As part of a special commemoration for the 25th anniversary of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, the organization selected 30 physicians, nurses, researchers, advocates, and leaders as the top Visionaries in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. The winners were nominated and selected by vote by Academy members; and the winners were recognized at the AAPHM Annual Meeting in March.
Recipients whose work focused on oncology were:
* Amy P. Abernethy, MD, PhD, FACP, FAAHPM, Duke University Medical Center;
* Robert M. Arnold, MD, FAAHPM, University of Pittsburgh;
* Susan Block, MD, FAAHPM, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute;
* Eduardo Bruera, MD, FAAHPM, MD Anderson Cancer Center;
* Nessa Coyle, NP, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center;
* Patrick Coyne, MSN, APRN, ACHPN, FAAN, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center;
* Betty Ferrell, PhD, MA, RN, CHPN, FAAN, FPCN, City of Hope National Medical Center (Duarte, Calif.);
* Kathleen Foley, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center;
* Nancy Hinds, RN, Hines Hospice (Fresno, Calif.)
* Diane E. Meier, MD, FACP, FAAHPM, Mount Sinai School of Medicine;
* R. Sean Morrison, MD, FAAHPM, Mount Sinai School of Medicine;
* Balfour Mount, MD, Emeritus Professor of McGill University;
* Charles F. von Gunten, MD, PhD, FACP, FAAHPM, Kobacker House (Columbus, Ohio);
* Declan Walsh, MD, MSC, Cleveland Clinic;
* David E. Weissman, MD, FAAHPM, Medical College of Wisconsin; and
* Warren Wheeler, MD, Nathan Adelson Hospice (Las Vegas, Nev.).
The Gairdner Foundation has announced the winners of this year's Canada Gairdner International Awards, which recognize significant medical discoveries from around the world. The awards—which provide a $100,000 prize in Canadian dollars to each scientist for his or her work—are intended to promote a stronger culture of research and innovation across the country and inspire a new generation of researchers.
Awardees from the oncology community are:
* James P. Allison, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Immunology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, for his discovery of immune checkpoint blockade and its successful application to the immune therapy of cancer;
* Titia de Lange, PhD, the Leon Hess Professor, the American Cancer Society Professor, Head of the Laboratory of Cell Biology and Genetics, and Director of the Anderson Center for Cancer Research, all at Rockefeller University in New York, for her discovery of the mechanisms by which mammalian telomeres are protected from deleterious DNA repair and damage responses; and
* Harold Fisher Dvorak, MD, the Mallinckrodt Distinguished Professor of Pathology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center of Harvard Medical School, and Napoleone Ferrara, MD, Distinguished Professor of Pathology, Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Ophthalmology, and Senior Deputy Director for Basic Sciences at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, for discovering vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), the key molecular mediator of effective anti-VEGF therapy for cancer and wet macular degeneration.
Hagop Kantarjian, MD, Professor and Chair of Leukemia at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, has received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to research and clinical practice from Castle Connolly Medical Limited, which publishes the annual listings of Castle Connolly Top Doctors. The company also recognized two physicians to receive lifetime achievement awards who have attained international recognition for the body of their lifetime contributions to medicine and health.
“Through his focus on research-driven patient care, Dr. Kantarjian has helped vastly improve survival and quality of life for leukemia patients everywhere. This award is recognition of his deep impact in the field,” Thomas Buchholz, MD, MD Anderson Executive Vice President and Physician-in-Chief, said in a news release.
Kantarjian's work has focused on developing several therapies including: clofarabine for acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), the hypomethylating agent decitabine for myelodysplastic syndromes, liposomal vincristine for ALL, and ruxolitinib for myelofibrosis. He has also helped develop several targeted therapies for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) including imatinib, dasatinib, nilotinib, ponatinib, bosutinib, and omacetaxine. He is currently developing monoclonal antibodies in adult ALL.
Kantarjian has been at MD Anderson since 1983, and also holds the Kelcie Margaret Kana Research Chair and serves as Associate Vice President of MD Anderson's Global Academic Programs. He was also recently appointed as the Baker Institute Scholar in Health Policy.
Bert Howard O'Neil, MD, has been named the inaugural Joseph W. and Jackie J. Cusick Professor of Oncology and Professor of Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. He will also serve as the Phase I Director and Director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Research Program at the IU Simon Cancer Center, and will represent the cancer center on the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium steering committee.
“Finding new and better agents to treat cancer, particularly gastrointestinal cancers, is a major focus of the IU Simon Cancer Center—there is no one that I know in the country who is better suited for this role than Dr. O'Neil,” Patrick J. Loehrer, MD, Director of the IU Simon Cancer Center, said in a news release.
O'Neil was most recently Director of the Gastrointestinal Malignancies Research Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Medical Director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center's Clinical Protocol Office.
William Pao, MD, PhD, has joined Roche Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED) as Global Head of the Oncology Disease and Translational Area. He was most recently Professor of Medicine and Head of the Hematology-Oncology Division at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, as well as Director of the Division of Hematology and Oncology and the Personalized Cancer Medicine Unit. He is also a co-founder of MyCancerGenome, a web-based tool for clinical decision support.
John Powderly II, MD, President and founder of Carolina BioOncology Institute (in Huntersville, N.C.), received the Association of Community Cancer Centers' 2014 David King Community Clinical Scientist Award in recognition of his dedication to cancer research and education, and for promoting the goals of cancer prevention, early detection, and quality cancer treatment. David King Community Clinical Scientist Award winners become lifetime members of the ACCC National Academy of Community Oncology Scientists, which serve as a valuable resource to ACCC, the National Cancer Institute, pharmaceutical companies, and other organizations involved in community cancer research.
“As a research clinician, Dr. Powderly exemplifies the spirit of Dr. King for whom this national award was named,” ACCC Immediate-Past President Virginia T. Vaitones, MSW, OSW-C, said in a news release. “Like Dr. King, Dr. Powderly has spent his career championing the value of the community clinical oncology program and raising awareness of the role of clinical research in the community cancer setting.”
Powderly also serves as an oncologist Certified Physician Investigator—the only one in the Charlotte, N.C. region, as well as Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Duke University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
In other ACCC news, Paula Kim, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Translating Research Across Borders (an organization she founded, dedicated to cross-sector strategies and initiatives aimed at strengthening communication, leadership, capacity, relationships, and improving outcomes for cancer patients and their families), received the ACCC's Annual Achievement Award for excellence in advocacy, dedication, and commitment to the care and treatment of patients with cancer. She was recognized for founding and leading several organizations designed to promote cross-collaboration and cooperation across the global cancer community, including her role in co-founding the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in 1999.
“Paula is recognized on the grassroots, national, and international levels for her consumer-focused leadership and innovation in communication and outreach for business, health care, and advocacy strategies particularly as they affect the cancer community,” Vaitones said in a news release. “She helps bridge the gap between the various sectors in cancer care and those with whom they must collaborate to accomplish their respective goals. ACCC is delighted to honor her accomplishments with this award.”
Kim is also a Senior Research Fellow at George Mason University's Center for Health and Risk Communications, where she is Co-director of the first international Global Advocacy Leadership Academy.
Alan G. Rosmarin, MD, Professor and Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology and Co-Director of the University of Massachusetts Memorial Cancer Center of Excellence, has been appointed Chief Mission Officer of the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation. In the new role he will be collaborating with the organization's Chief Scientific Officer, Jonathan D. Licht, MD, to direct SWCRF's scientific mission and facilitate the activities of its cancer investigators.
Cancer Etiology Researcher John Weisburger Dies at 92
John H. Weisburger, PhD, Research Professor of Pathology in the Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences at New York Medical College, has died at age 92.
Weisburger's research focused on the etiology of cancer. He studied the effects of environmental chemicals on the alteration of the structure and function of DNA, specifically helping identify the mechanism of the carcinogen 2-acetylaminofleorene.
“Dr. Weisburger was one of the early pioneers in the fields of chemical carcinogenesis and mutagenesis,” Margaret Foti, PhD, CEO of the American Association for Cancer Research, said via email. “He was beloved by admiring colleagues in cancer research not only because of the excellence of his work, but also because of his unstinting dedication to the conquest of cancer.”
Weisburger became a U.S. Public Health Service research fellow with the National Cancer Institute in 1950, and went on to be named Head of the Carcinogen Screening Section at the NCI, and then the Director of the Bioassay Carcinogenesis Programs. At the NCI, Weisburger researched new methods of testing chemicals for carcinogenicity. He also served as a member of the American Health Foundation, for which he established a research program in nutrition and cancer that focused on heterocyclic amines in cooked foods and on tea as a chemopreventive agent.
Weisburger was a member of the American Association for Cancer Research for more than 63 years, and was named an honorary member as well as one of the organization's inaugural fellows in 2013. He served on the editorial board of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, and was a member of the AACR's DeWitt S. Goodman Lectureship Committee.
Among his honors, he received the Distinguished Service Medal from the American Society of Preventive Oncology, the American Health Foundation, and the New Jersey Commission for Cancer Research; the Ambassador of Toxicology Award from the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society of Toxicology; the Meyer and Anna Prentice Award from the Michigan Cancer Center; the Merit Award from the Society of Toxicology; and an honorary medical degree from the University of Umeå in Sweden. He was also a charter member of the Society of Toxicology and honorary life member of the Japanese Cancer Association
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