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The following members of the oncology community have been newly elected to the Institute of Medicine:

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* Jose Baselga, MD, PhD, Physician-in-Chief and Chief Medical Officer of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center;


* Carol R. Bradford, MD, the Charles J. Krause Collegiate Professor and Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Michigan Health System;


* Lewis C. Cantley, PhD, Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College/New York-Presbyterian Hospital;


* Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD, Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine;


* E. Antonio Chiocca, MD, PhD, Neurosurgeon-in-Chief and Co-director of the Institute for the Neurosciences at Brigham and Women's/Faulkner Hospital, Surgical Director of the Center for Neuro-oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the Harvey W. Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School;


* James E. Crowe Jr., MD, Director of Vanderbilt Vaccine Center and the Ann Scott Carell Chair Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center;


* Joseph M. DeSimone, PhD, Chancellor's Eminent Professor of Chemistry and the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University;


* James Economou, MD, PhD, Vice Chancellor for Research and Beaumont Professor of Surgery at UCLA;


* Todd R. Golub, MD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Chief Scientific Officer at Broad Institute of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Charles A. Dana Investigator at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute;


* Paul A. Khavari, MD, PhD, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Stanford University;


* Sara Kenkare-Mitra, PhD, Senior Vice President of Development Sciences at Genentech Research and Early Development at Hoffmann La-Roche;


* Brian K. Kobilka, MD, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University School of Medicine;


* Guillermina Lozano, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Genetics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center;


* David R. Piwnica-Worms, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Cancer Systems Imaging and Deputy Head of the Division of Imaging at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center;


* Randy Wayne Schekman, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Berkeley;


* Margaret A. Shipp, MD, Chief of the Division of Hematology Neoplasia at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute;


* Bruce M. Spiegelman, PhD, the Stanley J. Korsmeyer Professor of Cell Biology and Medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School; and


* Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, the Paul A. Bunn Cancer Research Chair. Professor of Surgery and Pharmacology, and Director of the University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center.



Zhu Chen, MD, PhD, Vice Chairman of the 12th Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, has received the 2014 American Association for Cancer Research Award for Distinguished Public Service and Global Impact in Cancer Research in Biomedical Science, given at AACR's inaugural meeting in China. He also delivered the opening plenary lecture during the meeting, "New Horizons in Cancer Research: Harnessing Breakthroughs-Targeting Cures."


"Dr. Chen epitomizes the scientific work of this vast nation, and it is our honor to recognize him for his achievements. As the minister of health in China, he has been, and continues to be in his current important role, a visionary leader and proponent for cancer research, biomedical science, and improved public health," AACR President Carlos L. Arteaga, MD, said in a news release.


Chen has previously served as China's Minister of Health (2007-2013) and Director of the Chinese National Human Genome Center. His own research focused on the concept of combination targeted therapies for cancer and provided the first successful model in the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia with all-trans retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide, which turned the previously fatal hematologic malignancy into a largely curable disease.


Lili Yang, PhD, Assistant Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, has received a National Institutes of Health Director's New Innovator Award of $2.3 million for her research developing new ways to genetically program human blood stem cells to attack tumor cells. The award is designed specifically to support unusually creative new investigators with highly innovative research ideas.


Yang's previous research has focused on invariant natural killer T cells (iNKT), which have been found to have the capacity to mount an immediate and powerful response to diseases when activated. Her current work will develop a new way to model how to genetically program human blood stem cells to become iNKT cells.

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"The potential for iNKT T cell receptor-based gene therapy is very exciting because it is very different from conventional T cell receptor-based gene therapy, which can only target specific types of tumor and a certain group of patients," Yang said in a news release. "The kind of iNKT T cell receptor gene therapy we are investigating could have universal application, treating many types of cancer and a large group of patients no matter what types of tumor they have. It holds tremendous promise for the future."


Nicholas J. Petrelli, MD, FACS, the Bank of America Endowed Medical Director of Christiana Care's Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and Research Institute in Newark, Delaware, has received the Association of Community Cancer Centers' 2014 Clinical Research Award, honoring his leadership initiatives promoting and advocating for oncology clinical research.


Petrelli led the development of the Clinical Oncology Care Program at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center, which has served as a National Cancer Institute Community Cancer Center Program site and has achieved an accrual rate of 24 percent in NCI-sponsored clinical trials. In August the Center earned a five-year $8.2 million grant from the NCI's Community Oncology Research Program.


Petrelli also spearheaded the development of a Tissue Procurement Center with over 4,000 specimens, catalogued through the NCI's Cancer Bioinformatics Grid, which led to $4.6 million in funding for participation in the Cancer Genome Atlas Project. And he developed the first Delaware statewide High Risk Family Cancer Registry, consisting of 2,500 families with more than 200,000 individuals.


William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD, Professor in the Department of Medicine and Associate Director for Basic Science, both at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School, has received the 2014 Steven C. Beering Award for Outstanding Achievement in Biomedical Science, presented annually by Indiana University School of Medicine.


Kaelin's work focuses on understanding how mutations affecting tumor-suppressing genes cause cancer in order to develop new anticancer therapies. He received the award in October on the IU-Purdue University Indianapolis Campus and presented the lecture, "The Von Hippel-Lindau Tumor Suppressor: Insights into Oxygen Sensing and Cancer."

WILLIAM G. KAELIN, J... - Click to enlarge in new windowWILLIAM G. KAELIN, JR., MD. WILLIAM G. KAELIN, JR., MD

Leonidas Platanias, MD, PhD, has been appointed Director of Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. He has served in the position in interim since January. Platanias will oversee both the clinical operations in the Lurie Cancer Center and growing basic science research programs, including programs to translate basic and clinical research into personalized medicine.


"Leon has already contributed greatly to the Lurie Cancer Center, through both his leadership and his scientific achievements," Eric G. Neilson, MD, Vice President for Medical Affairs and the Lewis Landsberg Dean at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a news release. "As permanent director, he will continue in that vein, driving the center's expansion and maintaining its reputation as a premiere venue for research, clinical care and collaboration."


Platanias initially joined Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 2002 as Lurie Cancer Center's first Deputy Director and the Jesse, Sara, Andrew, Abigail, Benjamin, and Elizabeth Lurie Professor of Oncology. He has also previously served as Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research has focused on molecular biology and biochemistry, particularly on signaling pathways in cancer cells and cytokines.


In other Lurie Cancer Center news, Francis J. Giles, MB, MD, FRCPI, FRCPath, has been appointed Deputy Director. He will oversee Northwestern Medicine's clinical research cancer programs and developmental therapeutics initiatives.


"Frank has already made major contributions to the Lurie Cancer Center," Platanias said in a news release. "He brings exceptional expertise and experience in clinical and translational research and has a major interest in education and mentorship of faculty in developmental therapeutics and personalized medicine."


Giles previously served as the Lurie Cancer Center's Associate Director for Translational Research and Developmental Therapeutics, and has been Director of Northwestern Medicine Developmental Therapeutics Institute since 2013. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, the Royal College of Pathologists (UK), and the European Academy of Cancer Sciences.


Linda Malkas, PhD, has been named Deputy Director of Basic Research at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center. In the role, she will chair the Cancer Center Leadership Committee, helping guide scientific efforts and fostering collaboration among laboratory researchers. She also will oversee faculty mentoring, internal research funding, and the development of multi-investigator research projects under the Cancer Center Support Grant as well as the research core facilities. She assumes the role after an interim position as Associate Director of Basic Sciences.


Malkas is also a member of the National Cancer Institute Parent Committee. She first joined City of Hope in 2011 from Indiana University, where she was Founder and Director of the Indiana Center for Breast Cancer Research. Along with her new duties, she will continue as Associate Chair and the M.T. and B.A. Ahmadinia Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at City of Hope.

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In other City of Hope news, Matthew Ruchin, MBA, joins as Associate Director. He was most recently at Northwestern University's Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center as Interim Associate Director for Administration.


Richard C. Zellars, MD, has been named Professor and Chair of Radiation Oncology at Indiana University School of Medicine, where he will start in January. He was previously Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Assistant Director of Clinical Trial Accrual at Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.


His research has focused on the safety and efficacy of radiation for the treatment of breast cancer, as well as on health care disparities in African-American women who typically have more severe radiation toxicities. While at Johns Hopkins, Zellars founded the Cancer in the Under-Privileged, Indigent or Disadvantaged Summer Fellowship, which exposes first-year medical students who have a demonstrated interest in serving disadvantaged populations to the specialty of oncology.

RICHARD C. ZELLARS, ... - Click to enlarge in new windowRICHARD C. ZELLARS, MD. RICHARD C. ZELLARS, MD

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control has awarded $1.7 million over five years to Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center's Breast Cancer Program to fund educational programs and support other efforts to increase awareness for young women diagnosed with breast cancer.


"We have recognized the urgent need for a specialty clinic for young women diagnosed with breast cancer, as their needs are unique and must be addressed in a dedicated and coordinated way," Vered Stearns, MD, Professor of Oncology and Co-director of the Breast Cancer Program, said in a news release.


"The funds provided by the CDC will allow us to extend our pilot efforts to reach a larger proportion of young women in more comprehensive ways, providing not only treatment of their disease, but also care for them as individuals-whether they are going to school, building careers, or raising families."

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has awarded 15 grants totaling more than $19 million through its Orphan Products Grants Program to promote the development of products for rare diseases. Grant recipients from the oncology community are:


* Mitesh Borad, MD, of Mayo Clinic Arizona, for "Phase I Study of VSV-hIFN-B for the Treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma" (approximately $600,000 over three years);


* Andrew Brenner, MD, PhD, of the University of Texas Health Center San Antonio, for "Phase II Study of TH-302 for the Treatment of Glioblastoma" (approximately $1.6 million over four years);


* Donald Durden, MD, PhD, of the University of California San Diego, for "Phase II Study of Poly-ICLC for the Treatment of Pediatric Low Grade Gliomas" ($1.6 million over four years);


* Alfred Lane, MD, of Stanford University, for "Phase II Study of Sildenafil for the Treatment of Lymphatic Malformations" (approximately $1.6 million over four years);


* Dung Le, MD, of Johns Hopkins University, for "Phase II Study of Folfirinox followed by Ipilimumab/GVAX for the Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer" ($1.6 million over four years); and


* Jana Portnow, MD, of City of Hope Beckman Research Institute, for "Phase I study of Neural Stem Cell & 5-FC/Leucovorin for the Treatment of Recurrent High Grade Gliomas" ($600,000 over three years).



The Van Andel Research Institute-Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team has received a commitment of $7.5 million from Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) to continue its work led by co-leaders Peter A. Jones, PhD, DSc, Research Director and Chief Scientific Officer of VARI and Stephen Baylin, MD, Deputy Director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University.


"We are extremely excited to build on the foundations already laid by the Epigenetics Dream Team by moving promising therapies into clinical trials," Jones said in a news release. "Epigenetics provides untold opportunities to expand our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying cancer and to develop new treatments that positively affect people's lives."

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STEPHEN BAYLIN, MD. ... - Click to enlarge in new windowSTEPHEN BAYLIN, MD. STEPHEN BAYLIN, MD

The team's work so far has involved clinical trials investigating the response of patients with lung cancer to epigenetic therapy alone, or as a way to sensitize patients to subsequent chemotherapy. VARI's support over the next three years will allow the team to move forward with more extensive clinical trials in other cancer types, as well as test additional epigenetic therapy strategies.


The St. Baldrick's Foundation has awarded $501,600 in childhood cancer research grants to the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center's Division of Pediatric Oncology to support the work of these physician-scientists:


* Eric Raabe, PhD, MD, received the "Heroes for Hannah" grant, a $230,000 award to support another two years of his project focused on medulloblastoma;


* Christopher Gamper, MD, PhD, received $115,000 to support his St. Baldrick's Scholar award for his work on immunotherapy strategies and decreasing the risk of late effects by reducing the need for chemotherapy and radiation;


* Colleen Annesley, MD, received the Tap Cancer Out St. Baldrick's Fellow award, $97,500, to support an additional year of her research on specific mutations in acute myeloid leukemia; and


* Jeffrey Lukish, MD, received a $59,100 Supportive Research Grant to support his work on preserving fertility in pediatric cancer patients.



Grace Sauzier, RN, BSN, CBCN, Nurse Navigator at Carolinas HealthCare System's Levine Cancer Institute, has received the 2014 Oncology Nurse Navigator Life Changer Award for the commitment and compassion she demonstrates in her role. She has served at Carolinas HealthCare System for more than eight years working with patients with breast cancer.

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"Caring for breast cancer patients, and helping them work through the various concerns and questions that arise throughout their course of treatment is my passion," Sauzier said in a news release. "I am honored that these patients appreciate, and feel benefited by my services, which are demonstrated by our entire team of nurse navigators, on a daily basis."


The annual award is sponsored by Health Monitor in collaboration with the Academy of Nurse Navigators.


METAvivor Research and Support Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, has granted four awards totaling $247,000 in scientific research grants. The recipients are:


* Balamurugan Kuppusamy, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute, for his work, "Inflammatory Breast Cancer: Role of the CEBPD-FBXW7 Signaling Pathway";


* William P. Schiemann, PhD, of Case Western Reserve University, for his work, "Implementing a Forward Genetic Screen to Identify Novel Proto-Oncogenes Operant in Overcoming Metastatic Dormancy";


* Swarnali Acharyya, PhD, of the Institute for Cancer Genetics at Columbia University, for her work, "Reactivating anti-tumor granulocytic cells to provoke immune attack against breast cancer metastasis"; and


* Eran Andrechek, PhD, of Michigan State University, for his work, "Identification of driver mutations that regulate metastasis."



The National Cancer Institute has awarded a one-year, $150,000 supplemental grant to Roswell Park Cancer Institute as part of an effort to increase the number of adolescents receiving the HPV vaccine, the three-dose vaccine that protects against infection of some high-risk strains of human papillomavirus responsible for most cases of cervical and anal cancers, as well as many genital and head and neck cancers.


The primary goals of this project include completing an environmental scan to identify and establish partnerships with relevant stakeholders such as local and regional health care plans, hospitals, pediatric practices and other medical groups that provide care to adolescents and teens, agencies, immunization coalitions, urgent-care centers, school nurses, Native American tribes, minority health coalitions, and colleges and universities, a news release notes. This effort will yield a compendium of information summarizing local/regional data, programs and resources focused on HPV vaccination and cataloging the challenges to HPV vaccination specific to the Western New York region.


The effort will be run by Frances Harfouche, MSW, Evaluation Coordinator, and Christy Widman, Cancer Control Coordinator, both within Roswell Park's Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences; and overseen by Martin C. Mahoney, MD, PhD, a primary care physician and researcher in RPCI's Population Sciences Program.


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