Peter Wiernik, MD
The American College of Clinical Pharmacology (ACCP) presented Peter Wiernik, MD, with the Nathaniel T. Kwit Memorial Distinguished Service Award at the ACCP’s Annual Meeting in September. Dr. Wiernik is Director of the Cancer Research Foundation of New York. The Nathaniel T. Kwit Memorial Distinguished Service Award is given in memory of the late Nathaniel T. Kwit, MD, FCP, a founding Fellow of ACCP, who served as a Regent for 5 years and as Treasurer for 20 years. The primary intent of this award is to recognize accomplishments benefiting the field of clinical pharmacology and overall contributions to the field.
Early Work in Clinical Pharmacology
Dr. Wiernik began his career 48 years ago with the study of anthracyclines. He performed the first randomized clinical trial of daunorubicin compared with standard treatment for adults with acute myeloid leukemia and demonstrated the substantial advantage for anthracyclines, which are still essential for treatment of that neoplasm. Based on pharmacokinetic studies, he designed and conducted the first clinical trial of high-dose intermittent daunorubicin therapy, an older approach that has regained favor today.
Subsequently, he prevented paclitaxel from being discarded by the National Cancer Institute due to highly toxic, even lethal, infusion reactions by developing a pretreatment regimen that virtually eliminated those reactions and allowed the drug to become a major treatment for common solid tumors. Dr. Wiernik was instrumental in the phase I to III trials of dozens of new agents and the design of many new treatments for leukemia and lymphoma. He demonstrated that early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma could be optimally treated with chemotherapy alone, which made staging laparotomy obsolete. logic malignancies.
Education and Training
Dr. Wiernik graduated from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1965 and then performed an internship and residency in medicine at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital, completing his training in 1971, including a medical oncology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He then joined the Baltimore Cancer Research Center of the National Cancer Institute as Chief of the Medical Oncology Section,and served as Director of that institution and as Associate Director, Division of Cancer Treatment, NCI from 1971 to 1982, when he became Associate Director for Clinical Research of the Albert Einstein Cancer Center in New York. He served in that capacity until 1998.
Dr. Wiernik founded the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center in New York and served as Director until 2009. Currently a member of the Board of Regents of the ACCP, he is also the immediate past Chair of the Eastern Division of the American Federation of Medical Research.
At various times in his career, he was Professor of Medicine and Radiation Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and New York Medical College. His many editorial duties include Editor of Medical Oncology from 1993 to 2014, as well as Consulting Editor for the Journal of Clinical Oncology from 2009 to 2015. Dr. Wiernik was President of the American Radium Society from 1993 to 1994 and received the society’s Janeway Gold Medal in 1996. Dr. Wiernik is the author of more than 700 peer-reviewed papers and a dozen books, including Neoplastic Diseases of the Blood, which is currently in its 5th edition. ■