Remembering Edward Henderson, MD, and more

Remembering Edward Henderson, MD (1932 – 2020)

Hematologist Edward Henderson, MD, passed away on June 25, 2020, at the age of 87.

Dr. Henderson spent 12 years at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), as a Senior Researcher and head of the Leukemia Service. As part of this division, he was centrally involved in breakthroughs in the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma, and his contributions were critical to the decline in the mortality rate of children with these malignancies. Following his time at the NCI, he spent more than 2 decades at the Roswell Park Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, where he served as Chief of Medicine.

After his retirement from Roswell Park in 1990, Dr. Henderson served as Medical Officer at the FDA. He spent the final years of his career working at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Buffalo, now part of the VA Western New York Healthcare System.

Over the past decade, following his retirement from clinical work, Dr. Henderson dedicated his time to his family, tennis, and the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, where he worked as a docent. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Kincaid, four children, and nine grandchildren.

Source: The Washington Post, July 24, 2020.

AACR Selects Hematologists for Scientific Achievement Awards

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) announced the recipients of its 2020 Scientific Achievement Awards and Lectureships, including two researchers whose work contributed to the field of hematologic malignancies:

Michelle M. Le Beau, PhD

Michelle M. Le Beau, PhD, Director of the University of Chicago (UChicago) Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Arthur and Marian Edelstein Professor of Medicine, received the AACR-Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research for her exceptional leadership and strategic vision at UChicago Medicine. She has been recognized internationally for her work identifying critical recurring abnormalities in human leukemias, including chromosomal inversions and translocations, and deletions of chromosomes 5 and 7 following cancer treatment.

James R. Downing, MD

James R. Downing, MD, CEO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Director of St. Jude’s Molecular Pathology Laboratory, has received the inaugural AACR-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pediatric Cancer Research. The award recognizes Dr. Downing’s work in classifying gene expressions in pediatric cancer and demonstrating subsets of acute lymphocytic leukemia that could be defined by unique gene expression profiles. These findings were critical to the formation of the St. Jude-Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project, which recorded the genomic sequencing of nearly 2,000 pediatric cancer patients.

Sources: AACR news release, June 3, 2020; AACR news release, June 22, 2020.

National Blood Foundation Announces 2020 Early-Career Grant Recipients

AABB’s National Blood Foundation (NBF) has awarded eight grants to early-career researchers to help fund innovative research in transfusion medicine and biotherapies. Grantees will each receive a grant of up to $75,000 to further a 1- or 2-year research project.

This year’s winners are:

  • Annamaria Aprile, PhD, San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy (SR-Tiget), Milan, Italy
    Project: “Exploring the role of FGF23 in β-thalassemia: a novel target to ameliorate bone marrow microenvironment and anemia”
  • Agnieszka Czechowicz, MD, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA
    Project: “Determine genetic factors and mutations that regulate progression to bone marrow failure and myeloid neoplasia in Fanconi anemia”
  • Areum Han, PhD, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
    Project: “The role of the RNA editor-exonuclease axis in RNA turnover during erythropoiesis: from mouse embryo studies to in vitro modeling”
  • Robert H. Lee, PhD, University of North Carolina, Blood Research Center, Chapel Hill, NC
    Project: “Efficacy of platelet transfusion in the setting of antiplatelet therapy”
  • Larry Luchsinger, PhD, New York Blood Center, New York, NY
    Project: “Caveolae coordination of signal transduction pathways in hematopoietic stem cell function”
  • Evan Orenstein, MD, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
    Project: “Improving patient blood management in pediatrics through automated medical error detection and clinical decision support design”
  • David Roh, MD, Columbia University, New York, NY
    Project: “Red blood cell contribution to coagulopathy and cerebral oxygenation after intracerebral hemorrhage”
  • Kim Vanuytsel, PhD, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA
    Project: “Validation of a potential curative gene editing approach across the diverse sickle cell disease patient population using induced pluripotent stem cells”

“We are thrilled to welcome this new cadre of early-career scientists to the NBF family and look forward to seeing their impact on the understanding of disease and the delivery of life-saving transfusions to patients in need,” said Jim Gorham, MD, PhD, chair of the NBF Scientific Research Grants Review Committee.

Source: NBF press release, August 12, 2020.

Fox Chase Launches Department of Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapies

The Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System (TUHS), has established a new Department of Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapies. The department is chaired by Henry Chi Hang Fung, MD, who previously served as Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Fox Chase, as well as Vice Chair of the Department of Hematology/Oncology. The new department launched July 1, 2020.

“We’re very pleased by the continuation and expansion of the bone marrow transplant and cellular therapies,” said Martin J. Edelman, MD, chair of Fox Chase’s Department of Hematology/Oncology. “It’s exciting both as part of standard of care as well as in terms of investigations to further advance the treatment of patients with malignancy.

Source: Fox Chase Cancer Center press release, June 11, 2020.