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The one hundred honoree: Keith T. Flaherty, MD

Profile in Medicine

The one hundred honoree: Keith T. Flaherty, MD

Mass General Giving

As director of developmental therapeutics at the Mass General Cancer Center, Keith Flaherty, MD, is changing the standard of care for malignant melanoma.

Dr. Flaherty was recently recruited from the University of Pennsylvania, where he led the first successful trial of targeted therapies in melanoma, one of the most lethal human cancers. Reported in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2010, this trial showed the efficacy of drugs that inhibit the mutant B-RAF gene in treating the many melanomas with such mutations.

Dr. Flaherty is now testing experimental therapies that could be even more effective and devising treatments that prevent cancers from acquiring resistance to such treatments.

As a clinician, Dr. Flaherty embodies the combination of compassion, therapeutic excellence and innovative research that should set the standard for physicians today.

“My wife passed away from melanoma in 2009,” writes Steven Jacobsohn. “For three years, Dr. Flaherty enabled my wife to have a relatively good quality of life. He was unique among his peers in how he looked at the reality of her disease and supported life-nurturing treatment appropriate to her illness.”