The BCRF community mourns the sudden loss of a dear friend and colleague, Dr. Robert Comis, MD, FASCO, Professor of Medicine at Drexel University, Group Co-Chair of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group and President and Chairman of the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups (CCCG).
Dr. Comis is known as a champion of patient access to cancer clinical trials and will always be remembered for his many initiatives to raise awareness about the pivotal role of cancer clinical trials in prevention, detection and treatment. The establishment of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group in 2012 under his leadership represented a paradigm shift in clinical trials cooperative group structure with its bold integration of therapeutic and medical imaging research with the latest bioinformatics technologies into a single scientific organization.
Most recently, Dr. Comis forged the way forward in precision medicine by working closely with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to lead the design and implementation of the NCI-MATCH (EAY131) trial, the largest, most scientifically rigorous precision medicine cancer trial to date.
Over the years, Dr. Comis has become more than a colleague but a friend to BCRF and was close to our founder Evelyn Lauder and her husband, Leonard Lauder. His attachment to the Foundation and its mission and the fellowship he held towards his BCRF colleagues was evident in public acknowledgment of BCRF’s impact on the field, in particular, its support of the research efforts of the ECOG-ACRIN and CCCG clinical trials groups.
“While Bob is properly remembered as a giant of cancer research for all his visible achievements,” said Dr. Larry Norton, “much of what he contributed is less obvious but critically meaningful. Among friends and colleagues, he was a bountiful source of counsel, insight, knowledge, judgment and above all honest appraisal and guidance. He will be sorely missed for all that plus his humor and personal vitality. We are heartbroken by his loss.”
BCRF joins the oncology community in its sadness for the loss of remarkably talented physician, scientist, and leader and is proud to have supported the ECOG -ACRIN and CCCCG clinical trial efforts under Dr. Comis’ leadership since 2001.