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Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, has been named President and CEO of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Glimcher is currently the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of the Medical College of Weill Cornell Medicine, and Professor of Medicine and Provost for Medical Affairs at Cornell University. Glimcher will begin at Dana-Farber in January, 2017, and current President Edward J. Benz, Jr., MD, will remain as President until then. Glimcher will also be Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School.


"It is an enormous honor and privilege to be chosen as the next leader of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute," Glimcher said in a statement. "The opportunity to advance Dana-Farber's groundbreaking research and to improve the care available to patients with cancer is truly special to me, and I am thrilled to be returning home to Boston. Cancer research and care have reached a transformative moment in science, and I look forward to working with all of Dana-Farber's clinicians and scientists to find innovative therapies in the coming years."

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Laurie H. Glimcher, ... - Click to enlarge in new windowLaurie H. Glimcher, MD. Laurie H. Glimcher, MD

Prior to joining Weill Cornell Medicine, Glimcher was the Irene Heinz Given Professor of Immunology at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She has expertise in understanding cellular differentiation pathways in lymphocytes, and she has made seminal discoveries of key transcription factors that drive lineage commitment and activation in the immune system. Most recently she has discovered a critical signaling pathway in both tumor cells and in host immune responses, translating her basic discoveries in the control of immune cell differentiation into a new approach to cancer immunotherapy.


Glimcher has contributed to more than 350 scholarly articles and papers. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. She is also the former president of the American Association of Immunologists. And she has received numerous awards and honors.


Tom Curran, PhD, FRS, has been named Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Director of the Children's Mercy Kansas City Children's Research Institute, and assumed the role last month. The Research Institute at Children's Mercy Kansas City was established last year to focus on pediatric research in: pediatric genomic medicine; clinical pharmacology; health services and outcomes; and health care delivery.


"Children's Mercy puts children first and our goal is to build a Research Institute, seamlessly integrated with the hospital that ensures our patients can take advantage of the latest scientific advances. Science and medicine should not be viewed as distinct entities but rather as close partners, working in concert, to improve the health and well-being of all children," Curran said in a news release. His current research focuses on pediatric brain tumors, brain development, and genomics-with the goal of finding new treatments for childhood brain tumors.

Tom Curran, PHD, FRS... - Click to enlarge in new windowTom Curran, PHD, FRS. Tom Curran, PHD, FRS

Before this role, Curran was most recently at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where he had served as Deputy Scientific Director since 2006, and Director of Basic Scientific Research in the Center for Childhood Cancer Research since 2007. He also served as Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Curran also previously served St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, where he founded the Department of Neurobiology and served as its Chairman from 1995 to 2006. Curran has been elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Microbiology, the Royal Society of London, and the Academy of the American Association for Cancer Research; and as a Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in the U.S. and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He served on the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors from 2000 to 2005; and he is a Past President of the American Association for Cancer Research.


In a statement, American Association for Cancer Research CEO, Margaret Foti, PhD, noted: "Dr. Curran is a highly esteemed investigator and leader in the field of pediatric cancer research, and his scientific expertise and dedication to the translation of basic scientific knowledge to the clinic will be invaluable to the mission and future goals of Children's Mercy Kansas City."


Jeremy Warner, MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics, has been named Medical Director of the Vanderbilt Cancer Registry at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. In the newly created position, he will work with Dauphne McGavic, RN, MSN, CTR, who was recently appointed Program Manager of the Registry. The Registry is the official repository for data about cancer cases at VICC; its staff tracks the number of new cancer patients each year, the type of cancer at diagnosis, the state and county of residence, and the health care outcomes for each patient. The Registry data is reported to state and federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Warner will assist the staff in identifying and developing new informatics methods to improve the accuracy and timeliness of the data collection process, including strategies to connect with current and future electronic medical record systems. He will be involved in assessing diagnoses that are difficult to categorize as a specific form of cancer and will serve as a liaison between clinicians and the Registry staff, according to a statement from Vanderbilt. Warner has been on the faculty at Vanderbilt since 2012.

Jeremy Warner, MD, M... - Click to enlarge in new windowJeremy Warner, MD, MS. Jeremy Warner, MD, MS

In other VUMC news, Carmen Solorzano, MD, Professor of Surgery and Director of the Endocrine Surgery Center at Vanderbilt, has been named Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery in the Department of Surgery. Solorzano was selected following a national search that included more than 70 potential candidates.


"As the search process matured, it became clear that Dr. Solorzano is one of the country's foremost surgical oncologists," R. Daniel Beauchamp, MD, J.C. Foshee Distinguished Professor, Chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences, and Deputy Director of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, said in a statement. "In addition to her leadership within the Department of Surgery, she will continue to support the Cancer Center's clinical, research and educational missions."

Carmen Solrzano, MD.... - Click to enlarge in new windowCarmen Solorzano, MD. Carmen Solorzano, MD

Solorzano joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2010. She specializes in endocrine surgery, including neoplasms and cancers of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands, the pancreas, and the digestive system, as well as neuroendocrine tumors. Solorzano has previously served at University of Miami as Assistant Professor and Chief of Endocrine Surgery. She has authored more than 100 publications; she has given several lectures around the world; and she serves on the editorial boards of several journals.


Judy Keen, PhD, has joined the American Society for Radiation Oncology as Director of Scientific Affairs, a new position created to grow research participation and collaboration in the field of radiation oncology.


In the new role as the ASTRO lead on scientific affairs, Keen will develop and implement initiatives that promote clinical, translational, and basic radiation research, with the ultimate goal of advancing both science and evidence-based patient care throughout the radiation oncology community. Keen will also lead efforts to develop broader collaborations within the cancer research community, and she will serve as ASTRO's primary scientific liaison to internal and external partners involved in performing and promoting biomedical research, including the ASTRO Science Council, federal agencies, other medical societies, coalitions, the biopharmaceutical industry, and policymakers.


"Judy understands the fundamental role of research and science in helping radiation oncology teams provide the best possible care to their patients, which we can see from her extensive background both conducting research and promoting scientific activities," Laura Thevenot, Chief Executive Officer of ASTRO, said in a statement.


Keen has previously served as Director of Research Collaborations for the National Breast Cancer Coalition; a health science analyst within the Office of Science Planning and Assessment and then Program Director for the National Institutes of Health Genotype Tissue Expression project within the Biorepository and Biospecimen Research Branch, all at the National Cancer Institute; and Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.


Gordon Mills, MD, PhD, Chair of Systems Biology at MD Anderson Cancer Center, has received the 2016 Finneran Family Prize in Translational Research, a cash award given annually to a deserving faculty member through the Finneran Family Endowment in Translational Research at MD Anderson. The endowment honors leading faculty members who conduct translational cancer research, which translates laboratory findings into clinical treatments benefiting patients.


Mills holds several leadership positions across the institution, including Co-director of the Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy and Co-leader of the Breast and Ovarian Cancers Moon Shot.

Gordon Mills, MD, PH... - Click to enlarge in new windowGordon Mills, MD, PHD. Gordon Mills, MD, PHD

Also at MD Anderson, Ehab Hanna, MD, Professor of Head and Neck Surgery, has received the 2016 Jack and Beverly Randall Prize for Excellence in Cancer Treatment, an annual cash prize that honors faculty members who demonstrate uncommon foresight, ingenuity, and dedication to excellence in the fight against cancer, with the focus rotating annually between the research and clinical setting. Hanna's clinical and translational research focuses on developing minimally invasive and robotic applications in skull base surgery.


And at MD Anderson, Eugene Koay, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology, and Jeannelyn S. Estrella, MD, Assistant Professor of Pathology, have each received the 2016 Shirley Stein Scientific Endowed Research Award, both include cash awards that recognize exceptional clinical research performed by faculty members with limited project resources.

Ehab Hanna, MD. Ehab... - Click to enlarge in new windowEhab Hanna, MD. Ehab Hanna, MD

Koay's research focuses on developing a new method of characterizing pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas using routine CT scans; and Estrella's research focuses on developing novel biomarkers which will identify patients with metastatic pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, who are more likely to progress and need intense, focused treatment through clinical trials.

Eugene Koay, MD, PHD... - Click to enlarge in new windowEugene Koay, MD, PHD. Eugene Koay, MD, PHD
Jeannelyn S. Estrell... - Click to enlarge in new windowJeannelyn S. Estrella, MD. Jeannelyn S. Estrella, MD

Gal Shafirstein, DSc, Professor of Oncology, Director of Photodynamic Therapy Clinical Research, and a member of the Department of Cell Stress Biology, all at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, has received a five-year, $2.4 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to lead a project to improve interstitial photodynamic therapy (I-PDT) in patients with head and neck cancers that have started to spread to other tissues. PDT involves administration of a light-sensitizing drug that collects in cancer cells followed by illumination with a non-burning laser to kill cancer cells. This project will employ RPCI's novel treatment planning capabilities and integrated image-guided dosimetry system to define-for the first time-the optimal laser settings for treating patients with I-PDT.


In other RPCI news, Gary Smith, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Oncology, and Yue Wu, PhD, Assistant Professor of Oncology, both of the Department of Urology at RPCI, have received a five-year, $2 million award from the NCI for research to define the mechanisms that regulate how androgens move through blood vessel walls into prostate cancer cells, where they drive cancer growth. This project focuses on the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels and are on the cancer cells. It is anticipated that the team's findings will identify androgen-uptake mechanisms that can be targeted to achieve a prostate-limited androgen-deprivation therapy for prostate cancer, minimizing the systemic side effects of conventional androgen deprivation, according to a statement from RPCI.

Gal Shafirstein, DSC... - Click to enlarge in new windowGal Shafirstein, DSC. Gal Shafirstein, DSC

The Conquer Cancer Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, has received a grant of $466,650 from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to enhance the quality of cancer care available in select underserved communities over the next three years.

Gary Smith, PHD. Gar... - Click to enlarge in new windowGary Smith, PHD. Gary Smith, PHD
Yue Wu, PHD. Yue Wu,... - Click to enlarge in new windowYue Wu, PHD. Yue Wu, PHD

"ASCO continuously strives to reduce disparities in cancer care and one of the ways we do so is by improving access to high quality care," ASCO President Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, said in a statement. "This support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation will enable ASCO to bring the Quality Training Program, QOPI [Quality Oncology Practice Initiative], and its additional quality improvement resources to four oncology practices that would otherwise not have the financial resources to participate in these programs."


Four practices were chosen for their commitment to caring for underserved populations, as well as their willingness and commitment to engage in quality improvement. The participating practices are:


* Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence at Grady Health System in Atlanta;


* Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention in New York;


* Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas; and


* JPS Health Network Center for Cancer Care in Fort Worth, Texas.



Robert Califf Confirmed as FDA Commissioner

Robert M. Califf, MD, has been confirmed as Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Prior to this appointment, Califf served as FDA's Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco, for which he provided executive leadership to the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, and the Center for Tobacco Products. He also oversaw the Office of Special Medical Programs.

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"Dr. Califf has demonstrated a long and deep commitment to advancing the public health throughout his distinguished career as a physician, researcher, and leader in the fields of science and medicine," Stephen Ostroff, MD, the FDA's Chief Scientist and former Acting Commissioner, said in a statement. "He understands well the critical role that the FDA plays in responding to the changes in our society while protecting and promoting the health of the public, across the many areas we regulate-and I am confident that our public health and scientific contributions will further grow under his exceptional leadership."


Prior to joining the FDA, Califf served as Professor of Medicine and Vice Chancellor for Clinical and Translational Research at Duke University. He was also Director of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute and founding Director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. Califf has also served on Institutes of Medicine committees, including the IOM Committee on Identifying and Preventing Medication Errors, as well as the IOM Health Sciences Policy Board. He has also served as a member of the FDA Cardiorenal Advisory Panel and FDA Science Board's Subcommittee on Science and Technology.


In a statement, Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FACP, Chief Medical Officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, noted: "Dr. Califf brings extraordinary expertise and vision to this position and we are confident that his appointment will positively impact cancer care.


"Dr. Califf's considerable expertise and long experience in clinical and translational medicine makes him well-suited to lead the FDA's efforts to assure the safety and effectiveness of treatments and medical devices to ensure that the right treatment is delivered to the right person at the right time."


Jose Baselga, MD, PhD, President of the American Association for Cancer Research and Physician-in-Chief and Chief Medical Officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, noted in a statement: "While the scientific opportunities that exist today to develop more effective cancer treatments have never been greater, we also recognize that the science is increasingly complex, especially when factoring in the rapidly expanding effectiveness of molecularly targeted therapies and combination therapies. ... Therefore, this extraordinary time of promise will require an experienced and visionary leader at the FDA to ensure that the necessary regulatory framework is in place to approve innovative therapies that are both safe and effective, and we believe Dr. Califf is the right person for this extremely important position."


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