The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) — improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure —presented the 14th annual Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. S. Vincent Rajkumar during a ceremony in Copenhagen, Denmark on June 8, 2016.
Since 2003, the IMF has honored an outstanding physician annually with the award, which is named for its first recipient, the world-renowned myeloma expert Dr. Robert Kyle. The 14th Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony will be held during the IMF’s annual International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) Summit in Copenhagen.
“We applaud Dr. Rajkumar’s accomplishments and important contributions to improving the lives of myeloma patients,” said IMF President Susie Novis Durie. Kyle Award honorees are individuals whose work in the field of myeloma has resulted in significant advances in research, treatment and care of myeloma patients.
“Dr. Rajkumar’s work perfectly reflects the words of Dr. William Mayo, founder of the Mayo Clinic, who challenged the nature of patient care nearly a century ago when he said ‘The needs of the patient are the only needs to be considered.’ And, as Vincent would add, both now and for the future,” said IMF Chairman Dr. Brian Durie.
Dr. Rajkumar, the Edward W. and Betty Knight Scripps Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has worked closely with Dr. Kyle for 20 years. “Bob Kyle is an inspiration—the person I want to be like, but simply cannot,” said Dr. Rajkumar. The award, he added, is “a reflection of Dr. Kyle’s leadership, vision, and guidance, more than anything I have done. The people who have won this award in the past are giants in the field, and I am very humbled.”
In 1995, Dr. Rajkumar joined Mayo Clinic to train in hematology and medical oncology. He joined the staff in 1999, rising to professor in 2006. His research focuses on clinical, epidemiological, and laboratory research for myeloma and related disorders.
Dr. Rajkumar has led numerous phase I, II, and III clinical trials investigating the role of new agents in myeloma, including the pivotal trials that led to the approval of thalidomide in myeloma in the US, and has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers primarily in the field of myeloma and related plasma cell disorders. Dr. Rajkumar was lead author on the 2014 IMWG Updated Criteria for the Diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma, considered to be a paradigm shift in the approach to multiple myeloma.
In addition to his stellar research credentials, Dr. Rajkumar excels at science communications, serving as Associate Editor for the Mayo Clinic Proceedings; Section Editor for the journal Leukemia; Associate Editor for the European Journal of Haematology; and Editor-in-Chief of Blood Cancer Journal. He is equally adept at sharing medical information through social media, as his thousands of Twitter followers can attest.
Receiving the Kyle Award, said Dr. Rajkumar, “is the highest honor possible for me and I am thankful to the IMF, the IMWG, and my colleagues from around the world.”