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Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD, B.F. Byrd Jr. Professor of Oncology and Director of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), has been selected to serve on a Blue Ribbon Panel that will inform the scientific direction and goals at the National Cancer Institute for Vice President Joe Biden's National Cancer Moonshot Initiative.


Pietenpol is among 28 scientific experts, cancer leaders and patient advocates on the Blue Ribbon Panel that will serve as a working group of the presidentially appointed National Cancer Advisory Board to provide scientific guidance from leaders in the cancer community.

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"This Blue Ribbon Panel will ensure that, as NIH allocates new resources through the Moonshot, decisions will be grounded in the best science," said Biden in an NIH release. "I look forward to working with this panel and many others involved with the Moonshot to make unprecedented improvements in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer."


Pietenpol said she is honored to be chosen to serve on the panel. "The Vice President's National Cancer Moonshot Initiative provides a unique opportunity to focus on the most compelling scientific insights and to develop strategies that will accelerate our progress in developing new therapies for patients and prevention approaches for the population."


Pietenpol and other Blue Ribbon Panel members represent a spectrum of scientific areas, including biology, immunology, genomics, diagnostics, bioinformatics, and cancer prevention and treatment.


Scientific members also include investigators with expertise in clinical trials and cancer health disparities, and members of cancer advocacy groups and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies will be represented on the panel and its working groups.


Over the next few months, the panel will consider how to advance the themes that have been proposed for the initiative, including the development of cancer vaccines, early detection, immunotherapy and combination therapies, single-cell genomic profiling of cancer cells and cells in the tumor microenvironment, enhanced data sharing and new approaches to the treatment of pediatric cancers.


The NCAB will advise the NCI director based on its consideration of the Blue Ribbon Panel's recommendations, expected later this summer.


A final report by the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, chaired by Biden, will be produced and delivered to President Barack Obama by Dec. 31.


In her VICC research laboratory, Pietenpol focuses on the p53 family of proteins and breast cancer, especially triple negative breast cancer, which is one of the most difficult to treat forms of the disease.


She joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1994 and was named director of VICC in 2007. In addition to her leadership at VICC, she recently completed service as a presidential appointee on the NCAB and serves as a member of the Institute of Medicine's National Cancer Policy Forum.


Pietenpol has received numerous awards including the Burroughs Wellcome New Investigator Award, the Excellence in Teaching Award at Vanderbilt University, and the Carleton College Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.


She was inducted into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars, and is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for outstanding contributions to the field of cancer research, particularly for advances in the understanding of signaling networks in breast and other cancers.


She has authored or co-authored more than 125 articles published in peer-reviewed scientific literature.


Scott A. Armstrong, MD, PhD, an internationally renowned pediatric hematologist/oncologist, has been named Chair of the Department of Pediatric Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the David G. Nathan Professor of Pediatrics at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston Children's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School. He will also serve as Associate Chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Boston Children's Hospital.


Armstrong is currently serving as the Grayer Family Chair, the Director of the Center for Epigenetics Research, Vice Chair of Pediatrics, and a member of the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY. He is also Professor of Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College.

SCOTT A. ARMSTRONG, ... - Click to enlarge in new windowSCOTT A. ARMSTRONG, MD, PHD. SCOTT A. ARMSTRONG, MD, PHD

"In addition to his exceptional research and clinical credentials, Scott is a proven able program leader. Throughout his career, Scott has been universally admired and respected for his vision, collegiality, and integrity as well as for his clinical and research achievements. We are thrilled that he has chosen to lead our already great Department of Pediatric Oncology to even higher levels of excellence," said Edward J. Benz, Jr., MD, Dana-Farber president and CEO.


Armstrong obtained his MD and PhD degrees from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, where he trained with Nobel Laureates Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein. He completed an internship and residency at Boston Children's Hospital and clinical and research fellowships at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute under the direction of Dr. Stanley Korsmeyer. He then began his independent research career at Boston Children's Hospital and Dana-Farber as a faculty member and attending physician in pediatric oncology. Prior to moving to Cornell, he was an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. His group has made seminal discoveries into the relationship between normal hematopoietic stem cells and leukemia and identified specific epigenetic mechanisms as therapeutic opportunities. This work has led to the development of several new classes of therapeutic agents that target epigenetic mechanisms, with many already being tested in clinical trials for both children and adults.


His work has been recognized with the Till and McCulloch Award from the International Society of Experimental Hematology, the Claire W. and Richard P. Morse Research Award from Dana-Farber, the Wilson S. Stone Award from MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research from MSKCC, the E. Mead Johnson Award from the Society for Pediatric Research, and the Dameshek Prize from the American Society of Hematology. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Association of American Physicians.


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