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RESEARCHER PROFILE

Eric Rubin

Vice President & Therapeutic Area Head, Oncology Early Development at Merck

Daily Discoveries. A medical oncologist by training, Dr. Rubin has focused on cancer drug development for almost two decades, having authored over 100 original, peer-reviewed publications and book chapters related to oncology translational research, clinical trials and drug development. In his current role at Merck, he oversees the clinical development for the early oncology program for all types of cancer.

 

The Driving Force. "In some way, everyone is impacted by cancer. That's motivating. When I was in my initial training, I was originally going to be a cardiologist. After doing that for several months, it seemed routine and easy. Then I had a rotation in oncology and it seemed like a challenge worth tackling." When asked what excites him most about his job, Dr. Rubin quickly answers that developing new and effective ways to treat people with cancer is what drives him.

Biomarker Breakthrough. The recent approval of the first cancer medicine based on a common biomarker, rather than the site of the cancer in the body, has opened a new door to truly personalized medicine. Dr. Rubin reflected on this game-changing approval, noting, "We are now able to leverage our understanding of tumor genomics to direct treatment, regardless of where the cancer originates."

Challenges, Chances and Looking Forward. Though developing new treatment options is an extremely motivating factor, Dr. Rubin also believes it can also be the most challenging. "The clinical evaluation and approval process can be a complex one, and identifying patients who can benefit from these drugs through diagnostic testing can be complicated," says Rubin. Nevertheless, Dr. Rubin knows that we are on the brink of great breakthroughs despite the challenges we face.