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Douglas Gladstone, MD Appointed Chief of Hematologic Malignancies

Douglas Gladstone, MD, a leader in hematology and medical oncology, has been appointed as Chief of Hematologic Malignancies at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute. Previously, he served for 14 years as Clinical Director of the outpatient bone marrow transplantation program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. In his new role, Gladstone will work with physician leaders in leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, bone marrow transplant, and classic hematology to enhance clinical and research programs.


"We are thrilled Dr. Gladstone has joined Northwell's Cancer Institute to lead the division of hematologic malignancies across our health system in the New York metropolitan region," said Richard Barakat, MD, Physician-In-Chief and Director of the Northwell Health Cancer Institute, and Senior Vice President of Cancer Services at Northwell Health. "His more than 2 decades of clinical expertise, cutting-edge research, and academic teaching in the field of blood cancers and benign blood disorders will be a tremendous asset at the Cancer Institute as we advance programs and drive innovative approaches for cancer treatments."

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Douglas Gladstone, M... - Click to enlarge in new windowDouglas Gladstone, MD. Douglas Gladstone, MD

Gladstone will help establish an outpatient hematopoietic and cellular transplant center at Northwell, broaden the use of CAR T-cell therapy, and explore the role of transplanting regulatory T cells, which modulate our immune response and have the potential to treat chronic inflammatory diseases and severe infections such as COVID-19.


"Among my key goals will be to collaborate with my colleagues to unify hematology care across the health system, as well as help lead efforts for the Northwell Cancer Institute to earn National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designation."


Gladstone received his medical degree at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and completed his residency and chief residency at the University of Rochester, followed by dual fellowships in hematology and medical oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. After completing his fellowships, he became further involved in clinical research, immunotherapy, and blood and bone marrow transplantation research. He is Associate Professor of Medicine at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell.


In addition, Gladstone will partner with cancer institute leadership to further advance faculty engagement in clinical research recruitment and catalyze new clinical and translational research initiatives. He will work collaboratively with leadership to improve the process and flow within the outpatient R.J. Zuckerberg Cancer Center to support efficiencies and programmatic growth, and also oversee the future transfer of the bone marrow transplant and leukemia units from North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset to the R.J. Zuckerberg Cancer Hospital at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park.


Wm. Kevin Kelly, DO, Appointed Chair of Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University

Wm. Kevin Kelly, DO, now serves as Chair of the Department of Medical Oncology for the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. He joined Jefferson in 2010 as Professor of Medical Oncology and Urology and Director of the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology, and also has become an internationally renowned expert in genitourinary cancers and drug development for prostate cancer and other malignancies. Kelly has held several leadership positions in Jefferson Health's Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (SKCC), including Assistant Director for Translational Research and Program Leader of the Prostate Cancer Program, and now serves as Associate Director of SKCC's Clinical Research Organization.


With continuous extramural research funding for over 25 years, Kelly has helped develop the clinical response criteria for advanced prostate cancer that continues to be used to screen novel drugs for prostate cancer today and has been instrumental in the development of many therapies for genitourinary cancers. Additionally, he led the clinical development of a novel class of histone deacetylase inhibitors that resulted in several patents and approval by the FDA. He has held several research and leadership roles in the NCI's National Clinical Trials Network and currently serves as the medical oncology co-chair of the NCI Genitourinary Steering Committee.

Wm. Kevin Kelly, DO.... - Click to enlarge in new windowWm. Kevin Kelly, DO. Wm. Kevin Kelly, DO

In collaboration with Leonard Gomella, MD, Professor and Chair of Urology, and Adam Dicker, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of Radiation Oncology, they launched SKCC's Philadelphia Prostate Cancer Biome Project, an endeavor to support novel prostate cancer research at Jefferson that has resulted in multiple extramural grants and publications. He also serves as the Scientific Director for Legacy of Hope, a nonprofit that provides resources for families facing challenges during a cancer diagnosis and pilot funding for young investigators.


"I am thrilled to work with Dr. Kelly in his new role as the Chair of the Department of Medical Oncology. Under Dr. Kelly's leadership, SKCC's Clinical Research Office has increased staff, the number of available clinical trials-including Phase I trials-and patient accrual. He has recruited and developed an extraordinary team of experts across the disease teams that comprise the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology," said Andrew Chapman, DO, SKCC Director and EVP, Oncology Services, Jefferson Health.


Kelly received his undergraduate degree from Emory University. He earned his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency in internal medicine at Albert Einstein Medical Center. He continued fellowship training in medical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center before joining the faculty in the Genitourinary Oncology Division, where he established a national reputation for his research in drug development and GU tumors.


He was subsequently recruited to Yale University, where he served as Director of the Clinical Management Research Office and Co-director of the Genitourinary Oncology Program at Yale Cancer Center. During his tenure at Yale, Kelly developed the Connecticut Clinical Trials Network to connect oncology practices across the state to conduct clinical trials and served as a permanent member of the FDA's Oncology Drug Advisory Committee, which evaluates data concerning the safety and effectiveness of marketed and investigational cancer drugs and makes appropriate recommendations to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs.


Throughout his career, Kelly has mentored dozens of students, residents, fellows, and physicians who have become outstanding clinicians and leaders in their respective fields. He has published over 400 peer-reviewed manuscripts and abstracts and has edited multiple chapters and books. Among his myriad awards and honors, Kelly was awarded Jefferson's Provost Award for Clinical and Translational Research and the Outstanding Clinical Award in 2021.


Hematologist-Oncologists Guide New Frontiers at Cedars-Sinai Cancer

Less than 3 years after joining the Cedars-Sinai Cancer faculty, hematologist-oncologists Justin Darrah, MD, and Akil Merchant, MD, are pioneering new research and bringing a new, comprehensive set of treatment options to patients in the recently established Lymphoma Program.


Darrah also directs the CAR T-cell program at Cedars-Sinai and his focus is on clinical patient care. Merchant, who leads the Imaging Mass Cytometry Shared Resource, is a National Institutes of Health-funded physician-scientist with a focus on developing new treatments for blood cancers.

Justin Darrah, MD. J... - Click to enlarge in new windowJustin Darrah, MD. Justin Darrah, MD
Akil Merchant, MD. A... - Click to enlarge in new windowAkil Merchant, MD. Akil Merchant, MD

"Dr. Merchant and Dr. Darrah have designed a program that goes beyond standard of care to offer lymphoma patients access to advanced therapies such as clinical trials, CAR T-cell therapy, and stem cell transplant," said Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, Director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer and the PHASE ONE Distinguished Chair. "The program offers innovation with the use of molecular diagnostics to personalize patient care and will support basic and translational research that will lead to new lymphoma discoveries."


"The challenge is finding the right treatment to fit the patient," Merchant said. "My lab is devoted to further characterizing known subtypes to more clearly define lymphoma so that it is essentially a disease of one patient. Then we can tailor therapy to precisely that patient, based on that patient's specific lymphoma and the mutations that are driving it."


The Lymphoma Program offers a comprehensive range of experts-from hematologist-oncologists to experts in cellular therapy, pathologists, and radiation oncologists-to take patients from diagnosis through treatment. The program also bridges clinical care and clinical trials, integrating what is learned during patient care into research and vice versa.


"We have a biobank, so patients can donate their specimens to our repository, and we get samples from all over the world," Merchant said. "We analyze these samples in the lab, identify new targets for therapies, test those in preclinical studies, and then translate that into new clinical trials that we can offer to patients. The cycle of bench to bedside and back is active within our program."


"When discussing recommended treatment plans with our patients, I first discuss standard of care," Darrah said. "And if a patient is eligible for a clinical trial, we then discuss that option as well. We strategically build trials so that they involve standard of care-the care the patient would otherwise receive-plus an additional drug that we think is going to add benefit. Data show that patients receive the best clinical care on clinical trials, so we want to be able to offer clinical trials to patients at every phase of their treatment."


"We have dramatically expanded our CAR T-Cell Program for patients with lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma," said John Chute, MD, Director of the Division of Hematology and Cellular Therapy at Cedars-Sinai. "The application of these leading-edge therapies and the superior outcomes for patients undergoing stem cell transplantation has increased annual transplant volumes at Cedars-Sinai 40 percent over the past 4 years," he said. "They are projected to increase an additional 30 percent in 2022."


Darrah and Merchant also are working to expand the advanced lymphoma care that the Lymphoma Program offers to patients throughout California.


"We want to extend these services to places beyond the Los Angeles metropolitan area to areas where patients don't currently have access to comprehensive lymphoma care," Darrah stated. "We're exploring a program that will allow us to offer many services virtually to patients who would otherwise have to travel great distances. These are often underserved communities, and bringing excellent care to these patients is core to the Cedars-Sinai Cancer mission, and what motivates us personally as physicians."


New Endowed Chair in Cancer Informatics at IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center

A new endowed chair in cancer informatics has been created at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center. The individual filling this role will be a research scientist at the Regenstrief Institute and cancer center, as well as a faculty member at Indiana University.


Cancer informatics aids researchers in analyzing huge amounts of data-often called "big data"-that can help identify those at risk of developing cancer, optimize prevention and detection, improve outcomes, and identify the most effective treatments. Data can also be used to help researchers identify health disparities and inequities in cancer care and identify ways to lessen the impact on individuals with historically minoritized racial and ethnic identities. Data on where people live, their educational backgrounds, and their economic stability-conditions that play a role in people's health and quality of life-provides valuable information to researchers and clinicians that can ultimately be used to benefit people.


"This chair is a wonderful example of how big things can come about through identification of mutual interests among several parties," said D. Craig Brater, MD, President and CEO of the Regenstrief Foundation and Vice President of Programs at the Walther Cancer Foundation. "This chair will enable researchers to better understand the biology of cancer and also to address issues of equity in cancer care."


Rapid developments in technology have given rise to the copious amounts of data that exist. Organizing and storing that data, developing analytics to mine that data, and producing information beneficial to researchers and clinicians is an enormous undertaking. Data ranges from that contained in electronic medical records (EMRs) to data generated from clinical, basic, and translational population research. The incoming chair will lead the effort in collecting data accurately, effectively, and ethically, while joining an already strong group of researchers at IU and Regenstrief in bioinformatics, data science, and statistics.