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doi: 10.1097/01.COT.0000300448.85623.97
Department: Shop Talk

Ten new members of the oncology community have been elected into the Institute of Medicine:

James P. Allison, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Chair of the Immunology Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute.

Webster K. Cavenee, PhD, Director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and Distinguished Professor at the University of California, San Diego.

Kay Dickersin, PhD, Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Director of the Center for Clinical Trials at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Andrew P. Feinberg, MD, King Fahd Professor of Medicine, Molecular Biology and Genetics, and Oncology in the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Patricia A. Ganz, MD, Professor of Health Services in the School of Public Health, Professor of Medicine in the David Geffen School of Medicine, and Director of Cancer Prevention and Control Research at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Ellen R. Gritz, PhD, Professor and Chair in the Department of Behavioral Science and the Frank T. McGraw Memorial Chair in the Study of Cancer at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

William G. Kaelin Jr., MD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor at Harvard Medical School, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Theodore S. Lawrence, MD, PhD, Isadore Lampe Professor and Chair in the Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan Medical School.

Ronald Levy, MD, Professor and Chief, Division of Oncology, Stanford University School of Medicine.

Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Dielmann Chair in Health Disparities and Community Outreach Research, and Director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio.

Brian Carr, MD, PhD, newly appointed Professor of Medical Oncology at Jefferson Medical College, plans to expand the liver cancer program at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Dr. Carr, a liver specialist who joined Jefferson in July, plans to align the disciplines of hepatology, surgery, transplant surgery, and medical oncology with a comprehensive research program.

For the past 18 years Dr. Carr had worked at the University of Pittsburgh on the team of Thomas Starzl, MD, specializing in chemoembolization of primary liver cancer. Dr. Carr was Director of the Liver Cancer Center at the Pittsburgh Transplant Institute there and also served as Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Hepatobiliary Tumor Service.

Markettea Beneke is the 2007 winner of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center's Julie and Ben Rogers Award for Excellence in administration. She is the primary administrator and Chief Business Officer for the Department of Neuro-Oncology. The $10,000 award rotates annually among the areas of patient care, research, education, prevention, and administration, recognizing employees who consistently exhibit excellence in their work and dedication to M. D. Anderson's mission to eliminate cancer.

Ms. Beneke has been an M. D. Anderson staff member for 10 years. In addition to overseeing budgets and daily operations, she is also Ad Interim Administrator for the Department of Sarcoma Medical Oncology and Adviser to the Department of Gynecologic Medical Oncology. She has also implemented several employee enrichment programs such as establishing a career path for clinical nurse supervisors, creating an extended orientation program for junior faculty, and conducting a mentoring program for employees.

Roswell Park Cancer Institute has received a five-year, $7.5 million program project grant from the National Cancer Institute for translational research on the prevention of prostate cancer. The goal is to develop an innovative strategy to manage the disease at an early stage and prevent its clinical importance. The researchers will pursue three integrated projects focused on suppressing androgen signal transduction.

Clement Ip, PhD, Distinguished Member and Head of Cancer Chemoprevention, is the principal investigator and will lead project one. Young-Mee Park, PhD, member of the Department of Cell Stress Biology, will lead project two, and James Marshall, PhD, Senior Vice President for Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences will oversee project three, a short-term clinical trial based on the findings of the other two projects.

Emory Winship Cancer Institute has appointed two new faculty members:

R. Donald Harvey, PharmD, who previously worked as medical science liaison for Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., joins the staff as Assistant Professor of Hematology and Oncology and Director of the Phase I Clinical Trials section.

Morgan McLemore, MD, joins as Assistant Professor of Hematology and Oncology with a secondary appointment in medicine. Dr. McLemore comes to Emory from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where he served as Assistant Professor in the Division of Hematology.

Fox Chase Cancer Center has named Andre Konski, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners. Dr. Konski is currently the Clinical Research Director for radiation oncology and Clinical Director for the Prostate Cancer Risk Assessment Program. In his new position, Dr. Konski will work to expand the capabilities of the cancer center and its community hospital partners to guarantee that patients in their region have access to the latest advances in cancer care, treatment, and research.

The Global Smokefree Partnership presented Roswell Park Cancer Institute with its 2007 GSP Award for Research for its continued global promotion of smoke-free policies. The GSP awards recognize individuals and organizations that exemplify excellence and leadership in promoting smoke-free policies worldwide and encourage action to promote such policies.

“It has taken a while to get people to pay attention,” K. Michael Cummings, PhD, Chair of the Department of Health Behavior at RPCI, said in a news release. “It was not so long ago that people would light up on airplanes, in movie theaters, and at the table next to you in restaurants. Our research has shown that being smoke-free is good not only for health, but also for the economy. As a result, smoke-free policies are fast becoming the norm not only in the United States, but elsewhere around the globe with nearly 20 countries now having adopted public indoor smoking laws.”

Leonidas Platanias, MD, PhD, Deputy Director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and Professor in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the Feinberg School of Medicine there, has been elected President of the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research, for a term starting in January.

Minoru Toyota, MD, PhD, and Keiichi Nakayama, MD, PhD, have been awarded the 2007 JCA-Mauvernay Award for their research in oncology.

Dr. Toyota, Professor in the First Department of Internal Medicine at Sapporo Medical University in Japan, is focusing on DNA methylation. Dr. Nakayama, Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the Medical Institute of Bioregulation at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, is researching ubiquitin ligases involved in cell-cycle control and cancer.

The JCA-Mauvernay award is given annually by the Debiopharm Group, a global, independent biopharmaceutical company in oncology and other serious conditions, to honor innovative, fundamental, and clinical oncology research and encourage Japanese scientists to make their work available outside of Japan.

The National Prostate Cancer Coalition has presented Thomas Moody, MD, with the Mary Lou Wright Distinguished leadership award for his public service and dedication to the fight against prostate cancer.

Dr. Moody is the President of the Urology Centers in Alabama and has lobbied for the support of federal and state legislators in Washington, DC and Montgomery, Alabama. He has donated his time and money to set up screenings and raise awareness of prostate cancer across his state, and has testified in front of the Alabama Senate Health Committee on the need for greater access to screening.

This year, Dr. Moody was instrumental in the passage of a state insurance mandate law in Alabama, and is credited as almost singlehandedly raising Alabama's grade from an ‘F’ to a ‘C’ on the 2007 Prostate Cancer Report Cards.

Robert K. Oldham, MD, has joined the New Mexico Cancer Center as an on-staff medical oncologist. Dr. Oldham is Founder and CEO of Cancer Therapeutics Inc., which aims to make advanced cellular therapies more readily available to cancer patients. He also established Vanderbilt University's Oncology Division and initiated the National Cancer Institute's Biological Response Modifiers Program. In addition to practicing at the branch facility in Gallup, Dr. Oldham will continue his research at the New Mexico Cancer Center in Albuquerque.

Aziza Shad, MD, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation at Georgetown University Medical Center's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, has received the Penn State Alumni Fellowship Award.

Dr. Shad is Director of the International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research USA, working with physicians from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America to educate oncologists and nurses, guide patient treatments, organize workshops, and teach palliative care.

In 2006, she was named the first Amey Distinguished Professor in Neuro-Oncology and Childhood Cancer at Georgetown. The professorship was established by Scott and Debbie Amey in gratitude for the care Dr. Shad gave their daughter, Kara, who survived brain cancer.

Dr. Shad is the first resident alumna to receive this award which has been given to select alumni who are leaders in their field since 1973.

The Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California has received a $10 million gift from the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation toward the development of one of the nation's first research centers devoted to the study of epigenetics.

The Epigenome Center will be located on the ground floor of the Harlyne J. Norris Cancer Research Tower, which opened earlier this year on USC's Health Sciences Campus. The $10 million gift will go towards the purchase of sequencing equipment and recruitment of computational biologists.

Peter Laird, PhD, Associate Professor of Surgery, Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology, has been named Director of the Center. A formal opening is planned for January.

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Topotecan Approved as First At-Home Treatment of Small-Cell Lung Cancer

The FDA has approved the use of topotecan (Hycamtin) as an oral therapy that will allow patients to be treated for relapsed small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) at home.

The approval came after a Phase III clinical trial comparing topotecan plus best supportive care with best supportive care alone, in patients with relapsed SCLC, which showed that the combination was associated with prolonged survival of patients with relapsed SCLC.

The trial used 141 patients with relapsed SCLC who were not candidates for standard IV therapy. The median survival for patients receiving topotecan plus best supportive care was about 26 weeks compared with 14 weeks for patients receiving only best supportive care.

“In clinical trials Hycamtin capsules have shown the potential to benefit patients with SCLC, many of whom are prone to relapse,” John Eckardt, MD, Director of Clinical Research for the Center for Cancer Care and Research, St. Louis, MO, said in a news release. “The approval of Hycamtin capsules opens up new possibilities for patients battling this disease and provides a convenient alternative to IV therapy.”

Topotecan capsules are designated for patients who have had a complete or partial response to first-line chemotherapy and who are at least 45 days from the end of that treatment. The manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, said that the product is expected to be available next year.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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