Model Cancer Clinician, Investigator and Mentor

Dr. J is proactive, creative and practical in planning treatment strategies for his patients. He does not take shortcuts; if the hard way is the right way, then that is what will be done.

It is my great pleasure to nominate Dr. Andrzej Jakubowiak for the CURE® 2022 Multiple Myeloma Heroes award for his career efforts to improve the lives of those affected by multiple myeloma.Dr. J, as he is affectionately referred to by patients and peers, is a model clinician, investigator and mentor. I would like to share with you a little about each one of these roles that he plays.

As a clinician, Dr. J is renowned for his relentless advocacy for his patients. To say he goes the extra mile for his patients is an understatement. As a trainee of his — and now a colleague — I have seen him go to the greatest of lengths to obtain novel therapies for his patients. He is proactive, creative and practical in planning treatment strategies for his patients. He does not take shortcuts; if the hard way is the right way, then that is what will be done.

He is revered by his patients. For this nomination, I asked some of his patients to tell me about their relationship with Dr. J.

“I am able to type this today because I have been under the care of Dr. J and his team for the past seven years. Dr. J’s detailed knowledge of myeloma, its treatments and clinical research has allowed me to live a full life while battling the disease. His constant hope and positivity emanate to me and my family as we grapple with my diagnosis. I have traveled to various myeloma specialists across the country, ending up with the same result — confidence that I am getting the best care possible with Dr. J and his team.”

“When no one could determine why I was having recurring blood clots at such a young age, Dr. J stepped in and discovered that I had multiple myeloma at age 28. With a young family, this news could have been detrimental, but Dr. J brought steadfast confidence, extreme care, and he committed to helping me beat the disease. Fourteen years later, I have been there for my three kids who are now 16, 14 and 12 years old. I also pursued my passion to successfully launch two tech startups. At age 42, Dr. J just led me through CAR-T (cell) therapy, which will give me many more years to support my family and live a life of passion and purpose. Dr. J serves his patients with confidence and humility, and he is armed with a research mind that provides his patients with the best tools to treat myeloma. Dr. J is one of the best.”

As a clinical investigator, Dr. J has significantly contributed to the field ofmyeloma. He helped pioneer the frontline treatment regimen of Kyprolis (carfilzomib), Revlimid (lenalidomide) and dexamethasone, which now serves as one of the key backbone regimens for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma.

He has played a key role in the development of several novel, groundbreaking therapeutics in myeloma, including most recently CAR-Tcell therapy and bispecific antibodies. He has successfully led several investigator-initiated studies of quadruplet therapy combinations in the newly diagnosed and relapsed/refractory settings, and he was an early adopterof measurable residual diseaseas both an end point and as a means to guide decision-making in clinical trials.

His work has not been limited to his efforts in the United States; in a nod to his home country, he has helped to establish the Polish Myeloma Consortium and devised multiple randomized clinical trials to be conducted both in the United Statesand Poland, which is a monumental effort. The first of these collaborations resulted in a potentially practice-changing finding of a progression-free survival benefit of Kyprolis, Revlimid and dexamethasone versusRevlimid alone as maintenance after transplant.

As a mentor, Dr. J has left an indelible mark on the field both in the United States and in Poland. As one of his mentees, I can attest to his commitment to training and educating the next generation of clinical investigators in myeloma. This commitment is not only extended to physicians but also to his nurses, advanced practice providers and research staff.

He is so much more than that. He is the reason I joined the faculty at the University of Chicago. He has afforded me (and others) incredible opportunities to design, implement and lead clinical trials, even at a very early point in my career. He always makes himself available to discuss important research, as well as clinical or personal matters.

He is not onlya colleague but also a dear friend.“I have worked with Dr. J for close to seven years and have watched his interactions with patients and staff alike over thoseyears. I have watched him show both kindness and compassion to his patients, no matter the circumstances. He truly cares about his patients deeply.Dr. J’s discussions always include the most up-to-date information in the field and one positive token of information to share. Working alongside him has been a pleasure. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and teaching. Dr. J is always responsive, takes the time to check in with his team often, and he truly cares about his program. Dr. J very much deserves this nomination and this award for his devotion to the field, patients and colleagues alike,” wrote Brittany Wolfe, a physician assistant at the University of Chicago Medicine.

In summation, Dr. J is very deserving of the CURE® Multiple Myeloma Heroes award for his persevering spirit, his relentless advocacy forpatients, his innovation in clinical trial design and execution, and his mentorship. I highly recommend his nomination for this award. Thank you.

For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here