LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

NCI Awards LSU Health’s Ochoa Most Prestigious Honor for His Leadership & Contributions to Community-Based Cancer Clinical Trials

August 29, 2022

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) chose LSU Health New Orleans’ Augusto Ochoa, MD, as the 2022 recipient of its most prestigious award honoring excellence in community-based cancer research. Dr. Ochoa received the Harry Hynes Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Trials and Community Research on August 25, 2022, during the NCORP (NCI Community Oncology Research Program) Annual Meeting.

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As the principal investigator of the Gulf South NCORP, Dr. Ochoa leads the only statewide cancer clinical trials program in Louisiana. He began building it with a $5.6 million grant to LSU Health New Orleans in 2014. In 2019, the NCI awarded LSU Health New Orleans a $13.6 million grant to expand the clinical trials network with a special emphasis on minority and underserved cancer patients. The program is now a collaboration between LSU Health New Orleans, LSU Health Shreveport, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Ochsner Medical Center, and the many community physicians caring for patients with cancer throughout the Gulf South region. The NCORP brings cutting-edge clinical trials to patients where they live to improve their care and outcomes. The Gulf South NCORP has been recognized as a leading clinical trials program because of its success in bringing advanced treatments through clinical trials to large numbers of patients, particularly African American patients. Last spring, the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Prevention recognized it as a top 5 site for accruing participants into Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) clinical trials.
Dr. Augusto Ochoa
Dr. Ochoa is the Chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Oncology, a professor of Pediatrics and holds the Al Copeland/Cancer Crusaders Chair in Neuroendocrine Cancer at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine. He is also the Deputy Director of the LSU Health-LCMC Cancer Center. A board-certified pediatric allergist and immunologist, Dr. Ochoa practices at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans.

Dr. Ochoa was trained in medicine in his native Colombia, followed by training in immunology and immunotherapy at the University of Minnesota, where he began his work in cancer research. He was recruited to the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute, where he led the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Laboratory. His team made the vital discovery that tumors develop ways of blocking the protective anti-tumor immune responses, which led to the development of new drugs that potentiate the immune response against cancer. He joined LSU Health New Orleans in 1997, and in 2007, was named the director of its Stanley Scott Cancer Center. One of his major initiatives has been the development of basic research and clinical trials to understand why cancer is more frequent and deadly in African American patients. Last year, a paper detailing a breakthrough research discovery made by Dr. Ochoa and his team at LSU Health was deemed one of 24 Cancer Research Landmark Papers in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act.

Dr. Ochoa was one of only 28 experts selected to serve on the Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel in 2016. He continues to serve on President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Committee, and has served on several NCI advisory boards, including the Board of Scientific Counselors, and the Clinical Trials and Translational Research Committee.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans (LSU Health New Orleans) educates Louisiana's health care professionals. The state's health sciences university leader, LSU Health New Orleans includes a School of Medicine with campuses in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, the state's only School of Dentistry, Louisiana's only public School of Public Health, and Schools of Allied Health Professions, Nursing, and Graduate Studies. LSU Health New Orleans faculty take care of patients in public and private hospitals and clinics throughout the region. In the vanguard of biosciences research, the LSU Health New Orleans research enterprise generates jobs and enormous annual economic impact. LSU Health New Orleans faculty have made lifesaving discoveries and continue to work to prevent, advance treatment or cure disease. To learn more, visit,, or