Remembering Mark Smith, Cancer Researchers Receive 2020 AAAS Fellow Distinction, and more

Mark P. Smith, MBChB

Remembering Mark Smith (1962 – 2020)

Mark P. Smith, MBChB, died suddenly on September 24, 2020, at the age of 58.

Since 1995, Dr. Smith has been involved in the research and management of hemophilia. Having started his career as a consultant hematologist at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, U.K., he returned to his hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2002. Eventually, he became Clinical Director of Hematology at Canterbury Health Laboratories – a position he held at the time of his death.

“As a strong and considered clinical advocate in the national and international bleeding disorders community, Mark leaves a legacy that has raised the standard of care for all,” said Karl Archibald, Vice President of the Haemophilia Foundation of New Zealand.

“Just as blood flows throughout every part of the body, no part of health is untouched by hematology. Mark’s mana and influence has flowed far beyond our department, into all of medicine and surgery into primary and secondary care,” added Peter Ganly, BMBCh, PhD, Dr. Smith’s long-time colleague at the Canterbury District Health Board.

Dr. Smith is survived by his wife, Cathy, and two children, Torin and Zoe.

Source: Haemophilia Foundation of New Zealand news release.

Cancer Researchers Receive 2020 AAAS Fellow Distinction

In 2020, 498 members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) were elected as AAAS Fellows. The lifetime distinction recognizes important contributions in STEM fields, including research, leadership, teaching and mentoring, collaboration, and advancing public understanding of science.

AAAS members must be nominated by three previously elected Fellows, the steering group of an AAAS section, or the CEO.

Newly elected AAAS Fellows in oncology and cancer research include:

  • Stephen Baylin, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, for seminal research supporting the concept that epigenetically mediated loss of gene function is a major player in the progression of cancer
  • Shi-Yuan Cheng, PhD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, for outstanding contributions in molecular and translational cancer research, by developing and exploiting cellular and preclinical models for human tumor biology and therapy
  • Rodger McEver, MD, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, for increasing our understanding of the forces that govern cell-cell adhesion and for distinguished scientific leadership
  • Jason Lewis, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, for his groundbreaking work in molecular imaging and radiochemistry and on the clinical translation of novel oncologic imaging agents
  • Faina Linkov, PhD, MPH, Duquesne University, for services to biobehavioral cancer research and for improving publishing opportunities to scientists in the developing world
  • Sendurai Mani, PhD, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, for demonstrating that cancer can make its own cancer stem cells and promote plasticity
  • Hiroyoshi Nishikawa, MD, PhD, National Cancer Center/Nagoya University (Japan), for contributions to the field of tumor immunology and immunotherapy, particularly for basic understanding of regulatory T cells in animal models and patients with cancer
  • Lyn Jones, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, for distinguished contributions to the field of medicinal chemistry, particularly using chemical biology to advance drug discovery research
  • Susan Mooberry, PhD, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, for distinguished contributions to the field of cancer pharmacology, particularly on discovery and development of natural product anti-microtubule agents for treatment of cancer
  • George Calin, MD, PhD, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, for the landmark discovery linking human diseases and miRNAs, specifically downregulation of miRNAs in patients with leukemias

Source: AAAS press release, November 24, 2020.

HCLF and LLS Announce Collaboration to Further Hairy Cell Leukemia Research

The Hairy Cell Leukemia Foundation (HCLF) and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) are teaming up to support a research grants program offering up to $10 million over 5 years. Their goal is to develop better therapies and improve outcomes for patients with hairy cell leukemia (HCL).

“It is critical for us to join forces to make more progress happen in treating this disease,” said Marc Stadtmauer, president of HCLF. “Our prior collaborations with LLS have already shown great promise, and we are optimistic that this new infusion of support provided by generous donors to HCLF will drive forward new discoveries that will lead to more lives saved.”

The program, called HCL2025, is accepting proposals from researchers worldwide until January 29, 2021. The awarded grants will activate in October 2021.

Source: LLS press release, November 2, 2020.

SWOG Awards Grants to Help Veterans Access Cancer Clinical Trials

As part of its VA Integration Support Program, SWOG Cancer Research Network and its charity, The Hope Foundation for Cancer Research, are awarding two grants to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers to help them enroll veterans in trials run by SWOG and other members of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN).

The VA Integration Support Program grants fund the research associates, oncology nurses, and support staff required to run clinical trials.

This year’s VA Integration Support Program awardees are:

  • Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA
  • VA Boston Medical Health Center, Boston, MA

Since its inception in 2015, the VA Integration Support Program has provided $649,138 to 20 VA medical centers and recruited 31 VA sites, which have enrolled 474 veterans into NCI trials.

Source: SWOG press release, November 10, 2020.