Former U.S. Rep. John E. Porter, (R-Ill.), has received the National Academy of Science's 2014 Public Welfare Medal, the Academy's most prestigious award, presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for the public good. He will receive the award during the Academy's 151st annual meeting next month.
“[Porter] immersed himself in the detailed working of our agency while not losing sight of the big picture—namely the scientific mission to make discoveries and to apply our science to improvements in human health,” said National Cancer Institute Director Harold Varmus, MD, who was also Director of the NIH from 1993 to 1999, writing in a letter in support of Porter's nomination for the award.
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Porter served in the U.S. Congress for 21 years, as a member and then as Chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee. He played a key role in overseeing budget appropriations for all federal health and education agencies. In 1995, Porter launched a campaign that led to the largest funding increase in NIH history, doubling the agency's budget over five years despite efforts in Congress at the time to cut government spending.
Porter has also been elected to the Institute of Medicine (2007) and has served on many study committees of the IOM and National Research Council. He is currently a partner at the law firm Hogan Lovells, where he specializes in health legislation and political law compliance. He is also Chair of Research!America, a nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance dedicated to making health research a higher national priority, and Vice Chair of the Foundation for the NIH.
Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have received a $900,000 grant from the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund to test new combinations of targeted drugs against the disease. Ursula Matulonis, MD, Director of the Gynecological Cancer Treatment Center in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers, is principal investigator of this Program Project Development Grant.
One project funded by the grant will test the effectiveness of a PARP inhibitor and another targeted therapy in blocking the abnormal PI3-kinase signaling pathway in ovarian tumors. Another will combine a heat shock protein inhibitor and a PARP inhibitor, which aim to prevent damaged ovarian cancer cells from repairing themselves. A third project focuses on BH3 profiling.
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Tyler Curiel, MD, MPH, an oncologist and immunologist and Professor of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center's Cancer Therapy & Research Center, has received a $900,000 grant from the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation to study how to turn on the body's defense system to fight ovarian cancer.
Curiel and his team plan to develop effective multimodal immune therapy for ovarian cancer using approaches in three key areas: reducing immune impediments to ovarian cancer immunotherapy, blocking the molecular mechanisms that drive tumor growth and inhibit anti-tumor immunity, and using new generation adoptive T cell transfers.
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“This work will allow development of a major grant from the National Cancer Institute to take these therapies to clinical trials, first in resistant cancers and later in relapse prevention and as treatment after failure of front-line therapy,” Curiel said in a news release. “This immunotherapy can be safe, tolerable, effective, quickly translated, and applied to a variety of cancers and affordable.”
Christopher G. Slatore, MD, Assistant Professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the Portland VA Medical Center, has received a $200,000 award from the Radiation Oncology Institute. The award will be distributed over two years and is for a project to examine the comparative value of radiation therapy and patient outcomes among lung cancer patients.
Slatore's three core areas of focus will be: (1) to compare patient-centered outcomes (quality of life, utility, and respiratory symptoms) of stereotactic body radiotherapy with surgical resection as well as external-beam radiation therapy; (2) to quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate the association of patient-clinician communication with patient-centered outcomes; and (3) among clinicians who care for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer patients, to qualitatively evaluate strategies to improve patient-centered outcomes that stem from treatment decisions.
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Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center has received a $100,000 ovarian cancer research grant from the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, and The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Annually, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund supports a cancer research grant to an institution based in the host city of the NCAA Women's Final Four tournament.
The grant will be used to continue research on imaging ovarian cancer with novel small-molecule radiotracers of cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1).
VICC researchers Dineo Khabele, MD, Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology and a gynecological oncologist; and Lawrence Marnett, PhD, University Professor, the Mary Geddes Stahlman Chair in Cancer Research, and Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry, are the principal investigators for the research.
“Coach Yow was very specific in her direction that the Kay Yow Cancer Fund support research to enhance the quality of life of those individuals battling cancer and to help find a cure,” Nora Lynn Finch, Atlantic Coast Conference Senior Associate Commissioner and President of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, said in a news release.
Annette Bakker, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of the Children's Tumor Foundation, has been named the next President, succeeding President John W. Risner, who had served in the position since 2005. She will also continue to serve as the Foundation's Chief Scientific Officer.
“Neurofibromatosis (NF) remains a mystery in so many ways, but we are committed to finding the solutions that will help those living with NF. My focus will be on seeking innovative breakthroughs in drug development, and effectively collaborating with all the stakeholders—clinicians, researchers, academics, pharma, biotech, and other industry partners in the field of NF and related fields—and last but not least, the patients,” Bakker said in a news release.
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Bakker joined the Foundation in 2011 and has since led the expansion of its research programs, which include: the NF Preclinical Consortium, the Synodos research initiative, the NF Biobank and NF Registry, and the soon-to-be-launched online NF data warehouse. Prior to joining the Foundation, Bakker was Oncology Head for Siena Biotech and Oncology Group Leader at Janssen Pharmaceutica.
J. Robert Beck, MD, has been named Deputy Director and Chief Academic and Administrative Officer of Fox Chase Cancer Center. He has been at Fox Chase since 2001 and also holds the H.O. West and J.R. Wilke Chair in Cancer Research. He will also retain the title of Chief Medical Officer for the present.
In his new roles, Beck will oversee all activities that support the academic and research operations of Fox Chase. He will also serve as a key advisor to Fox Chase President and CEO Richard I. Fisher, MD, on matters related to value creation; patient safety; quality, risk management, regulatory and accreditation matters; clinical outcomes; employee and faculty engagement; medical staff and faculty governance; public reporting; value-based purchasing; and pay for performance.
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“As a 24-year veteran administrator at academic medical centers, Bob brings a remarkably diverse array of experience and expertise to his continuing service to Fox Chase,” Fisher said in a news release. “In addition to his many administrative duties, he maintains research interests in technology assessment, cost-effectiveness of cancer therapies, cancer health disparities, and the organization of biomedical informatics services and general academic resources.”
Also at Fox Chase, Henry Chi Hang Fung, MD, FRCPE, has joined as Clinical Leader of the Blood Cancers Program and the Hematologic Oncology Service Line and Professor of Medical Oncology. He will also be Director of the Temple University Hospital Bone Marrow Transplant Program.
“Dr. Fung is internationally recognized for his clinical and scientific expertise in bone marrow transplantation, and his arrival is an important step in building a major hematologic malignancy program here, Fox Chase President and CEO Richard I. Fisher, MD, said in a news release. “Being able to enhance our capabilities in this vital area of oncology is the latest example of how our affiliation with Temple University Health System continues to strengthen our overall capacities.”
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Fung was most recently at Rush University Medical Center, as Professor of Medicine, Director of the Section of Bone Marrow Transplant and Cell Therapy, Director of the Coleman Foundation Blood and Marrow Transplant Center (where he also held the Coleman Endowed Chair), Clinical Leader of Hematologic Malignancies, and Senior Attending Physician.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute has announced that it will appoint up to 25 new biomedical researchers through a national competition open to basic researchers and physician scientists at eligible institutions who study significant biological problems in all of the biomedical disciplines (as well as in adjacent fields). HHMI employs its scientists as investigators, rather than awarding research grants, giving the investigators the freedom to explore and, if necessary, change the direction of their research. Individuals selected in this competition will receive a five-year appointment to HHMI, which is renewable pending favorable scientific review.
“The best discoveries in science aren't predictable,” HHMI President Robert Tjian, PhD, said in a news release. “One of the things that sets HHMI apart from other organizations that support biomedical research is that we free our researchers to follow their scientific instincts—to follow things that pop up unexpectedly.”
HHMI last held an open competition in 2012, and 27 biomedical scientists were selected. Candidates must establish eligibility for the competition by May 1, and can apply at www.hhmi.org. Finalists will be selected in 2015.
AJN Book Awards
The following titles relating to oncology nursing were winners of the American Journal of Nursing's 2013 Book of the Year Awards. The books were deemed the “most valuable texts of 2013,” as chosen by AJN's panel of judges:
* In the Shadows: How to Help Your Seriously Ill Adult Child, by Patricia Ringos Beach and Beth E. White, published by Hygeia Media, an imprint of the Oncology Nursing Society, received the first place award in the Consumer Health category;
* Cancer Symptom Management, 4th edition, by Connie Henke Yabro, Debra Wujcik, and Barbara Holmes Gobel, published by Jones and Bartlett Learning, received the first place award in the Palliative Care and Hospice category; and
* Compact Clinical Guide to Cancer Pain Management: An Evidence-Based Approach for Nurses, by Pamela Stitzlein Davies and Yvonne D'Arcy, published by Springers Publishing Company, received the second place award in the Palliative Care and Hospice category.
The full list of award recipients can be found at www.ajnonline.com.
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