The Sixth Annual Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Prof. Mario Boccadoro. The event was held in the town of Nichelino, just outside of Torino, on February 6th, at the historic and beautiful Palazzina di Caccia Stupinigi. One of the residences of the Royal House of Savoy, it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and was originally built as a royal hunting lodge in the early eighteenth century. It was the perfect setting for this very special event.
Drs. Mario Boccadoro, Robert Kyle, and Brian G.M. Durie with IMF President Susie Novis
Prof. Boccadoro began his career in myeloma research and treatment in late 1978 as a post-doctoral fellow in Brussels, Belgium working with Prof. Benjamin Van Camp, one of the earliest researchers in the field of Myeloma. Following this, Prof. Boccadoro was appointed as assistant professor in the Department of Medicine and Experimental Oncology in the department of Prof. Allesdandro Pilieri, a noted researcher in the area of multiple myeloma. In the early 1980s, Dr. Boccadoro spent two years as a visiting investigator at the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson, Arizona where he worked with Prof. Brian Durie and Prof. Sydney Salmon, co-developers of the Durie/Salmon Staging System for myeloma.
Prof. Boccadoro created the Italian Myeloma Study Group, the first research consortium in Italy and one of the first in Europe. Under his direction, the Italian Myeloma Study Group has conducted a series of pivotal clinical trials, initially involving chemotherapy, then transplantation, both autologous and allogeneic, and most recently the range of exciting novel agents: thalidomide, VELCADE and Revlimid. These clinical trials, spanning over two decades, represent a remarkable collective contribution to the myeloma community, and have been published in all the major journals, including New England Journal of Medicine, Blood, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Last year's Kyle Award winner, Dr. Heinz Ludwig with his wife, Birgit
Prof. Boccadoro is a member of numerous professional societies both in Europe and in the United States. Since 2000 he has held the title of Professor and Head of the Hematology Section of the Oncology Division at the University of Torino.
Arriving guests entered through what was once part of the stables, past coat racks cleverly located in what were once the horse stalls. They then proceeded into a long impressive hall, where cocktails and hors d'oeuvres were served and lively conversation took place.
We then proceeded into a truly grand "salon," whose original function was that of a winter nursery for the lodge's lemon trees. The room was impressive with a huge vaulted ceiling and devoid of any furnishings except for large red trimmed drapes, and tables elegantly yet simply set, it made a perfect setting for this festive occasion.
Dr. Durie, IMF Executive Director David Smith and Susie Novis
Susie Novis and Dr. Brian Durie welcomed the guests and acknowledged the sponsors: Presenting Sponsor - Celgene, Platinum - Pharmion, Gold - Janssen-Cilag SpA, Silver - The Binding Site, and Bronze - Genentech BioOncology.
Profs. Boccadoro and Pileri
Susie Novis was the first to speak and noted what an honor it was to be able to recognize and celebrate Prof. Boccadoro's many achievements, and be surrounded by his loving family, his many friends, and numerous colleagues. Dr. Durie next spoke about what a privilege it has been to work with Prof. Boccadoro over the years and how their relationship grew into a close and personal friendship. Dr. Durie then had the honor of introducing Prof. Allesandro Pileri, Prof. Boccadoro's long-term mentor. Prof. Pileri gave a very eloquent speech about his former protégé and the importance of having such an outstanding myeloma team in Torino, which grew out of their many collaborations together.
Susie Novis and Dr. Boccadoro's wife, Rosella
Dr. Boccadoro's children, Carlotta and Simone
Setting the stage for the climax of the evening was a video presentation that showed the many faces of Mario Boccadoro; doctor, researcher, collaborator, loving father and devoted husband, dog lover, cat lover, motorcycle enthusiast and definitely a person with a lust for life.
The highlight of the evening was when Dr. Kyle presented Prof. Boccadoro with the award. Prof. Boccadoro gave an impassioned speech about the myeloma team and the importance of the contributions made by each member that enable the team to be so successful. He ended the evening by showing his own presentation, an homage to his "family" those at work and his loving family at home.
Coffee and dessert were served as the evening drew to a close. We left knowing that we had honored a very wonderful and deserving person and experienced an authentic notte italiana!