Remembering Robert Arceci and Gerald Logue, Pew-Stewart Scholars Announced, and more

Robert J. Arceci, MD, PhD (1950-2015)

Robert J. Arceci, MD, PhD, a pediatric oncologist from Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona, was killed June 8 in a motorcycle accident while on his way to work.

Dr. Arceci was director of the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders Hematology/Oncology at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and professor of pediatrics at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix, as well as co-director of the Ronald A. Matricaria Institute of Molecular Medicine.

A physician/scientist for more than three decades, Dr. Arceci concentrated on basic and translational research in pediatric hematology and oncology, including the development of novel therapeutic targets and immunotherapies for patients with cancer. The author of Cancer Genomics: From Bench to Personalized Medicine, Dr. Arceci was also editor-in-chief of the journal Pediatric Blood & Cancer at the time of his death.

Before coming to Phoenix Children’s Hospital in 2012, Dr. Arceci had held faculty appointments at Harvard Medical School, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Boston Children’s Hospital. He also served as director of pediatric hematology/oncology at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and director and professor of pediatric oncology and professor of oncology and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.

Robert L. Meyer, president and chief executive officer of Phoenix Children’s Hospital: “The tragic and sudden loss of Dr. Arceci has touched the Phoenix Children’s family deeply. Bob was known around the world as a brilliant cancer researcher and a skilled and compassionate pediatric oncologist. We will miss him, but the loss is felt most deeply by his dear family. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Bob’s wife Jean, who is also a member of the Phoenix Children’s family, his two sons, and his extended family and network of friends and colleagues.”

Gerald L. Logue, MD (1941-2015)

Gerald L. Logue, MD, professor of medicine and chief of hematology at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, passed away suddenly on June 7. Dr. Logue, who was known for his commitment to medical training, had practiced medicine in Buffalo since 1982.

Dr. Logue devoted himself to supporting and enhancing the dialogue regarding ethical and humanistic issues in health care, and was co-director of the University at Buffalo’s Center for Clinical Ethics and Humanities in Health Care alongside Stephen E. Wear, PhD.

“He was an inspiring, engaged teacher and mentor whose ongoing commitment to medical education spanned all its levels — from medical student to fellow — and then to all of us who were honored to be his colleagues,” said Dr. Wear.

Dr. Logue was the recipient of multiple awards during his time at Buffalo, including the National Red Cross’ Special Citation for Exceptional Volunteer Service in 1994. In 2013, Dr. Logue was also honored with a Service Award at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ Faculty and Staff Recognition Awards ceremony for his 30 years of outstanding contributions to education in medicine and hematology.

Dr. Logue received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pennsylvania and completed his internship, residency, and fellowship in hematology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Logue is survived by his wife, Joelle, three sons, and two grandchildren.

American Medical Association Names Its Youngest President Ever

Steven J. Stack, MD, an emergency physician practicing in Lexington, Kentucky, was named president-elect of the American Medical Association (AMA) at the organization’s annual House of Delegates Meeting. Following a year-long term as president-elect, Dr. Stack will assume the office of AMA president, taking over from Robert M. Wah, MD. At 43, Dr. Stack will be the youngest president in the organization’s past 100 years. Dr. Stack has held many appointments and leadership positions at AMA over the past eight years, including AMA board chair and AMA secretary. “It is a deep honor and privilege to be named president-elect of an organization that is committed to serving as a strong physician voice and a dedicated patient advocate on the pressing health-care issues confronting our nation,” said Dr. Stack. “With vision and perseverance, I look forward to creating a brighter future for patients and the medical profession.” 

Source: AMA press release

UTHealth Researcher Receives $900,000 Grant to Study Tumor Growth Disruption

Zhiqiang An, PhD, a therapeutic antibody researcher at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), has been awarded a $900,000 grant from  the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas to determine how some tumors evade antibody therapy. Dr. An’s research will focus on figuring out how cancers evade antibodies, the body’s natural defense mechanism. “We’re developing therapeutic strategies to counter tumors’ resistance to both naturally occurring antibodies and therapeutic antibody immune therapies. If all goes well, we will have an anti-leukemia antibody that is ready for a clinical trial,” he explained. Dr. An is professor of molecular medicine and the Robert A. Welch Distinguished University Chair in Chemistry at UTHealth. He also directs the Texas Therapeutics Institute at the UTHealth Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases.

Source: University of Texas Health press release

NIH Awards Karen-Sue Carlson of MCW a Grant to Study Blood Disorders

Karen-Sue Carlson, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine in hematology and oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), was awarded a five-year, $635,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to identify new potential treatments for diseases that inhibit the growth of blood cells and diseases in which the blood cells develop abnormally. Dr. Carlson will focus her research on abnormalities in hematopoietic stem cells and the supportive microenvironment, as well as the role of the protein laminin in maintaining the bone marrow environment necessary to grow new blood cells.

Source: Medical College of Wisconsin press release

Pew Charitable Trusts Announce Newest Class of Pew-Stewart Scholars

The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Alexander and Margaret Stewart Trust recently announced the latest class of Pew-Stewart scholars for cancer research. Five scientists, nominated by leading cancer research institutions, will receive four years of flexible funding to pursue innovative work aimed at advancing progress toward a cure for cancer. The 2015 Pew-Stewart scholars for cancer research are:

  • Mitchell Guttman, PhD, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
  • Min Yu, MD, PhD, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
  • Adam de la Zerda, PhD, Stanford University, Stanford, California
  • Trever Bivona, MD, PhD, University of California, San Francisco
  • Cigall Kadoch, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

Source: Pew Charitable Trusts press release

Michael Levy Receives Lifetime Achievement Award in Palliative Care

Michael H. Levy, MD, PhD, director of the Pain and Palliative Care Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. The award recognizes outstanding contributions and significant publications that have helped shape the direction of the field of hospice and palliative medicine. Dr. Levy has been at Fox Chase since 1981, where he developed the Pain and Palliative Care Program that he currently directs. “My goal has been, and still is, to carry the message that hospice and palliative care are the completion, not the antithesis, of state-of-the-art cancer care,” Dr. Levy said in a press release.

Source: Fox Chase Cancer Center press release

Ohio State University Cancer Researchers Awarded NCI Grant

Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and CEO of the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, and Jianhua Yu, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Hematology, have received a $1.59 million, five-year grant to act as co-principal investigators on a study of how dietary components from edible plants impact the immune system’s ability to prevent the development of acute myeloid leukemia or its recurrence.

Source: National Cancer Institute

William Breitbart Appointed Behavioral Sciences Chair at MSKCC

William Breitbart, MD, has been appointed chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City and has also been named the new incumbent of the Jimmie C. Holland Chair in Psychiatric Oncology. Dr. Breitbart, whose work focuses on the psychiatric aspects of cancer and palliative care, has been on the faculty at MSKCC since 1986, and he has served as interim chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences since 2012.

Source: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center news release

Cancer Researchers Awarded 2015 Canada Gairdner International Awards

Five members of the oncology community have received 2015 Canada Gairdner Awards, which are given annually to five biomedical scientists from around the world whose significant contributions to medicine have increased the understanding of human biology and disease. More than 320 scientists have received Canada Gairdner International Awards since their inception in 1959, and 82 of them have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

This year’s winners are:

  • Lewis C. Cantley, PhD, director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor in Oncology Research, and professor of Cancer Biology in Medicine at Weill Cornell
  • Michael N. Hall, PhD, professor at the Biozentrum at the University of Basel in Switzerland
  • Lynne E. Maquat, PhD, director of the Center for RNA Biology: From Genome to Therapeutics, and professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and the J. Lowell Orbison Endowed Chair
  • Yoshinori Ohsumi, MSc, DSc, honorary professor at the Frontier Research Center at the Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • Shimon Sakaguchi, PhD, distinguished professor and vice director of the Laboratory of Experimental Immunology at the WPI Immunology Frontier Research Center at Osaka University in Japan

Source: Gairdner Foundation news release