2022 Kicks Off with 3 New Members
The Caris Precision Oncology Alliance (POA) continues to ride the momentum from 2021 with the signing of 3 new members: the National Cancer Center Japan, the University of Kentucky – Markey Cancer Center, and the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute. With now 61 leading cancer centers and academic institutions worldwide, the POA has never been stronger and better equipped to address the challenges facing cancer care today. Our diverse make up of institutions further enables us to deliver greater molecular science solutions in an effort to improve the lives of cancer patients worldwide through the development of precision medicine programs and practices.
On Thursday, June 2, prior to the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, the POA will be hosting a welcome reception, dinner, and lively discussion at VenueSIX10 in Chicago for all POA members. Attendees will hear about the exciting new developments taking place within Caris and how the POA is continuing to advance molecular science, enhance research and scholarly activities in precision oncology, and establish new standards for molecular testing in oncology. To attend, please register by licking here.
AdventHealth has named Lamata Mitchell, PhD, vice president and chief learning officer for the health system, effective March 14. Dr. Mitchell will be the first to serve in this role and will lead the organization’s learning strategy across four communities – leaders, team members, future talent and clinical talent – through educational resources and opportunities offered by the AdventHealth Leadership Institute, the AdventHealth Learning Network, AdventHealth University and other educational partners. She will report to Olesea Azevedo, senior vice president and chief people officer for AdventHealth. Read more.
AdventHealth has named Steven Smith, MD, as chief scientific officer for the system. In this new role, Dr. Smith will provide scientific as well as research oversight and operational leadership across the company. Dr. Smith will continue to lead research within the Central Florida Division and serve as the associate center director leading AdventHealth’s partnership with the Moffitt Cancer Center. Dr. Smith will report to David Moorhead, MD, executive vice president and chief clinical officer. Read more.
Getting data on just about any subject is not that hard to do in this day and age. The difficult part is organizing that data and putting it to use. That’s where Dr. Jie Chen comes into play as professor and division chief of the Division of Biostatistics and Data Science in the Department of Population Health Sciences at the Medical College of Georgia. Chen sees how analytics can play an important role in the medical and health fields. “In order to get better precision medicine, or in another term called ‘personalized medicine,’ you have to first know overall the population characteristics, and make inferences from the population data and then you can zoom in to study individual data,” said Chen. Read more.
Timothy Wang, MD, and Kelley Yan, MD, PhD, have each been awarded 2022 Annual Recognition Prizes(link is external and opens in a new window) from the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). The AGA is a premier gastroenterological institution with more than 16,000 members globally, involved in all aspects of the science, practice, and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Annual Recognition Prizes honor outstanding contributions and achievements in gastroenterological research, care, and education. Read more.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Lifespan Cancer Institute have agreed to renew their strategic alliance to advance cancer treatment and research. Dana-Farber and the Lifespan Cancer Institute signed an initial agreement in 2017.
This renewed agreement will continue to support the expansion of clinical trials, access for Lifespan physicians to cancer-specific disease expertise for complex cases, and the continuation of a highly successful program coordinating the treatment of cell therapy and transplant patients. Cellular therapies and transplants are provided in Boston at Dana-Farber and care surrounding these procedures is provided in Providence at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. The two organizations share patient information through their respective secure electronic health record systems and use the same clinical trials management platform, resulting in better care coordination. Read more.
Zach Reitman, MD, PhD, has been awarded a $97,242 third-year Fellow grant from The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, for a total amount of more than $285,000. This grant will support Dr. Reitman’s work with childhood brain tumors, specifically identifying new treatment approaches that improve the efficacy of radiation treatments, maximize tumor killing and reduce normal tissue toxicities. The grant will also support career development for Dr. Reitman by giving him critical experience with lab management, leadership and grant writing. Read more.
Investigators from Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have been awarded pilot grants from the Donaldson Charitable Trust Research Synergy Fund, a unique funding opportunity offered jointly by Winship, the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. Read more.
Camille Ragin Named Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Fox Chase Cancer Center
Fox Chase Cancer Center has announced the appointment of Camille Ragin, PhD, MPH, as Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). “We recognize the importance of welcoming diverse voices, valuing different skillsets and backgrounds, and celebrating the collective richness of our individuality. This appointment formalizes leadership to move us forward in this area,” said Jon Chernoff, MD, PhD, Cancer Center Director at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Read more.
MedStar Health Receives Record-breaking $1.8 Million Donation Towards MedStar Montgomery Medical Center’s Oncology Pavilion
MedStar Health, today announced that it has received its largest individual donation to date for Medstar Montgomery Medical Center. The gift, valued at $1.8 million, is through a planned posthumous donation from Robert (Bobby) E. Lee Smith, Jr. of Olney, MD. The transformational gift will be allocated towards the Oncology Pavilion at MedStar Montgomery, with the goal of providing better-than-ever care to the Montgomery County community. As the number of individuals and families impacted by cancer rises steadily, so does the need for critical oncology services such as surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation, and more.. Read more.
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian has announced that Thomas N. Wang, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.S., a prominent researcher and nationally recognized author, has been named medical director of the Hoag Melanoma/Advanced Skin Cancer Program.
Dr. Wang comes to Hoag after spending the previous 15 years at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where he served as a Professor of Surgery at the UAB School of Medicine and Chief of Surgical Oncology for the Birmingham VA Medical Center. As a board-certified surgical oncologist, his deep expertise and commitment to patient care make him the right fit for Hoag, said Burton L. Eisenberg, M.D., F.A.C.S., Grace E. Hoag Executive Medical Director Endowed Chair, Hoag Family Cancer Institute. Read more.
HonorHealth Scottsdale Shea Medical Center is First Hospital in Arizona to Perform Revolutionary, Minimally Invasive Robotic Lung Biopsy Procedures
HonorHealth, a leading Valley healthcare system serving 1.6 million people in the greater Phoenix area, announced today that the Scottsdale Shea Medical Center is the first hospital in Arizona to perform a robotic-assisted bronchoscopy, with shape sensing technology, which is used to help diagnose lung disease.
The robot features an ultra-thin, easily maneuverable catheter that can move 180 degrees in all directions. Doctors can easily navigate small and tortuous airways with the fiber optic technology to reach nodules in any airway segment within the lung. The robot’s flexible biopsy needle can also pass through very tight bends via the catheter to collect tissue in the peripheral lung using real-time vision of the airway, enabling a more precise biopsy and easier surgical experience for patients. Read more.
More than 179,000 newly diagnosed patients with cancer are among the Ukrainian people suffering from Russia’s unprovoked aggression. In response, the American Cancer Society (ACS), in partnership with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center-Jefferson Health, is taking steps to support all Ukrainian cancer patients and their families, including migrant and multicultural communities. Read more.
$1 Million Gift Establishes Distinguished Chair in Clinical Research at Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute
Atrium Health Foundation announced a $1 million gift from Gayle and Charles “Carl” Tallardy to further advance clinical research at Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute. The gift will establish the Gayle J. and Charles C. Tallardy III Foundation Distinguished Chair in Clinical Research Endowment at Levine Cancer Institute. David M. Foureau, associate professor of medicine and research group director of Levine Cancer Institute’s Immune Monitoring Core Laboratory, is the first recipient of the chair. He will be honored at a private investiture ceremony held next month. Read more.
Maryland Oncology Hematology Announces Carolyn Hendricks, MD, FASCO Has Been Named to the Board of the American Society of Clinical Oncology
Maryland Oncology Hematology (MOH), the largest independent oncology practice in Maryland and a member of The US Oncology Network, announced today that medical oncologist Carolyn Hendricks, MD, FASCO has been named to the Board of The American Society of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Hendricks was elected to the Designated Community Oncologist seat and will begin a four-year term starting in June 2022. Read more.
After six successful years at the helm of Memorial Healthcare System, the public, nonprofit hospital system in south Broward County that is nationally recognized for providing outstanding patient and family-centered care, Aurelio M. Fernandez, III, FACHE, has announced his retirement. Effective at the end of April 2022, he leaves a legacy that transformed Memorial, its workforce and community. Read more.
In support of President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot℠ goal of fostering data sharing in cancer research, the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, has launched the Molecular Characterization Initiative for pediatric tumors. This program offers tumor molecular characterization, also called biomarker testing, to children, adolescents, and young adults with newly diagnosed central nervous system tumors who are being treated at hospitals that are affiliated with the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), an NCI-supported clinical trials group that includes more than 200 hospitals and institutions that treat most children diagnosed with cancer in the United States. Read more.
New England Cancer Specialists has become an Affiliate Member of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, it was announced today. Affiliate Membership reflects a demonstrated commitment to excellence by meeting a wide array of standards and best practices in oncology care. While New England Cancer Specialists is the first physician practice to become an Affiliate Member of Dana-Farber, the two organizations have a long history of collaboration going back more than 30 years. Read more.
The new Cardio-Oncology Program at Northside Hospital is dedicated to improving overall cancer care and lowering a patient’s risk of possible cardiac (heart) complications during cancer treatment. The Cardio-Oncology Program is a joint initiative between Northside Hospital Heart Institute and Northside Hospital Cancer Institute. The program is built on cardio-oncology best practices and the latest evidence-based care for cancer patients. Read more.
More than just socioeconomic factors impact overall cancer screening compliance and risk: Growing evidence shows that both sexual and racial minority status are associated with significantly lower rates of diagnostic cancer screening and preventive services, as well as higher distrust of the health care system.
Researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) conducted an extensive review of both peer-reviewed research studies and governmental public health data looking at the so-called “intersectionality” of factors influencing health disparities to determine that this combination of factors influences cancer screening behaviors and cancer risk. Read more.
Piedmont Cancer Institute, P.C., one of the premier cancer practices in Atlanta, would like to congratulate Dr. Vasily J. Assikis for his recognition as one of Atlanta’s Top Doctors in Atlanta Magazine 2021 Health Issue for the 10th year in a row! Dr. Assikis is recognized all over the southeast for his expertise in Genitourinary cancers (urinary tract, bladder, kidneys, prostate, testicles and penis). Read more.
$3.5 Million NIH Grant will Help Harness Worldwide Big Data to Enhance Decision Support in Hodgkin Lymphoma
With the aid of a recently awarded $3.5 million, five-year National Cancer Institute grant (R01CA262265), Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Jersey’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Tufts Medical Center in Boston are collaborating on groundbreaking work that is unifying global multi-source big data in order to enhance clinical decision support for improved acute and long-term outcomes for Hodgkin lymphoma patients around the world. Read more.
A team of multidisciplinary specialists at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute (PNI) became the first in the nation to treat a patient with recurrent glioblastoma — an aggressive form of cancer in the brain — with electronic interoperative radiation therapy during a procedure in November at Providence Saint John’s Health Center.
The therapy, known as IORT, allows radiation oncologists and surgeons to work together to deliver radiation treatment to the patient during the same surgery meant to remove the tumor, and substantially accelerates the access to radiation treatment that would normally start several weeks after surgery.
“Treating a patient suffering from glioblastoma with IORT is an incredible achievement for everyone involved, especially for PNI and our Saint John’s Cancer Institute, which work tirelessly to push the boundaries of innovation in the medical field,” Providence Saint John’s Chief Executive Michael Ricks said. Read more.
Tampa General Hospital has announced that surgical oncologist and physician-scientist, Dr. Timothy Nywening, and medical oncologist and physician-scientist, Dr. Alan Kerr, have joined its TGH Cancer Institute – a center dedicated to elevating cancer care with a world-class team of renowned specialists from all disciplines. Read more.
Robert Welner, Ph.D., and Rui Lu, Ph.D., both associate scientists within the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, have received a $3 million Mark Foundation for Cancer Research 2022 Endeavor Award to study the interplay of inflammation and clonal expansion in leukemia.
Promoting collaborative science, Endeavor Awards are granted to multidisciplinary teams pursuing innovative, unique approaches to understand and treat cancer. The Endeavor teams bring together investigators from top cancer research centers across two continents, including eight states. Read more.
Rachna T. Shroff, MD, associate professor of medicine and associate dean of clinical and translational research at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, chief of the Section of Gastrointestinal (GI) Medical Oncology, and leader of the UArizona Cancer Center GI Clinical Research Team, has been elected to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Nominating Committee. Members of this committee are responsible for developing a slate of candidates for elected ASCO positions. Read more.
Researchers at the University of California San Diego Health are the first in the county to employ high-intensity, focused ultrasound as a minimally invasive prostate cancer treatment, the system said Feb. 24. High-intensity focused ultrasound is a minimally invasive outpatient treatment for localized prostate cancer that serves as an alternative to surgery or radiation treatments. The technology uses high-frequency sound waves directed at the cancerous tissue through an ultrasound probe inserted into the rectum. The sound waves target and heat the tissue to a temperature high enough to induce cell death.
“As the only academic medical center and National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the region, we can offer patients leading-edge treatment not always available at other healthcare systems,” Scott Lippman, MD, medical oncologist at UC San Diego Health, stated in a news release from the health system. “Our experts continue to improve approaches for prevention, diagnosing and treating cancers.” Read more.
Patients with stage 3 melanoma, a type of skin cancer, that has metastasized to the lymph nodes may benefit from skipping lymph node removal surgery and receiving treatment with adjuvant therapy, although more research is needed in this area. Adjuvant therapy in patients who did not undergo complete lymph node removal surgery for the treatment of stage 3 melanoma, a type of skin cancer, may provide better distant metastasis-free survival, according to recent data. “I think this data provides some comfort to both physicians and patients that says it’s OK to skip that step and move onto the systemic therapy, which probably has more impact on the overall outcome,” Dr. Martin McCarter, a professor of surgery in the Division of Oncology at University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, said in an interview with CURE. Read more.
Roy A. Jensen, MD, vice chancellor and director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center, was awarded the Kansas Masonic Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. This prestigious award has been given to only three other individuals throughout the Kansas Masonic Foundation’s 50-year history.
Kansas Masonic Foundation (KMF) leaders presented the award at their annual Donor Appreciation Dinner in Topeka. KMF President Robert Nelson also announced that the event raised over $150,000 in support of the Foundation’s pledge to purchase a new mobile cancer screening van for the cancer center and its outreach network, the Masonic Cancer Alliance (MCA). Read more.
n this “UK at the Half,” Mark Evers, M.D., director of the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, talks about the growth of Markey and plans for a new cancer care facility that was recently kickstarted by a $10 million philanthropic gift from Central Bank. In 2009, Evers came to Kentucky to serve as the director of Markey with one overarching goal in mind: to reduce the significant burden of cancer in our state. Read more.
A recent study out of the Masonic Cancer Center and University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine looks at whether humans and dogs, both susceptible to cancer, are outliving the capacity of their natural cancer protective mechanisms, creating an elevated risk of cancer and an excess of deaths by cancer.
The collaborative research effort, led by Masonic Cancer members Jaime Modiano, VMD, PhD, Perlman Professor of Oncology and Comparative Medicine, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, and Aaron Sarver, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Institute of Health Informatics, was recently published in Aging and Cancer. Read more.
Penn-Developed CAR T Cells Suppress GI Solid Tumor Cells, without Toxicity to Healthy Tissue, in Preclinical Research
Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) cells can be destroyed and kept from multiplying by inhibiting the HDL cholesterol receptor SCARB1, according to research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The scientists found the health of these specific cancer cells and tumors are dependent upon cholesterol and this receptor while also showing that medication that specifically targets the receptor could make it impossible for the cancer cells to survive and spread. The research also suggests that controlling cholesterol through diet could minimize the growth of ccRCC tumors. Researchers say future trials can investigate specific therapeutics and diets that can be clinically used to treat ccRCC. The study was published in the journal Cancer Discovery. Read more.
USA Health is expanding its oncology care team with the addition of Ahmed Abdalla, M.D., a medical oncologist who will see patients at the USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute, the region’s only academic cancer research and treatment center. Abdalla, who also will serve as an assistant professor of interdisciplinary clinical oncology at the MCI, has a special interest in gastrointestinal malignancies and phase 1 clinical trials. He recently completed a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at Ascension St. John Hospital/Van Elslander Cancer Center in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan. Abdalla also underwent six months of training in investigational drug development at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Read more.
New Data Suggests Entinostat Decreases Immune Suppression and Promotes Antitumor Responses against HER2+ Breast Tumors
Therapeutic combinations to alter the immunosuppressive, solid tumor microenvironment (TME), such as in breast cancer, are essential to improve responses to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), a new form of cancer immunotherapy. Entinostat, an oral histone deacetylase inhibitor, has been shown to improve responses to ICIs in various tumor models with an immunosuppressive TME. However, the precise alterations to the TME induced by entinostat remained unknown. Read more.
Mays Cancer Center Researcher and SignalRx Earn NCI Business Grants to Develop Drugs for First-In-Human Clinical Trials
An internationally recognized physician-scientist of Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio, together with SignalRx Pharmaceuticals Inc., have secured two National Cancer Institute business grants to further develop drugs on a pathway to first-in-human cancer clinical trials. The clinical translational researcher, Daruka Mahadevan, MD, PhD, division chief of hematology and medical oncology at UT Health San Antonio and Mays Cancer Center, says the drugs simultaneously disrupt two or three molecular targets that are involved in the growth, survival and progression of cancer. In contrast, most cancer drugs are developed to disrupt just one cancer target at a time. Read more.
Research led by UT Southwestern scientists suggests that an investigational drug could restore the ability of some non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) to respond to an immune checkpoint blockade (ICB), a therapy that harnesses the immune system to fight malignant tumors. The findings, derived from a preclinical lab model and published in Cell Reports Medicine, could lead to more effective treatments for this subset of NSCLCs. Read more.
For years, researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah (U of U) have honed a process of developing breast cancer models using tumors donated by breast cancer patients, which they then implant into mice as a way to study the tumor’s behavior. Now, the research team reports a new, more efficient way to grow these tumors. In addition, they outline a process to test potential drugs to help prioritize clinical therapy choices based on unique tumor characteristics. Read more.
The Documentary “José Baselga: Cancer’s Fiercest Opponent” Honors the Life and Legacy of the Father of Precision Medicine in Oncology
Now released, a superb documentary entitled José Baselga: Cancer’s Fiercest Opponent beautifully chapters the extraordinary life, career and contributions of José Baselga, a Barcelona-born and internationally acclaimed physician and cancer researcher who very sadly passed away at the age of 61, on March 21, 2021, from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Supported by AstraZeneca and directed by Chris Valentino, this touching tribute is captivating, emotive, and perfectly captures his charismatic persona and all the qualities that made José Baselga a visionary in oncology as well as a truly compassionate, kind human being. We kindly invite you to access and watch José Baselga: Cancer’s Fiercest Opponent on YouTube by clicking here. Read more.
Two Washington University physician-scientists at Siteman Cancer Center have been elected members of the American Society for Clinical Investigation in recognition of original, creative and independent investigations in the clinical or allied sciences of medicine. The new members — Julie K. Schwarz, MD, PhD, and Kory Lavine, MD, PhD — will be inducted April 8. Read more.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Monday to celebrate the opening of McLaren Greater Lansing’s new health care campus. Leaders from McLaren, Michigan State University, Karmanos Cancer Institue, elected officials, staff, and community members gathered in the lobby of the seven-story hospital to celebrate a new beginning. The $600 million health care campus is set to open up in different stages over the next couple of weeks. Today they began treating their first patients for the outpatient care center and the Karmanos Cancer Institute. Read more.
Two multi-institutional teams led by Weill Cornell Medicine scientists have been awarded grant support from the Starr Cancer Consortium. Both grants will fund work applying new technologies to develop more detailed knowledge of tumor biology, with one team focusing on Hodgkin lymphoma and the other on the purity of tumor samples on pathology slides.
The Starr Cancer Consortium, established in 2006, is a collaboration among five leading research institutions: The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, The Rockefeller University and Weill Cornell Medicine. Read more.
The WVU Cancer Institute Cellular Therapy Program was recently awarded its sixth consecutive Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) reaccreditation for blood and marrow transplant and first FACT accreditation for immune effector cell therapy (CAR-T).
FACT accreditation is the threshold for excellence in cellular therapy and demonstrates that the program has exceeded standards in patient care and laboratory services. This voluntary accreditation is based upon compliance with the most comprehensive standards in the field, verified by rigorous peer-reviewed inspections. Inspections are carried out by a team of inspectors who are qualified by training and experience and perform cellular therapy functions in their daily practice. Read more.