Michael B. Atkins, MD, is deputy director of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Scholl Professor and vice chair of the Department of Medical Oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center. He is an internationally recognized expert in the management of patients with high-risk and metastatic melanoma or kidney cancer.
Dr. Atkins co-directs the Melanoma Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and the Melanoma Research Program within the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute. In addition, he leads kidney cancer research within the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Center and the MedStar Health system. He is a world-renowned expert in clinical and translational research in both of these patient populations, having led the Kidney Cancer Program and co-led the Melanoma Program at the Dana Farber Harvard Cancer Center for over a decade each, until his departure for Georgetown Lombardi in 2012. Dr. Atkins is also one of the leading authorities in cancer immunotherapy, having been a founding member and leader of the Cytokine Working Group, and leader of the Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Immunotherapy Interest Group. He has led major multi-investigator clinical and translational research efforts in melanoma and kidney cancer that have uncovered critical biology of these diseases, led to the FDA approval of over 20 new treatments, and have completely revolutionized the treatment and the prognosis for patients. He continues to lead cutting-edge research projects that promise to further advance the care and outlook for patients with these diseases.
Dr. Atkins is also an international authority in the management of patients with either melanoma or kidney cancer. He edits the melanoma, kidney cancer and immunotherapy sections for UpToDate®, the universally available on-line medical textbook, and is co-editor of the fifth and 6th editions of the textbook Cutaneous Melanoma. He serves on the Board of the Directors and co-chairs the Scientific Advisory Council of the Melanoma Research Foundation, is Chair of the Melanoma Research Alliance Medical Advisory Panel, and is a past member of the nominating committee for the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Council. He is also past president of the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer. He has published over 500 scientific and review articles, co-edited five books, and given over 700 lectures worldwide.
Dr. Atkins is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. For over 30 years, Dr. Atkins has treated patients with advanced melanoma and kidney cancers. He believes that too many patients follow the initial advice they receive, and always encourages patients to seek a second opinion from subject matter experts to establish a comprehensive treatment plan before starting therapy. This will maximize their chances of receiving the optimal approach to their disease and determine if they are eligible for cutting-edge clinical trials. Dr. Atkins’ approach to patients is to always focus on the opportunities for cure, utilizing novel therapies like immune therapy and the timely integration of multidisciplinary care (meaning teams of physicians from medical oncology, surgery, and radiation oncology all work together to develop a unique treatment plan.) With many new therapies available – and even better ones in development – patients with widely metastatic disease have the opportunity for long-term, disease-free, and subsequent treatment-free survival, enabling them to return to their normal lives.