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Antoinette R. Tan, MD, MHSc, has joined Carolinas HealthCare System's Levine Cancer Institute as Chief of Breast Medical Oncology and Co-Director of the Phase I Program. She will also serve as Chief of Medical Oncology at Carolinas HealthCare System's Carolinas Medical Center-Pineville location. She was previously Director of Phase I and Investigational Therapeutics and Associate Professor of Medicine at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

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Mark Del Beccaro, MD, has been appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Seattle Children's, starting Oct. 1. He is currently Vice President of Medical Affairs there, and will replace David Fisher, MD, in the new position, who is retiring.

ANTOINETTE R. TAN, M... - Click to enlarge in new windowANTOINETTE R. TAN, MD, MHSC. ANTOINETTE R. TAN, MD, MHSC

"Mark's passion, dedication, leadership and commitment to our patients, families, and his colleagues make him an outstanding candidate to serve as CMO," the institution's CEO, Thomas N. Hansen, MD, said in a news release. "He is in a great position to lead Seattle Children's into the next era."

MARK DEL BECCARO, MD... - Click to enlarge in new windowMARK DEL BECCARO, MD. MARK DEL BECCARO, MD

Del Beccaro joined Seattle Children's in 1979 and has been on the faculty in the Emergency Department and as Pediatrician-in-Chief, before assuming his current Vice President role in 2012.


Ephraim Casper, MD, has been appointed Medical Director for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Regional Care Network, comprised of six outpatient suburban locations-three on Long Island; two in West Chester County, New York; and one in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. He will be responsible for quality of care at these facilities, where more than 108,000 patients are seen annually.


"As Medical Director, Dr. Casper will create remarkable opportunities for MSK to increase our provision of care and to expand the role of clinical research in these locations, ultimately benefiting even more patients," Richard Barakat, MD, FACS, Deputy-Physician-in-Chief for the Regional Care Network and MSK Cancer Alliance, said in a news release.

EPHRAIM CASPER, MD. ... - Click to enlarge in new windowEPHRAIM CASPER, MD. EPHRAIM CASPER, MD

Casper is a medical oncologist with expertise in treating patients with solid tumors and colorectal, pancreatic, biliary, gastric, and esophageal cancers. He joined MSKCC's faculty in 1979, first as a member of the Developmental Chemotherapy Service, and then as a member of the Gastrointestinal Oncology Service. He joined the MSKCC Basking Ridge facility in 1996, and has also served on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma and Soft Tissue Sarcoma panels.


In other MSKCC news, Nancy Diamond, has been named Administrator of the new Harrison facility, which is scheduled to open in October. In the role, she will maintain operations and serve as liaison to the community. Diamond has previously served at MSKCC in the Gynecological Surgery Department as an Administrative Manager for the Department of Surgery. She has also previously held positions at North Shore-LIJ Hospital and Greenwich Hospital.


No Stomach For Cancer, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about stomach cancer, has awarded two $50,000 grants to fund research investigating the prevention, diagnosis, and treatments for gastric cancer.

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David Huntsman, MD, of the University of British Columbia, and Carla Oliveira, PhD, of IPATIMUP at the University of Porto in Porto, Portugal, were co-awarded the first grant for their research to investigate how the CDH1 gene functions in the development of Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC). The goal is to identify more variants of HDGC and pinpoint additional genes that may play a role in the development of HDGC and other forms of gastric cancer.


Luis Carvajal-Carmona, PhD, of the University of California at Davis, was awarded the second grant to research the causes of familial stomach cancer through DNA sequencing. The current genetic test for familial stomach cancer is beneficial for less than half of families and the genetic cause of the remaining cases is unknown. Carmona's research will focus on families from around the world for whom there is no known cause of cancer aggregation.

DAVID HUNTSMAN, MD. ... - Click to enlarge in new windowDAVID HUNTSMAN, MD. DAVID HUNTSMAN, MD

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCIRO) has awarded $2.1 million to fund research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to increase and improve goals-of-care discussions for advanced cancer patients to improve patients' quality of life and reduce hospital and Intensive Care Unit admission rates. The project will train medical oncologists to conduct such discussions and evaluate the effect on patient satisfaction, receipt of care in line with preferences, aggressive care utilization, and oncologist communication skills.


The funding will be awarded over the next three years and the principal investigator is Nina Bickell, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine and of Population Health Science and Policy at Mount Sinai.


Terry C. Hicks, MD, Associate Chairman in the Department of Colon and Rectal Surgery at Ochsner Clinic and Clinical Professor of Surgery at Louisiana State University School of Medicine, has been elected President of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.

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Other new officers and members elected to serve on the Governing Executive Council are:

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* President-elect: Charles E. Littlejohn, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor at Columbia University;


* Vice President: Gerald A. Isenberg, MD, Professor of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia;


* Secretary: Tracy L. Hull, MD, Professor of Surgery at Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University and the Shafran Family Charitable Trust Endowed Chair there;


* Member-at-Large: John R.T. Monson, MD, Chief of the Division of Colorectal Surgery and Vice Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and Director of the Surgical Health Outcomes and Research Enterprise, as well as Vice-Chairman for Health Services Research;


* Member-at-Large: Heidi Nelson, MD, the Fred C. Andersen Professor of Surgery and Chair of the Department of Surgery at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine; and


* Member-at-Large: Bruce A. Orkin, MD, Chief of the Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery and Vice Chair for Academic Affairs in the Department of General Surgery at Rush University.



The Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology has appointed two new members to its Board of Directors. They are:


* Raj Mantena, RPh, an entrepreneur who has founded and co-founded several groundbreaking companies in the oncology field; and


* Aaron Sasson, Chairman and Co-founder of Lanetix, which provides cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) and workflow for the logistics and transportation industry, and who is also Chairman and Co-founder of GT Nexus, a cloud-based global supply chain management company. Sasson has worked in the technology industry for 30 years and was the co-founder of Scopus Technology, one of the first CRM software companies.



In addition, the following members of the Board of Directors have been reappointed for another term: W. Charles Penley, MD, FASCO, Chair; Martin J. Murphy DMedSc, PhD, FASCO, Chair Emeritus; Thomas G. Roberts, Jr., MD, Secretary for 2015; Michael L. Gordon, JD, and Robert J. Mayer, MD, FASCO, as Members.

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$100 Million Gift to OHSU

Oregon Health & Science University's Knight Cancer Institute has received a $100 million donation from Columbia Sportswear Chair Gert Boyle, for OHSU's $1 billion campaign to support the Knight Cancer Challenge, which was launched in 2013 after Nike Co-founder Phil Knight and his wife, Penny, pledged $500 million for cancer research if OHSU raised an equal amount by February 2016. This recent gift is the largest private donation to the campaign to date and one of the four largest pledges in OHSU's history.

BRIAN DRUKER, MD; an... - Click to enlarge in new windowBRIAN DRUKER, MD; and GERT BOYLE. BRIAN DRUKER, MD; and GERT BOYLE.

"Gifts of this size are not made without a great deal of thought, and we embrace the opportunity and responsibility of using this investment to take the next giant leap against cancer," OHSU President Joe Robertson, MD, MBA, said in a news release.


The gift will be used to support a full range of initiatives, he said, including hiring 20 to 30 top scientists and their teams to collaborate on improving methods to identify cancers at the earliest and most curable stage.


To date, the Knight Cancer Challenge has resulted in some $218 million in donations and pledges from approximately 5,800 supporters. The state of Oregon also has agreed to invest $200 million in OHSU facilities needed to support the expansion.


The gift had previously been announced at the end of July as being from an anonymous donor, but after much speculation, OHSU posted a news release just about a month later, along with a humorous video (, revealing that Gert Boyle had released the institution from its pledge to keep the donation anonymous.


OHSU Foundation President L. Keith Todd said, "While we were more than happy to keep Gert's identity confidential at her request in announcing her gift in July, we obviously are very pleased to now be able to publicly honor and thank her for her incredible generosity. This gesture, and the motivation behind it, should not be a surprise to Oregonians who know Gert and her personal story.


"For decades, she has served as a model of what can be achieved when you simply do not have the words 'can't' or 'impossible' in your vocabulary. She and her family have been longtime supporters of OHSU's Knight Cancer Institute. Her late sister Hildegard Lamfrom, was a renowned scientist and a personal mentor to Knight Cancer Institute Director Dr. Brian Druker, whose vision to end cancer as we know it has gained the passionate support of thousands during this past year."


ASTRO Annual Meeting Awards

The following awards were presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology 56th Annual Meeting in San Francisco earlier this month.


Two physicians received ASTRO Junior Faculty Career Research Training Awards, which provide $100,000 to each winner annually for two years to support their work on projects in radiation oncology, biology, physics, or outcomes/health services. Recipients must be board-eligible physicians, physicists in radiation oncology, or radiobiologists within the first three years of their junior faculty appointment. This year's recipients were:


* Bryan Allen, MD, PhD, a radiation oncology resident at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, who is working to determine if pharmacological ascorbate can be used to modulate chemoradiation sensitivity in non-small cell lung cancer and therefore be utilized to improve outcomes in lung cancer treatment; and


* Stephen Shiao, MD, PhD, a radiation oncologist at Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute in Los Angeles, who is researching the mechanisms by which blocking interleukin(IL)-4 enhances solid tumor response to radiation therapy.



Two researchers received the ASTRO/Radiation Oncology Institute Comparative Effectiveness Research Award, which provides $50,000 annually to each recipient to be used for comparative effectiveness research examining radiation oncology treatment. Awardees are board-certified or board-eligible physicians in radiation oncology at the time the award begins and are focused on academic radiation oncology. This year's recipients were:

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* Benjamin Smith, MD, Associate Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, whose research focuses on improving and personalizing the selection of local therapy in older women with localized, estrogen receptor positive breast cancer by comparing quality-of-life outcomes for patients treated with four local therapy options: lumpectomy with whole breast irradiation, lumpectomy with brachytherapy, mastectomy without radiation, and lumpectomy with endocrine therapy alone; and


* James D. Murphy, MD, MS, Chief of the Gastrointestinal Tumor Service for Radiation Oncology at the University of California, San Diego, who is examining the patterns of hypofractionated breast radiation, studying the comparative effectiveness and assessing the patient or provider characteristics associated with the use of hypofractionation versus standard fractionated radiation therapy.



Three individuals received ASTRO Residents/Fellows in Radiation Oncology Research Seed Grant Awards-$25,000 each for one-year projects to residents and fellows who are planning to pursue careers focusing on basic science or clinical research in radiation oncology services. The recipients were:

BENJAMIN SMITH, MD. ... - Click to enlarge in new windowBENJAMIN SMITH, MD. BENJAMIN SMITH, MD
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* Zachary Morris, MD, PhD, a radiation oncology resident at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics, who is comparing the efficacy of combinations of radiation, a tumor-specific antibody that elicits antibody-dependent, cell-mediated cytotoxicity, and a checkpoint inhibitor with respect to the control of local, distant, and re-introduced sites of disease to evaluate the immune response to these treatments;


* Tu Dan, MD, a radiation oncology resident at Thomas Jefferson University, who is examining the inhibition of miR-21, an oncogenic microRNA, to overcome treatment resistance and sensitize tumors to DNA-damaging agents in radioresistant breast cancer; and


* Todd Aguilera, MD, PhD, a radiation oncology resident at Stanford University Cancer Center, who is investigating why tumor immunity often does not occur in a checkpoint blockade setting and is evaluating the Abscopal Effect of radiation that, when combined with radiation, can lead to immune responses in untreated tumors.



ASTRO has also awarded Jasan Zimmerman, a San Francisco Bay Area resident and cancer survivor, the 2014 Survivor Circle Award, which recognizes a survivor who lives in the Annual Meeting host city who has dedicated his or her time and energy in service and support of the local community.

ZACHARY MORRIS, MD, ... - Click to enlarge in new windowZACHARY MORRIS, MD, PHD. ZACHARY MORRIS, MD, PHD
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Zimmerman is a survivor of neuroblastoma (diagnosed when he was six months old) and thyroid cancer (diagnosed at 26). He has been a member of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Cancer Patient Advisory Council since 2010; and since 2012, a member of the planning committee for Courageous Kids, an annual American Cancer Society event that is "a day for kids away from cancer"; a member of the Alumni Advisory Board of First Descents, which offers free outdoor adventure camps for young adult cancer patients and survivors; and a co-facilitator of Healthy Young Attitude, the monthly young adult patient and survivor support group in Mountain View, California.


He has also served as a Super Advocate for the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship; an Advisory Board member of Yoga Bear, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting more opportunities for wellness and healing to the cancer community through the practice of yoga; and a Patient Services Committee member for Cancer CAREpoint in San Jose, California. He has also reviewed cancer research grants for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program and spoken about survivorship to various groups, including the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Relay for Life, and Stupid Cancer's 2014 OMG! Cancer Summit for Young Adults.


And, ASTRO selected two California-based cancer patient support groups-Kids Konnected and the Breast and Gyn Health Project-to receive the 2014 Survivor Circle grants. Each organization received $8,500 to recognize its efforts and provide direct support for work assisting cancer patients and their families.


Kids Konnected's mission is to provide friendship, understanding, education, and support for children and teens who have a parent with cancer or who have lost a parent to cancer. The organization's programs include age-appropriate support groups in several states, bereavement workshops and summer camps, cancer educational books available for purchase, and "Hope" the Bear care packages mailed nationwide. Kids Konnected also offers support sessions for parents to give them the tools to help their children identify and cope with the emotional issues they are facing. Since its founding in 1993, the organization has distributed almost 3,000 care packages and served 25,000 children and teens through its support groups.


The Breast and Gyn Health Project provides a variety of information and support services for patients and families facing breast or gynecologic cancers. It offers four bi-weekly support groups for individuals with any kind of cancer, a community lending library with information on the clinical aspects of cancer and wellness, and assistance to help patients navigate the medical system. This grant will help provide transportation for radiation therapy patients, lodging assistance, and radiation therapy kits with information and tips for patients undergoing radiation treatment. The organization has supported more than 2,300 people since its founding in 1997.


ASTRO also awarded a total of $35,500 in individual grants to 43 researchers who received 2014 Annual Meeting Abstract Awards. The complete list of awardees recognized at the meeting is available at


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