The College of American Pathologists (CAP) awarded Robert J. Penny, MD, PhD, FCAP, from Phoenix, the CAP Distinguished Patient Care Award at a special ceremony held in San Diego on September 8, 2012, at CAP ’12 — THE Pathologists’ Meeting.
Dr. Penny was recognized for his extensive scientific translational research to accelerate the adoption of molecular pathways and associated therapies into the field of pathology and oncology to improve the lives of cancer patients.
“I am deeply honored to be recognized by my peers with the CAP Distinguished Patient Care Award,” said Dr. Penny. “As pathologists, we are the current and future innovators to drive molecular pathways and their associated therapies into clinical medicine. My work recognized here is a very small start to a remarkable future for the patients of tomorrow.”
Dr. Penny is the co-founder and chief executive officer of the International Genomics Consortium (IGC) in Phoenix. While at IGC, he began the national Expression Project for Oncology (expO), which provides a free public gene expression database of 2,000 cancers with clinical outcomes for translation. The National Institutes of Health cited expO’s success as critical in deciding to launch The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), a national project to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.
Also while at IGC, he founded the Molecular Profiling Institute and served as its first chief executive officer and chairman of the board. Dr. Penny’s vision was to bring to surgical pathology a holistic, evidenced-based, integrated molecular pathway analysis with accompanying therapies provided by pathologists for oncologists. He developed the Molecular Profiling Institute’s portfolio of molecular testing and pharmaceutical services, which includes his successful commercially available holistic genomic analysis of cancer with its award-winning surgical oncology report (Target Now) that matches molecular mechanisms with associated oncology therapies. The test has been paradigm changing. Patients who failed rounds of chemotherapy frequently benefited from the targeted therapy. Today, tens of thousands of patients annually use the test throughout the United States.
Dr. Penny is a recognized expert in the translation of diagnostics into patient care as well as in creating high-quality biorepositories. He has established two national esoteric reference medical laboratories, a national tissue bank and analysis center, and a national genomics program to help accelerate the translation of new diagnostics. He has helped bring cellular and molecular diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic testing to patient care throughout the nation with leukemia, lymphoma, and solid tumors.
Dr. Penny received his BS, MS, PhD (genetics), and MD from the University of Arizona and then went on to receive his pathology training at Harvard’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, where he served as chief resident and completed fellowships in hematopathology and surgical pathology. Dr. Penny’s contributions include a textbook in oncology, publication of articles, and leadership roles in laboratory management.
The College of American Pathologists (CAP), celebrating 50 years as the gold standard in laboratory accreditation, is a medical society serving more than 18,000 physician members and the global laboratory community. It is the world’s largest association composed exclusively of board-certified pathologists and is the worldwide leader in laboratory quality assurance. The College advocates accountable, high-quality, and cost-effective patient care.