Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FASCO, Chief Medical Officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Reagan-Udall Foundation (RUF) for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. RUF is an independent, not-for-profit organization created by Congress to advance regulatory science to provide support to the mission of the FDA.
“I am honored and excited to be elected to the RUF Board and to have an opportunity to serve with a distinguished group of colleagues,” Schilsky said in a news release. “The FDA is one of our most important public health agencies and the primary mechanism through which new treatments are delivered to patients. The RUF supports the mission of the FDA and seeks to strengthen the agency by helping to establish the scientific underpinning for creation and revision of regulatory policy.”
RUF's primary functions include: fostering research collaborations involving public and private partners; ensuring broad-based participation (including consumer perspectives), and that new knowledge gained from the collaboration is in the public domain; helping to train a new generation of regulatory scientists; and leveraging resources for these activities. Schilsky is particularly interested in the development of the Innovation in Medical Evidence and Surveillance during his term on the Board, he noted.
Michael A. Foley, PhD, has been selected to lead the Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute, Inc. (Tri-I TDI), a collaboration between Weill Cornell Medical College, Rockefeller University, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, designed to expedite early-stage drug discovery into novel treatments for patients. His title will be the Sanders Director of Tri-I TDI and Director of its Sanders Innovation and Education Initiative—named in recognition of the $15 million gift from Lewis and Ali Sanders that helped establish the institute. Foley previously worked at Bristol-Myers Squibb and GlaxoSmithKline.
“Tri-I TDI is about enabling our scientists to move their discoveries towards clinical application. An important component of this will be building links between academia and industry, and with his extensive experience in both environments, Dr. Foley is an ideal choice to serve as the institute's founding director,” Marc Tessier-Lavigne, PhD, President of Rockefeller University, said in a news release. “His entrepreneurial skill and deep background in chemical biology will ensure that Tri-I TDI develops into the groundbreaking initiative we have envisioned.”
Tri-I TDI was formally launched in October and formed its first collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd. The plan is for Tri-I TDI to initially focus on development of small-molecule therapeutic agents and molecular probes, and for the work to eventually expand to include biologic agents, especially monoclonal antibodies, and molecular imaging agents.
The Institute will utilize facilities on all three campuses, including the Experimental Therapeutics Center and Technology Development Fund at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, the Abby and Howard P. Milstein Program in Medicinal Chemistry at Weill Cornell, and the High-Throughput Screening Resource Center at Rockefeller, while continuing to form industry partnerships.
Steven Clauser, PhD, MPA, has joined the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) as Director of the Improving Healthcare Systems (IHS) Program.
“We look forward to benefitting from Steve's strong experience and leadership in comparative-effectiveness research, project management, and research funding,” PCORI's Chief Science Officer, Bryan Luce, PhD, MBA, said in a news release.
Since 2005, Clauser has directed the National Cancer Institute program in outcomes and quality of care research in his position as Chief of the Outcomes Research Branch within the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences. He succeeds Chad Boult, MD, MPH, MBA, who served in the role since October 2012. Boult will continue with PCORI as an expert consultant through 2014, providing his insights on major research projects initiated during his tenure, including a joint project with the National Institute on Aging to support research on a strategy for preventing fall-related injuries in older adults.
William P. Hammond, MD, FACP, has joined the oncology program at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and will be based on University of Washington Medicine's Northwest Hospital and Medical Center campus as Clinical Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology. He was previously President of Minor & James Medical, PLLC, in Seattle, and during his tenure participated in the educational and research programs of the Swedish Cancer Institute, where he was also an Associate Investigator.
Edwin M. Horwitz, MD, PhD, has been appointed Director of Blood and Marrow Transplant at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, as well as Professor in both Pediatrics and Medicine at Ohio State University College of Medicine.
“We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Horwitz,” Timothy Cripe, MD, PhD, Division Chief of Hematology/Oncology/BMT at Nationwide Children's and Professor of Pediatrics at OSU College of Medicine, said in a news release. “His expertise will be invaluable to our patients and to our team, as we expand our services in our Blood and Marrow Transplant program.”
Horwitz was most recently at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and prior to that was an attending physician at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and a member of the Bone Marrow Transplantation, Gene Therapy, Hematopoietic Malignancies, Stem Cell Transplantation, and Experimental Hematology programs, there.
Yves A. Lussier, MD, FAMCI, has joined Arizona Health Sciences Center at the University of Arizona as: UA Professor of Medicine, Associate Vice President for Health Sciences and Chief Knowledge Officer for AHSC, Associate Director for Cancer Informatics and Precision Health for the UA Cancer Center, and Associate Director of BIO5 Informatics for the UA BIO5 Institute.
“Yves and his team of computational specialists bring much needed expertise and program capacity in informatics, sequence analysis, genomic annotation, and computational biology that will accelerate translational research activity across campus and throughout the state,” Joe G.N. Garcia, MD, UA Senior Vice President for Health Services, said in a news release.
Isaac Kinde, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine received third prize in the graduate division of the national Collegiate Inventors Competition for being part of the research team developing a test to detect ovarian and endometrial cancers. The national competition was conducted by Invent Now and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Kinde used cervical fluid obtained during routine Pap tests in the development of the new test, PapGene, a high-sensitivity approach for the detection of cancer-specific DNA mutations. In a pilot study, the test, which relies on genomic sequencing of cancer-specific mutations, accurately detected all 24 endometrial cancers and nine of 22 (41%) ovarian cancers.
Kinde's faculty adviser at Johns Hopkins is Bert Vogelstein, MD, the Clayton Professor of Oncology and Co-Director of the Ludwig Cancer Research Center there.
Also at Johns Hopkins, Julie Nauroth, PhD, has been appointed Director of the Flow Cytometry/Human Immunology Core Laboratory. She was previously Manager of Clinical Research and Project Manager for several collaborative studies at DSM Nutritional Products (formerly Martek Biosciences).
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has awarded the 2013 Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research to three individuals. The award recognizes cancer researchers age 45 or younger who are making significant contributions to the understanding of cancer or improving treatments through basic or clinical research. The winners presented their work at a scientific symposium at MSKCC in December and each received a $50,000 prize. This year's winners were:
* Simon J. Boulton, PhD, FMedSci, Head of the DNA Damage Response Lab and a Senior Research Scientist at Cancer Research UK, for his research that focuses on DNA repair and the discovery of genes and proteins that play an important role in maintaining the integrity of the genome, which include the enzyme RTEL1, which regulates homologous recombination, and ALC1, which is required for DNA repair and associated with more than half of all primary liver cancers;
* Levi A. Garraway, MD, PhD, Co-Leader of the Cancer Genetics Program at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, and Senior Associate Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, for his research that focuses on: the discovery of new cancer genes (which has led to the identification of several new cancer genes that drive melanoma, prostate cancer, and other malignancies); studying how additional genetic or molecular changes enable tumors to develop resistance to targeted therapies, especially in melanoma (which identified a novel mechanism for how mutations that confer resistance to drugs that inhibit the MEK and RAF proteins arise); and adapting genomic technology to enable its use by clinicians to develop better cancer treatments; and
* Duojia “DJ” Pan, PhD, Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University's School of Medicine and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, for the discovery of the Hippo signaling pathway, a central mechanism that regulates tissue growth in animals. Pan's research further established a critical role for the Hippo pathway in controlling organ size and tumorigenesis in mammals, and by studying the mechanisms and genes that regulate tissue growth in normal development, he hopes to better understand why and how mutations of certain genes lead to cancer to develop novel therapies.
Moffitt Cancer Center received a $5 million donation from Chris Sullivan, the co-founder of Outback Steakhouse and its parent company Bloomin' Brands, Inc., which will support work at Moffitt's Donald A. Adam Comprehensive Melanoma Research Center of Excellence, which aims to sequence the human genome to develop personalized treatments for melanoma.
“Supporting Moffitt Cancer Center and the melanoma research done at the facility is important,” Sullivan said in a news release. “The work they are doing with melanoma treatment, genetics, and immune therapy is truly groundbreaking. It is exciting to be able to help move discoveries along to quickly benefit patients in Florida and around the world.”
The program unites clinical and basic scientists to quickly translate laboratory discoveries into new treatments for patients. Since it was established in 2008, the center completed the deep sequencing of the entire DNA of 16 melanoma tumors, representing the first complete sequencing of the entire melanoma genome, and they have successfully grown tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, leading to multiple clinical trials involving adoptive cell transfer with impressive results for melanoma patients.
As you have probably noticed already, we have done some sprucing up and fine-tuning of our overall design, which are also reflected on oncology-times.com as well as in our iPad issues. Let us know what you think—email OT@LWWNY.com.
‘Honorable Mention’ to OT for Social Media
The Oncology Times Twitter feed was recently recognized with an “Eddie” Honorable Mention for editorial excellence by Folio Magazine in the category of “Best Use of Social Media—Twitter.” The other two finalists in the category were Seventeen and Travel + Leisure, and the winner was Architect magazine.
Also receiving a recent honor is OT contributing writer and “Practice Matters” blogger Lola Butcher, who was named a 2014 Reporting Fellow on Health Care Performance by the Association of Health Care Journalists. The program, now in its fourth year, is meant to help journalists understand and report on the performance of local health care markets and the U.S. health system as a whole. Her project, which will result in one or more articles for OT, will report on the migration of cancer care from physician-owned clinics and community centers to hospital outpatient departments and how it affects patients, oncologists, hospitals, and payers, especially Medicare.
Lori Monroe, Lung Cancer Foundation of America Founder, Dies
Lorraine Gail “Lori” Monroe, RN, Co-Founder and Vice-President of the Lung Cancer Foundation of America (LCFA), has died.
Monroe became an advocate for medical research in the development of new options for lung cancer patients after being diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in 2001 at age 42. She became involved with the United States Department of Defense's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs' Integration Panel; the Lung Cancer Action Network; and the National Cancer Institute's Lung SPORE initiative at Vanderbilt University, as well as the NCI's Advocacy Steering Committee, the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, and the Thoracic Malignancies Steering Committee.
“Physicians are not often comfortable communicating with patient advocates, but Lori was one who could break the barriers and set up communications that would actually get things done,” Paul Bunn, MD, Distinguished Professor and the James Dudley Chair in Lung Cancer Research at University of Colorado, said in a news release.
Monroe cofounded LCFA in 2007 with Kim Norris, whose husband died of lung cancer, and David Sturges, another survivor.
Monroe, who died at Vanderbilt Medical Center, is survived by her parents, three daughters, and two brothers.
Share Your News!
Send information and photos for this column to OT@LWWNY.com