Jesús San Miguel Izquierdo will receive the Academy Bob Pinedo Cancer Care Award 2020

18 August 2020

He discovered that treatment at the early smouldering stage of the disease favourably impacts on the outcome of patients with multiple myeloma, an aggressive form of blood cancer. Jesús San Miguel has also taken a leading role in studies resulting in the introduction of a series of novel drug combinations that are now part of the standard of care. 

These developments represent transformative advances in the treatment of multiple myeloma. San Miguel receives the Bob Pinedo Cancer Care Award 2020 for his pivotal contributions to the diagnosis and treatment of this deadly disease. 

Early treatment, rather than the traditional wait-and-see approach, offers the best prospects for patients with multiple myeloma. Myeloma originates as a proliferation of plasma cells in the bone marrow, then spreads to other organs and it causes considerable morbidity and mortality. Jesús San Miguel (Professor of Medicine and the Director of Medical and Translational Research at the University of Navarra, Spain) and his team demonstrated that intervening at the 'indolent' stage (when the disease is stable and there are no symptoms yet) significantly improves survival. The latter observation represented a breakthrough in the established treatment of patients with this disease. For decades the dogma had been to avoid such early treatment and its associated toxicities and generations of physicians worldwide were told to start treatment only when the tumour began to progress and disease symptoms would develop.

New medicines

San Miguel also played a leading role in the introduction and evaluation of novel therapeutic drug combinations, which now belong to the standard armamentarium of treatment. Altogether, these developments mark revolutionary advances in the prognosis of patients with multiple myeloma. The translation of laboratory research towards clinical application has been the dominant theme in San Miguel's scientific research which makes him a worthy laureate of the Bob Pinedo Cancer Care Award 2020.

Stimulating cooperation

San Miguel is known as an inspiring colleague. He played a key role in the launch and foundation of various successful international collaborative organisations: the Spanish Myeloma Group, the European Myeloma Network, the European Network of Minimal Residual Disease, the International Myeloma Working Group, and he initiated the development of the authoritative International Staging System for multiple myeloma, which is widely used in clinical practice.

More about Jesús San Miguel

Jesús San Miguel (born in Almarza, Spain, in 1953) is an eloquent speaker and a passionate doctor with an apparent dedication to the patient and the medical community. His research work has been published in prominent medical journals. He has previously received several awards and public honours for his work in the field of myeloma. Jesús San Miguel has been Professor of Medicine and Director of Medical and Translational Research at the University of Navarra, Spain, since 2013. (Photo: University of Navarro)

About the award

The Academy Bob Pinedo Cancer Care Award is a biennial award intended for a researcher (or team of researchers) whose contribution to (translational) cancer research and compassionate cancer patient care is regarded as outstanding. The award is made possible by the Bob Pinedo Cancer Care Award Foundation and is named after the famous Dutch cancer researcher and founder of VUmc Cancer Center Amsterdam, Bob Pinedo (born in Curaçao in 1943). Since 2016, the Academy has been responsible for the selection of the winner. The Award consists of a bronze sculpture in the form of Professor Pinedo's hand, symbolising both strength and hope of healing, and a monetary prize of € 100,000.

Award ceremony

The Prize Award Ceremony was to take place on 26 November 2020, but has been cancelled due to Coronavirus measures. The event will be rescheduled to a date in 2021, to be announced later.