American Cancer Society Awards Medals of Honor, New Promotions, and more

Francis Giles Appointed Chief of Hematology/Oncology at Feinberg School of Medicine

Francis Giles, MD, has been appointed chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Giles serves as deputy director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, where he leads clinical research activities. He has also previously served as director of the Institute for Drug Development at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, as well as in other roles at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Source: Northwestern University press release, November 10, 2015.

Albert Einstein Researchers Receive $2-Million Grant to Develop “Universal Donor” Blood

Investigators at Albert Einstein College of Medicine have received a four-year, $2-million research funding grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop laboratory methods to produce red blood cells that people with rare blood groups who have difficulty finding compatible donors (such as patients of Asian and African backgrounds) can use safely. “Over time, the difficulty in finding well-matched donors for these patients causes a high incidence of alloimmunization, or unwanted immune response following transfusion of genetically different blood cells,” Eric Bouhassira, PhD, professor of Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and one of the funding recipients, said in a press release. The project involves a panel of six donors with rare blood types. Researchers will generate induced pluripotent stem cells from skin cells of these individuals, then generate red cells that lack the antigens responsible for causing immune reactions. The goal is to produce “universally safe” red cells in sufficient quantity for use in the production of reagent red blood cells and eventually for life-saving transfusion therapy.

Source: Albert Einstein College of Medicine press release, December 1, 2015.

Medical University of South Carolina Wins PCORI Award to Study Pulmonary Embolism

A research team at the Medical University of South Carolina has been approved for a $13.5-million funding award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study the safety and effectiveness of three blood thinners to prevent pulmonary embolism in patients undergoing hip and knee replacement. The study is planned to enroll 25,000 patients from 25 participating centers nationwide. Vincent Pellegrini, MD, the John A. Siegling Professor and chairman of the Department of Orthopedics at the MUSC College of Medicine, is the lead investigator and was approved for the project, titled “Comparative Effectiveness of Pulmonary Embolism Prevention after Hip and Knee Replacement (PEPPER): Balancing Safety and Effectiveness.” The PEPPER study was selected for funding through PCORI’s Pragmatic Clinical Studies Initiative, an effort to produce results that are broadly applicable to a diverse range of patients and care situations and can be more quickly taken up in routine clinical practice.

Source: Medical University of South Carolina press release, January 4, 2016.

Jean-Luc Harousseau Joins IMF’s Global Team

French myeloma researcher Prof. Jean-Luc Harousseau, MD, is joining the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) to help accelerate the organization’s global expansion and outreach efforts in Asia and Europe. In his new role with the IMF, Prof. Harousseau will help increase access to treatment for myeloma patients globally. Recently retired from his position as professor of hematology at the University of Nantes, France (a position he held since 1980), Prof. Harousseau serves as chairman of the French National Authority for Health, where he has been since 2011. Prof. Harousseau was a founding member and served as president of the Intergroupe Français du Myélome (IFM), whose clinical trials have contributed significantly to the major improvements in the prognosis of myeloma. He has also received many awards for his work in the field of multiple myeloma, including Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award.

Source: International Myeloma Foundation news release, January 7, 2016.

American Cancer Society Awards Medals of Honor

The American Cancer Society awarded its Medal of Honor to four individuals for their contributions to ending cancer through basic research, clinical research, and cancer control.

The 2015 recipients are:

James P. Allison, PhD (basic research), for his work on the regulation of immune cell activation and defining immune checkpoint blockade that led to major advances in immunotherapy for cancer and the first FDA-approved drug for the treatment of metastatic melanoma




>Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD (basic research), for his contributions to the understanding of cancer immunology and the development of adoptive immunotherapy that resulted in the first effective immunotherapies for selected patients with advanced cancer




Jack Cuzick, PhD, (clinical research), for his work in the field of biostatistics, epidemiology, and clinical medicine, including chemoprevention and cancer treatment






Sidney Jerome Winawer, MD, (cancer control), in recognition of his dedication to advancing screening and prevention of colorectal cancer




Source: American Cancer Society press release, October 1, 2015.