Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

April 30, 2010

'TIME' names Goshen's Dr. Schwartzentruber to world’s 100 most influential people list

GOSHEN — Goshen’s Dr. Doug Schwartzentruber may not be a household name like Obama, Pelosi or Palin, but after the latest issue of TIME Magazine hits the stands today, he’ll be a whole lot closer.

Schwartzentruber, a surgical oncologist and medical director of Goshen Health System’s Goshen Center for Cancer Care has been named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for his work in cancer research.

The honor was announced at a press conference at Goshen General Hospital Thursday, which included a congratulatory phone call from Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. Schwartzentruber will travel to New York City for the TIME 100 Gala event Sunday, where the magazine will celebrate the individuals on the 2010 TIME 100 list.

The TIME list, now in its seventh year, is created in recognition of the activism, innovation and achievements of the world’s most influential artists, leaders and thinkers.

“I am very honored to be nominated or to be recognized in this way, and I’m also deeply humbled, because this is not something that can be accomplished alone,” Schwartzentruber said. “There is a large team of people at Goshen Heath System that made this possible.”

Schwartzentruber’s recognition centers on a recently completed clinical study where patients with metastatic melanoma received an experimental vaccine with promising results.

Lead author and principal investigator of the study, Schwartzentruber brought the clinical trial from the National Cancer Institute to Goshen Center for Cancer Care nearly seven years ago following his acceptance of the medical director position in his hometown of Goshen.

“The vaccine did increase the number of patients that had shrinkage of their cancers, and hence became one of the first times in science that we had proof that a vaccine could be used to treat established cancers,” Schwartzentruber said. “That in itself was a significant observation, and we are grateful to the many institutions that participated in the clinical trial, and especially our patients. One hundred and eighty-five patients participated in this clinical trial, and we are indebted to them for their participation and support as well.”

Schwartzentruber noted how incredibly surprised he was when he first learned that he would be included on the list among such well known names as President Barack Obama, Sen. Nancy Pelosi and Sarah Palin.

“At first I wasn’t quite sure that they had the right person,” Schwartzentruber said. “I thought there must be somebody else that they really intended to give this award to, and I certainly recognize that there are many other people that are equally deserving.”

On the phone, Gov. Daniels, however, was a bit less modest in his praise of Schwartzentruber and the work he has accomplished as a representative of the Hoosier state.

“I’ve always thought that it was so important to bear in mind the contributions of our greatest scientists that have touched millions and millions of people, saved lives, improved life for everyone,” Daniels said during his phone conversation with Schwartzentruber Thursday. “Your particular line of research of course is so timely and so needed right now, so you’re among a great company of people that will always know that they did something that was phenomenal, and that is a value to millions of people that they haven’t met.

“We’re just so proud that you’re doing it here in Indiana, and I can’t wait to be among those who tell other citizens of our state about you and the recognition you just won.”

Jim Dague, president and CEO of Goshen Health System, also had plenty to say on Schwartzentruber’s behalf during Thursday’s press conference.

“You talk about how can this happen? How can this happen in a community the size of Goshen? Talk about a bright spot,” Dague said. “Talk about an individual who is uncompromising in his personal mission to develop new ways to treat cancer, has spearheaded the development of a cancer center, and has allowed us to recruit other individuals who want to work alongside a man of his integrity, vision, foresight and accomplishments.

“This is a huge acknowledgment of an individual that has done this for his personal mission, not to seek this award,” he continued. “So while he’s too humble to say this, think of the fact that you have one of the 100 most influential people in the world practicing cancer treatment in this organization.”

A full list and the related tributes to all 100 recognized individuals will appear in the May 10 issue of TIME, available on newsstands today.

Schwartzentruber first appeared in TIME Magazine following the May 2009 announcement of his breakthrough clinical trial results on the use of the vaccine. He later appeared in the magazine’s “Year in Health” review article in November 2009, as well as being interviewed by Men’s Health Magazine, Bloomberg News, and National Public Radio’s Science Friday, among many others.

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