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Said M. Sebti, PhD, Chair of the Drug Discovery Department and Co-leader of the Chemical Biology and Molecular Medicine Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, has been awarded a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Outstanding Investigator Award to further his research on novel drug therapies for KRas-mutated cancers. The award provides grant funding over a 7-year term. The award is given to a well-established cancer researcher with a proven track record to encourage long-term projects of unusual potential in cancer research.


"I am extremely humbled by this great honor and award from the NCI that will allow us to generate significant advances in overcoming the challenges that mt KRas poses, ultimately leading to therapies that specifically target patients whose tumors harbor mt KRas," Sebti said in a statement.

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SAID M. SEBTI, PHD. ... - Click to enlarge in new windowSAID M. SEBTI, PHD. SAID M. SEBTI, PHD

Because KRas mutations contribute significantly to human oncogenesis and resistance to anticancer therapies-and because no anticancer drugs targeting KRas mutations are currently available in the clinic-the NCI has identified targeting KRas as a high priority and has implemented a major initiative with the ultimate goal of discovering therapies that specifically target patients whose tumors harbor KRas mutations, according to a statement from Moffitt. Sebti will use this grant to engage in research that tackles this problem on many fronts. Sebti has been at Moffitt since 1996. He has authored more than 290 journal articles on various areas of cancer research.


Stephanie Quinn has joined the American Society for Radiation Oncology as Assistant Director of Congressional Relations. In the position, Quinn will be ASTRO's chief liaison to Capitol Hill. She will lead efforts to educate legislative and executive branch officials and their staffs about ASTRO initiatives and radiation oncology issues, including priorities related to Medicare and sustained funding for cancer research. Quinn will also direct the activities of ASTRO's Political Action Committee; and she will spearhead grassroots initiatives that connect ASTRO members to legislative and regulatory activities related to radiation oncology.


"With her extensive background in health-centric government affairs, Stephanie brings to ASTRO a true understanding of how policies and regulations intersect with our members' interests. She brings key bipartisan relationships that will strengthen our voice on Capitol Hill," Laura Thevenot, ASTRO CEO, said in a statement.


Prior to this role, Quinn was Deputy Director of federal government affairs for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, a Legislative Assistant for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in Washington, D.C., and a Project Coordinator at the Securities Industry Association, also in Washington.


City of Hope and the Israel Cancer Research Fund have established the Jacki and Bruce Barron Cancer Research Scholars' Program to promote innovative and collaborative research, as well as the exchange of ideas and information between cancer researchers in the U.S. and Israel. The program is supported by a $5 million gift from The Harvey L. Miller Family Foundation.


"We are very grateful to The Harvey L. Miller Family Foundation for bringing us together with our good friend, Dr. Steven Rosen, and City of Hope to inaugurate an important collaboration that will raise the profile of Israel's brilliant scientists, and produce groundbreaking cancer research for the benefit of all mankind," Bradley Goldhar, President of ICRF, said in a statement. Steven Rosen, MD, is Provost and Chief Scientific Officer for City of Hope and Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center there.


The program will: award collaborative grants to City of Hope and Israeli scientists to support basic, translational, and clinical research; provide promising young Israeli scientists with postdoctoral training at City of Hope in California; offer sabbaticals for distinguished mid-career and senior-level City of Hope scientists in Israel and Israeli scientists at City of Hope; and organize an annual symposium for researchers from the U.S. and from Israel to share research discoveries. The program is named after Jacki and Bruce Barron, Chicago philanthropists who are supporters of ICRF and City of Hope.


The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) announced the appointment of Jean-Yves Douillard, MD, PhD, as its first Chief Medical Officer (CMO). Creation of the new staff role reflects the rapid growth of ESMO in both breadth and scale, as well as the pace of progress across medical oncology as a whole.


ESMO, which represents more than 13,000 members worldwide, announced last year it will organize an annual Congress in Europe in 2016 and held its first Asia Congress last December. The society also is opening its membership to all professionals working in cancer research, diagnosis, treatment, advocacy, and care in order to take an integrated and global approach.


The appointment of ESMO's first CMO is another significant step in this process. A senior staff position based at the society's headquarters in Lugano, Switzerland for a fixed 2-year term, the CMO will lead the development of ESMO's scientific strategy and activities. This position will also play an important part in expanding the society's educational programs.


The appointment of Douillard follows an extensive 6-month selection process open to all ESMO members with the necessary high-level qualifications and experience for the role. Candidates were also required to have held senior ESMO leadership positions. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Douillard has achieved international recognition as a leading expert in lung cancer and gastrointestinal oncology, holding a number of leadership positions. At the University of Nantes, he was Professor in Medical Oncology, while at the Integrated Centers of Oncology (ICO) Rene Gauducheau, also in Nantes, he was Head of the Medical Oncology Department and later Director of Clinical and Translational Research. In addition, he spent a total of four years working in the U.S., initially at the National Cancer Institute and later at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


Throughout his career, Douillard has led clinical trials in relation to lung cancer and GI tumors and investigated targeted therapies, publishing his work in leading scientific journals. He has also held senior ESMO positions, serving as Educational Committee Chair and as a member of the Executive Board.


"Jean-Yves Douillard's distinguished career and impressive track record, combined with his passion for education and commitment to ESMO, make him the ideal choice as our first Chief Medical Officer and I'm looking forward to working with him throughout the next two years," noted ESMO President Fortunato Ciardiello, MD, PhD.


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