Ignace B. Vergote, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Director of the Cancer Institute at University Hospitals, has been awarded an American College of Surgeons Honorary Fellowship. Among his many achievements, he pioneered the use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by interval cytoreductive surgery for advanced ovarian cancer, and founded the European Network of Gynaecological Oncological Trials Group, which includes researchers in 17 nations.
AACR has awarded Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) its 2012 Distinguished Public Service Award for his outstanding leadership and support for cancer research, biomedical science, and other national policy issues important to the cancer community. “His demonstrated support for the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute will enable the future scientific advances needed to seize today's scientific momentum, capitalize on prior investments in cancer research, save countless lives, and spur innovation and economic prosperity for our country and all our citizens,” said AACR CEO Margaret Foti, PhD.
The Keio Medical Science Prize has been awarded jointly to Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD, Chief of Surgery at the National Cancer Institute, and Hiroyuki Mano, MD, PhD, Professor at Jichi Medical University and Project Professor at The University of Tokyo.
“We have been able to develop new cell-based immunotherapies that are capable of causing the complete regression of cancer in patients with metastatic melanoma who are unresponsive to other treatments,” Rosenberg said in a news release. His research focuses on basic tumor immunology and cancer immunology. He identified human and anti-tumor lymphocytes, and used them to characterize human tumor antigens. His work has led to successful therapies for advanced metastatic melanomas, sarcomas, and refractory lymphomas.
Mano's research identified an EML4-ALK fusion gene from human lung cancer, which led to findings about major genetic drivers of solid cancers and hematologic malignancies. He also developed the EML4-ALK diagnostic method and established a consortium for the diagnosis of patients.
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center's Gastrointestinal Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) has been awarded its third round of funding by the NCI to focus on colorectal cancer. The grant provides $11.5 million over the next five years to support the program.
“We decided to roll the dice and propose high-risk, high-reward projects,” the GI SPORE's Director, Robert J. Coffey Jr., MD, Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and Professor of Medicine and Cell and Developmental Biology, said in a news release. “This included a project focused on colon cancer stem cells and another to develop a drug to inhibit the mutant KRAS oncogene, thought to be an undruggable target.”
The institution's GI SPORE program encompasses an interdisciplinary team of investigators from basic science, hematology/oncology, imaging, epidemiology, drug discovery, surgical oncology, pathology, biostatistics and bioinformatics, and patient advocacy.
A research team in the Department of Oral Medicine at Carolinas HealthCare System's Carolinas Medical Center has been awarded an $8 million grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to study dental and oral medicine outcomes of patients who have received high-dose radiation to the head and neck.
“Currently, dental management of these patients is largely based on expert opinion and there are no evidence-based guidelines to inform the health care team who manage patients before or after radiation therapy,” the study's co-principal investigator, Michael Brennan, DDS, MHS, Associate Chairman at CHS's Department of Oral Medicine, said in a news release. Raj Lalla, DDS, PhD, CCRP, Associate Professor of Oral Medicine at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, is the other co-principal investigator.
Henry Ford Hospital of Michigan has opened a new Center for Cancer Surgery, with neurosurgeon Steven N. Kalkanis, MD, as Medical Director.
Georgetown University Medical Center has established the Center for Drug Discovery (CDD), to allow collaboration among disciplines to further drug discovery and the development of a pipeline for molecular targets. Milton L. Brown, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Oncology and a member of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, will be the center's Director. He is principal investigator of the NCI Chemical Diversity Center grant and holds the Edwin H. Richard and Elisabeth Richard von Matsch Endowed Chair in Experimental Therapeutics.
The CDD is a translational medicine initiative made possible by the award of a Chemical Diversity Center grant from the NCI and membership in the NCI Chemical Biology Consortium.
Also at Georgetown, Ming T. Tan, PhD, has been named Chair of the Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Biomathematics. He was most recently Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health and Director of Biostatistics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center.
South Florida Radiation Oncology has added three new physicians: Vinay Sharma, MD; James T. Parsons, MD; and Albert A. Attia, MD.
Yu-Hung Kuo, MD, PhD, most recently at Albany Medical Center, has been appointed Co-Director of the Neuro-Oncology Center at Stony Brook University Neurosciences Institute, and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery at the School of Medicine.
Alexander Rudensky, PhD, has been appointed Chair of the Immunology Program in the Sloan-Kettering Institute at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. A Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, he joined MSKCC in 2009. He succeeds James P. Allison, PhD, who has been chair since 2004.
Charles Main, MD, Director of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Beaumont Children's Hospital in Michigan, has been named the recipient of the Children's Miracle Achievement Award, which is given annually by the Children's Miracle Networks Hospitals to honor a caregiver, team, or program that significantly elevates the care of children.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has received a $13-million, four-year, NCI grant for a project that will use next-generation sequencing to identify genetic links to colorectal cancer.
Texas Children's Cancer Center has named its outpatient clinic the Lester and Sue Smith Clinic in honor of the local couple who has spearheaded initiatives to help find cures for pediatric cancers. Through two recent fundraising events, the Smiths (shown here with David Poplack, MD, the Center's Director) helped generate more than $41 million in donations to Texas Children's Cancer Center, with more than $21 million directly donated by the Lester and Sue Smith Foundation.
George Sledge Joining Stanford University
George W. Sledge Jr., MD, is leaving Indiana University to join Stanford University, as Chief of Oncology in the Department of Medicine. Sledge, President of ASCO for the 2010-2011 term and a blogger and columnist for OT, has been at IU for nearly 30 years, most recently as Ballve-Lantero Professor of Medicine and Co-Leader of the Breast Cancer Program at Simon Cancer Center.
At Stanford, he replaces Ron Levy, MD, who will continue running his lab and as Professor of Oncology and as the Robert K. and Helen K. Summy Professor in the School of Medicine. “I will be continuing to focus on leading our world class lymphoma program and on using the immune system to diagnose and treat cancer,” he said via the communications department.
“I believe that the future of cancer treatment is in combining the drugs that target signaling pathways in the cancer cells with therapies that stimulate the immune system to recognize and destroy the cancer cells that tend to escape due alternative pathways. Nowhere is this principle more evident than in lymphoma.”
Linda Boxer, MD, PhD, Senior Vice Chair of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Hematology, will serve as Interim Chief of Oncology until January 14, when Sledge will start.
“I am enormously pleased that Dr. George Sledge will be Stanford's next Chief of Medical Oncology,” the Medical School Dean, Philip Pizzo, MD, said in a news release. “He is an internationally acclaimed leader in cancer research and treatment, and brings an incredibly impressive record of knowledge, vision, and opportunity to the Stanford Cancer Institute.”
“Stanford's opportunity to create the future of cancer medicine is unparalleled,” said Sledge. “I can't think of any place more suited to bring new understanding about the biology and genomics of cancer together to help patients in the clinic. It's very exciting.”
He said he would like to extend the institution's success rate with non-solid tumors like lymphoma to solid tumors like breast cancers. To do so, he plans to recruit new researchers and to work to integrate knowledge about breast cancer genomics with new technologies and treatments for patients.
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