David P. Carbone, MD, PhD, sought to transform lung cancer care and did it—but didn’t anticipate the personal journey it would put him on.
On July 28, 2023, GO2 for Lung Cancer, an organization that supports the care and well-being of patients with lung cancer, awarded the 2023 Bonnie J. Addario Lectureship Award to David P. Carbone, MD, PhD, for his work developing treatments for patients with lung cancer. The award was given to Carbone at the 24th Annual International Lung Cancer Congress.
Carbone, the 2023 Giant of Cancer Care winner in the lung cancer category, is director of the James Thoracic Center at The Ohio State University Medical Center and coleader of the Translational Therapeutics Program at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center–James in Columbus, but the origin of his commitment to medicine and time spent improving the lives of patients with lung cancer is far from traditional.
The eldest of 7, Carbone was born in 1955 in Albany, New York to an Italian family, living with not only his parents and siblings but also Italian-born grandparents and an Italian-born great-aunt. His father, Paul Carbone, MD, worked in the Public Health Service as an oncologist and helped develop the drugs his son would rely heavily on in his practice. The family moved every 2 years or so, and Carbone lived in California, Georgia, and New York before settling in Maryland when his father started working at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.
Despite the influence of his father’s profession, medicine was not Carbone’s initial infatuation. He found himself drawn more to electronics than to the human body, and he packed his childhood bedroom with electronics equipment, radios and antennae, and model airplanes, which he enjoyed designing and flying. “There was this informal dump down the dirt road from us where people would throw [away] old TV sets and things, and I would just scrounge around in there for old electronics. I just taught myself electronics and I figured out how to trace the circuits and figured out how to fix these things,” Carbone said.