Dr. Ruben A. Mesa UT Health San Antonio Cancer Center, USA1 Talk
Ruben Mesa, MD, FACP, executive director of the Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio, is an international expert, who has dedicated his life's work to research and drug development for myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), a group of chronic leukemias that can cause difficult symptoms, bone marrow problems, acute leukemia... read moreand premature death. He has been involved in MPN research for more than 20 years. Dr. Mesa's research focuses on MPN biology, novel therapeutics and phase I-III clinical trials, symptom assessment tools and non-pharmacological interventions to alleviate MPN symptoms.
Over the past 11 years, Dr. Mesa has led or co-led the development of six drugs that have been FDA approved for these chronic leukemias. Ruxolitinib for myelofibrosis was approved in 2011, Ruxolitinib for polycythemia vera was approved in 2014, Fedratinib for myelofibrosis was approved in 2019, Besremi (ROPEG INF) for polycythemia vera was approved in 2021, Avapritinib for systemic mastocytosis was approved in 2021, Pacritinib (Vonjo) for myelofibrosis was approved in 2022 and Momelotinib pending approval (2023).
Dr. Mesa was the inaugural panel chair of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network's (NCCN) guideline panel for the first USA guidelines for MPNS (myelofibrosis, polycythemia vera and essential thrombocythemia). He has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator of more than 100 cancer clinical trials, including numerous global phase III trials. He has over 800-lifetime medical publications, with more than 400 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 15 book chapters and two edited books. He is a frequently invited speaker on MPNs with over 600 such lectures and visiting professorships, nationally and internationally.
Dr. Mesa is a funded investigator of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) on several projects in myeloproliferative neoplasms and has been appointed to the NCI Clinical Trial Advisory Committee. He plays a range of leadership roles with the American Society of Hematology (ASH), the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), and is currently elected to the Board of the American Association of Cancer Institutes (AACI) and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
In addition to Dr. Mesa's extensive MPN research and clinical practice, he is passionate about advancing cancer health equity and increasing minority patients' participation in cancer clinical trials. He helped implement a mandate that each new trial at the Mays Cancer Center has a Minority Accrual Plan that includes enrollment projections and a demographic-specific toolbox with strategies for clinical investigators to promote enrollment. Before its implementation, the enrollment of Hispanics into the cancer center's interventional studies was 46 percent; now, it is 56 percent. He is involved in numerous national initiatives to increase clinical trial diversity, including being a member of the Genentech Health Disparities Task Force, Bristol Myers Squibb Health Disparities Task Force and the Janssen Health Disparities Task Force. In March 2022, he testified on the importance of clinical trial diversity before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Dr. Mesa also co-led the Mays Cancer Center's biennial Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos Conference held in San Antonio.