Wasif Saif, MD, MBBS, of Columbia University Medical Center, has received the 2012 Giovanni Varrelli Spirit Award—given by Project Purple to honor an individual who exemplifies courage working with those effected by pancreatic cancer patients. He is Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology and Director of the GI Oncology Section at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University, as well as Medical Director of the Pancreas Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
Keith L. Black, MD, has been received the Hope of Los Angeles award for innovative neurologic care and research. His work includes helping pioneer new uses of chemotherapy and non-invasive treatments for brain tumors, and developing new techniques for brain tumor molecular profiling and mapping. He is Chairman and Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and Director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai Health System.
The University of Connecticut has announced Frank M. Torti, MD, MPH, as the new Vice President for Health Affairs at the University's Health Center and the eighth Dean of the School of Medicine. He will also hold a Board of Trustees professorship in the department of medicine. He assumes both new roles May 1. He is currently at Wake Forest University, as Vice President for Strategic Programs, Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Chair of the Department of Cancer Biology.
Electra Paskett, PhD, MSPH, Associate Director for Population Sciences at Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been chosen to receive the 2012 American Association of Preventive Oncology Distinguished Achievement Award.
The Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson has established the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities. Edith P. Mitchell, MD, a medical oncologist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Clinical Professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology at Jefferson Medical College, has been appointed Director. The center will facilitate disparity-focused research, training and teaching programs for clinicians, and supportive services for patients (such as palliative care, screenings, and survivorship programs).
Renato Dulbecco, MD, a Nobel Lau-reate for his research linking genetic mutations with cancer, died on Feb. 19, just three days before his 98th birthday.
He discovered the first evidence that gene mutations cause cancer, and was a Founding Fellow of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and served as president from 1988 to 1992, among other appointments. His many honors included the Lasker Award, and election to membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of London, and the Academia Del Lincei of Italy.
He conducted landmark studies that provided the first clue to the genetic nature of cancer and described how a tumor virus could insert its own genes into the chromosome of the cell it infects, and “turn on” the uncontrolled growth that is the hallmark of cancer. This was the first solid evidence that cancer originates when a cell's genes become mutated. He shared the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine with Howard Temin and David Baltimore, who were former students.
Dulbecco's research also clarified the roles of many genes responsible for breast development and their involvement in cancer and was the first to use monoclonal antibodies to identify cells by their genetic signature. As described in information from Salk Institute, his insights about how genes can both be used by cancer as well as used against the disease led him in 1986 to challenge the scientific community to systematically sequence and catalog all human genes, giving intellectual birth to the Human Genome Project.
“Renato was one of the most brilliant scientific minds of our generation,” said Salk Institute President William R. Brody. “His legacy is imbued in the scientists and physicians whom he trained and inspired and who themselves have gone on to make major discoveries to advance biomedical science. He will always be an integral part of the Salk community and our history, and we will deeply miss him.”© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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