Remembering Thomas P. Stossel, CPRIT Awards $136 Million in 71 New Grants, and more

Remembering Thomas P. Stossel (1941 – 2019)

Thomas P. Stossel, MD, former president of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), passed away unexpectedly on September 29.

Born in Chicago in 1941, Dr. Stossel grew up in Wilmette, Illinois. He attended Princeton University and Harvard Medical School before completing his internal medicine training at Massachusetts General Hospital and his hematology fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital and Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (now part of Brigham and Women’s Hospital).

His 50-year career in medicine included serving as chief of the hematology/oncology unit at Massachusetts General Hospital from 1976 to 1991. Dr. Stossel then moved to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he was head of experimental medicine from 1991 to 1998, followed by co-director of the hematology and translational medicine units until 2014. He was the American Cancer Society Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School from 1987 until 2017.

In the medical community, he was known for his research on the molecular mechanism of how cells move and change shape and the discovery of filamin and gelsolin, two cellular proteins. He held more than 50 patents and authored or co-authored more than 300 scientific articles. Dr. Stossel was awarded ASH’s prestigious William Dameshek Prize in 1983 and the E. Donnall Thomas Lecture and Prize in 1993.

Later in life, he became involved in research policy issues, defending productive relationships between academic researchers, physicians, and the private sector, and serving as chief scientific officer of BioAegis Therapeutics, a biotechnology company he co-founded.

Dr. Stossel also is remembered for his passion for music and his “curious, wide-ranging intellect.” He is survived by his wife, Kerry Maguire, with whom he founded Options for Children in Zambia (a charity providing preventive dental and medical care); his brother, John Stossel; his son, Scott Stossel; his daughters, Sage Stossel and Tamara Sakala; and three grandchildren. He is also survived by his first wife, Anne Hanford.

Source: The Boston Globe, September 29, 2019.

American Cancer Society Selects William Cance as Chief Medical and Scientific Officer

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has appointed William G. Cance, MD, to the position of chief medical and scientific officer. In this newly created role, he will lead the integration of the ACS Research and Cancer Control departments, unifying the organization’s intramural and extramural research, patient and caregiver support strategies, and health systems engagement programs.

“My goal is to more rapidly implement the emerging advances in cancer prevention and treatment to patient care and to help this historic organization achieve its mission to further reduce the burden of cancer nationwide and globally,” he said in a press release announcing his appointment.

Prior to his position at ACS, Dr. Cance worked at the University of Arizona (UA) Comprehensive Cancer Center since 2016, serving as interim director and deputy director. Previously, he held leadership roles at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York, the University of Florida, and the University of North Carolina. He also has been a professor in the Departments of Interdisciplinary Oncology, Pharmacology, & Toxicology, and Surgery for the UA Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy. He has an active surgical oncology practice and is the principal investigator for a 25-year National Cancer Institute grant centered on focal adhesion kinase, a protein involved in cancer metastasis.

Source: American Cancer Society press release, August 15, 2019.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Adds 20 New Research Grants, Doubles Funding

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) announced it has added 20 new grants totaling more than $13.8 million to fund childhood blood cancer research, including acute lymphocytic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, and Hodgkin lymphoma. The new grants are part of The LLS Children’s Initiative, which invests in research to advance novel therapies and bolster clinical trials, enhanced services and support for children and their families, and policy efforts.

“Children are not little adults. They need better, less toxic treatments designed just for them,” said LLS chief media officer Gwen Nichols, MD, in a press release. “Our goal is a wholesale shift in the standard of care for pediatric patients, moving from toxic chemotherapies that leave survivors with lifelong health challenges, to effective, safe treatments that target cancer precisely, without harming the rest of the child’s body.”

Grant recipients are tackling projects ranging from developing next-generation chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapies for acute leukemias to using liquid biopsy to improve monitoring of patients with Hodgkin lymphoma. Awardees include:

  • Kasey Leger, MD, Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • Terry Fry, MD, University of Colorado
  • Soheil Meshinchi, MD, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Ryotaro Nakamura, MD, City of Hope
  • Jatinder Lamba, MD, University of Florida
  • Robert Albero Gallego, MD, Columbia University
  • Iannis Aifantis, MD, New York University School of Medicine
  • Charles Mullighan, MBBS (Hon), MSc, MD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • Davide Rossi, MD, PhD, Foundation for the Institute of Oncology Research in Switzerland

Source: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society press release, August 28, 2019.

Baylor College of Medicine Names Peggy Goodell Chair of Cell Biology

The Baylor College of Medicine’s Board of Trustees has named Margaret (Peggy) Goodell, MD, chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

A leader in stem cell research, Dr. Goodell serves as a professor in the pediatric hematology, molecular and biomedical sciences, development biology and translational biology, and molecular medicine departments at Baylor. She co-leads the Cancer Cell and Gene Therapy Program in the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor and also holds the Vivian L. Smith Chair in Regenerative Medicine.

Dr. Goodell’s laboratory work focuses on murine and human hematopoietic stem cells and genetic and epigenetic regulation and development. Her research career highlights include discovering a new method for isolating adult stem cells.

Source: Baylor College of Medicine press release, August 27, 2019.

CPRIT Awards $136 Million in 71 New Grants

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has awarded 71 new grants totaling nearly $136 million to support cancer research, including 58 academic research grant awards, 10 prevention awards, and three product development research awards.
Twenty-seven Texas institutions, among them MD Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, received research grants for novel treatments and diagnostics in several adult and pediatric cancer types, including leukemia and lymphoma:

  • “Targeting ARNT and RBFOX2 alternative splicing as a novel treatment modality in lymphoid malignancies,” Casey W. Wright, PhD, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston ($200,000)
  • “Novel High-Throughput Microfluidic Device for Isolating T-cells Directly from Whole Blood to Simplify Manufacturing of Cellular Therapies,” Sergey S. Shevkoplyas, PhD, University of Houston ($200,000)

In addition, 15 recruitment grants were awarded to Texas universities for attracting new cancer research faculty.

Source: Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas press release,