at Weil Cornell College in New York City.

He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degree from the Universidad Autonoma of Barcelona in 1982. He completed a fellowship in Medical Oncology at MSKCC in New York. From 1996 to 2010 he 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, Spain. From 2010 to 2012 he was the Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology, Associate Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

His long standing research interests are in the development of targeted agents for the therapy of breast cancer and in studying strategies to overcome mechanisms of resistance. He conducted the initial clinical trials with the monoclonal antibodies cetuximab and trastuzumab and is leading the clinical development of several new agents including pertuzumab, everolimus and PI3K inhibitors.

His main focus in the laboratory and in the clinic is in the area of novel anti-HER2 agents, in the identification of mechanisms of resistance to anti-HER2 agents and therapeutic approaches to target the PI3K pathway.


He is also leading a number of neo-adjuvant trials in breast cancer and has been at the forefront of developing biomarker-based early and translational clinical trials.

Dr Baselga is past President of ESMO and President of AACR, a past member of the Board of Directors of AACR and ASCO. Dr Baselga has received a number of awards including a Young Investigator Award (1992) and a Career Development Award from ASCO (1994), a Brystol-Myers Squibb Unrestricted Cancer Grant Award (2002-2006), Elected Member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation (2004); AACR-Rosenthal Family Foundation Award (2008); and King James I Award (2008), Joseph Martine Award (2012), the EACR Mike Price Gold Metal (2012), Elected Member of the Association of American Physicians (2014), Elected Member of the AACR Academy (2014) and Elected Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (2014).

He is a past member of the Editorial Boards of Cancer Cell, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Clinical Cancer Research, and he is the founding editor-in-chief on the new AACR flagship journal Cancer Discovery. Dr Baselga has published over 350 peer-reviewed articles.


 

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David Cameron, MD

David Cameron received his medical degree in 1986 from St. George’s Hospital Medical School, London. After completing a fellowship and MSc in Clinical Oncology at the University of Edinburgh, he received a MD with distinction in 1997.

Prof Cameron is a member of several professional societies including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the European Society for Medical Oncology and is Secretary of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Breast Cancer Group. He has also been a member of the EORTC task force on the use of growth factors in chemotherapy for solid tumours and lymphoma and Chairman of the EORTC New Agent Committee. He is active in several clinical trials in breast cancer. He is a member of the executive committee of the HERA adjuvant herceptin trial, and is a member of the steering group for several UK adjuvant breast cancer trials (AZURE, OPTION, TACT, TANGO and TEAM).

He is chief investigator on the recent UK adjuvant breast cancer trial, TACT2, exploring the benefit of accelerated Epirubicin chemotherapy in the treatment of breast cancer, and chief investigator of BEATRICE, a global trial testing the possible benefit of adjuvant bevacizumab on triple negative breast cancer. 

 

Between November 2006 & June 2010 he was Director of the NIHR-funded National Cancer Research Networks,at the end of 2009 he took up a new post as Professor of Oncology at Edinburgh University and Director of Cancer Services in NHS Lothian. In this role, he is the clinical director of the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre (including the CRUK funded Edinburgh Cancer Centre and the joint Edinburgh-Dundee Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre), and is responsible for oversight and strategy of clinical and translational research in cancer in Edinburgh.

He continues his major clinical interest in breast cancer with an on-going clinical and translational research programme. He is a present and past member of several cancer research funding committees including INCA PHRC, PEAR, Cancer Research UK Science committee and from time to time NIHR funding bodies. He was recently appointed as the Chief Scientist’s Office Clinical Cancer Research Champion in Scotland to act as a focal point for current and future clinical research in cancer in Scotland.

 

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Angelo Di Leo, MD, PhD

Angelo Di Leo is currently Head of the Sandro Pitigliani Medical Oncology Unit and Chair of the Department of Oncology at the Hospital of Prato, Istituto Toscano Tumori,Italy, a position he took up in September 2003. After graduating in medicine and surgery at the University of Palermo, Italy in 1988, he received his postgraduate diploma in medical oncology from the University of Pavia, Italy in 1992, and in 1996 received his European certification in medical oncology.

Dr Di Leo trained at the National Cancer Institute in Milan, Italy, where he worked for 7 years until 1996. From 1996 to 2003, he worked at the Chemotherapy Unit of the Jules Bordet Institute in Brussels, Belgium, where in 1997 he was appointed senior staff member and medical director of the Breast European Adjuvant Studies Team.

 

Dr Di Leo’s main research interest is breast cancer, and he has coordinated several international, pivotal phase III trials in new adjuvant therapies. He is also heavily involved in the evaluation of molecular markers with potential predictive value for breast cancer. The author of many peer-reviewed articles, Dr Di Leo has lectured extensively at national and international meetings.

He is a member of the Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Cooperative Group steering committee, the Breast International Group Executive Board, and chair of the Biological Protocol Working Group (BPWG) - IBCSG. He has also served on the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) grants selection committee (2006–2009), the ASCO Education Committee (2012–2014), and the Scientific Advisory Council of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® (2010-2016).


 

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Karen Gelmon, MD

Karen Gelmon is a Professor of Medicine at the UBC and a Medical Oncologist at the BCCA, combining clinical and translational research. She is currently Head of the Division of Medical Oncology at UBC.

Dr Gelmon is Co-chair of the Breast Site Committee for the NCIC Clinical Trials Group and a member of the NCI Breast Steering Committee. She sits on the NCIC-CTG IND executive and is a past Chair of this committee. She is also a Komen scholar and member of the Scientific Advisory Council for Komen and Co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research.



Dr Gelmon is Clinical leader of Advanced Therapeutics department at the BCCA. She sits on the International Advisory Board of The Lancet, The Oncologist and Clinical Breast Cancer. She is a reviewer for journals and grant review panels. She has been track chair for Breast at ASCO and is Chair of the Breast Education Committee currently. 

She is an active teacher interested in education of health care professionals and the public and has published extensively. She has been a member of the Board of the BC Cancer Foundation, on the Medical Advisory Board of the BC/Yukon Chapter of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and sits on the board of Rethink Breast Cancer. She was the recipient of a YWCA Woman of Distinction award in 2003 and an award from the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University in 2011.


 

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Sibylle Loibl, MD, PhD

Prof Sibylle Loibl is Co-Chair of the German Breast Group (GBG). She devotes the majority of her time to clinical trial research at GBG and Sana Klinikum Offenbach, Germany, where she serves in the multidisciplinary tumour conference.

Prof Loibl is an Associate Professor at the University of Frankfurt. She is internationally renowned in the field of neoadjuvant breast cancer, breast cancer
during pregnancy and breast cancer in young women. She has developed the translational research within the GBG and is currently leading an EU FP7 project (“RESPONSIFY”).

Prof Loibl graduated from the University of Heidelberg and completed her fellowship and residency as a gynaecologist and obstetrician at the Women’s Hospital, University of Heidelberg, and the Women’s Hospital, University of Frankfurt, Germany.

She has participated and led a large number of national and international clinical trials. In cooperation with Prof Gunter von Minckwitz (Past BIG Executive Board Member) she has contributed to the improvement of the infrastructure for breast cancer trials all over Germany. She serves on several international
Steering Committees, Translational Research Committees, and IDMCs.

Prof. Loibl was awarded the John-Mendelsohn Prize for the best clinical trial by the German Cancer Society 2012 for the “ZORO” study.
Prof. Loibl has co-authored more than 150 medline listed scientific papers, in addition to more than 175 original and peer-reviewed articles as well as 29 books or book chapters and she has actively contributed to more than 170 national and international congresses. Prof. Loibl is an active member of numerous national and international organisations such as ASCO, ESMO, EORTC-TRAFO, ESGO.

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