Remembering Arthur Rosenberg, Dorothy Tuan Lo, and more

Remembering Arthur Rosenberg (1935 – 2018)

Arthur Rosenberg, MD, FRCPC, a former chief of hematology at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH) in Montreal, Quebec, passed away on September 3, 2018.

Dr. Rosenberg practiced hematology for nearly 50 years at JGH – the same hospital where he was born. He earned his medical degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, then completed a one-year residency at JGH, followed by a two-year stint at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and a two-year fellowship in hematology at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital.

He joined the staff of JGH in 1967, where he eventually served as chief of hematology from 1974 to 1996. During his tenure, he expanded the hospital’s palliative care services and molecular biology laboratory. In recognition of his lifelong dedication to his patients and to teaching, JGH created the annual Arthur Rosenberg Clinical Lecture in 2014.

Dr. Rosenberg was an associate professor in the departments of Medicine and Oncology at McGill University, where he explored abnormalities in red blood cells.

Remembered as a caring physician and teacher, he is survived by his partner, two children, and three grandchildren.

Source: JGH News.

Remembering Dorothy Tuan Lo (1940 – 2019)

Dorothy Tuan Lo, PhD, a researcher who discovered one of the first tissue-specific enhancers, a DNA sequence that controls gene expression in the tissue, and proved the existence of regulatory transcripts in erythroid cells, passed away on February 14, 2019.

Throughout her career, Dr. Tuan Lo worked to understand the chromatin structure of the beta-globin locus, eventually enabling additional exploration into red cell biology and genetics.

Dr. Tuan Lo was born in China but fled with her family to Taiwan after the Chinese Revolution of 1949. She later came to California to conduct doctoral research at the California Institute of Technology. During her time there, she was introduced to chromatin biology by studying plant systems. She shifted her attention to cancer cells during her work as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.

Next, she joined the laboratory of Bernard G. Forget, MD, at Yale University, where she identified important regulatory mutations that influence hemoglobin switching and increase fetal hemoglobin expression. This work contributed to shaping the treatment of sickle cell anemia. She returned to Boston in 1981 to work in the laboratory of Irving London, MD, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During her tenure there, she was the first to recognize the importance of hypersensitive site 2 (HS2) of the beta-globin locus control region.

In the mid-1990s, Dr. Tuan Lo joined the faculty in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Medical College of Georgia, where she continued her work with HS2 and efforts to map and elucidate the function of noncoding transcripts. Her discoveries were applied to the generation of gene therapy vectors to achieve erythroid-specific gene expression; this approach was successfully used to treat thalassemia.

Dr. Tuan Lo is survived by her husband and daughter. Colleagues remember her as a gracious, honest, incisive, thoughtful, and loving person.

Source: Augusta University.

Winship Cancer Institute Names New Endowed Chair

Sagar Lonial, MD, chief medical officer of the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University in Atlanta, was presented with the Anne and Bernard Gray Family Chair in Cancer, created in honor of Karen Ammons Howell, who died of breast cancer. Dr. Lonial also is chair of Emory’s department of Hematology and Medical Oncology.

Dr. Lonial joined Emory University more than 20 years ago. His work there focuses on combining novel agents and identifying new therapeutic targets and treatment strategies for patients with high-risk multiple myeloma (MM). Recently, he served as principal investigator on two pivotal clinical trials of monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of MM. The endowment will provide continued support for his research, which includes leading a global genome sequencing study for patients with newly diagnosed MM.

Source: Emory University press release, January 29, 2019.

Stand Up To Cancer Announces T-Cell Lymphoma “Dream Team”

Helen Heslop, MD

Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) awarded $8 million to a “dream team” of researchers who specialize in developing chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies for the treatment of T-cell lymphoma.

The SU2C Meg Vosburg T-Cell Lymphoma Dream Team will be led by Helen Heslop, MD, from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. The team is named in memory of Meg Vosburg, who died from T-cell lymphoma in 2018 at the age of 51. Gianpietro Dotti, MD, of the University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, will serve as codirector.

Gianpietro Dotti, MD

The funding will support efforts to create CAR T-cell therapies for the entire spectrum of T-cell lymphomas, including “off-the-shelf” products that will provide a more accessible and affordable alternative to existing CAR T-cell products. The team also will work to identify biomarkers to monitor the approaches’ effectiveness.

Drs. Heslop and Dotti will lead a team of researchers hailing from UNC Lineberger, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Source: Stand Up 2 Cancer press release, January 28, 2019.

Teen Scientist Wins National Prize for Developing Smartphone Screening System for Blood Diseases

Eshika Saxena, a 17-year-old senior from Interlake High School in Bellevue, Washington, recently earned a $40,000 grant as part of the 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search for inventing a smartphone screening system to identify bloodborne diseases.

The national competition, sponsored by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and the Society for Science & the Public, awarded more than $1.8 million in prizes to high school seniors who conducted original research in a variety of scientific fields.

Ms. Saxena’s submission, known as HemaCam, is a smartphone screening system that consists of a 3D-printed attachment for a camera phone. With this attachment, the phone’s camera can capture microscopic images of blood samples. These images are analyzed and matched to blood diseases in a custom, 7,000-image database for quick identification. In one demonstration, HemaCam identified sickle cell disease from phone images at an accuracy rate of 95 percent.

Ms. Saxena is involved with several STEM programs in her school and community. She cofounded TakeKnowledGe, a nonprofit organization designed to encourage young children to pursue STEM fields, and also founded the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Club at her high school to increase awareness about the possibilities of AI.

Source: Society for Science & the Public press release, March 12, 2019; Bellevue Reporter, March 22, 2019.