Gary Schwartz, MD, is now Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology and Associate Director for Research at Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center of NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.
“He brings an unparalleled background in translational and clinical research, including the development and testing of new anticancer drugs,” Donald W. Landry, MD, PhD, Physician-in-Chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia and the Samuel Bard Professor of Medicine and Chair of the Department of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, said in a news release. “Dr. Schwartz will be an invaluable asset in our research efforts, from the molecular and cellular mechanisms of cancer, through its unique behavior in different tissues, to statistical aspects of its occurrence and treatment in large populations.”
Schwartz, who started the new position on Jan. 1, was most recently at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center as Chief of the Melanoma and Sarcoma Service and Director of the Laboratory of New Drug Development.
Barbara Ann Burtness, MD, has been named Clinical Research Program Leader of the Head and Neck Cancers Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven and Co-Director of the Developmental Therapeutics Research Program for Yale Cancer Center. She will begin the new appointments on April 1.
“Dr. Burtness' strong patient care and clinical research experience will bring a new level of translational cancer medicine to our Head and Neck Cancers Program,” Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD, Chief of Medical Oncology, Ensign Professor of Medicine, and Associate Director for Clinical Research at Yale Cancer Center, said in a news release.
She returns to Yale Cancer Center after most recently working at Fox Chase Cancer Center, as Associate Director of Clinical Research, Professor of Medical Oncology, and Chief of the Head and Neck Oncology Section.
Gary Lyman, MD, MPH, has joined the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research (HICOR) of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, as the Institute's Co-director with internist and health care economist Scott Ramsey, MD, PhD, a member of the Cancer Prevention Program in the Public Health Sciences Division at Fred Hutch.
Lyman will also hold appointments within the Cancer Prevention Program at the Hutchinson Center, the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and affiliate appointments within the Department of Health Services at the UW School of Public Health and in the School of Pharmacy.
“Gary's wealth of oncology expertise, his strong clinical and health outcomes research portfolio, and his leadership in developing and increasing adherence to oncology clinical practice guidelines will be a significant asset to HICOR's commitment to reducing cost while improving the quality of cancer care for insurers, providers. and above all, patients,” Ramsey said in a news release.
Lyman was most recently at Duke, as Professor of Medicine and Senior Fellow at the Duke Center for Clinical Health Policy Research and Director of the Comparative Effectiveness and Outcomes Research Program in Oncology at Duke Cancer Institute.
Peter Kanetsky, PhD, MPH, has joined Moffitt Cancer Center as Chair and Program Leader of Cancer Epidemiology, where he will also continue his research focusing on the complex effects of genetic and environmental exposures across the cancer continuum in melanoma and testicular cancers.
Prior to joining Moffitt, Kanetsky was at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, as Associate Professor of Epidemiology and a senior scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and a member of the Abramson Cancer Center.
Dmitri Alden, MD, FACS, a liver and pancreatic cancer specialist at Lenox Hospital in New York City, has been named an Honorary Foreign Member of the French National Academy of Surgery (L'Académie Nationale de Chirurgie), the oldest surgical institution in France (started in 1731). Members are elected from the top surgeons in all specialties from all over the world by the Academy's Board of Directors.
Four members of the oncology community were awarded a 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. The $3 million awards recognize excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life. The prizes were founded last year (OT 4/10/13 issue), and are sponsored by: Mark Zuckerberg, Founder Chairman and CEO of Facebook, and Priscilla Chan, his wife; Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google; Anne Wojcicki, Co-Founder of the 23andMe genetics company; Yuri Milner, the Russian entrepreneur who founded Europe's leading Internet company, Mail.ru Group, and his wife Julia; and Jack Ma, the Chinese entrepreneur who founded the Alibaba Group, and Cathy Zhang, his wife.
This year's awardees are:
- James Allison, PhD, Chair of the Immunology Department and Executive Director of the Moon Shots Program immunotherapy platform at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, for the discovery of T cell checkpoint blockade as effective cancer therapy;
- Michael Hall, PhD, Professor at the University of Basel, for the discovery of TOR (Target of Rapamycin) and its role in cell growth control;
- Robert Langer, PhD, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for discoveries leading to the development of controlled drug-release systems and new biomaterials; and
- Alexander Varshavsky, PhD, the Howard and Gwen Laurie Smits Professor of Cell Biology at California Institute of Technology, for discovering critical molecular determinants and biological functions of intravellular protein degradation.
Ludwig Cancer Research has awarded $540 million in funding to the six Ludwig Centers at Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, MIT, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago. Ongoing research at the six U.S.-based Ludwig Centers has yielded advances in the genomic mapping of cancers, immunotherapy treatments, and therapies for various metastatic and rare cancers.
The gifts were given on behalf of Ludwig founder Daniel K. Ludwig, and add to the endowments established in 2006 to create the Ludwig Centers at each institution. The recent gift brings the total funding to the institutions that house the Ludwig Centers to $900 million.
Weill Cornell Medical College has received a $75 million gift from Sandra and Edward Meyer and the Sandra and Edward Meyer Foundation to expand and enhance the medical college's cancer research and care programs. The gift names the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College, which will be led by Lewis Cantley, PhD, the Meyer Director as well as the Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor in Oncology Research and Professor of Cancer Biology in Medicine at Weill Cornell.
The new Center will be dedicated to using precision medicine and other cutting-edge biomedical approaches to spur and translate research breakthroughs into advanced therapies for patients. Weill Cornell will also name its flagship building on 1300 York Avenue the Sandra and Edward Meyer Research and Education Building.
The Meyer Cancer Center will unify cancer research activities throughout Weill Cornell and enhance three core areas: a centralized biobank, cancer genomics, and computational biology.
The Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer has pledged $15 million to support breast cancer research at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center. This pledge adds to the previous $20 million in commitments completed in November from the Foundation, and will continue to fund the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Research Laboratories, named for the foundation in 2010.
The gift will support research that:
- Searches for gene alterations that drive specific subtypes of breast cancer and look for new or existing drugs that are more likely to be effective;
- Identifies genetic markers that will allow them to predict, with a high level of accuracy, who will suffer from life-changing and life-threatening side effects to treatment, or whose cancer is likely to metastasize; and
- Combines this knowledge to deliver clinical trials to patients with the goal of improving cure rates and quality of life.
The gift will also establish the Vera Bradley Foundation Scholars Program to train scientists and physicians who will be the future leaders in breast cancer research and care.
The Lyla Nsouli Foundation for Children's Brain Cancer Research has awarded $300,000 to an international consortium of researchers focused on identifying new molecularly targeted drugs to treat diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, the most fatal form of childhood brain tumor. Charles Keller, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children's Hospital and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, will serve as the consortium's coordinator.
The consortium was conceived by Keller along with Amar Gajjar, MD, Chair of the Children's Oncology Group Brain Tumor Committee; and Maryam Fouladi, MD, Co-chair of the COG Brain Tumor New Agents Committee and Leader of its Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium.
Kerry Parsons, PharmD, BCOP, a pediatric hematology/oncology pharmacist at Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children's of Alabama has been awarded a Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association Research Award Grant to support her ongoing efforts to reduce or eliminate chemotherapy medication errors in children.
She said she plans to use the $25,000 award to focus on optimizing computerized order entry processes and safety features related to the ordering and dispensing of chemotherapy agents for children. The work builds on previous work that resulted in the development of a chemotherapy prescribing and dispensing policy at Children's which achieved the lowest error rate yet reported for chemotherapy use in children.
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation has awarded five ‘A’ Awards to promising researchers across the country. The grants, which total nearly $2 million, are designed for young scientists who want to establish their career in pediatric oncology. Recipients will each receive $375,000 over the course of three years, along with reference books to enhance the researcher's personal pediatric oncology library, equipment to aid in their research (up to a $10,000 value per awardee), and funding to attend one educational course or event, as well as the opportunity to speak at and attend Foundation events.
The awardees were:
- Theodore Johnson, MD, PhD, of Georgia Health Sciences University, for his research, “IDO-based Immunotherapy for Pediatric Brain Tumors”;
- Kevin Jones, MD, a surgical oncologist and Huntsman Cancer Institute Investigator, for his research, “Targeting Metabolism in Alveolar Soft Part Sarcomagenesis”;
- Alex Kentsis, MD, PhD, Assistant Member in the Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry Program at the Sloan-Kettering Institute and Attending Physician in the Department of Pediatrics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, for his research, “Rational Combination Therapy of AML”;
- Christopher Jewell, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Fischell Department of Engineering at the University of Maryland, for his research, “Engineering the Lymph Node Environment with Therapeutic Vaccine Depots to Combat Neuroblastoma”; and
- Jeffrey Bednarski, MD, PhD, of Washington University, for his research, “DNA Damage Responses Coordinate Survival and Cell Death Switching in Lymphocytes.”
Malolan S. Rajagopalan, MD, a radiation oncology resident at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, has received a $20,000 grant from the Radiation Oncology Institute for a project to compile best practices regarding the management of radiation therapy toxicity to be housed in a website and mobile app.
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