Richard Carvajal is the Director of the Developmental Therapeutics program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, part of the Melanoma and Sarcoma Service, and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. He is focused on the development of novel therapies for patients with various cancers, with the overall objective of controlling and curing these diseases. In an advance that helped to launch a new era of personalized medicine in melanoma therapy, Richard led a clinical trial of imatinib (Gleevec®) in patients with melanoma characterized by the presence of a mutation in a gene called KIT. Moreover, before 2013, there were no effective treatments for metastatic uveal melanoma; another trial that Richard developed and conducted identified selumetinib, a medicine that blocks the MAPK pathway, as the first effective treatment for patients with advanced uveal melanoma. His research has been supported by the NCI, the FDA, the Conquer Cancer Foundation, the Melanoma Research Alliance, the Melanoma Research Foundation, the Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program, and the generous philanthropic support of patients and their families. He has also authored or co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts, books and book chapters. Richard completed fellowships in Hematology/Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and in Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He earned his M.D. at the NYU School of Medicine.
Richard serves as the Co-Chair of the International Rare Cancer Initiative Uveal Melanoma working group, a joint initiative of the NCI, the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, and Cancer Research UK to enhance international collaboration in the conduct of clinical trials for uveal melanoma.