Remembering Clara Bloomfield, MD (1942 – 2020)
Leukemia scientist Clara Bloomfield, MD, died on March 1, 2020 at the age of 77.
With more than 50 years of research experience in hematologic malignancies, particularly acute myeloid leukemia (AML), Dr. Bloomfield was a Distinguished University Professor at The Ohio State University and a former director and longtime senior adviser to The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).
Prior to joining Ohio State in 1997, Dr. Bloomfield was Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Chief of the Division of Oncology at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Her research contributed to leukemia prognostic models and to the inclusion of genetics in the diagnosis of acute leukemias in the 2001 World Health Organization (WHO) classification and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s clinical practice guidelines. She was also a pioneer in chemotherapy, especially for older patients. During her long career, Dr. Bloomfield authored or co-authored more than 600 peer-reviewed articles in major scientific journals and mentored many hematologists, including numerous women who later held leadership positions at the National Cancer Institute and universities.
Dr. Bloomfield was the 2008 recipient of the American Society of Hematology’s (ASH’s) Henry M. Stratton Medal (formerly Lecture), which is awarded to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of hematology.
“Clara provided me with sincere friendship and so many valuable lessons that were important for a young woman trying to make her way in the daunting academic world, and I am forever grateful to her,” said Wendy Stock, MD, co-leader of the University of Chicago Cancer Research Center’s Program in Hematopoiesis and Hematological Malignancies. “Her constant steady presence, despite the fact that we never worked at the same institution, has been a guiding light for me and one that has illuminated my career path to this day.”
“She will be remembered as a pioneer in the study of hematologic malignancies – particularly acute myeloid leukemia – whose research led to breakthroughs that have improved treatments and enhanced quality of life for many patients with these diseases,” said Raphael Pollock, MD, PhD, director of the OSUCCC.
“The cancer community has lost a great friend and leader, a true pioneer in her field. We are all saddened by this loss,” said Harold Paz, MD, Executive Vice President and Chancellor for Health Affairs at Ohio State and CEO of the Wexner Medical Center.
“Dr. Bloomfield was a great friend whose honest opinions were always valued. She made an indelible mark on me and all those with whom she came in contact. I am devastated that we will never be able to hear her deliver a strong opinion, suggest a new project, or hear her characteristic laugh,” wrote Richard Stone, MD, chief of the medical staff at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and chair of the Alliance cooperative group leukemia committee to which Dr. Bloomfield was a long-time contributor.
In May 2019, Dr. Bloomfield spoke about some of these groundbreaking contributions in an ASH Clinical News Pulling Back the Curtain profile, offering the following advice to early-career investigators: “Who could have known that, when I was told to study older patients with AML, I would find what I found? … Publish what you find. Don’t worry if it contradicts what others have said, as long as your data are sound.”
Jeff Boyd Named Chief Scientific Officer of Northwell Health Cancer Institute
Jeff Boyd, PhD, will be the Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Northwell Health Cancer Institute in New York, as well as Director of its Center for Genomic Medicine.
With more than 30 years of cancer research experience, Dr. Boyd recently served as Associate Deputy Director of Translational Research and Genomic Medicine at the Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida. Previously, he was Professor and Chair of the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Associate Dean for Basic Research and Graduate Programs at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University.
He also held senior leadership roles at the Fox Chase Center in Philadelphia and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, as well as faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania and the National Institutes of Health.
In his new role, Dr. Boyd will develop a Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory that will deliver point-of-care genomic testing to patients with cancer, working with Northwell’s collaborators at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Cancer Center and researchers at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell.
Source: Northwell Health press release, February 10, 2020.
City of Hope Appoints Eileen Smith as Head of Hematology
Eileen Smith, MD, has been named Chair of the Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation at City of Hope.
A clinician, educator, and administrative leader, Dr. Smith joined City of Hope as its inaugural fellow in bone marrow transplantation nearly 30 years ago, before joining the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Team at the University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics. In 2003, she returned to City of Hope and since her return has served as Medical Director of its Alpha Stem Clinic, Associate Director of its Clinical Research Program, Clinical Professor in the Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, and an Associate Member of the Hematologic Malignancies Program.
She also is a physician co-leader of the Theranostics Modality Team, which was formed in August 2016 to promote, review, and prioritize research proposals of radiopharmaceuticals for imaging protocols and radioimmunotherapy-based interventional trials for cancer patients.
Source: City of Hope press release, March 2, 2020.
Marco Marra Inducted to Canadian Hall of Fame
On April 17, 2020, Marco Marra, PhD, will be inducted into to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) in recognition of his participation in the Human Genome Project between 1990 and 2003 and the advances in disease biology enabled by the project’s genomic data.
Currently, Dr. Marra leads the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia and is Director of Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Science Centre at BC Cancer, where he has led the Personalized Onco-Genomics program, one of the first applications of whole-genome sequencing in a clinical setting.
Each year, the CMHF inducts six Canadian leaders in medicine and the health sciences whose work has led to improvements in human health.
Source: CMHF announcement, October 10, 2019.