Judy E. Garber, MD, MPH, is the new Presi-dent of the American Association for Cancer Research. Nobel laureate Elizabeth H. Blackburn, PhD, is now Past-Presi-dent, and Frank McCormick, PhD, DSc (hon), is President-Elect.
“We are excited to have Dr. Garber serve as AACR president, at a time when scientific discoveries are rapidly being translated to patients,” AACR CEO Margaret Foti, PhD, said in a statement. “As a clinical and translational researcher, Dr. Garber's areas of expertise epitomize the broad scope of work conducted by the AACR's more than 33,000 members.”
“This is a momentous time for cancer research,” said Dr. Garber, who is Director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, as well as Associate Physician of Medicine and Attending Physician of Medical Service at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
“It is critical that we continue to strive for innovation in basic science and the rapid translation of this knowledge to the clinic. At the same time, we must work to overcome funding and other challenges. To be at the helm of the preeminent cancer research association at this time is truly an incredible opportunity.”
Dr. McCormick is Director of the University of California, San Francisco Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and holds the E. Dixon Heise Distinguished Professorship in Oncology and the David A. Wood Distinguished Professorship of Tumor Biology and Cancer Research. He is also Associate Dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and a distinguished professor in residence in the department of microbiology and immunology as well as in the department of biochemistry and biophysics.
Dr. McCormick pioneered cancer research looking at the molecular basis of cancer and in 1992 founded the biotech company Onyx Pharmaceuticals and developed Nexavar, which is used to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. His current research interests center on the Ras pathway.
AACR also announced the following new members of the Board of Directors, for the 2011 to 2014 term:
- Joan S. Brugge, PhD, Chair and Professor in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School.
- Arul M. Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher and the S.P. Hicks endowed Professor of Pathology, Professor of Pathology and Urology, Director of the Pathology Microarray Laboratory, Director of Cancer Bioinformatics at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Director of Pathology Research Informatics, and Director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology, all at the University of Michigan Medical School.
- Thomas A. Sellers, PhD, MPH, Executive Vice President of Population Sciences, Associate Center Director of Cancer Prevention and Control, CEO of the Lifetime Cancer Screening and Prevention Center at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, and Director of the Moffitt Research Institute.
- Laura J. van 't Veer, PhD, Professor and HS Clinical Instructor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Leader of the Breast Oncology Program, and Director of Applied Genomics at the University of California, San Francisco. She is head molecular biologist and group leader of molecular pathology at The Netherlands Cancer Institute, and Chief Research Officer at Agendia BV in Amsterdam.
- Kristiina Vuori, MD, PhD, President, Professor and the Pauline & Stanley Foster Presidential Chair and Cancer Center Director of the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. She is also Co-director of the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.
- Also newly elected are the following individuals to the AACR Nominating Committee for the 2011 to 2013 term:
- Tom Curran, PhD, Deputy Scientific Director of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
- Raymond N. DuBois, MD, PhD, Provost and Executive Vice President of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he is also Professor of Cancer Medicine and Cancer Biology.
- Lynn M. Matrisian, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Cancer Biology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and the Ingram Distinguished Professor of Cancer Research at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.
- Helen M. Piwnica-Worms, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher and Co-director of the BRIGHT Institute and Associate Director of Basic Science at Siteman Cancer Center.
Thomas L. Whittaker, MD, a medical oncologist and physician partner at Central Indiana Cancer Centers in Indianapolis, where he has had a community-based private practice for 14 years, is the new President of the Association of Community Cancer Centers.
Dr. Whittaker, whose practice includes five treatment centers throughout central Indiana, said that he is honored and humbled to serve, and that during his year as President he hopes to expand ACCC's education and advocacy efforts. “In addition, as the concept of medical home gains traction with the passage of the health reform law, I'd like ACCC to help members gain a better understanding of the oncology patient medical home—its efficacy, clinical benefits, and potential.”
Carolyn Messner, DSW, Director of Education and Training for CancerCare, has received a fellowship from the National Academies of Practice, an interprofessional organization of nine health care disciplines. She was presented with the award at the National Academies of Practice Annual Meeting at the end of last month.
“I'm truly honored to receive this fellowship from the National Academies of Practice,” Messner said. “The NAP's workshops and interdisciplinary clinical sessions provide a wealth of new and exciting information that I share with my colleagues at CancerCare so that we can deliver our free services in a way that is most beneficial to the person coping with cancer.” A past President of the Association of Oncology Social Work, she is also Co-chair of the Social Work Academy of the National Academies of Practice.
Baylor University Medical Center has opened the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas, a 10-story, 467,000 square-foot facility that offers comprehensive services for cancer patients from initial diagnosis through post-recovery. “We built the cancer center not just for the patients of today, but also for the patients of tomorrow, which is why research and education are such major components,” said Alan Miller, MD, the Medical Director.
Opening this summer is the Innovative Clinical Trials Center, dedicated to “bringing some of the more promising clinical trials, particularly Phase I trials, to Baylor Dallas,” Dr. Miller said. It will match patients whose cancer has resisted standard treatments with a trial that could offer additional hope. Among the top physicians and researchers already recruited is Daniel Von Hoff, MD.
The University of Florida College of Medicine has announced the appointment of Paul Okunieff, MD, as the first Marshall E. Rinker Sr. Foundation and David B. and Leighan R. Rinker Chair, which was established last year with a 10-year pledge of $1.2 million from the foundation and the Rinkers. The gift supports the physician in chief of the Shands Cancer Hospital at UF and the College of Medicine's academic cancer program. In addition to serving as the cancer hospital's Physician in Chief, Dr. Okunieff also serves as the Director of the UF Shands Cancer Center and Chair of the UF College of Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology.
Bruce A. Chabner, MD, Director of Clinical Research at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, received the Herbert and Maxine Block Memorial Lectureship Award for Achievement in Cancer of Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center—Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. The award, established by the Block family of Columbus, Ohio, honors the memory of their parents, Maxine and Herbert J. Block, who both died of cancer. It is given annually to a renowned cancer researcher, who also then delivers an accompanying Block Lecture. Dr. Chabner titled his talk “Cancer as a Rare Disease: Revolutionizing Drug Development.” Also included is a monetary award of $25,000.
Saikrishna Yendamuri, MD, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Surgical Onco-logy and Thoracic Oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, has been awarded a $555,103 grant from the United States Army to develop a way to help predict which lung cancer patients are more likely to have recurrence after surgery. A news release notes that he now plans to explore the potential of using microRNA profiling as a biomarker for non-small-cell lung cancer.