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AACR President Named Executive Director of Cancer Consortium

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, announced that Nancy E. Davidson, MD, Director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Fred Hutch/University of Washington Cancer Consortium, one of 47 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers nationwide. Her appointment will become effective Dec. 1.


In her new role, Davidson will serve as a bridge builder across the cancer treatment, clinical, and translational research programs of consortium members Fred Hutch, UW School of Medicine, Seattle Children's, and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA).

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Nancy E. Davidson, M... - Click to enlarge in new windowNancy E. Davidson, MD. Nancy E. Davidson, MD

Davidson is a world-renowned physician-scientist in cancer biology and treatment, especially in the field of breast cancer. Prior to joining the Pitt faculty, she served as the Breast Cancer Research Professor of Oncology and founding Director of the Breast Cancer Program at Johns Hopkins. She is a member of the scientific advisory boards for many foundations and cancer centers. A member of the National Academy of Medicine, she is a past president of ASCO and current president of the American Association for Cancer Research.


The urgency of finding better treatments and cures for cancer is also very personal for Davidson. In 2011, her sister, Leslie Davidson, died at age 53 just 2 weeks after being diagnosed with non-small cell carcinoma of the lung. She had never smoked. "My hope and goal in life is that no one should have to suffer from such a catastrophic illness," Davidson said.


Davidson will serve in a variety of leadership roles for Hutch/UW consortium institutions. At Fred Hutch, she will be Senior Vice President, member, and Director of the Clinical Research Division, where she will foster excellence in research, clinical service, education, and training.


At UW School of Medicine, she will be Professor and Head of the Division of Medical Oncology, where she will be responsible for faculty mentoring, recruitment, and oversight, as well as strategic planning and implementation.


At SCCA, Davidson will serve as President and Executive Director and be responsible for directing and managing the organization's affairs, including planning, organizing, and coordinating cancer care, clinical research, and education. She also will care for patients with breast cancer as part of the breast cancer team at SCCA.


Davidson will take on the role currently held by Fred Appelbaum, MD, as Executive Director of the Fred Hutch/UW Cancer Consortium and as President and Executive Director of SCCA. Appelbaum, a world expert in the research and treatment of blood cancers who for two decades led the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutch, will remain Executive Vice President and Deputy Director of Hutch and continue to treat patients at SCCA.


Davidson, who is board-certified in internal medicine and medical oncology, has been on the faculty of Pitt since 2009 and is Hillman Professor of Oncology, Associate Vice Chancellor for Cancer Research and Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology, and Chemical Biology.


Cedars-Sinai Names Deputy Director to Lead New Initiative

In an effort to standardize cancer care and ensure optimal treatment of patients, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, has appointed a prominent oncologist to integrate research and clinical strategies across the organization.


Robert A. Figlin, MD, will serve as Deputy Director of the Integrated Oncology Service Line at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. Previously, he was Director of the Hematology Oncology Division at the institute.


In his new role, Figlin will work with clinicians and investigators to unify the health system's approach to treating cancer. The integration of cancer care means patients will get the same level of quality services whether they're treated at Cedars-Sinai's main campus or at one of its highly regarded affiliates, including Tower Hematology Oncology and The Angeles Clinic.

Robert A. Figlin, MD... - Click to enlarge in new windowRobert A. Figlin, MD. Robert A. Figlin, MD

"Dr. Figlin was tailor-made to do this," said Steven Piantadosi, MD, PhD, Director of the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai. "He's an experienced leader who knows cancer care in the Cedars-Sinai system, throughout Los Angeles, and beyond."


A kidney cancer specialist, Figlin will continue working to develop clinical trials, translate research findings from the laboratory to the clinical setting, and lead initiatives such as Cedars-Sinai's effort to contain the high cost of cancer drugs.


Figlin, who joined Cedars-Sinai 6 years ago, is the Steven Spielberg Family Chair in Hematology Oncology. Since his arrival, he has established the Experimental Therapeutics Program and successfully recruited clinical and research faculty in critical specialty areas such as breast cancer, bone marrow transplant, gastrointestinal oncology, genitourinary oncology, survivorship, and cancer biology, among many other achievements.


His new position, he says, will provide additional opportunities to enhance the lives of cancer patients, while advancing significant research goals. "This position presents an opportunity to improve cancer care for our patients at Cedars-Sinai," Figlin said. "Contributing to cancer science allows me to wake up each day and feel as though I'm making an important difference."


Immunotherapy Authority Joins Rush Cancer Leadership

Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, appointed Timothy M. Kuzel, MD, a leading authority on developing innovative immunotherapy treatments for cancer, as Professor of Internal Medicine and Division Chief of Hematology, Oncology, and Cell Therapy.


Previously, Kuzel was Director of Northwestern University's Driskill Immunotherapy Research Program, was a Professor of Medicine and Dermatology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and oversaw the Genitourinary and Cutaneous Oncology Programs at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Timothy M. Kuzel, MD... - Click to enlarge in new windowTimothy M. Kuzel, MD. Timothy M. Kuzel, MD

The Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Cell Therapy oversees the diagnosis and treatment of patients with solid tumors (breast cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, gastrointestinal cancers, and genitourinary cancers) and blood cancers (lymphomas, leukemias, and multiple myeloma). Physicians and clinical researchers in this division also lead the scientific discovery of new therapeutic targets that improve cancer patients' quality of life and prolonged survival.


Kuzel is a past winner of the ASCO Career Development Award and served as President of the Illinois Medical Oncology Society. He has authored or co-authored more than 250 journal articles, editorials, and book chapters and edited a series of leading cancer treatments textbooks.


He has presented at numerous national meetings, including a recent symposium on new treatments as part of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer's Immunotherapy 101 program that provided clinical oncologists and other cancer specialists with the immunology principles needed to integrate these therapies into the clinical management for their patients.


Moffitt Cancer Center CEO Accepts Haihe River Friendship Award

President and CEO Alan F. List, MD, of Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Fla., traveled to Tianjin, China, Sept. 29 to receive the Haihe River Friendship Award, the highest governmental honor of the Tianjin municipality.


The award was established in 2006 to recognize and reward outstanding foreign experts who contribute to improving the economic and social development of Tianjin, a northern coastal city with a population of 15.4 million. Each year, the city presents the award to 10 foreigners among 80 candidates. This year, List was chosen the No. 1 awardee among the 10 recipients.

Alan F. List, MD. Al... - Click to enlarge in new windowAlan F. List, MD. Alan F. List, MD

Hongzhong Li, the Secretary of Tianjin Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, and Dongfeng Wang, Acting Mayor of Tianjin Municipal City, presented the award to List.


In recent years, List has presented several scientific presentations in the region. In addition, Moffitt collaborates with China's International Personalized Cancer Center in Tianjin to develop personalized cancer care. The hospital is under construction and will open in May 2017.


Moffitt also has been involved in a number of research projects jointly conducted in Tianjin and has trained graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, physician-scientists, and research nurses from Tianjin since 2008.


"This was such a great honor to be recognized for our work in Tianjin," said List. "We have enjoyed our collaboration there and look forward to continued sharing of experts and knowledge between our institutions and communities."


Vanderbilt Cancer Researcher Honored With VA Award for Scientific Achievement

Ann Richmond, PhD, a cancer researcher at Vanderbilt University, has won the 2016 William S. Middleton Award, the highest honor for scientific achievement bestowed by the Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development Service of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).


Richmond is Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and professor of Cancer Biology and Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and Senior Associate Career Scientist with the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville campus.

Ann Richmond, PhD. A... - Click to enlarge in new windowAnn Richmond, PhD. Ann Richmond, PhD

She was honored for significant contributions to understanding chemokines inflammatory proteins that can regulate tumor growth. Her research has helped lay the foundation for understanding how to improve the effectiveness of immunotherapies against melanoma, a potentially lethal skin cancer that occurs disproportionately among Gulf War veterans.


Richmond was nominated for the award by Donald Rubin, MD, Associate Chief of Staff for Research at the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System's Nashville campus, and professor of Medicine and of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology at Vanderbilt.


She is the third woman and second Vanderbilt faculty member to receive the annual award, which was created in 1960.


The award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in biomedical or behavioral research, is named for the late William S. Middleton, MD, who served as the VA's Chief Medical Director from 1955 to 1963.


Richmond has been a member of the Vanderbilt faculty since 1989. Her research to identify and characterize one of the first chemotactic cytokines (chemokines), now known as CXCL1, has been continuously funded by a VA MERIT grant, and she has held a VA Research Career Scientist Award since 1988.


Richmond explained that Gulf War veterans are at higher risk of developing melanoma, and dying from the disease, compared to the general population because of their intense and prolonged exposure to the damaging rays of the sun during their tours of duty.


"A lot of our work is linking how chemokines, as inflammatory mediators, play a role in the recruitment of anti-tumor leukocytes into the tumor microenvironment to help boost the immune response to the tumor, and allow these immune cells to destroy tumor cells," Richmond said.


"Immunotherapy is the best treatment we have now for metastatic melanoma," she continued. "We've made huge strides in understanding how to treat this disease."


"Big Four for the Millennium" Honored

The Congress of the German Society for Gynecology and Obstetrics has identified the "Big Four for the Millennium," which recognizes those individuals whose work in the 20th century created the standards of women's healthcare in the 21st century. The recipients of this honor include the following.


V. Craig Jordan, OBE, PhD, DSc, FMedSci, is the Dallas/Ft. Worth Living Legend Chair of Cancer Research in the Department of Breast Medical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Jordan is known as the "father of tamoxifen" for his seminal translational research that created the clinical strategies of long-term adjuvant tamoxifen therapy and chemo prevention for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. Millions of women are alive today as a result of the clinical use of tamoxifen.


Harald zur Hausen, MD, is a German virologist. From 1983 until 2003, zur Hausen served as a chairman and member of the scientific advisory board of the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ in German) in Heidelberg and professor of medicine at Heidelberg University. In 2008, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of the role of papillomaviruses in cancer of the cervix.

V. Craig Jordan, OBE... - Click to enlarge in new windowV. Craig Jordan, OBE, PhD, DSC, FMEDSCI. V. Craig Jordan, OBE, PhD, DSC, FMEDSCI

Umberto Veronesi, MD, Knight Grand Cross OMRI is recognized as the "most famous doctor in Italy." He trained as a surgical oncologist and pioneered breast conserving surgery. In 1994, he founded the European Institute of Oncology where he is still the director. He served as Italy's Minister of Health (2000-2001).

Harald Zur Hausen, M... - Click to enlarge in new windowHarald Zur Hausen, MD. Harald Zur Hausen, MD

Hans-Jorg Senn, MD, is recognized for creating the St. Gallen breast cancer meetings with the philosophy that oncologists must be informed about the latest advances in breast cancer research and treatment to aid the survival of their patients. Senn was born in Switzerland but chose to train in the U.S. to learn the newest advances in chemotherapy and take this knowledge back to Switzerland to aid breast cancer patients. This philosophy grew into the internationally famous St. Gallen Breast Cancer Conference that is entering its 30th year.

Umberto Veronesi, MD... - Click to enlarge in new windowUmberto Veronesi, MD. Umberto Veronesi, MD

Thoracic Cancer Expert Joins Fox Chase

Yanis Boumber, MD, PhD, recently joined the Department of Thoracic Medical Oncology and the Molecular Therapeutics Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia.


Boumber first joined Fox Chase's Department of Medical Oncology in 2013 and now returns to Fox Chase from the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center. He specializes in treating patients with thoracic cancers, including lung cancer, thymoma, and mesothelioma, and his clinical and research focus at Fox Chase will be on thoracic malignancies.

Yanis Boumber, MD, P... - Click to enlarge in new windowYanis Boumber, MD, PhD. Yanis Boumber, MD, PhD

"Having worked at Fox Chase earlier in my career, I enjoyed the atmosphere and culture of support here," Boumber said. "The caliber of Fox Chase's clinicians and researchers is second to none. I look forward to joining the staff once again and offering comfort and care to all who walk through the doors."


In his time away from Fox Chase, Boumber has continued to collaborate with numerous Fox Chase scientists and clinicians. Boumber and Erica Golemis, PhD, Deputy Chief Science Officer and Co-Leader of Molecular Therapeutics at Fox Chase, led a study that found the Musashi-2 protein, a regulator of mRNA translation, may serve as a predictive biomarker of non-small cell lung cancer aggressiveness. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in June 2016.


In further work with Golemis and another colleague, James Duncan, PhD, Boumber helped identify a role for the TGF-beta/BMP superfamily member anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) in drug resistance in non-small cell lung cancer, and also evaluated STA-8666, a promising new targeted therapy for lung cancer. These findings were published in Clinical Cancer Research in June 2016, and in Cell Reports in July 2016.


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