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The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has created a new research institute that will pool academic and industry advancements to develop new cancer therapies-a step the institute leaders hope will bridge a divide between academic research focused on identifying cancers on a molecular level and pharmaceutical research focused on later stage clinical drug trials.

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Guilio Draetta, MD, PhD, has been named Director of the new institute and Lynda Chin, MD, is the new Scientific Director. Dr. Draetta has served as the Deputy Director and Chief Research Development Officer at the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science in Boston, and led research that identified the processes of cell division and DNA damage and repair at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, and the European Institute of Oncology. He has also served as Vice President and worldwide head of oncology drug discovery at Pharmacia and Merck, and co-founded Karyopharm Therapeutics and Mitotix, both biotechnology companies engineering cancer therapies.


In addition to her new appointment at MD Anderson, Dr. Chin chairs the Department of Genomic Medicine, and has served as Scientific Director at Belfer. She was a member of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School community and a principal investigator of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) for the Genome Data Analysis Center. On the industry side, she co-founded the biotechnology company AVEO Pharmaceuticals and founded Metamark Genetics, Inc. a cancer diagnostic company that will develop customized cancer therapies for early-stage cancer patients.

GUILIO DRAETTA, MD, ... - Click to enlarge in new windowGUILIO DRAETTA, MD, PHD
LYNDA CHIN, MD... - Click to enlarge in new windowLYNDA CHIN, MD

Lei Dong, PhD, will join Scripps Health next month as Chief Medical Physicist of the Scripps Proton Therapy Center, overseeing the facility's technical and clinical operations, including commissioning all equipment, staffing researchers, and implementing quality control and safety programs. Dr. Dong was most recently at MD Anderson Cancer Center as Professor and Deputy Chair of the Department of Radiation Physics, where he played a key role in making proton therapy a treatment option there in 2006.


Andrew B. Lassman, MD, has joined the Neurological Institute at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center as Chief of the new neuro-oncology program, which will focus on both research and patient care.

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"His ambitious plans for a multidisciplinary, pre-eminent facility for primary and metastatic brain tumor care, research, and education will establish New York-Presbyterian as a leading center for neuro-oncology," said Richard Mayeux MD, MSc, Chairman of the Department of Neurology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Neurologist-in-Chief at New York-Presbyterian. Since 2004 Dr. Lassman has been at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, as a practicing neurologist and neuro-oncologist and Director of the Fellowship Program, as well as Chief Fellow in Neuro-Oncology.

ANDREW B. LASSMAN, M... - Click to enlarge in new windowANDREW B. LASSMAN, MD

Charles Shapiro, MD, has been named to lead the breast cancer research program at Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Dr. Shapiro will focus on advancing research in the following areas and initiating clinical trials: using microRNAs to better understand the biology and classification of breast cancers, developing new drugs for treatment, and finding treatment options for breast cancer stromal tissue. Dr. Shapiro has been Professor of Internal Medicine at Ohio State since 1998, and also serves as Director of Breast Medical Oncology.


Thomas Smith, MD, has been appointed Director of Palliative Care for Johns Hopkins Medicine and the first Harry J. Duffey Family Professor of Palliative Care in the Department of Oncology, where he will oversee all palliative care initiatives in the Kimmel Cancer Center. Dr. Smith has been Co-director of the Massey Cancer Center Cancer Control and Prevention Program at Virginia Commonwealth University's Massey Cancer Center, where he was Endowed Professor of Palliative Care Research and Esteemed Professor of Medicine for Oncology.

CHARLES SHAPIRO, MD... - Click to enlarge in new windowCHARLES SHAPIRO, MD

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center also recently awarded Sara Sukumar, PhD, a breast cancer researcher on the faculty, $50,000 to help develop her biomarker research into commercially available tests that would be able to predict the best treatment options for breast cancer patients. Dr. Sukumar co-directs the Breast Cancer Program at the Kimmel Cancer Center, and won a BioMaryland LIFE Prize from the Johns Hopkins University Alliance for Science and Technology Development and the University of Maryland, Baltimore Commercial Advisory Board.

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SARA SUKUMAR, PHD... - Click to enlarge in new windowSARA SUKUMAR, PHD