The Innovation Award honors individuals who have been exceptionally creative thinkers who significantly impacted the understanding of and/or approaches to the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of gynecologic cancers. This year, SGO acknowledged Ian Frazer, MD, BSc, MBBS, from the Translational Research Institute (TRI) in Brisbane, Australia. Frazer is the founding Chief Executive Officer and Director of Research for TRI.
For the 2018 SGO Presidential Abstract Award, lead author Brian Slomovitz, MD, from the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, received the award for “GOG 3007, a randomized phase II (RP2) trial of everolimus and letrozole (EL) or hormonal therapy (medroxyprogesterone acetate/tamoxifen, PT) in women with advanced, persistent or recurrent endometrial carcinoma (EC): A GOG Foundation study.”
NCI Steering Committee Elects Co-Chair
Wm. Kevin Kelly, DO, leader of the Prostate Cancer Program and Associate Director of Clinical Research at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health (SKCC), has been elected to serve as Medical Oncology Co-Chair on the NCI Genitourinary Cancers Steering Committee (GUSC).
The GUSC addresses the design, prioritization, and evaluation of concepts for phase II and III clinical trials in genitourinary cancers. The committee's goal is to promote the best clinical and translational research that will have the biggest impact on patient care.
“It is a privilege to serve as a co-leader on the NCI Genitourinary Task force that has the responsibility in guiding the next generation of clinical trials to improve the lives and suffering of patients with genitourinary tumors,” Kelly said.
Kelly, who is also Professor of Medical Oncology and Urology and Director of the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology, is a leader in the field of genitourinary oncology and an internationally respected clinical researcher. He has expertise in drug and biomarker development in prostate and bladder cancers and has been instrumental in defining the use of many novel therapies and biomarkers in patients for all stages of prostate cancer.
Since joining SKCC in 2010, Kelly has developed disease-specific research and domains in each major area of solid tumor oncology and has increased the number of investigator-initiated trials. His leadership helped established SKCC as one of the top cancer centers nationwide for accrual of patients to clinical trials, and the Prostate Cancer Program was recently ranked Outstanding by the NCI.
Kelly has received funding from Prostate Cancer Foundation and Department of Defense, and is an active member of the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium along with NRG Oncology. He was recently awarded a new R01 grant from the NCI, along with SKCC Director Karen Knudsen, PhD, to develop more effective therapeutic strategies for advanced prostate cancer.
“This is a well-deserved honor for Dr. Kelly, who has been instrumental in the prostate cancer field to bringing new therapeutic interventions to the forefront. As one of the few cancer centers—and the only in Philadelphia—to have an NCI-designated Prostate Cancer Program of Excellence, Dr. Kelly has distinguished himself in the ability to serve the specialized needs of a large city that is challenged by a high incidence of and mortality from prostate cancer,” Knudsen said. “He now brings this leadership to the national level.”
Roswell Park Welcomes New Chair of Molecular & Cellular Biology
A scientist with more than 20 years of experience has been appointed as the new Chair of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, N.Y. Erik Knudsen, PhD, will also serve as the Co-Leader of the Cancer Center's Genetics and Genomics Program.
Prior to this, he worked at the University of Arizona Cancer Center as the Associate Director of Basic Research, and Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Translational Medicine at the University of Arizona.
“I'm very excited to join the team at Roswell Park and work with people who are dedicated to understanding, preventing, and curing cancer. My goal is to decipher some of cancer's complexities and develop new therapies that help patients live longer and have a better quality of life,” said Knudsen.
The Seattle native is a standing member of the Cancer Etiology Study Section at the NIH, which reviews grant applications related to causal agents, processes, and cells involved in carcinogenesis, the process by which normal cell cells are transformed into cancer cells. Knudsen has authored or co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, articles, and books chapters, and has been awarded numerous grants. He has also spoken around the world about his research.
“Dr. Knudsen is a national and internationally recognized leader in cancer research who brings energy, skill, and leadership to the critical roles of Chair and Program Co-Leader. I am confident that his more than 2 decades of experience will tremendously continue to advance our mission of eliminating cancer's grip on humanity. We're excited to welcome him to Roswell Park,” said Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, FRCOG, FACOG, Deputy Director at Roswell Park.
Baylor Professor Receives Sue Eccles Young Investigator Award
Xiang Zhang, PhD, Associate Professor and McNair Scholar in the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center, part of the NCI-designated Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, has been named as the 2018 recipient of the Sue Eccles Young Investigator Award from the Metastasis Research Society (MRS).
The Sue Eccles Award honors excellent metastasis research performed by a member of the MRS who is 40 years old or under and has established an exceptional record of achievement in metastasis research.
This honor recognizes Zhang's outstanding work related to the interactions between tumors and connective tissue cells in the metastasis of breast cancer.
“Bone metastases do not appear immediately following breast cancer. My research looks into the biological question of what is happening during this latency period and the interactions between cancer cells and bone cells that allow the cancer cells to survive, which is significantly relevant to understand for the clinical setting,” said Zhang.
Additionally, Zhang's research has contributed to understanding the changes that occur to the therapeutic profile of the cell when it metastasizes, prompting clinicians to tailor the types of therapies used to better treat the patient.
“I'm very encouraged and inspired by the Sue Eccles Award, and it serves as a strong stimulus to both myself and my lab team to continue our work,” said Zhang. “I've benefitted greatly from the collaborative environment at Baylor and am grateful for the leadership across the College for encouraging me to pursue this research.”
Upon receiving his award, Zhang will deliver a lecture at the 17th Biennial Congress of the MRS, being held on Aug. 1-5 in Princeton, N.J.
Frederick National Laboratory & Georgetown Launch Collaboration
A new collaboration between Georgetown University and the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research in Frederick, Md., aims to expand both institutions' research and training missions in the biomedical sciences.
The university and the laboratory signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that paves the way for appointments and exchange of scientific staff, sabbatical opportunities, student training, postdoctoral fellowships, and student internships.
The MOU aims to enhance the institutions' quality of science, technology, and education, and formalizes a history of past collaborations between Georgetown and Frederick researchers.
Georgetown is home to more than 550 scientists working on basic and clinical research projects and 300 active clinical trials based at Georgetown University Medical Center. These scientists conduct research on cancer, neuroscience, infectious disease, population health, global health and other topics, and join scientists across the university in applying knowledge from chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, statistics, and computer science.
“Georgetown is very pleased to develop this strategic partnership with Frederick National Lab to further animate our commitment to developing solutions to the most pressing challenges in human health and well-being,” said Georgetown President John J. DeGioia.
Sponsored by the NCI and operated in the public interest by Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc., the federal national laboratory in Frederick is the only one of its kind wholly focused on discovery and innovation in the biomedical sciences with the aim of improving human health. The laboratory is working at the forefront of basic, translational, and clinical science with a focus on cancer, AIDS, and emerging infectious diseases.
“At the Frederick National Laboratory, we believe this relationship will expand our ability to work in the public's interest to benefit patients and assist in the cancer research efforts in the academic community,” said Barry Gause, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Director of the clinical program at the Frederick National Laboratory.
A significant aspect of the collaboration will focus on cancer research, since Georgetown is home to Washington's only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“I join my colleagues at Georgetown in celebrating this important collaboration,” added Louis M. Weiner, MD, Director of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Frederick boasts an outstanding group of scientists working with the most advanced technologies and a vast array of research materials, which will greatly enhance the work we do here at Georgetown Lombardi and across campus.”
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