Gary Schwartz, MD

Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Vice Dean for Oncology
School of Medicine
Gertrude Donnelly Hess MD Professor in Oncology Research

Gary Schwartz, MD, is the Director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (Case CCC). Formerly Chief of Hematology and Oncology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) and Deputy Director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, his vision is to establish highly innovative, transformative clinical translational research programs in the field of cancer therapy.

His post at Case CCC follows 30 years of extensive work in early drug development with bench-top to bedside research in gastrointestinal cancers, melanoma, and sarcoma. As the former Chief of the Melanoma and Sarcoma Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), he successfully brought together clinical researchers and basic scientists to establish a highly successful clinical research program that focused on translational clinical trials with small molecule inhibitors and targeted immunologic agents. His efforts at Columbia similarly focused on precision medicine. This resulted in the recruitment of key leaders in the areas of early drug development and immunotherapy. As director of the Laboratory for New Drug Development of Rare Cancers, he developed NCI, FDA, and DOD grant- supported novel targeted agents for bench-top to bedside clinical translational research focusing on drugs that targeted the cell cycle ranging from CDK4 to Chk1.

More recently, Schwartz has developed novel therapies for rare cancers, especially sarcoma and uveal melanoma. This has resulted in a series of innovative translational clinical trials with inhibitors of MDM2, MEK, AKT, IGF-1R, mTOR, Notch, PARP, BRD4 and receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors. As co-chair of the Experimental Therapeutics and Rare Tumor Committee on the Alliance, he has developed new therapeutics trials for patients with rare cancers, ranging from rare forms of thyroid cancer to sarcoma.

He has mentored both trainees and junior faculty as PI of MSKCC’s K12. Additionally, Dr. Schwartz has mentored many fellows and junior faculty who have received ASCO YIA and CDA awards as well as R01s. In 2016, he was awarded the Ewig Clinical Scholar Award for mentoring and teaching, and in 2017 the NY State Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program in Training grant (ECRIP) to mentor junior faculty in precision medicine. Dr. Schwartz has been a PI on a number of significant projects including the CUIMC T32 to train medical oncology fellows in molecular oncology, the R38 to identify and train residents for careers in cancer medicine, and the CUIMC NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) that focuses on providing access to clinical trials for the underserved patient population of northern Manhattan.