New Appointments at Cleveland Clinic, ICER to Launch Drug Assessment Program, and more

Julie A. Ross, PhD (1961 – 2015)

Julie A. Ross, PhD, professor and director of the Division of Pediatric Epidemiology and Clinical Research at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, passed away on June 19, 2015, at the age of 54.

Dr. Ross joined the University of Minnesota faculty in 1995; she held an adjunct appointment in the Division of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health. Over the past two years, she served as the associate head of research for the Department of Pediatrics. She was a leader in the field of molecular and pediatric epidemiology, and she used her training in molecular biology and classic epidemiology to study the etiology of infant leukemias, myeloid leukemias, and the role of mitochondrial DNA in transplant outcomes. Dr. Ross was associate chair of the National Cancer Institute’s Children’s Oncology Group (COG) and lead investigator of the Childhood Cancer Research Network within COG. She also served on the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) Epidemiology of Cancer (EPIC) Study Section, and received the NIH’s Established Investigator Award in Pediatric Cancer in 2011.


Carrol D. Cagle, MD (1946 – 2015)

Carrol D. Cagle, MD, a practicing oncologist for more than 30 years, passed away on June 18, 2015.
Dr. Cagle graduated from Baylor College of Medicine in 1972, and he completed his three fellowships at Baylor. Board-certified in internal medicine, oncology, and hematology, Dr. Cagle was a practicing oncologist for more than 30 years in Texas, Iowa, Oregon, and Wisconsin. He was a member of many professional organizations and was a founding member of the Texas Heritage Society.

His is survived by his wife, Melinda, and their three daughters, five sons, and eight grandchildren.


New Appointments at Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute

Timothy GilliganTimothy Gilligan, MD, has been appointed vice chairman of education for Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute. In this role, Dr. Gilligan will oversee and support the Institute’s education activities, which include fellowship and residency programs, medical student and resident rotations, continuing education programs, and faculty development activities.

Currently, Dr. Gilligan is a medical oncologist at Cleveland Clinic and associate professor of medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. He also serves as co-director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communication. Hetty Carraway, MD, will succeed Dr. Gilligan as program director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Hematology-Oncology Fellowship.

James StevensonAlso at the Taussig Cancer Institute, James Stevenson, MD, has been appointed vice chairman of the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, where he will assist with managing and coordinating disease-specific programs and duties of advanced practice providers within the department, as well as the clinical, academic, and administrative development of junior faculty members. Alberto Montero, MD, will succeed Dr. Stevenson as Taussig’s Quality Review Officer.

Source: Cleveland Clinic press release


Cancer Centers of Excellence Awarded to Four Florida Cancer Centers

The Florida Department of Health bestowed its Cancer Centers of Excellence Awards to four recipients. The program is intended to promote excellence in cancer care, encourage the recruitment of top cancer care professionals, and recognize state institutions as a preferred destination for patient-centered cancer care. The designation is based on measured success in delivery quality care to patients.

  • H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute
  • Mayo Clinic Florida
  • University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • University of Florida Health Cancer Center

Source: Florida Department of Health press release


Lisa Kachnic Joins Vanderbilt University Medical Center as Radiation Oncology Chair

Lisa KachnicLisa Kachnic, MD, has been named professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, a position she will start in September. Dr. Kachnic comes to Vanderbilt from Boston University School of Medicine where she was professor and chair of Radiation Oncology, as well as chief of Radiation Oncology at Boston Medical Center and a faculty member at Massachusetts General Hospital.

As the new chair, Dr. Kachnic will be responsible for overseeing Vanderbilt’s Department of Radiation Oncology, including the residency program and the medical physics professional doctorate program. Dr. Kachnic is also actively involved in the NRG Oncology (NSABP RTOG GOG) gastrointestinal and patient-reported outcome strategic committees and is co-chair of their National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program in Cancer Control and Prevention.

Source: Vanderbilt University Medical Center news release


Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation Honors

Robert WeinbergRobert A. Weinberg, PhD, founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, received the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF) Lifetime Achievement in Science Award for his contributions to cancer research – in particular his isolation of the first human cancer-causing gene, the ras oncogene, and the first known tumor-suppressor gene, Rb (the retinoblastoma gene). Dr. Weinberg is also the Daniel K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the first director of the Ludwig Cancer Center there.

Also at the SWCRF Symposium, Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at the Irving Cancer Research Center at Columbia University and a staff cancer physician at Columbia University Medical Center, received the Distinguished Service Award for generating widespread public interest in cancer research through his book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, which inspired the recent PBS documentary “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies.”

Source: Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation press release


American Cancer Society Presents 2015 Leadership in Oncology Social Work Award

Tara SchapmireTara Schapmire, PhD, MSSW, assistant professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and an affiliated faculty member at Kent School of Social Work, has received the Association of Oncology Social Work/American Cancer Society Leadership in Oncology Social Work Award for 2015. Dr. Schapmire was recognized for her contributions to the field of oncology social work and leadership through administration, education, clinical practice, and research. Dr. Schapmire is also co-investigator for a five-year, $1.5-million National Cancer Institute grant to create and evaluate an interdisciplinary oncology palliative care curriculum, as well as co-investigator of the $7.5-million Kentucky LEADS Collaborative, a project dedicated to reducing the burden of lung cancer in Kentucky through community-based interventions to educate providers, care for survivors, and promote prevention through early lung cancer detection efforts.

Source: University of Louisville School of Medicine news release


Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Grants Fellowship Awards to 16 Young Scientists

The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation has named 16 young scientists as its Spring Fellows. The recipients of these four-year awards will receive grants totaling more than $3.3 million to support their basic and translational cancer research, ranging from studying how cells in the tumor microenvironment impact response to anti-cancer therapy to understanding how immune cells abnormally proliferate. The 2015 Damon Runyon Fellows are:

  • Lacy J. Barton, PhD, New York University School of Medicine Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York City, New York
  • Danfeng Cai, PhD, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
  • Gina V. Caldas, PhD, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Qi Hu, PhD, University of California, San Francisco, California
  • Bryan C. King, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, New York
  • Allison N. Lau, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • June-Yong Lee, PhD, New York University School of Medicine Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York City, New York
  • Kathrin Leppek, PhD, Stanford University, Stanford, California
  • Tera C. Levin, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington
  • Lyndsay M. Murrow, PhD, University of California, San Francisco, California
  • Vu Quang Nguyen, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Farm Research Campus, Ashburn, Virginia
  • Alistair B. Russell, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington
  • Joseph D. Schonhoft, PhD, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California
  • Justin L. Sparks, PhD, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Neil T. Umbreit, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Swathi Yadlapalli, PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Source: Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation press release


ICER Receives $5.2 Million Award to Launch New Drug Assessment Program

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), a nonprofit health-care research organization, has received a $5.2-million grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to launch a program to create a new approach to the evaluation and pricing of drugs in the United States. ICER will produce public reports on new drugs that have the potential to significantly change patient care and health system budgets. Each report will include a full analysis of a drug’s comparative effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and potential budget impact. With the new funding, ICER will double its staff and produce more public reports suggesting benchmark prices for up to 20 drugs over the next two years.

“We need prices that make sense,” said ICER President Steven Pearson, MD. “Right now, it’s often a black box: we don’t know if we are getting good value with new drugs at these higher prices. With the Laura and John Arnold Foundation’s support, ICER hopes to create a path toward a future in which prices better mirror how much better a new drug actually is in improving patients’ lives.”

Source: Institute for Clinical and Economic Review press release


Mayo Clinic Receives $11 Million from NCI to Study Cancer Survivorship

Mayo Clinic has received a five-year, $11-million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study survivorship in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The Lymphoma Epidemiology of Outcomes Cohort Study will enroll 12,000 patients with NHL. The study will follow these patients for long-term prognosis and survivorship.

“With an increasing number of Americans living with NHL, we need to find new and better ways to improve the length and quality of their lives,” said James Cerhan, MD, PhD, the study’s principal investigator and an epidemiologist at Mayo Clinic, in a press release.

The grant involves collaboration among multiple institutions, including lymphoma experts from Mayo Clinic, the University of Iowa, Emory University/Grady Health System, MD Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Wisconsin, Cornell University, and the University of Miami Health System/Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Source: Mayo Clinic press release


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