Lili Yang Wins $1.4 Million CIRM Quest Discovery Grant, and more

Remembering Thomas Michael Przybysz (1951-2018) 

Thomas Michael Przybysz, MD, an oncologist, passed away on July 19, 2018, at the age of 66.

After serving in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1972, Dr. Przybysz earned his MD from West Virginia University in 1979, then completed his residency in internal medicine at Mercy Hospital and his fellowship in medical oncology at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. He eventually moved with his wife and children to Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1984 and opened his private practice in medical oncology.

Dr. Przybysz served his community as an oncologist for more than 30 years, during which he also served as medical director of Wheeling’s Valley Hospice.

He is survived by his wife, Kathryn, their five children, and their six grandchildren.

Source: West Virginia News obituary, July 21, 2018.

Remembering Hans Erik Johnsen (1948-2018) 

Hans Erik Johnsen, PhD, professor of Clinical Hematology in the Department of Hematology at Aalborg University in Denmark, passed away on May 17, 2018, at the age of 70.

Dr. Johnsen was a specialist in internal medicine and hematology at Aarhus University with an interest in lymphoid biology and neoplasms.

Dr. Johnsen was a founding member of the European Myeloma Network (EMN) and served as a board member and its secretary from 2004 to 2007. In 2007, he became the coordinator of the European Myeloma Stem Cell Network, known as MSCNET. Throughout his career, Dr. Johnsen was involved with numerous scientific projects and grants, published 286 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, and supervised more than 50 PhD and master’s degree students.

Dr. Johnsen is remembered by representatives from the European Hematology Association as “a great scientist and an original investigator. … His contributions to the founding and development of the European Myeloma Network have been significant and essential for its current success.”

Source: European Hematology Association press release, May 23, 2018.

Icahn School of Medicine Receives NIH Grant for SCD Research 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a $4 million grant to researchers in the departments of emergency medicine and hematology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. The funding will support the IMPROVE 2 study, which is evaluating inhaled corticosteroids to treat sickle cell disease (SCD) in people who do not have asthma.

Jeffrey Glassberg, MD, associate professor of Emergency Medicine and of Medicine, Hematology, and Medical Oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine and director of the Mount Sinai Comprehensive Program for Sickle Cell Disease, will lead the team of researchers, including specialists in hematology, pulmonology, and immunology.

“In SCD, the interaction between the lung and red blood cells represents a potentially high-value therapeutic target,” said Dr. Glassberg. “Inhaled corticosteroids offer a creative new approach with the potential to dramatically improve patient outcomes.”

Source: Mount Sinai press release, August 13, 2018.

Lili Yang Wins $1.4 Million CIRM Quest Discovery Grant 

Lili Yang, PhD, a researcher at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), received a Quest Discovery Program award from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). Dr. Yang also is a member of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and an assistant professor in the UCLA Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics.

The award, which is intended to support the development of new stem cell–based technologies that may be ready for translational studies within two years, provides approximately $1.4 million in funding.

Dr. Yang’s research focuses on developing a cellular therapy for the treatment of multiple solid-tumor cancers and hematologic malignancies, including breast cancer, leukemia, multiple myeloma, and myelodysplastic syndromes.

Source: UCLA press release, July 19, 2018.

Geoffrey Hill Receives José Carreras/E. Donnall Thomas Endowed Chair 

Geoffrey Hill, MD, was named the recipient of the José Carreras/E. Donnall Thomas Endowed Chair for Cancer Research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. In December 2017, he was recruited from Australia to act as director of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation at Fred Hutch.

Dr. Hill is the third recipient of this chair, which provides $425,000 in funding over five years. He plans to use the funding to continue efforts to integrate bone marrow transplantation and immune therapies to minimize the risks of relapse and graft-versus-host disease in patients with leukemia.

Source: Fred Hutch News Service, August 14, 2018.