Published: May 2021
We are happy to introduce Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Physician Spotlight Series. Each month we will feature one of our dedicated physicians so you can get to know the talented staff serving our community and educating the future generation of cancer experts.
Meet Craig Moskowitz, M.D., physician-in-chief of Sylvester’s Oncology Service Line, and professor of medicine at the Miller School of Medicine.
One of the world’s leading lymphoma experts, Dr. Moskowitz joined Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth – University of Miami Health System, in May 2018. He has devoted his entire career to advancing the clinical research and treatment of lymphoma and has developed targeted therapies that are proving highly effective and becoming the standard of care worldwide. We checked in with Dr. Moskowitz on his three-year anniversary with the team.
Why did you decide to come to Sylvester?
Physician-in-chief is the ultimate position for me; I oversee all clinical care at the Cancer Center. In addition, it allows me to lead Sylvester’s effort in the type of clinical research we do. There are so many new agents that either specifically target metabolic pathways in a tumor, manipulate our immune system to work better, or can directly kill tumor cells with novel cellular therapy. The ability to help direct these research efforts is a major reason I left Memorial Sloan Kettering after a 25-year career to come to Sylvester.
What do you enjoy most about your role at Sylvester?
Helping to mentor the future leaders in clinical oncology has been the focus of my career. Previously, I mentored 22 fellows and junior faculty and all of them are in academic oncology, some with endowed chairs. This is the single most important thing senior faculty can do: start junior faculty on a pathway where they can be successful and independent.
Why did you choose your specific area of interest?
I have focused my entire academic career on the following research effort: curing lymphoma. My mantra is not to overtreat the patients expected to do well and not to undertreat patients with unfavorable risk factors. It involves evaluating novel imaging techniques, new agents, cellular therapy, transplantation and survivorship. We have made great headway. The best example is a rare lymphoma: mantle cell. When I started my career the median survival of this disease was three years, now it is greater than 10. Just think how many life events can be shared by the gift of living so many extra years.
What developments are you most excited about?
Cancer has become so many different diseases based upon sequencing of the patient’s specific tumor. Luckily, the use of immunotherapy has converted many of the deadliest cancers to more of a chronic condition. The use of cellular therapy, especially CAR T cells, has cured patients who were once destined to have a poor outcome due to some aggressive lymphomas.
How does philanthropy make a difference?
Philanthropy supports novel ideas in the lab and the clinic. Without it, external funding is very difficult to get. Much of my own work in the management of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma was supported by generous gifts, which eventually lead to the approval a of number of new agents that are now used worldwide.