Sydney E. Salmon, MD, named 'Oncology Luminary'

March 7, 2014

University of Arizona Cancer Center founding Director Sydney E. Salmon, MD, has been named an “Oncology Luminary” by the American Society of Clinical Oncology in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

The 50 Oncology Luminaries are recognized for their contributions to advancing cancer care. ASCO was founded in 1964 by a small group of physician members of the American Association of Cancer Research who recognized the need for the creation of a separate society dedicated to issues unique to clinical oncology.

Dr. Salmon led the UA Cancer Center from its founding in 1976 until 1998, just before his death from pancreatic cancer. He steered cancer research at the UA from 1972, including overseeing a planning grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the formation of the Southwest Oncology Group that allowed the UA to participate in larger clinical trials, and two program project grants from NCI, all of which led to the Cancer Center’s first federal support grant in 1978.

Dr. Salmon’s areas of research interest were in multiple myeloma, breast cancer and tissue culture studies of human cancers. Under Dr. Salmon's leadership, the center grew rapidly and became a major resource for the treatment of cancer in the Southwest. The center's first building, the Leon F. Levy Building, was dedicated in 1986 providing clinical, administrative and research facilities.

In 1989 the Arizona Board of Regents named Dr. Salmon as a Regents Professor of Medicine. The following year, the NCI designated the UA Cancer Center as a "comprehensive cancer center," which the NCI determines to have outstanding basic and clinical cancer research and patient care. In 1991, Dr. Salmon was named by President George H. W. Bush to the NCI's senior advisory board, the National Cancer Advisory Board, for a five-year term.

The center's second building, the Sydney E. Salmon, MD, Building, was named by the Arizona Board of Regents to honor Salmon and was dedicated in January 1998.

During the course of his career, Salmon served as president of ASCO (1984-85) and the American Association of Cancer Institutes (1989-1990).

He held eight patents, several of which have had major impact on biology and medicine, and he served as an advisor to both government and the pharmaceutical industry. He was founding scientist of the Selectide Corp. in Oro Valley, now Sanofi-Aventis.  Dr. Salmon also is the recipient of many awards for his achievements in cancer research. He is the author of nearly 400 scholarly papers, and he edited 12 books in fields related to cancer research or cancer treatment.

Also named one of ASCO's 50 Oncology Luminaries is Daniel Von Hoff, MD, who served several years as Cancer Center director.

-March 7, 2014