Arizona Cancer Center researchers have been awarded $1.7 million by the National Cancer Institute for a five-year study investigating an aggressive form of breast cancer that affects women after pregnancy. The study, Epigenetic Features of Pregnancy-Associated Breast Cancer in Hispanic Women, will compare breast cancers in Hispanic women in the high-risk postpartum period with those diagnosed outside of this time period to try to define the risk factors, tumor subtypes, and epigenetic characteristics associated with the disease. Elena Martínez, PhD, Co-director of the cancer center's Cancer Prevention and Control Program and Director of the Cancer Health Disparities Institute, and Bernard W. Futscher, PhD, Margaret E. and Fenton L. Maynard Chair in Breast Cancer Epigenomics, are the study's co-principal investigators.
Also at the Arizona Cancer Center, David S. Alberts, MD, has received the Association of Community Cancer Centers' 2010 Clinical Research Award. Dr. Alberts, Regents Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology, Nutritional Science, and Public Health at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and Director of the Arizona Cancer Center, has pioneered new treatments for advanced ovarian cancers, including in vitro tumor cell chemosensitivity testing for personalized medicine strategies, intraperitoneal chemotherapy, and maintenance chemotherapy. Currently, he helps coordinate Phase I and II and pharmacokinetic drug studies for molecularly targeted chemopreventive agents and anticancer drugs at the cancer center.
Sunita Chaudhary, PhD, Director of Research Education at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ), has been honored by the Office for Diversity and Academic Success in the Sciences at Rutgers for her work with the CURE, Continuing Umbrella for Research Experience, Program. Each year, Dr. Chaudhary helps mentor 12 underserved high school and undergraduate students through the two-year program in which students attend course lectures on cancer biology and conduct hands-on work in the laboratory with clinical and basic science researchers. The program was started in 2003 with grants from the NCI and Johnson & Johnson.
David A. Cheresh, PhD, Professor of Pathology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine and Associate Director for Translational Research at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center, has been named the 2010 recipient of the Paget-Ewing Award, the highest prize bestowed by the Metastasis Research Society. Dr. Cheresh is the 10th recipient of the award, which celebrates scientific excellence and contributions to the understanding and control of cancer metastasis. He was honored for his recent identification of a key microRNA molecule that controls a molecular switch governing blood vessel growth.
José R. Conejo-Garcia, MD, PhD, has been appointed Associate Professor in the Wistar Institute's Immunology Program. Dr. Conejo-Garcia comes to Wistar from Dartmouth Medical School where he was an assistant professor.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has been awarded nearly $17 million by the National Cancer Institute's Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) to fund projects focused on colon cancer biomarker discovery, breast and ovarian cancer biomarker validation, and the ongoing coordination of the EDRN. The five-year awards will support:
• The EDRN Data Management and Coordinating Center: Biostatistician Ziding Feng, PhD, of the Public Health Sciences Division, received $10 million to lead the center, which enhances communication and collaboration among EDRN researchers, coordinates biomarker validation studies, conducts statistical research and disseminates biomarker information to the broader scientific community and the public.
• Two colon cancer biomarker developmental laboratories: Paul Lampe, PhD, and Samir Hanash, MD, PhD, of the Public Health Sciences Division, received $3.4 million to perform both broad proteomic and glycomic screens and analyses to find colon cancer biomarkers; and Bill Grady, MD, Associate Member of the Clinical Research Division, will share a $1.6 million grant with co-principal investigator Sanford Markowitz, MD, PhD, of Case Western Reserve University, to identify and validate methylated genes as new biomarker targets for colon cancer.
• A clinical epidemiology and validation center for breast and ovarian cancer: Christopher Li, MD, PhD, of the Public Health Sciences Division, received $2.5 million to lead this center which is one of nine in the US, where he intends to validate breast and ovarian cancer biomarkers with Phase 3 studies.
Randall F. Holcombe, MD, has joined Mount Sinai Medical Center as Director of Clinical Cancer Affairs. Dr. Holcombe will also serve as Medical Director of the Ruttenberg Treatment Center, Associate Director for Clinical Affairs in the Tisch Cancer Institute, and Director of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology for the Division of Hematology/Oncology. He comes to Mount Sinai from the University of California at Irvine Medical Center.
The John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center has opened a new, $130-million, 155,000 square foot, patient-centered, comprehensive care facility bringing together the cancer center's 14 specialized divisions and multidisciplinary services under one roof. The new facility will feature a number of unique elements, including the first “Living Wall” incorporated in a hospital in the US, a cyber café adjacent to a library for patients, and an outdoor terrace garden which will supply produce and herbs for an on-site demonstration kitchen.
The Association of American Cancer Institutes presented Mary-Claire King, PhD, with its Distinguished Scientist Award during the 2010 AACI/Cancer Center Administrators Forum Annual Meeting in Chicago. Dr. King, Professor of Genome Sciences and of Medicine (Medical Genetics) at the University of Washington, was recognized for her many scientific accomplishments, including the identification of the BRCA 1 gene; demonstrating that humans and chimpanzees are 99% the same at the gene level; and showing that human remains can be identified by sequencing DNA.
James Mulé, PhD, has been appointed Associate Center Director for Translational Research at Moffitt Cancer Center. In this role, Dr. Mulé will serve as the strategic liaison for the effort to bridge basic and clinical research at the cancer center.
James P. Thomas, MD, PhD, has been appointed Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin and to the medical staff at Froedtert Hospital. Dr. Thomas comes to the Medical College from Ohio State University, where he was an associate professor of medicine in the University's Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Two research teams at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center have been awarded contracts totaling $2.4 million to initiate the discovery of drugs for the treatment of childhood leukemia and brain tumors. Granted by SAIC-Frederick, Inc., a prime contractor to the National Cancer Institute, as part of a national effort to accelerate the identification and testing of new anti-cancer drugs, the contracts, called Task Orders, were awarded in support of NCI's Chemical Biology Consortium program, and provide funding to one-year and 18-month milestones respectively, with the potential for further funding depending upon progress. Stephen Frye, PhD, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Director of the Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, is principal investigator. The first task order will look at the abnormal expression of the protein Mer in acute lymphoblastic leukemia, while the second will target the protein product of the gene IDH1 which is frequently mutated in gliomas.
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center has received a $7.6 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus grant to coordinate a study comparing the effectiveness of various prostate cancer treatments. The CESAR (Comparative Effectiveness Analysis of Surgery and Radiation) study will involve five clinical sites as well as a network of state and city tumor registries and a national disease registry to enroll 4,200 men who were recently diagnosed with localized prostate cancer. Over the course of a year, the researchers will collect both patient-reported outcomes such as health-related quality of life and therapy side effects as well as clinical data. David Penson, MD, MPH, Professor of Urologic Surgery, will be Principal Investigator.
Nicholas Vogelzang, MD, a medical oncologist at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, received the Eugene P. Schonfeld Award from the Kidney Cancer Association at the Ninth International Kidney Cancer Symposium in Chicago. A founding member of the association, Dr. Vogelzang has served on the Board of Directors and has written numerous peer-reviewed articles and abstracts on kidney cancer. He is also Chair and Medical Director of the Developmental Therapeutics Committee for US Oncology Research and serves on their Research Executive Committee.
New Members of the Institute of Medicine
Among the 65 new members and four foreign associates of the Institute of Medicine, announced at the 40th annual meeting earlier this month, are the following members of the hematology-oncology community:
- David M. Altshuler, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital.
- Kenneth C. Anderson, MD, Harvard Medical School, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
- John Z. Ayanian, MD, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital.
- Nancy Berliner, MD, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital
- Benjamin S. Carson Sr., MD, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
- Peter Cresswell, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University School of Medicine.
- Riccardo Dalla-Favera, MD, Columbia University Medical Center.
- Robert B. Darnell, MD, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Rockefeller University.
- Titia de Lange, PhD, Rockefeller University.
- Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, University of California, San Francisco.
- Jennifer A. Doudna, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, Berkeley.
- Richard L. Ehman, MD, Mayo Clinic.
- Jack A. Elias, MD, Yale School of Medicine.
- Charis Eng, MD, PhD, Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University.
- Joseph J. Fins, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College.
- Zvi Y. Fuks, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
- Terry T. Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, NYU.
- Stephen J. Galli, MD, Stanford University School of Medicine.
- Robert S. Galvin, MD, Yale School of Medicine.
- Carol W. Greider, PhD, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
- Beatrice H. Hahn, MD, University of Alabama at Birmingham.
- Michael D. Lairmore, DVM, PhD, Ohio State University.
- Caryn Lerman, PhD, Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania.
- Chad A. Mirkin, PhD, Northwestern University.
- Suzanne P. Murphy, PhD, RD, Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, University of Hawaii.
- Ira H. Pastan, MD, and Carl Wu, PhD, National Cancer Institute.
- Peter J. Polverini, DDS, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
- Neil Risch, PhD, University of California, San Francisco.
- Bruce RRosen, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital.
- Kevan M. Shokat, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Francisco.
- Diane M. Simeone, MD, University of Michigan Health Systems.
- Jeremy Sugarman, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University.
- Carl Wu, PhD, NCI.
- Sydney Brenner, MBBCH, PhD, Salk Institute for Biological Sciences.
- Michael F. Drummond, PhD, University of York.
- Terry P. Klassen, MD, MsC, University of Alberta.
This year's European Society for Medical Oncology awardees are Hilary Calvert, MD, Alberto Costa, MD, and Bengt Glimelius, MD, PhD, recognized for their contributions to the advancement of medical research. The awards were given at the ESMO Congress held earlier this month in Milan.
- Dr. Calvert, Director of Anticancer Drug Discovery and Development at University College London Partners, received the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his seminal work on the introduction of carboplatin as a major anti-cancer agent, and the development of a dosing formula based on its pharmacokinetics and its subsequent clinical use in ovarian cancer.
- Dr. Costa, who is Coordinator of the Breast Surgery Unit at the Maugeri Foundation in Pavia, Italy, and Coordinator of the Canton Ticino Breast Unit, in Lugano, Switzerland, received the 2010 ESMO Award for his key role in the development of international guidelines for breast cancer and his ongoing commitment to the education of oncologists.
- The Hamilton Fairley Award was presented to Dr. Glimelius, Professor in Oncology in the Department of Oncology, Radiology and Clinical Immunology at the University of Uppsala and the Department of Oncology and Pathology at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Dr. Glimelius has focused his research on malignant lymphomas, gastrointestinal cancer, radiotherapy and psychosocial care, participating in several successful clinical trials that have influenced standards of care.
International Gynecologic Cancer Society Honors Robert Young and Robert Ozols
The International Gynecologic Cancer Society honored Robert Young, MD, and Robert F, Ozols, MD, PhD, with the IGCS Award for Excellence in Gynecologic Oncology, presented at the Biennial Meeting in Prague this month.
“Their unparalleled achievements and contributions to Gynecologic Oncology (individually and jointly) have been facilitated by many years of close partnership, and it is fitting that they receive this Award together,” the Society said in a statement.
“Their work at the National Cancer Institute in the 1970s and 1980s and later at Fox Chase Cancer Center established the basic and clinical science that was necessary for development of anti-neoplastic agents in the treatment of early- and advanced-stage ovarian cancer. They have provided seminal contributions to our understanding of the disease and identification of what is now considered to be the standard of care, carboplatin and paclitaxel.
“They have maintained their inquisitive nature in exploring methods of optimizing treatment, developing alternative agents, and exploring dose intensity relationships,” the official recognition continued. “They were never afraid to challenge dogma and critically appraise treatment results, which has significantly contributed to the ongoing refinement of treatment recommendations, maximizing benefits while being cognizant of patients' quality of life. In addition, they are known and respected as excellent clinicians with empathetic, knowledgeable, and thoughtful care of women with gynecologic malignancies.
Both Dr. Young, Chair of the OT Editorial Board and a former President of ASCO and the American Cancer Society and the former President and then Chancellor of Fox Chase, and Dr. Ozols, until recently Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer at Fox Chase, have served as officers of the IGCS.
Ben Horowitz, City of Hope Leader, Dies at 96
Ben Horowitz, former chief executive officer of City of Hope, noted for his leadership transforming the center into an internationally recognized cancer research and treatment institute, died at his home in Los Angeles on October 2. He was 96.
Mr. Horowitz joined City of Hope in 1945 and became CEO in 1953, leading the institution through its most dramatic period of growth over the next 32 years. During that time, City of Hope expanded from a local tuberculosis center to a 100-acre “pilot” medical research center known for its compassionate care of patients and pioneering research in cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
“Ben's foresight and support were so crucial that he could be listed as a co-author of all papers and scientific findings to come from City of Hope,” Eugene Roberts, PhD, Distinguished Scientist Emeritus and City of Hope's First Research Director, said of Mr. Horowitz's advocacy for basic research.
Some of the scientific discoveries that occurred under Mr. Horowitz's tenure included the discovery of synthetic insulin and the discovery of humanized monoclonal antibodies, which formed the basis for the drugs trastuzumab, rituximab, and bevacizumab.