publication date: Dec. 3, 2013

AMY ABERNETHY was named chair of a new CancerLinQ advisory committee within the Institute for Quality, an affiliate of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Abernethy is a tenured associate professor in the Duke University Schools of Medicine and Nursing, director of the Duke Center for Learning Health Care in the Duke Clinical Research Institute, and director of the Duke Cancer Care Research Program in the Duke Cancer Institute. She is also a medical oncologist and palliative medicine physician.

 

PETER DOTTINO was named director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the Mount Sinai Health System.

He also holds an appointment as associate clinical professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He is currently director of the Group for Women and co-director, with John Martignetti, of the Ovarian Cancer Translational Research Laboratory at Mount Sinai.

Dottino previously served as the director of Gynecologic Oncology at Mount Sinai and also is one of the founders of the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, the oldest and largest charity in the United States funding ovarian cancer research, and of the Woman to Woman Program at Mount Sinai.

 

GIUSEPPE DEL PRIORE was named national director of gynecologic oncology of Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Based out of the CTCA Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Newnan, Ga., Del Priore will oversee the organization’s national gynecologic oncology practice.

Previously, Del Priore was the director of gynecologic oncology at the Indiana University School of Medicine, where he also taught and directed its gynecologic oncology fellowship program. He also has been an associate professor at Cornell University Weill College of Medicine, and an attending physician in the Division of Gynecology at Northwestern University School of Medicine.

 

THE BARBARA ANN KARMANOS CANCER INSTITUTE and McLaren Health Care signed an agreement that will create the largest cancer research and provider network in Michigan and expand access to advanced cancer care in Detroit and communities throughout the state.

Under the terms of the agreement, McLaren will provide a substantial capital investment over a multi-year period to assist with capital upgrades at Karmanos facilities and to fund clinical trials, basic and translational research programs.

Karmanos Cancer Institute will become a member of the nonprofit McLaren Health Care system. Both Karmanos Cancer Institute and Karmanos Cancer Center, which provides clinical care to patients, will retain their names and remain as separate legal entities, maintaining their assets and reporting to their existing respective boards of directors.

The McLaren Cancer Institute will be known as the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and McLaren’s cancer clinical trials program, operated as part of the McLaren Clinical Trials Management Program, will be merged into a single Karmanos Cancer Institute Clinical Trials Office.

 

CINCINNATI CHILDREN’S MEDICAL CENTER partnered with Claritas Genomics, a company formed by Boston Children’s Hospital and Life Technologies Corporation, to provide genomics-based diagnostics for pediatric patients.

Cincinnati Children’s will work with Claritas and Boston Children’s to build a collaborative network to enable pediatric hospitals to share data, expertise, best practices and infrastructure in medical genetics and genomics.

Claritas Genomics is a diagnostics laboratory that provides genetic testing for clinical providers and researchers with a focus on pediatric medicine. The company was spun out of Boston Children’s Hospital in February and combines advanced genetic analysis technology with clinical interpretive services informed by the expertise of pediatric specialists and bioinformaticians.

 

YALE UNIVERSITY formed a joint venture with Novogen Limited, an Australian biotechnology company, to develop personalized approaches to chemotherapy to treat ovarian cancer.

The venture will be known as CanTx Inc. Novogen will own 85 percent of the new company and Novogen CEO Graham Kelly will be CEO of the venture as well. The CanTx Board will be comprised of directors representing both Novogen and Yale.

CanTx’s first development candidate is expected to enter clinical studies in 2014. Novogen retains full ownership of its drug technology intellectual property and will grant CanTx access to that IP for drug development purposes. Novogen will continue to explore applications of the same technology platform in a range of other clinical indications including glioblastoma, along with its anti-tropomyosin drug technology in the areas of prostate cancer, melanoma and neuroblastoma.

 

ROCHE announced the three winners of its first Pharma Research & Development Oncology Awards, which focused on novel, highly tumor-selective membrane targets for antibody-based cancer therapy.

Krishna Chaitanya, of the Oncological Institute at the University Hospital Zurich, received first prize for his studies on a radioisotope-coupled antibody against fibroblast activation protein, which provides a new approach to attacking tumor stroma.

Second prize went to Christian Jost, of the Institute of Biochemistry at the University of Zurich, for a novel concept enabling the inactivation of the HER2 receptor with small, non-antibody based binding molecules.

Vineeta Bhasker Tripathi, of the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology in London, received third prize for her studies on the validation of Lrg 1 (leucine-rich alpha-2-glycoprotein-1) as a new target molecule for the suppression of blood vessel formation in tumors with the aid of function-inhibiting antibodies.

The award was presented by Roche’s Discovery Oncology Unit in Penzberg, Germany. The winners received cash awards of €4,000, €2,000 and €1,000, respectively.

 

A former NCI fellow, her husband, and their infant were shot to death Nov. 20 in an apparent murder-suicide in their New Market, Md., home, according to the Frederick County sheriff’s office.

The deceased were identified as Barbara Giomarelli, 42, Benyam Asefa, 40, and Samuel Asefa, 3 months. Deputies found a handgun at the site.

The couple’s 5-year-old daughter escaped unharmed, and is now under custody of Frederick County Child Protective Services, according to the sheriff’s office.

The girl ran to a neighbor’s house and reported that her family members were injured—she hid in the house for as long as five hours before calling for help, but it is unclear whether she saw the shootings, police said. The neighbors called 911.

Local news reports suggested that a broken skylight window may indicate that a struggle occurred prior to the shootings.

“We are deeply saddened to hear of this terrible tragedy,” NIH officials said in a statement. “Barbara Giomarelli was a visiting fellow (trainee) at NIH in NCI’s Molecular Targets Development Program in the Center for Cancer Research from April 2004-April 2009.

“NIH can confirm that Dr. Benyam ‘Ben’ Asefa was employed by Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, a subcontractor to Battelle Memorial Institute, as a clinical immunologist and supported work at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility in Frederick, Md., from March 19, 2012, to Sept. 26, 2013,” the statement said. “Dr. Asefa was not an employee of the NIH.”

 

The LUNGevity Foundation issued requests for applications for translational research in lung cancer for its 2014 Career Development Awards, Early Detection Awards, and Targeted Therapeutics Awards.

Career Development Awards support junior faculty members who are within the first five years of their first faculty appointment, and focus on early detection or targeted therapeutics projects, including immuno-oncology projects. Applicants may receive up to $100,000 per year for a possible period of three years and will participate as ex officio members of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board for the duration of the award. LUNGevity will grant only one Career Development Award per institution.

Early Detection Awards support approaches to improve clinical methods for detection and diagnosis of primary tumors. Targeted Therapeutics Awards include support targeted therapies and immuno-oncology projects.

Applicants for either Early Detection or Targeted Therapeutics awards may apply as individuals or in multidisciplinary teams of two or more investigators. Individual investigators may receive up to $200,000 over two to three years, while teams of investigators may receive up to $600,000 over two to three years.

More information on the RFAs is available on the LUNGevity website and on the proposalCENTRAL website, or contact Margery Jacobson at mjacobson@lungevity.org or 312-407-6109.

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