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ASH Honors St. Jude Researcher for Leadership

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) awarded the 2016 William Dameshek Prize to Charles Mullighan, MBBS (Hons), MD, of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn., for his leadership in defining the landscape of genetic alterations of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), which has provided valuable insight into the genetic basis of this disease, and in particular high-risk and relapsed ALL in children and adults.

 

The William Dameshek Prize is given to an ASH member under the age of 50 who has made a recent outstanding contribution to the field of hematology. This prize is named after the late William Dameshek, MD, a Past President of ASH and the original Editor of Blood. ASH President Charles S. Abrams, MD, will present this award to Mullighan during the 58th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego, Calif.

  
Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.
 
Charles Mullighan, M... - Click to enlarge in new windowCharles Mullighan, MBBS (HONS), MD. Charles Mullighan, MBBS (HONS), MD

Mullighan is a member of the Department of Pathology, and the Co-Leader of the Hematologic Malignancies Program at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, where his lab uses genome sequencing and experimental modeling to understand the molecular basis of ALL. He has identified new subtypes of this disease, which has led to multiple new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. He also has discovered relationships between certain genetic alterations and relapse. With this work, Mullighan is leading the charge to develop new targeted therapies to improve patient outcomes, particularly in children and adults with genetically defined subsets of ALL that are associated with poor prognoses.

 

Several of his findings have been incorporated into precision medicine trials of ALL in children and adults in the U.S. and internationally. His studies have served as a model for fellow researchers and pathologists in other areas in hematology, including acute myeloid leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloproliferative neoplasms.

 

Mullighan is an active member of ASH and currently serves as the Chair of the ASH Committee on Scientific Affairs. He is also a member of the International Society for Stem Cell Research and the American Association for Cancer Research. He has served on numerous editorial boards, including Blood, the European Journal of Clinical Investigation, and the Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology, and has published over 150 papers in the past 8 years. His most distinguished awards include the Meyenburg Cancer Research Award, the Society for Pediatric Pathology Lotte Strauss Prize, the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology Ramzi Cotran Young Investigator Award, and election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and Association of American Physicians.

 

In addition to his vast and impressive portfolio of scientific research and publications, Mullighan has mentored numerous postdoctoral fellows and pre-doctoral students in the genomic and experimental approaches used in laboratories, many of whom have entered into MD and/or PhD programs and established their own research programs.

 

Inova Appoints New Director of Therapeutics

Inova Health System, Falls Church, Va., recently welcomed Michael Maitland, MD, PhD, where he will serve as the new Director of Therapeutics for the Inova Center for Personalized Health (ICPH) and as Associate Director of Cancer Therapeutics for the Inova Schar Cancer Institute.

 

Maitland came to Inova from the University of Chicago where he was the Co-Leader of the Cancer Developmental Therapeutics Program, Assistant Director of the Center for Personalized Therapeutics, and Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Section of Hematology/Oncology and the Committee on Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics. He brings broad expertise in human genetics, drug development, cardiovascular safety of new cancer drugs, clinical pharmacology consultations, and care of cancer patients with advanced metastatic disease.

  
Michael Maitland, MD... - Click to enlarge in new windowMichael Maitland, MD, PhD. Michael Maitland, MD, PhD

Maitland will work closely with investigators, university partners, and regional and national biotechnology and pharmaceutical collaborators to ensure Inova delivers the highest quality and value in clinical therapeutics science and incorporates this science into patient care throughout the Inova Health System. He is evaluating the development of new biomarkers to better personalize treatments as "adaptive, responsive therapy."

 

Maitland most recently served as Associate Director of the Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics training program at University of Chicago, and has held multiple grants from the NIH and the NCI.

 

ALCF Honors Leading Lung Cancer Researcher

The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) will honor Giorgio Vittorio Scagliotti, MD, Full Professor of Oncology at University of Torino and Head of the Department of Oncology and Chief of the Division of Medical Oncology at the San Luigi Hospital in Torino, Italy, with the 2016 Addario Lectureship Award. He is recognized for his continued leadership and expertise in the study of lung cancer, including malignant pleural mesothelioma. Each year the ALCF recognizes one special leader who is making great strides to eradicate lung cancer and fight for the lives affected by this disease.

 

Scagliotti's areas of research interest include experimental studies on basic and clinical applied research on lung cancer, including translational research; molecular targeted therapies in lung cancer; and lung cancer chemotherapy, including investigators' initiated studies.

  
Giorgio Vittorio Sca... - Click to enlarge in new windowGiorgio Vittorio Scagliotti, MD. Giorgio Vittorio Scagliotti, MD

Scagliotti is a member of several scientific societies, including the Italian Society of Respiratory Medicine, Italian Association of Medical Oncology, European Respiratory Society, ASCO, and International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

 

Vanderbilt Professor to Lead New Cancer Prevention Initiative

Pierre Massion, MD, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Medicine, has been named to direct the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Initiative in Nashville, Tenn. Massion is an Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and co-leader of the VICC Cancer Health Outcomes and Control Research Program.

 

The immediate goal of the Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Initiative is to expand research in this area campuswide and address critical issues in early detection and prevention of leading cancers. A longer-term goal is to build the scope of the cancer early detection and prevention research portfolio to a freestanding, peer-reviewed cancer center research program.

  
Pierre Massion, MD. ... - Click to enlarge in new windowPierre Massion, MD. Pierre Massion, MD

"I am excited about the opportunity to lead this important new initiative, which has the potential to change the cancer narrative by focusing on preventing the disease or detecting cancer at earlier stages when it is more easily treated or curable," said Massion.

 

Massion is internationally recognized for his research contributions in lung cancer. With an emphasis on early detection, his research focuses on the role of oncogenes in the development and progression of lung tumor cells, and he is also a leader in the identification of molecular biomarkers for early detection of lung cancer and for use in assessing response to therapy. He has published more than 110 scientific papers and is principal investigator on several clinical trials. He joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2001.

 

Radiation Oncology Leaders Honored With ASTRO Awards

Three leaders in radiation oncology, Benedick A. Fraass, PhD, FASTRO, Christopher G. Willett, MD, FASTRO, and Anthony L. Zietman, MD, FASTRO, have been named recipients of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Gold Medal, and will be recognized at an awards ceremony during ASTRO's 58th Annual Meeting, to be held Sept. 25-28, in Boston.

 

ASTRO awards its annual Gold Medal to individuals who have made outstanding lifetime contributions in the field of radiation oncology, including achievements in clinical patient care, research, teaching, and service to the profession. This year marks the 30th consecutive year ASTRO has presented this accolade, and the new awardees join an exclusive class of only 78 gold medalists selected over the decades from the society's more than 10,000 members.

  
Benedick A. Fraass, ... - Click to enlarge in new windowBenedick A. Fraass, PhD, FASTRO. Benedick A. Fraass, PhD, FASTRO
 
Christopher G. Wille... - Click to enlarge in new windowChristopher G. Willett, MD, FASTRO. Christopher G. Willett, MD, FASTRO
 
Anthony L. Zietman, ... - Click to enlarge in new windowAnthony L. Zietman, MD, FASTRO. Anthony L. Zietman, MD, FASTRO

Fraass has dedicated his career to advancing the science of radiation treatment planning and delivery, with accomplishments that include developing 3-D treatment planning for routine clinical use, validating advanced uses of computer-controlled radiotherapy, and optimizing planning and delivery systems that allow more conformal and dose-escalated radiation doses while reducing the impact on nearby healthy tissue.

 

Fraass currently serves as Vice Chair for Research as well as Professor and Director of Medical Physics in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He also holds an appointment as Health Sciences Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of California Los Angeles. Before moving to the West Coast, Fraass spent 27 years at the University of Michigan, where he led the radiation oncology department's physics group and helped to create and then elevate the program to national prominence. Fraass was named the inaugural Allen S. Lichter Professor of Radiation Oncology at Michigan and remains an Emeritus Professor with the program.

 

Willett has improved the lives of many patients with gastrointestinal and other cancers through a career that has brought achievements in a number of interwoven areas. Willett is the current Chair and Professor of Radiation Oncology for the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. He has served as Director for Clinical Research and numerous other leadership roles with the Duke Cancer Institute.

 

Willett's contributions to clinical and translational research are many, whether pioneering intraoperative radiation therapy to treat rectal and pancreatic cancers or demonstrating the potential of RT combined with anti-angiogenic therapy to fight a range of cancer types. For example, in 2004, he published a Nature Medicine article that has been cited more than 1,800 times, reporting an innovative trial combining preoperative RT and fluorouracil together with the anti-angiogenic antibody bevacizumab.

 

Zietman has contributed to the science and practice of radiation oncology through decades of influential research on genitourinary (GU) cancers, active mentorship of future practitioners and faculty members, and thoughtful leadership at the helm of scientific journals and meetings in oncology.

 

In 1986, Zietman joined Harvard Medical School in Boston as a research fellow; 30 years later, he is Harvard's Jenot and William Shipley Professor of Radiation Oncology and Director of the school's Radiation Oncology Residency Program. Zietman has also treated patients as a radiation oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital since 1991.

 

Zietman's dedication to improving patient care can be seen in the ways he integrates research with service. When the NCI initiated its GU Protocol Steering Committee, Zietman was named its Co-Chair for Radiation Oncology, a role he continues today as he and the committee help coordinate NCI's clinical trials effort for GU cancers. Zietman also helped establish the multidisciplinary GU Cancer Symposium, a joint effort of ASTRO, Society for Urologic Oncology, and ASCO. He has been integral in helping write multiple national guidelines for prostate and bladder cancer treatment and editorials to give perspective on treatments new and old.

 

Moffitt Cancer Center Names Chair of Malignant Hematology

Jeffrey Lancet, MD, has been named the new Chair and Program Leader for the Department of Malignant Hematology at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla. He has served as interim chair of the department since June 30, 2015.

 

Lancet has written, authored, and published several early phase clinical trials utilizing novel therapies for these diseases and currently serves as the principal investigator for many ongoing trials. Within the field of acute leukemia, he has worked extensively with the NCI, the Southwest Oncology Group, and the pharmaceutical industry.

  
Jeffrey Lancet, MD. ... - Click to enlarge in new windowJeffrey Lancet, MD. Jeffrey Lancet, MD

Lancet has a strong national and international reputation. In 2010, he received the NCI-ASCO Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award, and he was recently appointed as a member to the FDA-Oncology Drug Advisory Committee.

 

"I am thrilled, honored, and grateful to assume the role of chair and program leader of the Malignant Hematology Department," said Lancet. "Our program at Moffitt is already one of the finest in the nation for patient care and research in blood cancers, and I plan to build upon this success in both the clinical and scientific arenas with a variety of new initiatives that ultimately will benefit our patients, some of which include renowned faculty/scientist recruitments, multidisciplinary clinics for the best patient care, and instituting more cutting-edge clinical trials led by Moffitt doctors."

 

Grants Available for Pancreatic Cancer Research

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network have announce the opening of the 2017 Research Grants Program to support early-career investigators focused on pancreatic cancer. Two grant mechanisms, the Pathway to Leadership Grant and the Career Development Award, are being offered for postdoctoral and clinical research fellows or junior faculty, respectively.

 

Since the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-AACR grants program was introduced in 2003, more than $30 million has been awarded to accelerate pancreatic cancer research. This year, $1.2 million will be available through this partnership to support the nation's most promising early-career scientists in the field.

 

Submissions for 2017 grants must be completed online using the proposalCENTRAL website at https://proposalcentral.altum.com/. Funding decisions will be announced in the spring, and the grant term will begin July 1, 2017. The recipients will be honored at the AACR Annual Meeting 2017, to be held in Washington, D.C., April 1-5, 2017.

 

Career Development Awards are 2-year grants totaling $200,000 to support junior faculty to develop or strengthen their research programs in pancreatic cancer. The letter of intent deadline is noon ET, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. The Pathway to Leadership Grant is a grant of up to 5 years totaling up to $600,000 that is designed to build future leadership in the pancreatic cancer research community by supporting a highly promising postdoctoral or clinical research fellow during his or her mentored research and career development, continuing through his or her early phase of independence. The application deadline is noon ET, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016.

 

To learn more about the 2017 grants program, visit http://www.aacr.org/funding or pancan.org/funding2017.

 

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