publication date: Jan. 4, 2019

An Appreciation

A general in BATTLE, Waun Ki Hong was a pioneer of precision medicine

By Roy S. Herbst

I was heartbroken to learn of the passing of my mentor, colleague, and friend, Waun Ki Hong. Dr. Hong was the quintessential physician scientist who specialized in all aspects of medicine, but most notably patient care, research, and education. This is a devastating loss for the entire oncology community, and especially for all of the patients he cared for and helped.

Calabresi Plaque 1

Waun Ki Hong at Yale Cancer center for the 2012 Paul Calabresi Memorial Lecture.
Pictured from left to right: Vincent DeVita, Roy Herbst, Peter Calabresi. Thomas Lynch and Ki (photo on wall of Paul Calabresi)

– Photo courtesy of Yale Cancer Center


Though he has departed, his findings will continue to help those patients for years to come, including his groundbreaking innovations in the treatment of locally advanced head and neck cancer, precision medicine, chemoprevention, and targeted therapy. Just think about how lung cancer treatment has changed in 20 years with the advent of targeted therapy, precision guided biopsies, and immunotherapy, thanks to his leadership.

I first met Ki Hong when I was a young fellow from Boston and I interviewed for faculty positions at MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston. I had previously heard Dr. Hong give his American Cancer Society Award lecture on chemoprevention and I asked to meet with him during my visit. Though, originally, a position in the … Continue reading A general in BATTLE, Waun Ki Hong was a pioneer of precision medicine

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