The National Cancer Institute (NCI) chose Augusto Ochoa, MD, of Louisiana State University (LSU) Health, as the 2022 recipient of the Harry Hynes Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Trials and Community Research. The award was presented during the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) Annual Meeting this past August.
Augusto Ochoa, MD
As the principal investigator of the Gulf South NCORP, Dr. Ochoa leads the only statewide cancer clinical trials program in Louisiana. He began building it with a $5.6 million grant to LSU Health New Orleans in 2014. In 2019, the NCI awarded LSU Health New Orleans a $13.6 million grant to expand the clinical trials network, with a special emphasis on minority and underserved patients with cancer. The program is now a collaboration among LSU Health New Orleans, LSU Health Shreveport, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Ochsner Medical Center, and the many community physicians caring for patients with cancer throughout the Gulf South region.
The NCORP brings cutting-edge clinical trials to patients where they live to improve their care and outcomes. The Gulf South NCORP has been recognized as a leading clinical trials program because of its success in bringing advanced treatments through clinical trials to large numbers of patients, particularly Black patients. This past spring, the NCI’s Division of Cancer Prevention recognized it as a top 5 site for accruing participants into Southwest Oncology Group clinical trials.
Discovery and Development
Dr. Ochoa is Chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Oncology, Professor of Pediatrics, and holds the Al Copeland/Cancer Crusaders Chair in Neuroendocrine Cancer at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine. He is also Deputy Director of the LSU Health–LCMC Cancer Center. A board-certified pediatric allergist and immunologist, Dr. Ochoa practices at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans.
Dr. Ochoa was trained in medicine in his native Colombia, followed by training in immunology and immunotherapy at the University of Minnesota, where he began his work in cancer research. He was recruited to the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research at the NCI, where he led the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Laboratory. After joining LSU Health New Orleans in 1997, Dr. Ochoa was named Director of its Stanley Scott Cancer Center in 2007.