1. Butcher, Lola

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Twitter Bio (@weldeiry): Translational Physician-Scientist, Deputy Director at Fox Chase Cancer Center

Wafik El-Deiry, MD, ... - Click to enlarge in new windowWafik El-Deiry, MD, PhD. Wafik El-Deiry, MD, PhD

From his LinkedIn bio: Wafik El-Deiry, MD, PhD, FACP, an American Cancer Society professor, is Deputy Director and Program Leader at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Until September 2014, he was the Rose Dunlap Professor of Medicine & Chief of Hematology/Oncology and Associate Director for Translational Research at Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute. He discovered p21(WAF1) as a p53 target gene that explained the mammalian stress response. This is the most highly cited original work published in Cell.


How did you come to be interested in social media?

"I started using Twitter and LinkedIn back in 2008, so I have been doing this for more than six years now and seeing the evolution.


"I have two main goals: One is to learn about the newest developments in my fields of interest, which tend to be broad. I'm interested in new cancer therapy drugs; I'm interested in breakthroughs. I have a fairly large professional network of others who are active in social media that has been accumulated over the last few years. This network allows me to very often learn about things that I wouldn't have easily come across. Every single day, people are making reference to or commenting about something that they have learned that they are excited about.


"My other goal is to disseminate information in my areas of interest to my network. I have tweeted at a number of national meetings, including the American Association for Cancer Research meeting and several American Society of Clinical Oncology meetings.


"I do this for different reasons. One is to stay focused on the presentations and to try to succinctly summarize the point that speakers are making and share exciting new developments. Also, over the last few years, I've been involved in post-ASCO reviews after certain meetings. I can go back and review my tweets and that helps me organize presentations and remember the important things.


"Tweeting at meetings is like taking notes, but in addition, I am sharing them with a bunch of other people. And very often the tweets start discussions on either LinkedIn or Twitter.


"One of the things that Twitter allows, which is very cool, is the possibility of creating a newspaper from inputs that you select. You can pick 30, 40, or 50 reliable inputs from journals, the government, or whoever you trust, and there is a program that creates a newspaper. So I started a newspaper several years ago called The Cancer News Daily. That lets me go back and review what my entire network has been talking about and reporting about, and it's very informative. It's yet another way to kind of find out about things that I may otherwise have missed. Maybe they happened 15 hours ago, but they were still captured in this newspaper format."


How do you use LinkedIn?

"I started a group in LinkedIn called the p53 Community. People who are interested in the p53 tumor suppressor are diehards; they love p53. Many people out there are spending their lives studying p53, and this group now has more than 800 members online.


"Several years ago, I was organizing the 15th International p53 Workshop, which was scheduled for 2010. And it occurred to me that it would be great to have an online community, so I invited some of the leaders of the field to join the group and also serve as moderators. People who are interested in particular topics eventually find groups like this. Every single day there are two or three people who want to join.


"The vast majority are people I would have never encountered if we didn't have this online community. The things that are talked about on this particular group include papers about p53 that get published in high-profile journals or new functions attributed to the p53 protein.


"It's a very nice forum for doing that. I would say it still continues to be a work in progress. Has it met its potential? I don't think so. The group is still growing. Many of the members are not particularly engaged, although they may be reading the updates. Perhaps the group hasn't measured up to what they expected, but, you know, every member can also contribute and make the group what they want it to be."


What's the Personalizing Cancer Therapy group on LinkedIn?

"I started that one two years ago because, on my own career path, I became very interested in personalizing cancer therapy. Over a period of time, I developed some concepts about how to personalize cancer therapy in my own area of specialization, which is colorectal cancer. I wanted to share these ideas with a community of others who are interested in personalized medicine or precision medicine-not just to share the ideas, but also to get their input, and to have some sort of a forum for the field to grow.


"I started the group as a way to discuss this very broad and emerging field, and it has taken off very nicely, with now more than 500 members. When I started it, I didn't invite many people at all. I have sometimes been surprised that such and such person from industry or academia was actually interested and requested to be a member of this group. I am delighted to see that. Like the other group, there is no advertising, no promotion. It's basically that people find it.


"There have been some very interesting discussions involving geneticists and clinicians and others. Press releases about developments in the field often generate comments, or somebody's idea about where the field is going."


How do you see social media evolving?

"Many more oncologists have become engaged over the last two or three years. It's been great to watch the societies really start to promote social media for a variety of uses, including asking questions at national meetings as well as disseminating information.


"I still believe that the vast majority of oncologists are not paying attention to this. Over time, I think the younger people will be doing this. But there's really no reason why more of my colleagues couldn't become more engaged in this and look into what this can do.


"As an example, can social media use help optimize or increase public awareness of clinical protocols or emerging therapeutics, and therefore improve clinical trial enrollment? It hasn't happened yet [Ed: Although Anas Younes, MD, has had success with this-OT 9/25/10 issue], but if it does, then that would add value for our cancer centers."


Continuing Series

The full archive of Oncology Social Media Profiles can be found in this Collection on the OT website: