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Charles A. LeMaistre, MD, who served as the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center's third President (1978-1996), has been named Chancellor Emeritus. "Dr. LeMaistre led MD Anderson during a time of great change in our nation's health care system," current President Ronald DePinho, MD, said in a news release. "With his trademark charismatic style, he was instrumental in guiding the Cancer Center during a period of substantial growth in programs, personnel, facilities, and private philanthropy."

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LeMaistre was also the fourth UT System Chancellor, from 1971 to 1978. Under his leadership, the UT System expanded to include new health science centers in Houston and San Antonio and new universities in Dallas, Permian Basin, and San Antonio. And as President of MD Anderson, LeMaistre established the cancer prevention program there. He is also President Emeritus at MD Anderson, a past President of the American Cancer Society, and was on the first U.S. Surgeon General's Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health in 1964.


Louis B. Harrison, MD, has joined Moffitt Cancer Center as Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and Senior Member.


"Dr. Harrison is an internationally recognized and extensively published expert in the areas of head and neck cancer, sarcomas, and intraoperative brachytherapy. His leadership will help provide our patients with the most innovative radiation oncology care," Douglas Letson, MD, Moffitt's Physician-in-Chief and Executive Vice President, said in a news release.

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Harrison, a Fellow of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, is also a past President and Board Chairman. He is also a former President and Board Member of both the American Brachytherapy Society and the International Society for Intraoperative Radiation Therapy. He currently serves on the boards of the Radiation Oncology Institute and the Eastern Division of the American Cancer Society.


Harrison was most recently Physician-in-Chief for Continuum Cancer Centers of New York and was the Gerald J. Friedman Chair and Chairman of Radiation Oncology at Beth Israel Medical Center and St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals of the Mount Sinai Health System. He was also Professor of Radiation Oncology and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.


Michael Bookman, MD, has joined Arizona Oncology, a practice in the US Oncology Network, as a medical gynecologic oncologist, and US Oncology Research, as Director of Gynecologic Oncology Research.


"Our clinical research environment is evolving rapidly, with an emphasis on industry-sponsored trials of molecular targeted agents, often in selected patient populations with predictive biomarkers, using smaller randomized pilots to select and validate promising regimens for definitive Phase III trials," Bookman noted in a news release. "US Oncology Research is uniquely positioned to stay ahead of this trend and offer important trials to patients with a variety of gynecologic cancers, including rare diseases and uncommon molecular subtypes."


His previous experience includes working for NCI's intramural program, the Gynecologic Oncology Group, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. He continues to serve as Chair of the Ovarian Committee for GOG, now part of the NRG Oncology research group of the National Clinical Trials Network, as well as Director of Educational Resources for the International Gynecologic Cancer Society.


Ira Byock, MD, has joined Providence Health & Services as Chief Medical Officer of the Institute for Human Caring. The new Institute will offer resources, training, and support to help clinicians have more open and meaningful conversations with patients and their families about their plans and preferences for care through the end of life. The Institute will be based at Providence TrinityCare in Southern California and will support clinicians, patients, and families across the Providence system.


Byock was previously Director of Palliative Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Chair of Palliative Medicine at Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine. He has written three books on supportive care: The Four Things That Matter Most, Dying Well, and The Best Care Possible.

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"We know that when clinicians understand people's underlying desires and concerns, they can work more effectively with patients and their families to develop treatment plans that best meet their needs," Byock said in a news release. "It's already part of Providence's DNA to see each patient as a unique individual and a whole person. Our new institute will take that commitment even further."


Ramesh Ramanathan, MD, has joined the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Arizona as Leader of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Team. He most recently led the Clinical Trial Program at Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Health Care/Translational Genomics Research Institute, and was also previously head of the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at the University of Pittsburgh.


Six new Scientific Advisory Board Members have been elected to the Lymphoma Research Foundation. The Advisory Board directs the LRF research portfolio, reviewing grant proposals and making recommendations regarding research priorities and funding for the Foundation Board of Directors. The following new members each began five-year terms in July:


Sven de Vos, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine and Director of the UCLA Lymphoma Program. He is a member of the Stem Cell Biology Program Area and Chair of the Data Safety and Monitoring Board of UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.


* Andrew Evens, DO, MSc, Director of Tufts Cancer Center and Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology, Director of the Lymphoma Program at Tufts Medical Center, and Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.


* Eric Hsi, MD, Professor of Pathology, Section Head of Hematopathology, and Medical Director of the Automated Hematology, Flow Cytometry, and Immunochemistry Laboratories in the Institute of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Cleveland Clinic.


* Brian K. Link, MD, Professor of Internal Medicine in Hematology, Oncology, and Blood and Marrow Transplantation at the University of Iowa's Carver College of Medicine. He directs the Translational Research Support Resource and the Lymphoma Clinical Services for the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.


* Laurie H. Sehn, MD, MPH, Clinical Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia and a medical oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency, where she is also a clinical investigator and Chair of the Lymphoma Tumor Group


* Margaret Shipp, MD, Chief of the Division of Hematologic Neoplasia at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Lymphoma and Myeloma Program at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.



Yan Liu, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine and a researcher at the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, has been named a St. Baldrick Foundation Scholar for 2014 and has received a three-year, $330,000 award for his work to improve treatment outcomes for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Liu's team recently found that the enzyme PRL2 is elevated in ALL cells. His current research aims to determine the effect of PRL2 inhibitors on ALL cells in hopes that it can be a new target in the treatment of ALL.

ANDREW EVENS, DO, MS... - Click to enlarge in new windowANDREW EVENS, DO, MSC. ANDREW EVENS, DO, MSC
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Also at IU, Michael Ferguson, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine and a researcher at the IU Simon Cancer Center, was awarded an additional third year of funding for his St. Baldrick's Fellowship Award for research to develop therapies for children with neurofibromatosis type I. His project is testing drugs, already developed by pharmaceutical companies that block growth in other cancers, for plexiform neurofibromas.

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University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center faculty have received 19 grants totaling more than $26 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to expand cancer screenings, to investigate the effectiveness and viability for cancer therapies and radiation treatments, to conduct research into cancer biology, and for recruitment.


"The broad research that will result thanks to these grants represents a significant contribution in our ongoing understanding of cancer, its causes, and how best to treat and eventually eliminate it," said James Willson, MD, Dean of Oncology Programs, Professor and Director of the Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center, Professor of Internal Medicine, and holder of The Lisa K. Simmons Distinguished Chair in Comprehensive Oncology at UT Southwestern.


The funding includes $10.1 million (total) for 12 Individual Investigator Research Awards involving treatments and strategies targeting lung, breast, prostate, and head and neck cancers, as well as basic science research in cancer biology; $8 million for recruitment of faculty from Brandeis University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California San Francisco; $6 million in Product Development Grants for OncoNano Medicine, LLC to commercialize technology invented by UT Southwestern faculty members for oncology surgery; $1.5 million in Competitive Expansion Grants to expand a unique telemedicine program to provide genetic cancer screenings for underserved rural areas; and $400,000 in High-Impact/High-Risk Research Awards involving cellular pathways that could help disrupt the spread of cancer cells.


The grants were awarded by CPRIT (established in 2007 by a Texas constitutional amendment and charged with awarding funding to cancer research and prevention programs and services in the state of Texas) through its merit-based, peer-review process to identify a wide range of high-quality, innovative projects.


Gamma Medica, a digital imaging technologies company, has established and will fund the Douglas Wagenaar Fellowships and Scholarships that will support PhD and Masters students in the Duke University Medical Physics Graduate Program who are engaged in research in the area of breast imaging.


The awards are named in memory of Douglas Wagenaar, PhD, who received his PhD at Duke in 1985, in recognition of this contributions to technologies that have advanced clinical care through molecular breast imaging.


ESMO 2014 Congress Awards

The European Society for Medical Oncology has awarded the following awards, which were presented at the ESMO 2014 Congress last month in Madrid, Spain.


Carsten Bokemeyer, MD, Professor and Head of the Department of Oncology, Hematology, and Bone Marrow Transplantation at Hamburg University, received the ESMO Award, which recognizes an ESMO member who has made an outstanding contribution to the development of medical oncology and who understands the importance of promoting medical oncology as a specialty within the international community. Bokemeyer's work, which has focused on the pathogenesis and biology of malignant germ cell tumors, has contributed to identifying the early stages of malignant germ cell transformation and the mechanisms of resistance of germ cell tumors to chemotherapy.


Peter Boyle, PhD, FRSE, FMedSci, Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Strathclyde, received the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award for his long-standing contribution to cancer epidemiology, education, and prevention. He led the EUROCAN+PLUS project for the European Parliament, which developed priorities for coordination of cancer research in Europe and was Editor of the World Cancer Report 2008 and the State of Oncology 2013, which highlighted the growing global cancer crisis.


Heikki Joensuu, MD, PhD, Academy Professor of Oncology at the University of Helsinki and Research Director at the Helsinki Comprehensive Cancer Center in Finland, received the Hamilton Fairly Award, which recognizes a medical oncologist for achievements in cancer science and clinical or laboratory research. Joensuu's work focuses on clinical and translation breast cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumor research. In 2000 he and his colleagues discovered that imatinib was effective for most advanced GISTs, in 2004 the team began to research the agent as adjuvant treatment of GIST, and in 2011 they found that it increased recurrence-free survival and possibly overall survival.


Joensuu is a member of the ESMO faculty for Sarcoma. He joined the University of Helsinki in 1994 as Professor of Oncology. He then served as Medical Director of the Department of Oncology there (1995-2009).

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