American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
Martin Fleisher, PhD
2008 Morton K. Schwartz Award for Significant Contributions in Cancer Research Diagnostics

Dr. Fleisher is chair of the department of clinical laboratories and director of the clinical chemistry laboratory at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Dr. Fleisher joined the medical staff at Memorial Sloan-Kettering as an assistant attending biochemist and spent 35 years working closely with the award’s namesake, Dr. Morton K. Schwartz, then chair of the department of biochemistry. Dr. Fleisher has spent his career in the study, discovery, and development of tumor markers and biomarkers in cancer detection. His interest in biomarkers began in 1970 with the validation of carcinoembryonic antigen in colon cancer. His seminal work on the relationship between breast cancer and cystic mastopathy involved more than 1,000 women, whose breast cyst fluids were analyzed for more than 80 analytes. He investigated the use of biomarkers in node-negative women with breast cancer and developed methods to monitor therapy that are still in use at many medical centers. In collaboration with his neuro-oncology colleagues he developed cerebrospinal fluid tumor markers. Dr. Fleisher’s current research focuses on the use of biomarkers for new targeted preclinical and clinical drug development, and the identification of gene expression patterns in cancer metastasis. An active member of the AACC since 1968, Dr. Fleisher has served as national treasurer, a member of the board of directors, co-chair of the 1993 annual meeting, and in many other positions. He is a member of the board of directors of the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry and president of the Clinical Ligand Assay Society.

1987 Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry

Martin Fleisher will receive the 36th AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry. The award is sponsored by Ames Division, Miles Laboratories, Inc.

Dr. Fleisher was born in Liberty, NY. He received his B.A. degree from Harper College, State University of New York (Binghamton). He was awarded a Masters and Ph.D. degree (Biochemistry), with honors, from New York University. As a graduate fellow at the New York University School of Medicine in the Departments of Biochemistry and Physiology his doctoral research and areas of specialization encompassed protein chemistry and enzymology. He spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow at the New York University Medical Center in the Department of Radiology.

Dr. Fleisher joined the Department of Biochemistry at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 1967 as an assistant attending biochemist in the Department of Biochemistry, Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases, research associate at the Sloan-Kettering Institute, and assistant professor of biochemistry in the Sloan-Kettering Division of Cornell University Graduate School of Medicine Sciences.

Dr. Fleisher is currently a member of the medical staff of Memorial Hospital as an attending clinical chemist in the Department of Clinical Chemistry and associate member of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Dr. Fleisher’s extensive research interests have been clinically oriented. Of particular interest is his research aimed at the identification and evaluation of tumor markers for early detection of primary and recurrent neoplastic diseases of the breast, colon, and brain. To this end, Dr. Fleisher has been instrumental in developing several tests used for early cancer detection. He was one of the leaders involved in the pioneering work on the biochemistry of breast-cyst fluid and its use in assessing breast cancer risk in women with cystic mastopathy. His contribution to the use of multiple markers for the diagnosis of brain metastasis is widely accepted as standard procedure in assessing metastatic involvement to the brain. Dr. Fleisher has been awarded three patents by the United States, European, and Australian patent offices for test procedures in the area of cancer screening. His research interests in analytical methodologies include enzymes as diagnostic tools, and the development and evaluation of non-isotopic immunoassay procedures. Dr. Fleisher has published over 70 papers, including five chapters on his research, and has edited a book on the Clinical Biochemistry of Cancer.

A member of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry since 1968, Dr. Fleisher has been actively involved in the leadership of the Association. He has served as National Treasurer, member of Board of Directors, chairman of the Clinical Association Committee, and member of the Education Commission and the Long-Range Planning Committee. He also served on the editorial board for Selected Methods of Clinical Chemistry.

Dr. Fleisher is also a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, American Institute of Chemists, New York Academy of Science, International Society for Oncodevelopmental Biology and Medicine, and Sigma Xi. He is certified as a Clinical Laboratory Director by the City of New York and as a Certified Clinical Chemist by the National Registry in Clinical Chemistry. Dr. Fleisher has been listed in American Men and Women of Science and Who’s Who in Cancer Professionals and Facilities. His awards include the Founder’s Day Award from New York University (1966) and Certificate of Honor (1982) for Scientific Achievement in the field of cancer biochemistry from the New Jersey Section of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry.

On the local level, Dr. Fleisher has served as a member of the Advisory Committee to the Commissioner on Clinical Laboratories of the City of New York. He has been active in the education of medical technologists and held appointments as adjunct professor at the City University of New York and Columbia University, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences.