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Elizabeth Jaffee, MD, has been appointed Deputy Director of Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. She has been a member of the Johns Hopkins faculty since 1992 and was most recently the Dana Albert "Cubby" Broccoli Professor of Oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine before beginning the new role in January.

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"[Jaffee's] longstanding research on the development of vaccines to treat pancreatic cancer has led to significant advances in the field of immunology and personalized cancer medicine, and she has done all of this while also taking on numerous responsibilities in leadership," William G. Nelson, MD, PhD, Kimmel Center Director, said in a news release.


In the new position Jaffee will help guide a senior leadership team responsible for developing and overseeing strategic planning, clinical research, new facilities planning, and support for basic scientific discovery. She will also continue to co-direct the Skip Viragh Center for Pancreatic Cancer, as well as serve as Associate Director for Translational Research, Co-director of the Immunology Program in the Kimmel Cancer Center, and Deputy Director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute for the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


Jaffee succeeds Stephen Baylin, MD, the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research, who is stepping down from the role after 10 years. He will return to his full-time research role and Director of the Division of Cancer Biology at the Kimmel Center.


Also at Kimmel Cancer Center, Julie Brahmer, MD, has been named Director of the Thoracic Oncology Program, where she will lead a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, researchers, and fellows who are developing new treatments for lung and esophageal cancers. She will also oversee a $35 million investment in the program and the opening of the new Thoracic Center of Excellence at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, as well as laboratory research and clinical trials.


She has been a member of the Johns Hopkins faculty since 2001, and is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group's Thoracic Committee and Cancer Prevention Steering Committee. She is a founding board member of the National Lung Cancer Partnership, now known as Free to Breathe, for which she is currently on the Scientific Executive Committee. She is also a member of the Lung Cancer Research Foundation's Medical Advisory Board, Uniting Against Lung Cancer's Medical Committee, and LUNGevity's Scientific Advisory Board.

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James Orr, MD, FACOG, FACS, Medical Dire-ctor of Florida Gynecologic Oncology-a division of 21st Century Oncology-has been appointed Chair of the Florida Board of Medicine. In the role, he will direct the actions of the board, leading the organization's initiatives to license, monitor, discipline, educate, and rehabilitate physicians in order to better serve patients in Florida. He assumed the role in January.


"Dr. Orr has always shown an ongoing compassion toward the field and a devotion to clinical research, and he is very deserving of this tremendous honor," Constantine A. Mantz, MD, a radiation oncologist and 21st Century Oncology's Chief Medical Officer, said in a news release. "Having him serve as the Chair for the Florida Board of Medicine will allow him to endeavor to bring his high-quality standards of care throughout the state."

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Orr has served on the Florida Board of Medicine since 2010, most recently as Vice Chair in 2013. He has been a member of 21st Century Oncology since 1999. He was also previously President of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, the Florida Society of Gynecologic Oncology, and the Florida Obstetrical and Gynecological Society.


Guido Marcucci, MD, has joined City of Hope as Director of the Gehr Family Center for Leukemia Research and Chief of the Division of Hematopoietic Stem Cell and Leukemia Research-both within City of Hope's new Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation Institute. Marcucci will also be Professor of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation.


"City of Hope is extremely fortunate to have a scientist and physician of Dr. Marcucci's caliber and accomplishments as chief of our new leukemia center," Steven T. Rosen, MD, Provost and Chief Scientific Officer at City of Hope, said in a news release. "With his guidance and vision, we will be able to develop and bring to fruition revolutionary new treatments for leukemia and other diseases. His experience in leukemia and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in particular will help us change the future for both current and future patients."

GUIDO MARCUCCI, MD. ... - Click to enlarge in new windowGUIDO MARCUCCI, MD. GUIDO MARCUCCI, MD

Marcucci was most recently Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics, and Pharmaceutics at Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. At Ohio State, Marucci held the Charles Austin Doan Chair of Medicine in the College of Medicine and was Associate Director for Translational Research at the Cancer Center.


Naiyer Rizvi, MD, has joined New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center as Director of Thoracic Oncology and Immunotherapeutics in Medical Oncology. He was most recently an attending physician and led research in thoracic immunotherapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.


"Dr. Rizvi's research of antibodies that can reinvigorate T cells to recognize lung cancer cells as foreign and that can destroy the cancer cells has been a major development in thoracic oncology," Gary Schwartz, MD, Professor of Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, said in a news release.


"We are excited to bring him on board to lead our program in thoracic oncology and to integrate his years of experience and breadth of knowledge in treating patients with all types of cancer that could respond to immunotherapies."


Rizvi will continue his research at CUMC to develop new immunotherapy agents and immunotherapy combinations to reshape the landscape of cancer therapy.


Deepa Bhojwani, MD, has joined Children's Hospital Los Angeles as Director of the Leukemia/Lymphoma program within the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases. She will also be Associate Professor in the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation of the Department of Pediatrics at Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.


She will be responsible for the Leukemia/Lymphoma program's clinical care and clinical research activities, and will actively participate in the Therapeutic Advances in Childhood Leukemia/Lymphoma consortium.

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"The clinical care, research, and education programs at the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at CHLA will be further enhanced by the addition of Dr. Bhojwani, who is a premier clinician-researcher in childhood leukemia. We are excited to have her join us as we work to improve the lives of children with leukemia and lymphoma today and in the future," Alan S. Wayne, MD, Director of the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases and Head of the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation at CHLA, said in a news release.


Bhojwani's research has focused on acute lymphoblastic leukemia for which she has investigated using high-throughput genomics and follow-up validation studies in pre-clinical models, which have led to the identification of molecular pathways associated with relapse and potential new therapeutic targets. She was most recently at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, where she had been an Assistant Member since 2008.


Johnathan M. Lancaster, MD, PhD, has joined Myriad Genetics, Inc., as Vice President of Medical Affairs for Oncology, Myriad Genetic Laboratories. He will provide medical and scientific leadership across the company's portfolio of molecular and companion diagnostic products and services for oncology.


Lancaster has more than 20 years of experience in oncology, having held leadership positions at Moffitt Cancer Center as President of Moffitt Medical Group, Deputy Physician-in-chief, Director of the Center for Women's Oncology, and Chair of the Department of Women's Oncology; and at Duke University Medical Center, as Medical Director of the Gynecologic Dysplasia Clinic.


Theodore Friedmann, MD, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, and Alain Fischer, MD, PhD, Director of Institut Imagine in Paris and Professor at College de France, have together been awarded the Japan Prize for the "Medical Science and Medicinal Science" category for their proposal of the concept of gene therapy and its clinical applications.


The annual prize is awarded by the Japan Prize Foundation to recognize scientists and researchers who have made substantial contributions to their fields and advancement of science and technology-as well as serving the cause of peace and prosperity of mankind.


Friedmann proposed the concept of gene therapy in the 1970s and pioneered the early phase of basic research in the field. He has also been an opinion leader weighing in on the ethical issues surrounding the field for the past 40 years. Fischer's work has focused on using hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy to treat children with the fatal genetic disorder X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (X-SCID) and has clinically demonstrated efficacy of gene therapy with dramatic effectiveness for the first time.


Both Friedmann and Fischer will receive an award of 50 million Japanese yen (approximately $420,000) at a ceremony in April in Tokyo.


In other Johns Hopkins news, Bert Vogelstein, MD, Co-Director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics & Therapeutics at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, has received the Warren Triennial Prize of Massachusetts General Hospital, which honors scientists who have made outstanding contributions in fields related to medicine. The award, which includes a $50,000 prize, is given every three years.


Vogelstein's research focuses on determining the molecular basis of a common human cancer. He and his colleagues were the first to map cancer genomes and use genome-wide sequencing to identify the basis of hereditary diseases. They also determined the genetic landscapes of more than a dozen tumor types. He is also a coauthor of the recent Science article that quantified the correlation between variation in cancer risk and stem cell division, reported on in this issue of OT.


Sue Biggins, PhD, a researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has been awarded the Genetics Society of America Edward Novitski Prize to recognize her extraordinary level of creativity and intellectual ingenuity in solving significant problems in genetics research-namely, her research on the molecular mechanisms of chromosome segregation, a process essential for cell division and frequently impaired in cancer.


Her research has focused on the kinetochore, the molecular machine that mediates chromosome segregation during cell division. She accomplished the first isolation of the kinetochore in any organism by developing an elegant one-step method, which made it possible for numerous labs to carry out in-depth studies of this machine. Her other work has helped to dissect the mechanism behind the diverse role of kinetochores. Her research has helped to shape the current understanding of chromosome segregation and has laid the foundation for a detailed, mechanistic dissection of the varied processes that underlie it.

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Jennifer Adair, PhD, Assistant Member of the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has been named a 2015 Outstanding New Investigator by the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy to recognize her independent research efforts to understand and improve blood stem cell-based gene therapies.


Her lab aims to develop gene therapies that can correct faulty DNA sequences responsible for inherited blood disorders, improve treatment for brain cancer, and make cells immune to HIV infection.


Adair will speak about new technologies developed by her lab at the Outstanding New Investigator Symposium during the ASGCT Annual Meeting in May. She has been at Fred Hutch since 2008 and became an independent faculty member within the Clinical Research Division last year.


The New York State Stem Cell Science Program has awarded a four-year grant totaling $11.9 million to a team of researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute to develop new therapies for advanced ovarian cancer. The grant is one of three new state awards to support innovative approaches for developing stem-cell based therapies for diseases that are notoriously hard to treat.


The RPCI team is led by Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, FRCOG, FACOG, Chair of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology, the M. Steven Piver Professor of Gynecologic Oncology, and Executive Director of the Center for Immunotherapy at RPCI.


The work investigates adoptive T-cell therapy, an approach that takes stem cells from patients' blood, reengineers them, and infuses the reprogrammed cells back into those patients to act as cancer-fighting immune cells. The work enlists both "killer" CD8+ T cells and "helper" CD4+ T cells.


"We will be generating billions of these antitumor effector cells-to continually control existing tumors and minimize the chance of relapse," Odunsi, who is also Co-Leader of Roswell Park's Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Program and Professor of Gynecology & Obstetrics at the University at Buffalo, said in a news release. "Reprograming adult hematopoietic stem cells for sustained attack against ovarian cancer is, to our knowledge, a completely new approach."


The following researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute have also received new grants:


* Yue Wu, PhD, Assistant Professor of Oncology in the Department of Urology, has received a two-year, $419,884 grant from the National Cancer Institute for a project to investigate whether dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate deprivation is an effective strategy for preventing the progression of prostate cancer;


* Chukwumere Nwogu, MD, PhD, FACS, Attending Surgeon and Associate Professor of Oncology in the Department of Thoracic Surgery, has received a two-year, $406,247 award from the NCI to study the ability of a new compound to simultaneously detect small lung cancer deposits using a positron emission tomography scan and treat them with laser energy;


* Carl Morrison, MD, DVM, Executive Director of the Center for Personalized Medicine, has received a two-year, $160,000 subcontract award from the University of Pittsburgh, part of a larger project from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to contribute to the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank by providing archival mesothelioma biospecimens and constructing tissue microarrays to be used by researchers to gain a better understanding of mesothelioma;


* Willie Underwood, MD, MPH, MSci, Associate Professor of Oncology in the Department of Urology and the Office of Cancer Health Disparities Research, and Deborah Erwin, PhD, OCHDR Director, have received a one-year, $52,027 administrative supplement from the NCI's Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities to create a Patient Action Team comprised of minority patients from Roswell Park to assess and enhance community-outreach materials and programming;


* Eric Kauffman, MD, Assistant Professor of Oncology in the Department of Urology and Cancer Genetics, has received a two-year, $30,000 Young Investigator Grant from the American Urological Association for work that aims to improve risk stratification for patients with renal-cell carcinoma, identifying those who would benefit most from early systemic therapy;


* Matthew Barth, MD, Assistant Professor of Oncology in the Department of Pediatrics, and Martin Brecher, MD, Waldermar J. Kaminski Chair in Pediatrics, have received a two-year, $30,000 subcontract from New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y., part of a larger parent grant from Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. to investigate the novel targeted therapy ibrutinib (Imbruvica) for the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphomas in children, adolescents, and young adults; and


* Lyudmila Burdelya, PhD, Assistant Professor of Oncology in the Department of Cell Stress Biology, has received a six-month, $24,263 subcontract from Buffalo BioLabs, part of a larger NCI award to develop a new, structurally modified non-immunogenic version of Entolimod (CBLB502) with immune-stimulating and radioprotective properties to be used to enhance the anticancer effect of radiotherapy and reduce unwanted side effects.



Shai Izraeli, MD, Head of Functional Genomics and Childhood Leukemia and Cancer Research at Tel Aviv University and member of the Department of Pediatric Hemato-Oncology at the Sheba Medical Center, and Sai-Juan Chen, MD, PhD, Director of the Shanghai Institute of Hematology and member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, have received a grant funded by the Chinese and Israeli governments to support their research that examines the roles of two proteins in the onset of acute myeloid leukemia.


The research is coordinated through a partnership between the Natural Science Foundation of China and the Israel Science Foundation; and Izraeli and Chen, both Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation researchers, will serve as principal investigators.

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The study includes the Tel Aviv team, led by Izraeli, investigating the cancer-causing gene ERG, as well as researchers working under Chen in Shanghai who are investigating GATA2, a regulator of gene expression in cells that self-renew. Working together, the researchers aim to better understand the dynamics of these transcription factors in the formation of AML.


A group of pancreatic cancer researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center has received a $1.5 million grant from the Lustgarten Foundation to study the use of microfluidic technology to isolate circulating tumor cells in patients with pancreatic cancer. The researchers plan to expand those cells in three dimensions and employ novel strategies to develop the optimal combination of drugs designed to target an individual patient's tumor cells and shut down the pathways involved in fueling the cancer. The goal is to use a blood sample to identify the best treatment regimen to eradicate all harmful cancer cells within a person's tumor.


"If this approach is successful, it would be a major advance in developing more effective treatments for individual patients with pancreatic cancer from a blood sample. It also has potential as a strategy to treat patients with other highly metastatic cancer types," said Diane Simeone, MD, Director of the Pancreatic Cancer Center at U-Michigan, who will serve as the study's principal investigator.


Other researchers on the team are: Joerg Lahann, PhD, Director of the Biointerfaces Institute; Sunitha Nagrath, PhD, Assistant Professor of chemical engineering; and Andrew Rhim, MD, Assistant Professor of gastroenterology-all of the University of Michigan.

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Also at Johns Hopkins, Marikki Laiho, MD, PhD, Director of the Division of Molecular Radiation Sciences, has received a 2015 Harrington Scholar-Innovator Award to research a first-in-kind small molecule that targets an essential mechanism for cancer cell survival. The award includes a grant of up to $700,000 over two years and access to the Harrington Discovery Institute's Innovation Support Center, which brings together a group of industry experts to help guide drug development.


Elizabeth Montgomery, MD, Professor of Pathology and Oncology, also at Johns Hopkins, has received a $16,000 research grant from the Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association for the study, "Evaluation of PD-L1 Expression in Esophageal Adenocarcinoma." The research examines the PD-L1 molecule's ability to control a "stop" signal to immune cells that might otherwise have the capacity to kill tumor cells, and whether PD-L1 blocking therapies could offer a new type of therapy for esophageal cancers.

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She is collaborating with Robert Anders, MD, PhD, and Elizabeth Thompson, MD, PhD, on the work.


The Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology has named the following recipients of the 2015 International Innovation Grant. The program provides one-year grants of up to $20,000 to nonprofit organizations and government agencies in low- and middle-income countries to improve cancer control on a local, community level, while also being potentially applicable in similar low-resource settings elsewhere.


"Local physicians know best how a society will adhere to any given screening or treatment guideline-for this reason, projects tailored to the needs of a particular culture are of the utmost importance," W. Charles Penley, MD, FASCO, Chair of the Conquer Cancer Foundation Board of Directors, said in a news release.


The recipients (and the principal investigators for the grants) are:


* College of Medicine, University of Ibadan in Nigeria (Olutosin Alaba Awolude, MBBS, MS) to investigate community-level intervention strategies to recruit and train local health providers to prevent, detect, and treat cervical cancer;


* Hutchinson Centre Research Institute of Uganda (Noleb Mugume Mugisha, MPH, MBChB) for a nine-month pilot study to test the impact and acceptability of an integrated cervical screening program on identifying early-stage invasive cervical cancer in a high-volume HIV clinic;


* Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Medicas y Nutricion Salvador Subiran in Mexico (Yanin Chavarri Guerra, MD, MSc) to support a breast health educational program for rural adolescents;


* Tata Medical Center in India (Tanuj Chawla, MD, MBBS) for a randomized controlled trial testing the success of text message intervention to improve chemotherapy protocol compliance and reduce toxicity in patients; and


* The Oncology Institute "Prof. Dr. Ion Chiricuta" in Romania (Alexandru Eugen Eniu, MD, PhD) to investigate a telemedicine web-based platform that will enable an experienced multidisciplinary breast tumor board to review cases and improve treatment decisions for patients in small, remote cancer centers.



Kristen Triebel, PsyD, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Director of the Neuropsychology Fellowship Training Program in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Neurology, has been awarded a five-year, $728,000 American Cancer Society Mentored Research Scholars grant for her work "Decisional Capacity Evaluation in Metastatic Brain Cancer," which will investigate long-term decision-making abilities in patients with advanced cancer. She is also Associate Scientist in the Cancer Control and Population Sciences program at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.


"Patients with advanced cancer are seriously ill and have to make a lot of important medical decisions," Triebel said in a news release. "We are looking to see whether our initial findings from metastatic cancer patients can generalize to other cancer populations who have comparable levels of illness-even those who don't get tumors that spread to the brain."


The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has received the People's Republic of China International Science and Technology Cooperation Award. The award is granted through the Chinese State Council to foreign scientists, science and technology engineers and managers, or organizations that have "made important contributions to China's bilateral or multilateral scientific and technological cooperation."


"Every country has a unique spectrum of cancers, influenced by factors such as population and environment, and collaborating to study these cancers is critical to making progress," Oliver Bogler, PhD, MD Anderson's Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, said in accepting the award on the Cancer Center's behalf at a ceremony in China earlier this year. "China in particular offers tremendous opportunities for saving lives through joint cancer research with top scientists and the government's commitment to fighting cancer."


MD Anderson was nominated for the award by its sister institution, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center in Guangzhou.


The Nurses with the Blood and Marrow Transplant program at Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute have received a three-year, bronze level Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. The award recognizes unit caregivers who successfully improve patient outcomes while also aligning professional nursing practices with AACN's standards for a healthy work environment.


Units that earn this award meet nationally recognized benchmarks for patient care excellence consistent with Magnet Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award.


To earn the award the OSUCCC-James team of 75 nurses was evaluated on leadership structures and systems; appropriate staffing and staff engagement; effective communication, knowledge management, learning, and development; evidence-based practice and processes; and outcome measurement, according to a news release. The OSUCCC-James is the only cancer-specific unit in Ohio and first BMT unit nationally to earn ACCN Beacon Award for Excellence recognition.


The award will be presented in May in San Diego at the National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition.


The College of American Pathologists has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the California Department of Public Health and the California Cancer Registry, which will support CAP's electronic Cancer Checklists (eCC). The eCC will allow California hospitals to securely transmit live data to CCR, allowing pathologists to use the CAP Cancer Protocols directly within their laboratory information system. The eCC will ensure that each report is completed within the necessary elements required by accreditation by the American College of Surgeons-Commission on Cancer and the CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program.


"Eliminating the need for manual processing speeds the transmission of information, increases accuracy, and ultimately, helps improve patient care," Gene N. Herbek, MD, FCAP, CAP President and a practicing pathologist at Methodist Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, said in a news release.


This grant represents the second phase of the project, where personal health information will be sent from the laboratory to the cancer registry in real time. Laboratories worked with their laboratory information system vendors to create the pathway to transmit the data from the LIS directly to CCR, providing de-identified data for use in the pilot.


The University of Tennessee West Cancer Center has established The University of Tennessee/West Institute for Cancer Research, a not-for-profit public charity to raise funds for adult cancer research by soliciting funds from government agencies, foundations, and individuals. Funds donated to The UT/West Institute will be primarily focused on research in these four Centers of Excellence at The University of Texas: Translational Drug Discovery and Development, Cancer Immunotherapy, Women's Cancers, and Community Outcomes. West Cancer Center's Medical Director, Lee Schwartzberg, MD, will serve as Director of the Institute.


The Institute has received its first major gift of $2.5 million through the Plough Foundation, which will become the seed money for the Translational Drug Discovery and Development Center of Excellence, a news release noted.


Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has received a $50 million gift from Raymond G. Perelman, CEO of RGP Holdings. The gift is equal to the largest gift received by CHOP and will support several areas of pediatric research. In recognition of the gift, CHOP will establish the Raymond G. Perelman Campus, an eight-acre area that will serve as a hub of pediatric research and clinical innovation.


"We know first-hand the tremendous resource that CHOP represents to families in the Philadelphia region, across the country and around the world," Perelman said in a news release. "This gift will help to ensure that critically important pediatric research, conducted on this campus, remains second to none; in addition to making a tangible difference in the lives of children around the globe for many years to come, it is my hope and expectation that advances in medical research funded by this gift will benefit us all."


The gift also provides support for two new tenure-track faculty positions at CHOP and the Perelman Endowed Chair in Pediatric Ophthalmology, as well as for several additional research initiatives.


AJN Book Awards

The following titles relating to oncology nursing were winners of the American Journal of Nursing's 2014 Book of the Year Awards. The books were deemed the "most valuable texts of 2014," as chosen by AJN's panel of judges:


* This Should Not be Happening: Young Adults With Cancer, by Anne Katz, PhD, RN, FAAN, published by Hygeia Media, an imprint of the Oncology Nursing Society, received the first place award in the Consumer Health category; and


* 2014 Oncology Nursing Drug Handbook, by Gail M. Wilkes, MS, APRN-BC, AOCN, and Margaret Barton-Burke, PhD, RN, FAAN, published by Jones and Bartlett Learning, received the first place award in the Palliative Care and Hospice category.



The full list of award recipients can be found at


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