Charles L. Sawyers, MD, Chair of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program and the Marie-Josee and Henry R. Kravis Chair at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and this year's AACR President, and Brian J. Druker, MD, Director of the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute, have together been awarded the 2013 Taubman Prize for Excellence in Translational Medical Science, given by the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute based at the University of Michigan Medical School. Druker is being honored for his work on the development of imatinib, and Sawyers is being recognized for his research on imatinib resistance, which has led to the development of second-generation drugs.
“Brian Druker and Charles Sawyers are quintessential role models for modern transitional medicine,” David Ginsburg, MD, a Taubman Scholar and Professor of Internal Medicine at the U-M Medical School and leader of the nationwide panel who selected the recipients, said in a news release. “Their success in developing specific, targeted therapies for chronic myeloid leukemia, including second-generation drugs for resistant disease, has inspired the pharmaceutical industry and an entire generation of future physician-scientists.”
Both researchers will jointly present the keynote address and receive the $100,000 prize at the Taubman Institute's 2013 annual symposium in October.
David Botstein, PhD, the Anthony B. Evnin '62 Professor of Genomics and Director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University; Ronald W. Davis, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and Genetics at Stanford University School of Medicine and Member of the Stanford Cancer Institute; and David S. Hogness, PhD, faculty emeritus of Stanford University School of Medicine, have together been awarded the 2013 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize to recognize their contributions to the concepts of creating a human genetic map that has led to the identification of thousands of disease genes. Their work established the framework for the Human Genome Project, as well as other human genetics research by showing that inheritance patterns that used DNA differences as genetic markers could be used for mapping.
The scientists will receive a shared, unrestricted $250,000 prize at a symposium at Harvard Medical School in October. Recipients are selected annually by the foundation's scientific advisory board, composed of distinguished biomedical scientists and chaired by the Dean of Harvard Medical School.
City of Hope has been awarded a $1.5-million grant from the American Cancer Society to study the family and caregivers of cancer patients in poor and underserved populations. The project will assess an intervention plan for the caregivers aiming to improve their quality of life and enhance caregiving skills.
“Family caregivers are instrumental to the well-being and outcome of cancer patients, but they have received only minimal attention in health care,” Betty Ferrell, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor in the Division of Nursing Research and Education and principal investigator of the study, said in a news release. “By connecting caregivers to appropriate resources in a timely manner, we can boost their caregiving skills and preparedness, reduce their burden and distress, and improve their quality of life.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture have appointed four members of the oncology community to serve on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. They are:
- Lucile Adams-Campbell,PhD, Professor of Oncology, Associate Director for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research, and Associate Dean for Community Health and Outreach, all at Georgetown University Medical Center Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is also a current member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, and specializes in community health research, interventions, and outreach.
- Steven Clinton, MD, PhD, the John B. and Jane T. McCoy Chair of Cancer Research at Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Professor in the Division of Medical Oncology in the Department of Internal Medicine, both at Ohio State University School of Medicine. His research has focused on the role of dietary energy balance and obesity in cancer risk and foods associated with cancer prevention properties.
- Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, Director of the Harvard Transdisciplinary Research in Energetics and Cancer Center and Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Channing Lab and Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Director of the Boston Obesity Nutrition Research Center Epidemiology and Genetics Core.
- Marian Neuhouser, PhD, RD, Full Member of the Cancer Prevention Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She has expertise in the role of dietary components in cancer risk, and her research focuses on methods to improve diet and physical activity assessment, diet and physical activity in relation to energy balance, diet-related health disparities, and dietary factors related to breast and prostate cancer prevention and survivorship.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have announced a new collaboration to establish a network of sites for clinical testing of innovative blood cancer therapies in community oncology settings across the country: the Blood Cancer Research Partnership.
“The BCRP consortium will provide the opportunity for the Division of Hematologic Malignancies to extend clinical research trials to patients who are outside our regional area and do not have the capacity to come to Dana-Farber,” Robert Soiffer, MD, Blood Cancer Research Program Co-Director and Chief of the Division of Hematologic Malignancies at Dana-Farber, said in a news release.
LLS will invest $1.05 million in the three-year project and have two seats on the steering committee to determine the trials conducted by the network. Dana-Farber, the BCRP's lead institute will follow the clinical trials protocols established by the centralized agreement.
Clinical trial proposals are currently still under consideration, including several for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, myeloma, and stem cell transplant. Eleven sites have already been identified for trials in New York, Georgia, Colorado, Illinois, California, Florida, Texas, Kansas, Tennessee, New Jersey, and Washington.
“Having to travel long distances from home to a major medical center is a major deterrent to patients' participation in cancer clinical trials,” LLS Chief Mission Officer Louis J. DeGennaro, PhD, said. “Most cancer patients are treated by oncologists in their local community. This partnership will bring trials closer to where patients live.”
Ramesh Rengan, MD, PhD, has joined Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Proton Therapy, A ProCure Center, as the new Associate Medical Director. Smith “Jim” Apisarnthanarax, MD, has also joined the Center as a practicing radiation oncologist. Rengan specializes in radiation treatment for lung cancer and melanoma patients, and was most recently Chief of Thoracic Service and Assistant Director of Clinical Operations for the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. And, he is co-chair of the IHE-RO Planning Committee for ASTRO and the translational co-chair of the ASTRO Annual Spring Refresher Course.
Apisarnthanarax specializes in treating gastrointestinal cancers, and was most recently also at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was Associate Residency Program Director and Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
Don S. Dizon, MD (@drdondizon), has been appointed Editor of the ASCO Educational Book, a peer-reviewed collection of articles related to the Educational Sessions at the Annual Meeting. Beginning with the 2013 edition, the book is now indexed in the National Library of Medicine's MEDLINE database.
“I have always believed the content within the Educational Book were hidden gems for practicing oncologists, written by peers who are recognized internationally as leaders in their fields. Yet there was no easy way to access past content; with NLM indexing we will change that,” Dizon said in a news release.
He is Director of the Oncology Sexual Health Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and he also sees patients in the Gillette Center for Women's Cancers. The immediate past chair of ASCO's Integrated Media and Technology Committee and a blogger on ASCO Connection, he was also featured in one of OT's Profiles in Oncology Social Media (3/25/13 issue).
Ronald Herberman, Immunotherapy Researcher and Founding Director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Dies at 72
Ronald Herberman, MD, recognized for his immunotherapy research and his role in both creating the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and growing it into a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, died last month at age 72. At the time of his death, he also served as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of TNI BioTech, Inc.
Herberman was recruited to the University of Pittsburgh in 1985 to build a cancer center with Richard King Mellon Foundation funding. Within three years he secured the funding and NCI designation as a Clinical Cancer Research Center. And by 1990, the UPCI became an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Herberman oversaw UPMC's clinical oncology services into network sites throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia during the next 15 years, including leading the efforts to open the Hillman Cancer Center in 2002. He stepped down as UPCI Director in 2009 and retired from the University. He was succeeded by Nancy E. Davidson, MD.
“We at the University of Pittsburgh, UPCI, and UPMC CancerCenter owe so much to Dr. Herberman, whose dedication and vision shaped us into what we are today,” Arthur S. Levine, MD, Senior Vice Chancellor for Health Science and Dean of the School of Medicine, along with Davidson, noted in a letter of memoriam sent to faculty and staff.
In recognitiaon of his many contributions to UPCI, the Ronald B. Herberman, MD Staff Appreciation Award was established, and the second floor of the UPMC Cancer Pavilion in UPMC Shadyside houses the Ronald B. Herberman Conference Center.
Herberman also served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, the Hillman Professor of Oncology, Professor of Medicine and Pathology, and Chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology in the Department of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. His numerous awards include the Governor of Pennsylvania's Award for Excellence in Science and Medicine and a Lifetime Science Award from the Institute for Advanced Studies in Immunology and Aging, among others.
Prior to joining UPCI, Herberman was a senior investigator in the immunotherapy branch of the NCI, where his research led to the discovery of natural killer cells, a new category of lymphocytes. In 1975, he was selected to be Chief of NCI's Laboratory of Immunodiagnosis.
He was also President of the American Association of Cancer Institutes, the Society for Biological Therapy, and the Society for Natural Immunity.
Herberman is survived by his wife Harriett, and his two children, Holly and Steven.
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