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NCI-Designated Cancer Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Names Director

David Tuveson, MD, PhD, will succeed Bruce Stillman, PhD, as Director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Cancer Center, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.


Stillman has served as Director of the laboratory's NCI-designated cancer center for 25 years. He will continue in his long-standing role as President and CEO of CSHL, as well as maintaining a research laboratory that focuses on DNA replication and genome inheritance.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.
David Tuveson, MD, P... - Click to enlarge in new windowDavid Tuveson, MD, PhD. David Tuveson, MD, PhD

Tuveson's research and clinical focus is pancreatic cancer. His research at CSHL is making progress toward finding a cure by detecting the disease earlier and designing novel therapeutic approaches, based in part on pancreatic organoid technology he has pioneered.


"It's a great honor to lead CSHL's Cancer Center and take on the challenge of creating better therapies and better diagnostics by leveraging the laboratory's unique strengths, which include expertise in developing new methods and technologies that will get us to our goal," Tuveson said. "Through the use of technologies like 3-D cell cultures-organoids-and gene editing tools like CRISPR, I believe CSHL will accelerate the drug discovery and development process. I'm very hopeful that 5 years from now we should see next-generation therapeutic and diagnostic approaches and we will hear more people saying 'I used to have cancer.'"


Tuveson is the Roy J. Zuckerberg Professor of Cancer Research at CSHL, the Head of the Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Research Laboratory at CSHL, and the Lustgarten Foundation's Director of Research. Tuveson continues to practice medical oncology with an adjunct appointment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a clinical affiliation at Northwell Health.


New AACI President Integrates Cancer Treatment Advances into Community

Stanton L. Gerson, MD, became the new President of the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) during the 2016 annual meeting in Chicago.


Gerson is the Asa and Patricia Shiverick-Jane Shiverick (Tripp) Professor of Hematological Oncology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Director of the NCI-Designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, in Cleveland, founding Director of the National Center for Regenerative Medicine, and Distinguished University Professor at Case Western Reserve University. He is also Director of University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland and a member of the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors.

Stanton L. Gerson, M... - Click to enlarge in new windowStanton L. Gerson, MD. Stanton L. Gerson, MD

At the annual meeting, Gerson launched his 2-year term with a presentation outlining plans for his presidential initiative, which will address a major objective of the Obama Administration's Cancer Moonshot initiative: promoting collaborations with researchers, doctors, and patients to improve patient outcomes and health care value in the community.


"The need to facilitate this process is especially great at community points of care where access to newer technology, decision-making expertise to handle 'omics' and other advanced diagnostics, clinical trials, or multidisciplinary care may lag that available at larger cancer center sites," Gerson said.


To meet that challenge, Gerson proposed marshalling the collaborative and synergistic knowledge and experience of AACI cancer centers to create a model of care that can provide access to patients currently seen in the community. In coming months AACI will convene a steering committee that will chart the direction of Gerson's initiative.


Gerson has been an active member of AACI for the past 14 years, including service on the Board of Directors from 2007 to 2009. An internationally recognized cancer researcher, Gerson has been active in the stem cell, hematologic malignancies, and developmental therapeutics programs. He has received multiple NIH grants and has published more than 236 articles, 270 abstracts, and 37 book chapters. He also has received 18 patents for stem cell and drug discoveries.


City of Hope Researcher Receives Award for Treatment, Research on Lung Cancer

Ravi Salgia, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research at City of Hope, Duarte, Calif., has been recognized for his decades-long dedication to treating lung cancer patients and researching new therapies.


Salgia received the 2016 Asclepius Award from the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, which is dedicated to fighting lung cancer and turning it into a manageable, curable disease by 2023.

Ravi Salgia, MD, PhD... - Click to enlarge in new windowRavi Salgia, MD, PhD. Ravi Salgia, MD, PhD

Salgia joined City of Hope in January 2016, where he's led the expansion of clinical programs at City of Hope's Duarte campus and in its community practices throughout Southern California. Salgia also works closely with faculty to support both basic research and clinical studies aimed at discovering new cancer treatments. Beyond his role as the Arthur & Rosalie Kaplan Endowed Chair in Medical Oncology, he also serves as Associate Director for Clinical Sciences in the institution's comprehensive cancer center.


Prior to joining City of Hope, Salgia served in various roles at the University of Chicago Medical Center and Pritzker School of Medicine, including Director of the center's Thoracic Oncology Program, Vice Chair of Medicine and Associate Director of Translational Sciences for its comprehensive cancer center.


During his 12 years at University of Chicago, Salgia identified several novel targets in oncology and led a strong clinical and research group. His laboratory conducted research on how the receptor tyrosine kinases, which is abundant in lung cancer cells, affects cell growth, and may have potential use in treatment.


Salgia's most recent work has focused on genomic profiling of lung cancers and the development of biomarkers for early diagnosis, as well as prognosis and therapeutic monitoring of thoracic cancers, which occur in the lung and chest area. Salgia is also utilizing various strategies to understand tumor heterogeneity, including the role of cell signaling pathways, mitochondria, immunology, and mathematical modeling.


Surgical Oncologist Elected President of the Association of Women Surgeons

Christine Laronga, MD, FACS, surgical oncologist specializing in breast cancer at Moffitt Cancer Center, has been named President of the Association of Women Surgeons. Before she was named president, she served in multiple capacities, including treasurer.


"I am thrilled to be in this new position with the Association of Women Surgeons," said Laronga. "This is my opportunity to give back to an organization that has offered me so much throughout the years."

Christine Laronga, M... - Click to enlarge in new windowChristine Laronga, MD, FACS. Christine Laronga, MD, FACS

The association was founded in 1981 and is an educational and professional organization. It is committed to supporting women surgeons at various stages in their career, from medical school through retirement. The association offers members programs and services to engage current and future female surgeons to realize their professional and personal goals, empower women to succeed, and encourage them to excel in their aspirations. The 35-year-old nonprofit organization provides mentorship, education, and a networking community to promote contributions and achievements as students, surgeons, and leaders.


At Moffitt, Laronga makes a difference in women's lives through her clinical practice and research. She treats women with all levels of breast disease, from benign cysts to metastatic breast cancer.


Laronga is a principal investigator for several groundbreaking procedures, including nipple and areola skin-sparing efforts after mastectomy and liposuction for arm lymphedema resulting from breast cancer treatment. She also conducts basic research in proteomics. On a state level, she is the State Chair for the Commission on Cancer and a Florida Governor of the American College of Surgeons. She also is active in the American Cancer Society serving on the Florida Division Board. At the national level, Laronga is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network breast risk reduction panel that reviews guidelines for treating women at high risk for breast cancer.


Cancer Researcher Appointed to Faculty at Broad Institute, Dana-Farber & Harvard

William Sellers, MD, a widely-respected cancer researcher with deep experience in cancer genomics and therapeutic discovery, is returning to the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Harvard Medical School (HMS) as a faculty member.


Effective Jan. 1, 2017, Sellers will become a core institute member at the Broad and a senior advisor to the president for experimental therapeutics at Dana-Farber. At Broad, he will lead a research lab, extending the institute's expertise in cancer genomics and translation. At Dana-Farber, he will provide advice and expertise on Dana-Farber's growing experimental therapeutics program, which spans the drug discovery spectrum from chemistry to target validation, to lead optimization, to early phase trials.

William Sellers, MD.... - Click to enlarge in new windowWilliam Sellers, MD. William Sellers, MD

Sellers has spent his academic career at the intersection of cancer biology and cancer genomics, joining the Dana-Farber faculty and Harvard Medical School in 1997, and becoming a Broad associate member in 2004. His research efforts focused on investigating the basic mechanisms of tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes, and elucidating the molecular pathways of cancer, through high-throughput genetic sequencing and other genomics approaches.


Notably, Sellers collaborated with his Dana-Farber and Broad colleague Matthew Meyerson, MD, PhD, to lead the Broad's first major foray into cancer genome sequencing. Their work, as well as work by other groups including investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital, led to the identification of EGFR mutations in lung cancer-a finding that helped pave the way for EGFR-inhibiting drugs becoming standard-of-care for patients. In addition, Sellers's efforts to understand the genetic alterations in prostate and other cancers contributed to the discovery of MITF as an important gene in the development of melanoma.


"It is exciting to be re-joining these outstanding, world-renowned institutions and to reunite with many colleagues who share the passion for translating innovative science into improved treatments for patients," Sellers said. "I look forward to resuming the mentoring and development of young scientists who are the key to building upon the immense progress that has been made in treating cancer."


Sellers has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Novartis Excellence Award for Innovation, the Abbott Bioresearch Award, the Tisch Family Outstanding Investigator Award, and the NIH Physician-Scientist Award. He currently serves on the scientific advisory boards of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation, and Mt. Sinai Medical Center, and was appointed by President Barack Obama as a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board.


The 31st Annual Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking & Disease Presented

Ramaswamy Govindan, MD, the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Chair in Medical Oncology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is one of two researchers to receive the 31st Annual Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Disease. The award recognizes investigators who promote understanding and awareness of that relationship.


Govindan, who also is a Siteman Cancer Center research member, is a leader in lung cancer clinical trials and translational research. His research focuses on genomic changes in patients with lung cancer. His scientific investigations have led to seminal results defining genomic changes in patients with lung cancer. For example, using whole genome sequencing, he and his colleagues discovered previously unsuspected, significant differences in the genomes of non-small cell lung cancer patients who never smoked compared to the genomes of non-small cell lung cancer patients who had smoked.

Ramaswamy Govindan, ... - Click to enlarge in new windowRamaswamy Govindan, MD. Ramaswamy Govindan, MD

The other award recipient is Michael Fiore, MD, Director of the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and a Senior Consultant for NCI.


The $15,000 prize will be shared between the two honorees and presented, along with a medal and plaque for each recipient, commemorating this achievement, at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Denver.


Uterine Cancer Research Chair Established at Cleveland Clinic

A $1 million gift has established the Laura J. Fogarty Endowed Chair for Uterine Cancer Research, Cleveland Clinic's first endowed chair supporting research into the causes and treatment of uterine cancer.


The Fogarty Chair will be held by Ofer Reizes, PhD, a researcher in the Lerner Research Institute's Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine.


The gift to establish the chair was given by Laura Fogarty and her husband, Bob Fogarty, a partner in the Cleveland law firm of Hahn Loeser & Parks. The couple cite a desire to advance treatments for women with recurrent and metastatic uterine cancer and to shed light on the disease, which is not well-publicized or well-funded.

Ofer Reizes, PhD. Of... - Click to enlarge in new windowOfer Reizes, PhD. Ofer Reizes, PhD

Reizes' current research focuses on gynecological cancers. Together with his colleague Justin Lathia, PhD, Reizes identified several proteins on the surface of cancer stem cells that protect the cells from cisplatin chemotherapy. They hope to block these receptors to keep cancer stem cells at bay and allow cisplatin to do its job of killing cancer cells. With the generous gift from the Fogarty family, Reizes will also investigate how the state of these receptors can be used as a prognostic tool for oncologists to predict which patients will respond well to cisplatin.


"I am incredibly honored and grateful for this gift," Reizes said. "It will allow us to expand upon our earlier discoveries, build the first uterine cancer research program in the Lerner Research Institute, and form strong collaborations with the Women's Health Institute at Cleveland Clinic, with the ultimate goal of improving treatment for the thousands of women with uterine cancer."


An expert in the biological relationship between obesity and cancer, Reizes' earlier research found that the fat tissue hormone leptin promotes tumor and cancer stem cell growth.


Reizes joined Cleveland Clinic in 2006. He holds several leadership roles in the Lerner Research Institute, including Director of Research Core Services and Director of Skills Development for the NIH-funded Center for Accelerated Innovations at Cleveland Clinic.


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