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doi: 10.1097/01.COT.0000559660.11679.5f
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Remembering Paul Godley as Distinguished Professor, Prostate Researcher

Paul Godley, MD, PhD, MPP, UNC School of Medicine's Vice Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, passed away March 31.

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“All of us at the UNC School of Medicine deeply respected Paul, and he will be greatly missed by everyone fortunate enough to have known him,” said Wesley Burks, MD, Dean of the UNC School of Medicine and CEO of UNC Health Care. “Paul's contributions to our institution and our community cannot be overstated.”

Godley began his latest position in 2017. He oversaw the School of Medicine's efforts to build a diverse and inclusive work and learning environment. Prior to this role, he served as Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Associate Dean for Finance and Administration.

While working in faculty affairs, Godley co-founded the Academic Career Leadership Academy in Medicine along with Amelia Drake, MD. This 1-year program provides leadership training and career development opportunities to faculty members with an emphasis on those underrepresented in medicine. More than 100 faculty members have completed the program since it was founded in 2012.

“Paul was one of the original recruits to UNC when the School of Medicine began to build its oncology practice. From the beginning, he advocated for patient-centered, multidisciplinary care at UNC Hospitals. As our practice grew, he continued as an example of all that is best in a physician who cares for patients and their families,” said Shelley Earp, MD, Director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Paul was a truly remarkable person, physician, colleague, husband, and father who brought a level of excellence to everything he did, from the care he provided his patients to the research he conducted to better understand and address health disparities. This is a tremendous loss for our community and the field of oncology.”

As the Rush S. Dickson Distinguished Professor of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Medicine and a UNC Lineberger member, Godley dedicated his career to researching and treating prostate cancer. He also worked tirelessly to identify, understand, and eliminate racial health disparities, directing the Program on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health Outcomes. This UNC-wide initiative uses multidisciplinary research, education and training, and community partnerships to advance understanding of racial health disparities in order to eliminate them.

In his spare time, Godley was an avid traveler and passionate photographer. Photographs of people taken during his travels lined the walls of his office.

Godley grew up in a home where health care was front and center. His father was an internist and his mother was a nurse. When he attended Yale University as an undergraduate, his sister was in medical school.

As he was earning his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, his mother died of colon cancer, which influenced his choice of medical specialty and sparked a research interest in cancer prevention.

“Paul was a friend and valued colleague who will be remembered for his intellect, wit, good nature, and commitment to patients,” said Norman E. Sharpless, MD, Acting Commissioner of the FDA and former UNC Lineberger Director. “His work in prostate cancer has significantly improved the manner by which physicians screen patients for this disease and how patients with this cancer are treated. He was an internationally recognized leader in cancer science and an important and valued advisor to the NIH and NCI.”

A full celebration of Godley's life and accomplishments is planned for the fall.

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Recipient of Newly Established 2019 ESMO Breast Cancer Award Announced

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) recently announced that Jonas Bergh, MD, PhD, from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, received the inaugural 2019 ESMO Breast Cancer Award in connection with the ESMO Breast Cancer Congress, held May 2-4 in Berlin. This honor acknowledges distinguished experts who have devoted a major part of their career and made a special contribution to the discovery and development of education, research, and clinical practice in the field of breast cancer.

“Professor Jonas Bergh has conducted clinical trials with new drugs and individually tailored dosing of chemotherapy,” noted Sibylle Loibl, MD, PhD, and Giuseppe Curigliano, MD, PhD, Co-Chairs of the ESMO Breast Cancer Congress. “The Swedish Group demonstrated in the first randomized study that 5 years of tamoxifen treatment is better that the previously recommended 2 years. He has been involved in showing the additional value of other drugs, in particular chemotherapy, in breast cancer treatment.”

Bergh is Cancer Theme Prefect and Director of Strategic Research Programme in Cancer at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, where he is also member of the Nobel Assembly and holds the Mimi Althainz' Professorship in Oncology. He is also Senior Consultant in Oncology at the Karolinska University Hospital, Acting Chair of the Scientific Council in Oncology/Haematology for the European Medicines Agency, Visiting Professor of Breast Cancer Research at Oxford University, and a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in London.

Bergh's research is mainly focused on breast cancer biology, including alteration of characteristics during progression and tailored breast cancer treatments. He is Co-Chair of the Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group (EBCTCG), whose publications have had a global impact on primary breast cancer treatment, and he was Chair of the Swedish Breast Cancer Group (SweBCG) between 1995 and 2016.

“Prof. Bergh's work has contributed to important progress in many aspects of cancer epidemiology, prevention, and treatment in breast cancer,” said Curigliano. “Under his leadership, the EBCTCG has analyzed immense amounts of clinical trial data. Their findings have provided crucial information to those of us who treat breast cancer patients.”

Bergh said he was “deeply honored” to receive this award from ESMO, adding: “On behalf of many collaborators, I'm pleased that ESMO is acknowledging our research, which aims to understand breast cancer biology and appreciate the complexity of this disease—for example clonal development during tumor progression—which increases the complexity of management.”

He acknowledged the patients who have participated in his research, the research team at the Karolinska Institutet, the breast team at the Karolinska University Hospital, and former research collaborators at Uppsala University and Akademiska Sjukhuset.

“I also would like to express my sincere thanks to SweBCG and the collaborators within the EBCTCG and the associated team in Oxford, in addition to a long list of other international collaborators, including the St. Gallen International Breast Cancer Conference and the International Consensus Conference for Advanced Breast Cancer teams,” he concluded.

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NCI Leader Named Editor-in-Chief of AACR Molecular Research Journal

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) recently announced the appointment of Beverly Teicher, PhD, as Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, one of eight journals published by the AACR. She officially began her term Jan. 1.

Molecular Cancer Therapeutics publishes science in the design, synthesis, discovery, and preclinical study of novel therapeutic agents for the treatment or prevention of cancer.

“Dr. Teicher is a world-renowned expert in the field of molecular therapeutic research, and the American Association for Cancer Research is thrilled to welcome her as Editor-in-Chief,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), Chief Executive Officer of the AACR. “With almost 40 years of extensive research experience and contributions to the field, she will enhance the impact of this remarkable journal through her leadership and will further advance our mission to prevent and cure all cancers.”

Teicher is Chief of the Molecular Pharmacology Branch at NCI, focusing on target and drug discovery in the disease areas of sarcoma and small cell lung cancer. She is best known for her work in solid tumor models and physiologic measurements of tumor hypoxia and oxygenation, the study of antiangiogenic agents, and the study of drug combinations with an emphasis on in vivo determination of tumor cell killing along with determination of bone marrow CFU-GM killing in the same host. She has led laboratories and teams that have contributed critical preclinical studies to several approved anticancer agents and several investigational agents currently in clinical trial.

Teicher has been an active member of AACR since 1981, having served as Senior Editor of Clinical Cancer Research and, more recently, as Senior Editor of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. She is also a member of the Stand Up To Cancer-Melanoma Research Alliance Joint Scientific Advisory Committee.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this journal at a time when improving therapeutics for cancer treatment is essential,” Teicher said. “I look forward to continuing to expand and strengthen its influence within the drug discovery community, as well as within the wider research community.”

Teicher is active in the international scientific community, having authored or coauthored more than 400 scientific publications and edited eight books. She is a member of the American Chemical Society, Radiation Research Society, and American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Lilly Research Laboratories President's Award (2011), American Cancer Society Junior Faculty Award (1999), and National Chemistry Honorary (1976).

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New Network Chair of Cancer Service Line Joins Western Connecticut Health Network

Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) announced the appointment of Margo Shoup, MD, FACS, as the new Network Chair of the Cancer Service Line. She will provide strategic and clinical leadership for all aspects of WCHN's cancer services, including medical oncology and subspecialty practices.

In her role as network chair, Shoup will oversee the integration of cancer services, especially as WCHN forms a new, unified innovative health system with Health Quest, to be called Nuvance Health. Cancer services include diagnostic imaging, genetic counseling, medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, research and clinical trials, and support services. She will also develop multidisciplinary disease management teams.

“In my former role, I fell in love with the community setting. So now I am looking forward to helping the communities in Connecticut and New York that WCHN serves,” said Shoup. “Together, with the excellent teams already in place at WCHN, we will continue to build on the existing cancer programs so that people have access to top-notch community-based care without traveling far. It's up to us to make this happen, and we can.”

She will also manage the first-of-its-kind cancer care collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center that successfully launched at Norwalk Hospital in 2017. The aim of the unique collaboration is to accelerate access to the newest cancer treatments for residents of Fairfield County, Conn.

“I was eager to join WCHN because of the quality physicians and care teams here, who all have great ideas and are so vested in caring for their patients. Through my role, I intend to facilitate implementing these ideas for the better health of our patients,” she noted.

Shoup is a nationally recognized surgical oncologist with expertise in gastrointestinal cancers. She joins WCHN from Chicago where she was the Medical Leader of Cancer Services for Northwestern Medicine Cancer Centers, West Region, and the Director of Surgical Oncology for Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group. She was also a Professor of Surgery at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine.

Shoup currently serves as President of the Central Surgical Association and Treasurer of the Western Surgical Association. She is also a member of the Society for Surgical Oncology, Society of University Surgeons, and Southern Surgical Association. From 2012 to 2018, she was a Director of the American Board of Surgery, as the representative for the American College of Surgeons.

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Northwell Health Opens Center for Breast & Lymphatic Surgery

Northwell Health has opened an outpatient comprehensive reconstructive breast and lymphatic surgery center designed for women with breast cancer or a genetic predisposition for the disease.

Surgeons at the Gerald J. Friedman Center for Breast and Lymphatic Surgery specialize in breast and lymphatic reconstruction, have pioneered many advances in the field, and are recognized internationally as leaders in research and innovation. Collectively, the center's five breast reconstructive surgeons have performed thousands of successful microsurgical procedures.

The center is in part supported by the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman Foundation, a longtime benefactor to Northwell Health.

“The Friedman Center began as a shared vision among patients and physicians about how we could provide the best possible care for patients—the way we'd want our family members to be treated,” said Mark L. Smith, MD, Vice Chair of Surgery at Northwell Health, Director of Reconstructive Oncology at Northwell's Cancer Institute, and Executive Director of the Friedman Center. “We know patients feel nervous and overwhelmed when they come in either before or after a mastectomy. We've created a serene and nurturing environment to help women make the best medical decisions during a stressful time.”

Joining Smith at the Friedman Center are four plastic reconstructive surgeons, all of whom were based previously at three different offices in the area. The new center fosters greater collaboration among the surgeons, who include Armen Kasabian, MD, Adam Perry, MD, Victor Moon, MD, and Neil Tanna, MD. With decades of experience, hundreds of peer-reviewed publications, and research presentations among the team, these surgeons have achieved major advances in their field.

Patients at the Friedman Center have access to a dedicated navigator who helps guide them to Northwell Health resources, including genetics, breast surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, gynecology, physical therapy, and support services.

“Being part of a large health system with experts in every area of breast cancer treatment allows us to fully evaluate complex conditions and provide seamless patient care,” said Smith, while adding that a unique aspect of the center is the support provided by former patients who share their experiences with women currently undergoing treatment. “It's an invaluable aspect of our program for women to talk with others who have been in their shoes.”

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Melanoma Researcher Receives American Skin Association Grant

Willy Hugo, PhD, Assistant Adjunct Professor of Dermatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a scientist at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been awarded the Daneen & Charles Stiefel Investigative Scientist Award for Melanoma Research by the American Skin Association to further research in treatment-resistant melanoma.

The $100,000 grant supports emerging leaders in dermatology focused on finding discoveries that impact the understanding or treatment of the deadliest and most aggressive form of skin cancer. While there have been new advancements in treating melanoma, the rates for the disease have continued to rise for the last 30 years.

Hugo earned his doctorate in computational biology from the National University of Singapore in 2011 and has since published multiple high-impact papers on research advancements in melanoma. Currently, Hugo is studying gene and protein networks affecting melanoma's sensitivity and resistance toward targeted and immunotherapies at single-cell level.

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City of Hope Awarded Grants to Treat Rare, Incurable Cancer

City of Hope recently received $7.5 million in grant awards to study a rare type of blood cancer that affects the skin: cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). The NCI awarded two grants valued at $6.3 million over 5 years to City of Hope's Steven Rosen, MD, and Christiane Querfeld, MD, PhD, so they can develop improved therapies for CTCL, a disfiguring, incurable cancer that affects about 3,000 new individuals each year. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) also gave the pair two individual grants totaling $1.2 million over 3 years. Rosen and Querfeld will approach the problem from different angles in their respective laboratories.

“City of Hope is creating a national model for how to treat CTCL,” said Rosen, its Provost, Chief Scientific Officer, and the Morgan & Helen Chu Director's Chair of the Beckman Research Institute. “Symptoms can include large, disfiguring plaques and tumors on the skin or a red rash that may cover the entire body. We are grateful for the trust the federal government and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society have in us and our results.”

Querfeld, Chief of Dermatology and Director of City of Hope's Cutaneous Lymphoma Program and a Schwartz Ward Family Foundation LLS Scholar, has been studying and treating patients with CTCL for 17 years. She will use her grants to advance her clinical phase I/II trial that looked at immune checkpoint PD1/PD-L1 inhibition. Her team will map the communication network among the disease's cellular, molecular, and immunological microenvironment. Blocking or silencing certain communication networks could eliminate tumors or cancers, she noted.

“The result of this newly funded study will allow physicians to use personalized medicine for certain patients with CTCL,” Querfeld said. “We will identify potential therapeutic targets and correlative markers that help guide immunotherapy treatments.”

Querfeld was mentored by Rosen, City of Hope's Irell & Manella Cancer Center Director's Distinguished Chair, when she first entered the research world. CTCL has been one of Rosen's research foci since the 1980s. He has identified novel groups of targets to advance the development of therapeutic compounds for this disease. His NCI and LLS grant awards will build the foundational knowledge scientists need to develop targeted drug therapies for people with CTCL. Specifically, he will look at molecular regulators like p38γ, a protein kinase that is overexpressed in CTCL cells, but not in healthy immune T cells.

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