This retrospective was triggered by the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) choosing to identify ‘50 Oncology Luminaries’ as part of the celebration for the 50th Anniversary of the Founding of ASCO . The discoveries that my Tamoxifen Teams contributed over the decades to advance patient care were previously recognized by ASCO with two major awards: the American Cancer Society Award for Chemoprevention (2006) and their highest award, the David A Karnofsky Award and Medal (2008). The current recognition by ASCO prompted Commissioning Editor Ruth Williamson to ask me to “tell the story.”
Tamoxifen should, by rights, never have happened or by rights ever been developed. Indeed, development was stopped and only resurrected by chance meetings, commitment and investing in a young pharmacologist from Leeds University who “wanted to develop drugs to treat cancer.” Today, the treatment success of tamoxifen is a tribute to translation research, placebo-controlled clinical trials and the creation of the Oxford Overview analysis.