John Ziegler, MD, MSc, Founding Director of Global Health Sciences Graduates Programs Education and Training at the University of California San Francisco, has been awarded the 2014 Burkitt Medal by Trinity College Dublin, which recognizes individuals who embody the “integrity, compassion, and dedication” of Denis Burkitt, a Trinity alumnus.
“Dr. Ziegler has made significant contributions to the fields of medical oncology and to global health,” Owen Smith, MD, Professor of Medicine and Hematology at Trinity College Dublin, said in a news release. “Continuing the legacy of Denis Burkitt, [Ziegler] directed a highly productive research team in Uganda that made dramatic progress to cure a particularly lethal form of childhood cancer. Ziegler's career amply exemplifies Burkitt's curiosity, leadership, and humanity.”
Ziegler has served at the National Cancer Institute, having been assigned in 1967 to begin a collaboration with Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, to study Burkitt lymphoma and other indigenous cancers. Together with Ugandan counterparts, Ziegler developed curative therapies for lymphoma and established a cancer institute there. During the 1970s he was Chief of Pediatric Oncology and later Director of Clinical Oncology at the NCI. He joined UCSF in 1981 as Professor of Medicine in Residence, and Chief of Staff for Education at the VA Hospital; and later as Director of the UCSF AIDS Clinical Research Center. Most recently before his current appointment, Ziegler directed the UCSF Cancer Risk Program at the Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH, the Niess-Gain Professor of Surgery, Professor of Medicine, and Associate Director of Prevention and Control at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, has received the 2014 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Prevention Research from the American Association for Cancer Research, honored for his longstanding commitment to the prevention and control of chronic diseases, including cancer.
He presented the accompanying award lecture and received the award in September at the AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research.
Colditz is also Chief of the Division of Public Health Sciences and Deputy Director of the Institute for Public Health at Washington University School of Medicine. His work has included developing statistical models to more accurately classify levels of risk for several cancers, and to clarify the importance of adolescent lifestyle in the prevention of breast cancer. His work has also shown that smoking increases the risk of stroke and total mortality among women and that weight gain increases the risk of diabetes. He has also demonstrated the validity of self-report methods in large-scale epidemiologic studies and refined diet-assessment tools for use in public health settings.
Ravi Bhatia, MD, and Smita Bhatia, MD, PhD, husband-and-wife oncologists now at City of Hope, will join the University of Alabama at Birmingham in January—Ravi Bhatia as Professor in the Department of Medicine and Director of the Division of Hematology and Oncology and Deputy Director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Smita Bhatia as Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Director of the Institute for Cancer Outcomes and Survivorship, Vice Chair for Outcomes in the Department of Pediatrics, and Associate Director for Cancer Outcomes Research at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. She will also join the Children's of Alabama medical staff as Co-director of the Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Education.
“With our focus on personalized medicine and genomics, physician-scientists like the Bhatias can take us to the next level. We will be able to examine the molecular basis of leukemia and other such diseases, and identify genes that contribute to its development,” Selwyn M. Vickers, MD, Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean of the UAB School of Medicine, said in a news release.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network Oncology Research Program has awarded four grants to investigators to evaluate and define the clinical effectiveness of the investigational compound nintedanib (BIBF 1120) in non-small cell lung, colorectal, and gastrointestinal cancers. Nintedanib is an orally administered triple angiokinase inhibitor that targets three of the receptor tyrosine kinases shown to aid in the regulation of angiogenesis: fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR), platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR), and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR). The grants are funded by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and were awarded to:
- Patrick Boland, MD, of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, for his work: “A Phase I/II Study of Nintedanib and Capecitabine in Refractory Metastatic Colorectal Cancer”;
- Ramaswamy Govindan, MD, of Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine—and OT's Clinical Advisory Editor for Oncology—for his work: “A Pilot Study of Nintedanib in Molecularly Selected Patients with Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)”;
- Renuka Iyer, MD, of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, for her work: “Multicenter Phase II Trial of Nintedanib (BIBF 1120) in Patients with Carcinoid Tumors”; and
- Alex Adjei, MD, PhD, FACP, of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, for his work: “A Phase II Randomized Study Evaluating Nintedanib versus Placebo as Prophylaxis against Radiation Pneumonitis in Patients with Unresectable NSCLC Undergoing ChemoRadiation Therapy.”
Hui Li, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pathology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and a researcher at the University of Virginia Children's Hospital and UVA Cancer Center, has been named a St. Baldrick's V Scholar and will receive a $330,000 grant to fund his research focused on alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. The funding is supported by The V Foundation for Cancer Research and the St. Baldrick's Foundation.
“Dr. Li received a V Scholar award from The V Foundation in 2010,” Susan Braun, Chief Executive Officer of The V Foundation, said in a news release. “We are delighted to co-fund this grant with St. Baldrick's to extend his important research to save the lives of children with cancer.”
Li and his team are looking to discover the point of origin for tumor development and hope that results from the study will lead to a better understanding of the disease and to the development of more effective therapeutic approaches.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), an independent nonprofit biomedical research institute, have signed an agreement calling for a comprehensive relationship in the areas of research and medical education, as well as in the creation of new diagnostic and therapeutic services. The agreement also calls for the co-development of services based on both institutions' mouse model systems.
“A critical component of this affiliation is to develop programs that will disseminate knowledge about innovative diagnostics beyond academic medical centers to community-based physicians,” Jeffrey Saffitz, MD, PhD, Chief of Pathology at BIDMC, said in a news release.
Together JAX and BIDMC plan to develop the next generation of mouse models, genomic platforms, and related research technologies. Additional collaborative activities expected to take place include:
- Creation of new genomics-based training programs;
- Joint faculty appointments;
- Clinical genomics applications, including a diagnostics platform to analyze patient samples and help guide personalized therapies;
- Development of diagnostics reports to help treating physicians use genomic data in patient care and to access appropriate clinical trials; and
- Development of mouse-based approaches to prospectively identify optimal individualized anti-cancer drug regimens.
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center–Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute and Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center Emergency Department have developed the new James Emergency Department, a clinical care model that combines the expertise of emergency medicine physicians and subspecialized oncologists working together in a cancer-specific emergency department to manage the emergency needs of oncology patients.
“We've assembled a truly unique team that works together—both on stage and off stage—to establish protocols for delivering cancer-specific emergency care most effectively and in a way that allows us to clearly communicate that to the patient and their caregivers throughout the treatment process to reduce anxiety and stress in an already stressful situation,” Thomas Terndrup, MD, Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at OSU Wexner Medical Center, said in a news release.
The unit includes 15 treatment stations designed specifically for the unique needs of cancer patients and family members, with clinical care guidelines developed jointly by oncologists and emergency physicians.
Indiana University School of Medicine has raised $700,000 to develop a new survivorship research program that will use gene sequencing technology, and $300,000 to establish the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Fellowship in Hematology/Oncology. The combined $1 million gifts were announced in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the cure for testicular cancer and for the physician scientist who developed the treatment, Lawrence Einhorn, MD, Indiana University Distinguished Professor and Livestrong Foundation Professor of Oncology at the IU School of Medicine and a researcher at Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center. Einhorn in 1974 discovered that the platinum-based drug cisplatin with two additional drugs were effective in killing testis cancer cells.
“When Dr. Einhorn began his work four decades ago, there was no term ‘cancer survivor,’” Patrick J Loehrer, MD, Director of the IU Simon Cancer Center, said in a news release. “Now thanks to his research and leadership, 95 percent of the most common cancer in young men is curable.”
The new survivorship research program will use gene sequencing technology: Einhorn's personalized medicine approach will allow a treatment team to evaluate the risks for adverse side effects before therapy and map a treatment plan that reduces toxicity and anticipates and manages unavoidable complications throughout each patient's lifetime.
New Brain Tumor Biotech Center at North Shore-LIJ
The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research of North Shore-LIJ Health System has opened a new Brain Tumor Biotech Center. The aim is to expedite the discovery and delivery of novel drugs and therapeutics to patients living with brain tumors. The Center, which opened in September, will partner with biotech companies as they complete preclinical testing, navigate the regulatory landscape, and execute clinical development initiatives. Co-directors are John A. Boockvar, MD, an investigator in the Laboratory for Brain Tumor Biology and Therapy at the Feinstein Institute, Director of the Brain Tumor Center at Lenox Hill Hospital, and Professor of Neurosurgery at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine; and Marc Symons, PhD, Director of Feinstein's Light Microscopy Facility and Professor of Molecular Medicine and Neurosurgery at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.
The nonprofit Voices Against Brain Cancer Center will donate $1 million, to be distributed over the next five years, to support the new Center.
Shown above at the ribbon-cutting ceremony are (left to right): RAJ NARAJAN, MD, Senior Vice President and Executive Director of the Cushing Neuroscience Institute at North Shore-LIJ; JOHN A. BOOCKVAR, MD; MICHAEL KLIPPER, Voices Against Brain Cancer Chairman; and MARC SYMONS, PHD.
Robert S. Miller Joining ASCO Staff
Robert S. Miller, MD, FACP, FASCO (@rsm2800), Assistant Professor of Oncology and Oncology Medical Information Officer at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, has been named Medical Director of the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Institute for Quality (iQ).
“Having been a volunteer since 1999, I am deeply committed to ASCO's mission and am thrilled to serve the Society on a permanent basis,” Miller said in a news release. “I look forward to collaborating with ASCO volunteers, the ASCO Board of Directors, and ASCO staff to establish methods, programs, tools, and other initiatives that improve the care we provide for people living with cancer.”
Miller will lead a team of some 30 individuals working with stakeholders across the cancer community to advance iQ's quality initiatives, which include: The Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI), the QOPI Certification Program, Practice Guidelines, performance measures and practice improvement, and CancerLinQ (ASCO's learning health care system for oncology). He begins the new role December 3.
Miller has previously served on ASCO's Board of Directors, the Quality of Care Committee, the Clinical Practice Committee, the Cancer Education Committee, the Integrated Media and Technology Committee, and the Health Information Technology Workgroup. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of ASCO's Cancer.Net and serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Oncology Practice.
Miller was featured in OT?'s Profiles in Oncology Social Media series in 2012 (4/10/12 issue).
In a podcast interview on the iPad edition of this issue, Dr. Miller speaks to OT reporter Lola Bucher about why he decided to take the new position and his plans for the future.
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