Oct 04, 2017
ASCO mourns the passing and honors the life of Oliver W. Press, MD, PhD, a lymphoma specialist who made pivotal discoveries in the development of radioimmunotherapies. Dr. Press passed away on October 2, 2017, due to complications from glioma. He was 65.
At the time of his death, Dr. Press held the first David and Patricia Giuliani/Oliver Press Endowed Chair in Cancer Research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; he had been a faculty member in the institution’s Clinical Research Division since 1986, and held the Dr. Penny E. Petersen Memorial Chair for Lymphoma Research from 2001 to 2016. He maintained a joint appointment at the University of Washington, where he was a professor of medicine and adjunct professor of bioengineering.
An ASCO member since 1986, he was an active volunteer in the Society, serving on the Scientific Program Committee, which he chaired in 1998-1999, and on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Press chaired the Scientific Advisory Board for the Lymphoma Research Foundation and co-chaired the National Cancer Institute’s Lymphoma Steering Committee, among other significant volunteer and leadership roles.
Dr. Press’ radioimmunotherapy research, which he began during his fellowship in the 1980s, laid the foundation for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the treatment strategy in the early 2000s. He was active in targeted therapy research throughout his career, particularly focused on treatments targeting CD20 in lymphoma.
He was a dedicated mentor, with two related awards given in his name: the Oliver ‘Ollie’ W. Press Award for Extraordinary Mentorship, established by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and the Oliver W. Press ARCS Foundation Endowed Fellowship (“The Ollie”), established by the University of Washington.
Read more about Dr. Press’ extraordinary commitment to patients with cancer, clinical research, and mentoring in a tribute by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.