Carl June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, has been awarded the 2014 Taubman Prize for Excellence in Translational Medical Science, given by the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute at the University of Michigan Medical School. The $100,000 prize was given in recognition of the treatment he designed that is credited as the first successful and sustained demonstration of the use of gene transfer therapy to turn the body's own immune cells to attack cancer cells—chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cell therapy (OT 2/25/13 issue).
“Dr. June's visionary approach has transformed the scientific approach to these cancers and brought hope to patients who had little or none,” Eva Feldman, MD, PhD, Director of the Taubman Institute, said in a news release. “We are honored to recognize his extraordinary contributions by awarding him the Taubman Prize.”
June will give the keynote address at the Taubman Institute's annual symposium on October 10 at the University of Michigan. A. Alfred Taubman, Founder and Chair of the Taubman Institute, will present the prize, which was established in 2012 to recognize outstanding translational medical research beyond the University of Michigan.
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre of the National Health Service Foundation Trust has made the following new appointments at its location in Merseyside, England:
• Peter Kirkbride, MB, BS, MRCP (UK), FRCR, FRCPC, Medical Director, as leader the new clinical management team. He has been with the Trust since 2012, and previously served as Clinical Director for Radiation Services at Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield. He is the national clinical lead for radiotherapy improvement for the National Cancer Action Team and has current membership in the National Radiotherapy Implementation Group.
• Ernie Marshall, MBChB, MRCP, MD, Clinical Director for Chemotherapy. He has been a consultant in medical oncology specializing in melanoma, lung cancer, and supportive care at Clatterbridge since 1997. He has been the principal investigator of some 50 research trials, and currently serves as a member of the National Cancer Research Institute Melanoma Clinical Studies Group, as well as the first U.K. lead on the International Rare Cancer Initiative for Eye Melanoma.
• Joan Spencer, RGN, BSc Hons, General Manager of Chemotherapy. She most recently served at Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust as Directorate Manager for Breast and Endocrine Services, as well as Cancer Services Manager. She was also the clinical lead for Liverpool John Moores University's breast cancer nursing degree course.
• Bryan Haylock, BSc, MB, DRCOG, MRCP, FRCR, LMCC, FRCP (Can), Clinical Director of Radiation Services. He also serves as an officer on the Royal Council of Radiologists. He has expertise in colorectal, upper gastrointestinal tract, and central nervous system cancers; and spearheaded the clinical development of the Clatterbridge in 2011.
• Julie Massey, DCRT, MSc, General Manager of Radiation Services. She has been at Clatterbridge for seven years, and has served as Radiotherapy and Imaging Services Manager. She is also a member of the Society and College of Radiographers Radiotherapy Advisory Group.
• Caroline Brammer, MBChB (Sheff), MRCP, FRCR, Clinical Director of Integrated Care, where she will focus on developing more patient-centered approaches to service configuration and care. She was most recently at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, England, where she was Clinical Director for Oncology and Hematology. She has expertise in head and neck cancers, and has been active in many national multicenter clinical trials.
• Helen Ferns, RN, MA, General Manager for Integrated Care. She most recently served at The Christie Clinical Research Facilities as Operations Director and Divisional Lead Nurse for Clinical Research. She was previously at Clatterbridge between 2000 and 2002, when she set up the Colorectal Cancer Nursing Service.
Andrew S. Kraft, MD, has been named the Sydney E. Salmon Endowed Chair, Director of the University of Arizona Cancer Center, and Associate Vice President for Oncology Programs for the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center. He will also be Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, and Senior Associate Dean for Translational Research in the College of Medicine. Kraft will start the new positions in September.
He was most recently at Medical University of South Carolina, as Associate Dean for Oncology Affairs, as University Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and as the William H. Folk, MD, Chair in Experimental Oncology. He led the Hollings Cancer Center's efforts to become a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. His research has been continuously funded by the NCI since 1985, and he has also received funding from the U.S. Department of Defense and the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation.
At UACC, Kraft will be responsible for the Center's $35 million research portfolio and oversight of oncology clinical operations in Tucson, in partnership with the University of Arizona Health Network. He also will oversee the development and implementation of the clinical and clinical research operations at the new UACC facility in Phoenix in collaboration with Dignity Health/St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, slated for completion next summer.
Kraft will replace Anne E. Cress, PhD, who has been Interim Director of the UA Cancer Center since July 2013.
In other UACC news, Nathan A. Ellis, PhD, has joined as leader of the Cancer Biology Program. He was most recently Associate Professor of Pediatrics and a Member of the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
His research focuses on identifying and characterizing genetic risk factors for colorectal cancer. He is currently receiving funding from the Center for Cancer Health Disparities of the National Cancer Institute to expand his work to construct a Cancer Genome Atlas for African American Colorectal Cancer. Ellis also has an NCI grant to characterize the role of a protein modification, SUMOylation, in the regulation of DNA repair. He also holds a U.S. patent for methods of diagnosis and treatment of Bloom Syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by short stature and predisposition to the development of cancer.
Maurie Markman, MD, has been appointed President of the Medicine & Science Unit at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, where he was most recently Senior Vice President of Clinical Affairs & National Director of Medical Oncology.
In his new role, Markman will assume oversight of the CTCA national clinical team with a focus on the application of all clinical and translational research to patient care. Markman has previously served in a variety of clinical leadership and academic positions at Cleveland Clinic, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Ohio State University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cornell University Medical College, and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. He has expertise in gynecologic malignancies, new drug development, and novel management strategies.
“His expertise in the field of medical oncology and clinical research, combined with his pioneering work in the emerging field of advanced genomic testing, will ensure we continue to deliver the very best clinical care to our patients,” CTCA President and CEO Gerard van Grinsven said in a news release.
The Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons recently awarded six Resident Research Scholarships, which carry awards of $30,000 for each of two years, having begun July 1. The awards are intended to encourage residents to pursue careers in academic surgery and are sponsored by the College's Scholarship Endowment Fund. The recipients pursuing research in oncology are:
• Eric J. Rellinger, MD, a fourth-year postgraduate student at Vanderbilt University, who will be researching: “Oncogenic Function of Twist 1 in Neuroblastoma Metastasis;” and
• Victoria M. Kim, MD, a third-year postgraduate student at Johns Hopkins University, who will be researching: “Enhancing Vaccine-Induced Anti-Tumor Immune Response by Inhibiting TGF-Beta Signaling in Tumor Microenvironment of Pancreatic Cancer.”
Moffitt Cancer Center and Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center—Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute have entered a new partnership to launch the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN), which will house the tissue and clinical data of some 100,000 patients who have already consented to join. Through data analysis and sharing, ORIEN will provide physicians evidence of the best therapeutic options, including clinical trial treatments, specific to a patient's biological and epidemiological profile, increasing the likelihood of treatment efficacy, speeding response time, and potentially minimizing side effects while improving outcomes.
“Until today we've had no system to quickly match cancer patients from anywhere in the country with ongoing clinical research with the most potential to help them,” Alan F. List, MD, President and CEO of Moffitt, said in a news release. “By partnering with The Ohio State University through ORIEN, we've built a cancer research expressway.”
M2Gen, a subsidiary of Moffitt, will serve as ORIEN's operational and commercial provider for support, bringing expertise in data management and informatics.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, collaborating with PatientCrossroads, plans to establish a new online registry for patients who have undergone testing for cancer-causing genetic mutations, the Prospective Registry of Multi-Plex Testing (PROMPT). The goal of the new portal is to recruit individuals with specific genetic changes into ongoing and future research efforts that are needed to define the clinical significance of such mutations.
The first phase of the project is launching this summer and will create a cohort of individuals and families who have consented to participate in studies examining cancer-causing genetic mutations, as well as follow-up studies to assess other outcomes. This study is being co-led by researchers at Abrahamson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania and the Mayo Clinic, as well as MSKCC.
Another Social Media Award for OT!
We are pleased to report that OT has won a 2014 APEX Award of Excellence in the category of Social Media, for our use of Twitter. The awards for the “Competition for Communications Professionals,” which this year had about 2,100 entries, are given for “excellence in editorial content, graphic design, and the ability to achieve overall communications excellence.” This is the second time this year that we were recognized for social media—earlier in the year we received a Silver Award from the Society of Healthcare Publication Editors, also for use of Twitter.
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In the May 25 issue, in the article “Gynecologic Cancers: PARP Inhibitor May Benefit Women with BRCA Mutation,” an incorrect photograph was used for Robert L. Coleman, MD, Professor and Vice Chair of Clinical Research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is shown correctly here, and the online version of the article has been corrected.