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Patrick M. Forde, MBBCh, is the young investigator of the year for the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group (ECOG-ACRIN)—one of the Group's highest distinctions. Dr. Forde is an associate professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-director of the Division of Upper Aerodigestive Malignancies at The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in Baltimore, Maryland. He also directs Johns Hopkins’ multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Clinical Research Program. Dr. Forde's research examines the role of immunotherapy for mesothelioma and lung cancer, and his work has led to the development of several ongoing phase 3 trials.
Group Co-Chairs Peter O'Dwyer, MD, and Mitchell Schnall, MD, PhD, announced the award on May 4 during the General Session of the Spring 2023 Group Meeting in Chicago. The ECOG-ACRIN Young Investigator Award recognizes extraordinary scientific achievements and research leadership contributions made by investigators during the early years of their careers (under the age of 46). A committee composed of previous recipients and ECOG-ACRIN scientific leaders selects one awardee annually. The award was established in 1992 and is funded by the ECOG Research and Education Foundation.
As part of the honor, Dr. Forde will present his research at the Fall 2023 ECOG-ACRIN Group Meeting.
Dr. Forde is an active member of the ECOG-ACRIN Thoracic Cancer Committee. He served as translational chair of NCI-MATCH Arm G, evaluating crizotinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, in ROS1 fusion-positive cancers, and he is the principal investigator of the international PrE0506/DREAM3R phase 3 clinical trial (NCT04334759), currently enrolling patients. DREAM3R is investigating standard chemotherapy with and without durvalumab, a type of immunotherapy, for treating patients with unresectable pleural mesothelioma. The trial is based on promising data from two smaller studies: DREAM in Australia and PrE0505 in the United States, which Dr. Forde also led. PrE0505 met its primary endpoint, showing that adding durvalumab to chemotherapy improved overall survival compared to chemotherapy alone. The results were published in Nature Medicine.
“DREAM3R will determine if concurrent chemo-immunotherapy can improve outcomes in malignant pleural mesothelioma, especially for the majority of patients with the epithelioid subtype,” said Dr. Forde. “Both the DREAM and PrE0505 phase 2 trials showed remarkable results with the combination of chemotherapy and durvalumab, and warrant confirmation in a randomized phase 3 trial.”
Dr. Forde’s work over several years led to the 2022 FDA approval of nivolumab, an immunotherapy, in combination with chemotherapy, for treating patients with surgically operable non-small cell lung cancer. This approval was based on the results of the CheckMate 816 trial he led, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. CheckMate 816 built upon Dr. Forde’s earlier research demonstrating the clinical activity of nivolumab before surgery. He received several grants to fund this early work, including a Career Development Award from the LUNGevity Foundation, an International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) Fellowship Award, and an ECOG-ACRIN Paul Carbone, MD, Fellowship Award—as well as funding from Stand Up To Cancer. He is one of only two investigators to have received both an ECOG-ACRIN Paul Carbone, MD, Fellowship Award and an ECOG-ACRIN Young Investigator Award.
Dr. Forde has authored at least 70 publications and is regularly involved with peer review of submitted papers for high-profile scientific journals. He has delivered over 50 invited talks internationally, and last year received the IASLC’s Daniel C. Ihde Lectureship Award for Medical Oncology, which recognizes member leaders in the field who are making outstanding contributions within the lung cancer community. In addition to the IASLC, he is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, and the American Association for Cancer Research. He serves on the LUNGevity Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board and the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Dr. Forde began his career at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, where he earned his MBBCh degree. He completed both an internal medicine residency and medical oncology fellowship at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. During his fellowship, he also earned a clinical trial design diploma from the University of London. A desire to become a leader in the field of thoracic oncology led him to apply for the Medical Oncology Fellowship Program at Johns Hopkins University, where he excelled and ultimately joined the faculty in 2014.
ECOG-ACRIN salutes Dr. Patrick Forde for being an exceptional collaborator, physician-scientist, and translational thoracic cancer researcher.
Watch the video below, in which Dr. Forde’s mentor, Dr. Julie Brahmer, discusses his attributes.