publication date: May. 26, 2017

In Brief

Carl June to receive ASCO’s Karnofsky award, Eric Winer—Bonadonna award, Brian Druker—Science of Oncology award

Carl June, will receive the David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award and Lecture at the ASCO annual meeting, to be held June 2-6.

June is the director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies at the Perelman School of Medicine and the director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania. His work is focused on the mechanisms of lymphocyte activation related to immune tolerance and adoptive immunotherapy for cancer and chronic infection.

In 2011, his research team published findings detailing a new therapy in which patients with refractory and relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia were treated with genetically engineered versions of their own T cells. The treatment is now being used with promising results to treat children with refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

In other awards to be presented at the meeting:

  • Eric Winer will receive the FASCO Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award and Lecture. Winer is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and holds several appointments at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

  • Brian Druker will receive the Science of Oncology Award and Lecture. Druker is the director of the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University, JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research, and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His work helped pioneer the practice of precision, or personalized, cancer medicine, by performing preclinical studies and leading clinical trials that were instrumental to the development of imatinib.

  • Patrick Loehrer will receive the Allen S. Lichter Visionary Leader Award and Lecture. Loehrer is the director of the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center and the associate dean for cancer research at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He was the founding chair of the Hoosier Oncology Group (now Hoosier Cancer Research Network) for two decades, which conducted trials in 20 countries around the world. Loehrer specializes in the treatment of a variety of cancers including testis, bladder, colon, pancreas, and, most notably, thymic, a rare cancer of the thymus gland. His research on the drug ifosfamide led to its approval by FDA.

  • Michael Link will receive the Pediatric Oncology Award and Lecture. Link is a pediatric hematologist/oncologist, is the Lydia J. Lee Professor in Pediatric Oncology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. His research interests include the biology and treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphomas and Hodgkin disease, as well as clinical management of bone and soft tissue sarcomas in children. Link was an associate editor of the Journal of Clinical Oncology for 10 years, and is a former ASCO president.

  • Dean Brenner will receive the ASCO-American Cancer Society Award and Lecture. He is the Kutsche Family Memorial Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan. His work is focused on eicosanoids, primarily in the colonic mucosa as mechanistic therapeutic targets and as biomarkers for drugs, nutritional extracts, and dietary interventions aimed at reversing or delaying carcinogenesis progression. Because of the dearth of useful endpoints to define preventive therapeutic efficacy, he has emphasized biomarker discovery and validation platforms that enable interrogation of molecular carcinogenesis events in representative models of human biology.

  • Jean-Pierre Droz will receive the B.J. Kennedy Award and Lecture for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology. Droz has dedicated his work to the integration of geriatric assessment in decision making for treating older people with cancer and was key in the development of geriatric oncology in France and other countries acting through the International Society of Geriatric Oncology. Droz was an attending physician at the Léon-Bérard Comprehensive Cancer Centre and professor of medical oncology at the Claude-Bernard-Lyon 1 University in Lyon, France. Now in retirement, he is an attending physician of medical oncology in hospitals in French Guiana and teaches at the French Guiana and West Indies University Medical School.

  • Allen Lichter will receive the Distinguished Achievement Award. Lichter served as ASCO’s chief executive officer from 2006 to 2016, has held two significant leadership roles at the University of Michigan, including chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and dean of the Medical School, and was the director of the Radiation Therapy Section of the NCI’s Radiation Oncology Branch. Lichter’s research at NCI helped advance the use of lumpectomy plus radiation as an alternative to mastectomy in the local management of breast cancer and his work at Michigan established the clinical utility of three-dimensional treatment planning and conformal dose delivery.

  • Lowell Schnipper will receive the Special Recognition Award. Schnipper is a clinician-scientist and medical educator, is the Theodore W. and Evelyn G. Berenson Professor Emeritus at Harvard Medical School, the immediate past clinical director, Cancer Center, and chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. As the founding chief of oncology at the Beth Israel Hospital, he and his colleagues developed a highly sought after training program focusing on clinical and translational research. Schnipper’s research interests range from bench to bedside and have contributed to the understanding of the mechanism of action and resistance to antiviral and anti-neoplastic therapies, genomic instability in cancer, and most recently, quality and value in cancer care.

  • Ross Donehower will receive the Excellence in Teaching Award. Donehower has led the hematology oncology fellowship program at Johns Hopkins University. Donehower has spent more than 30 years at Hopkins and currently serves as the Ludwig Professor of Clinical Investigation in Cancer.

  • Susan Weiner will receive the Partners in Progress Award. Weiner is the founder and director of The Children’s Cause for Cancer Advocacy. Throughout her career, she has acted as an advocate for young patients with cancer and their families by pressing for innovative and efficient pediatric oncology drug development, early clinical trials, and quality care for survivors of childhood cancer. • Olufunmilayo Olopade will receive the Humanitarian Award. Olopafe is a medical oncologist and internationally renowned expert in breast cancer, serves as Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health at The University of Chicago. Her laboratory research is focused on defining molecular mechanisms of cancer through studies of genetic and nongenetic factors contributing to tumor progression in at-risk individuals from diverse populations.

  • The Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award will go to Mary Gospodarowicz the medical director at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and regional vice president of Cancer Care Ontario, and Elizabeth Shpall, director of the Cell Therapy Laboratory and Cord Blood Bank, and deputy chair of the stem cell transplantation and cellular therapy at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Gospodarowicz recently served as president for the Union for International Cancer Control. Her research interests focus on the role of radiation therapy in lymphomas, prostate cancer, bladder cancer, and testis cancer clinical trials. Shpall has served as the founding president for the Foundation of Accreditation of Cellular Therapy and as past president of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

The Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology distinction goes to:

  • Robert Bast

  • Monica Bertagnolli

  • Linda Bosserman

  • George Browman

  • Ezra Cohen

  • Michael Fisch

  • James Frame

  • James Ford

  • Timothy Gilligan

  • Shawn Dana Glisson

  • David Graham

  • Stephen Grubbs

  • Melissa Hudson

  • Arti Hurria

  • Paul Jacobsen

  • Kim Allyson Margolin

  • Jeffrey Meyerhardt

  • Tony Mok

  • Howard Ozer

  • Edith Perez

  • Abram Recht

  • Steven Rosen

  • Hope Rugo

  • Howard Sandler

  • Charles Shapiro

  • Frances Shepherd

  • Catherine Van Poznak

  • Jaap Verweij

  • Katherine Virgo

  • Jeffery Ward

  • Dan Sayam Zuckerman


ACR Gold Medals go to Bruce Hillman, John Patti, and Jeffrey Weinreb

The American College of Radiology Gold Medal, which recognizes distinguished and extraordinary service to the ACR or to radiology, went to Bruce Hillman, John Patti, and Jeffrey Weinreb.

  • Hillman is a professor of radiology and medical imaging and public health sciences and former chair of radiology at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and founding and current editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American College of Radiology. The author of the seminal investigative work on self-referral and inappropriate utilization developed new methods of data analysis and interpretation, paving the application of health services research methodologies to imaging. He is the founding chair of the American College of Radiology Imaging Network, which conducted landmark studies demonstrating the value of digital mammography for breast cancer screening and computed tomography for colon and lung cancer screening.

  • Patti is a senior lecturer in radiology at Harvard Medical School and thoracic radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. During his ACR leadership tenure, he championed and facilitated many critical and acclaimed ACR programs and initiatives, including the Radiology Leadership Institute, the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute, the American Institute of Radiologic Pathology, ACR Select, and created the ACR Commission on International Relations. An expert in imaging economics and health policy, Patti widely communicated the myriad and complicated financial issues related to radiology, advocating for fair payment policies and the understanding of the critical value radiologists contribute to patient care.

  • Weinreb is a professor and vice chair for strategic planning in the department of radiology and biomedical imaging at Yale-New Haven Hospital/Yale School of Medicine, Weinreb is considered a pioneer in developing clinical magnetic resonance imaging. He has been a strong advocate for maintaining and further developing the ACR Appropriateness Criteria and championed participation in the American Board of Internal Medicine Choosing Wisely initiative.

In other awards, Berend Slotman and Jacob Sosna, of Jerusalem were named Honorary Fellows.

  • Slotman is a professor and chair of radiation oncology at VU Medical Center in Amsterdam and widely known for his work on lung cancer and for broadening the field of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy.

  • Sosna is chair, division of imaging, at Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem. He established three facilities for clinical and scientific studies: one for 3-D imaging, one for experimental CT and one for applied radiology.

Pamela Wilcox, of Ridge received the Distinguished Achievement Award for notable service to the College and the profession. Wilcox served as ACR executive vice president of quality and safety, retiring in 2016 after 28 years of service to the College. She managed the ACR mammography accreditation program, which greatly influenced the development and passage of the 1992 Mammography Quality Standards Act.

In a related development, Alan Kaye, of Bridgeport, Conn., Advanced Radiology Consultants and Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, was elected president of ACR and Lawrence Liebscher, of Waterloo, Iowa, Cedar Valley Medical Specialists, was elected vice president.


A $100 million gift establishes a UChicago institute focused on microbiome and immunity

Duchossois Family Foundation

Members of the Duchossois Family Foundation, including (back row, from left) Craig Duchossois, Janet Duchossois, Ilaria Woodward, Jessica Swoyer Green, Dayle Duchossois Fortino, (seated, from left) Ashley Joyce, Richard Duchossois and Kimberly Duchossois.
Photo by Richard Shay

The University of Chicago received a $100 million gift that will establish The Duchossois Family Institute: Harnessing the Microbiome and Immunity for Human Health.

The institute will bring together the university’s strengths in genetics, immunology, microbiome research, and computation to develop research and interventions focused on optimizing health.

The gift was made by the Duchossois Group Inc. Chairman and CEO Craig Duchossois, his wife Janet Duchossois, and The Duchossois Family Foundation.

The Duchloss family first provided support to UChicago in 1980, when Richard Duchossois established the Beverly E. Duchossois Cancer Fund in memory of his wife. In the years since, the family has given $37 million to the medical center to drive innovation and transformative care, including a named professorship and several cancer research funds, as well as a $21 million gift in 1994 to establish the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine.

The Duchossois gift is the single largest in support of UChicago Medicine, and it is the fourth gift of $100 million or more to the University of Chicago.


NCI awards Fred Hutch $24 million to operate contact center for patients

NCI awarded $24 million to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to continue operating the NCI’s primary public access point for cancer information in both English and Spanish.

With the new contract, the Contact Center will emphasize clinical trial education and referrals, increasing outreach to medically underserved populations and integrating innovative communication technologies.

“We are constantly adapting to meet people’s information-seeking needs,” said Nancy Gore, director of the Contact Center, which provides free phone and online help to cancer patients and their families. “The sophistication of our clients has certainly increased over time because of what they’ve been able to access and read online about their conditions before contacting us. Now they often need to know how or whether specific information applies to their case, and that’s where we are able to provide additional context and education, including questions to take back to their health care provider to help further their understanding.”

NCI originally established contact centers at several NCI-designated cancer centers throughout the country; the first call was taken in 1976. The Contact Center at Fred Hutch joined this effort in 1981, and eventually became the sole operator in 2009, when NCI consolidated existing operations into a single Contact Center.

Gore has worked at the Contact Center at Fred Hutch for 23 years and manages a team of about 65 employees, including cancer information specialists who answer inquiries and oncology-certified nurses who provide technical assistance on interactions and are members of the training team for new staff.

The group handled close to 92,000 inquiries last year, 48 percent by phone and 43 percent by live chat. While the number of calls has decreased over time — a trend seen at other contact centers — questions through the live-chat option are on the rise. The Fred Hutch team also responds to questions that come through email, which makes up 8 percent of inquiries. A sliver of inquiries, 1 percent, come through social media. People can reach the service Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. ET by calling 1.800.4.CANCER (800.422.6237), through online live chat or by email on NCI’s website Bilingual (English-Spanish) staff members are available on all access channels.


Karmanos wins federal grant renewal for membership in Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium

The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute has competed and been selected by scientific peers for a four-year grant renewal from the Department of Defense to continue membership in the prestigious Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium program.

Elisabeth Heath will direct Karmanos’ involvement in the consortium. Heath is leader of the Genitourinary Oncology Multidisciplinary Team, associate center director of Translational Sciences, and the Patricia C. and E. Jan Hartmann Endowed Chair for Prostate Cancer Research at Karmanos and Wayne State University School of Medicine.

The Prostate Cancer Clinical Consortium Award is a peer-reviewed, competitive grant. Peers include scientific researchers at universities and cancer centers across the nation. This year, only seven sites were funded, down from 11 sites in 2013.

Karmanos has been part of the consortium since 2008. The budget amount for the new four-year grant is $1.2 million. Heath’s co-principal investigator is Ulka Vaishampayan, director of the Eisenberg Center for Translational Therapeutics and co-investigators are Isaac Powell, and Lance Heilbrun, of Karmanos and WSU SOM.


NCCN funds two studies through collaboration with AstraZeneca to evaluate effectiveness of osimertinib

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network Oncology Research Program has funded two investigators from NCCN member institutions through a collaborative scientific research relationship with AstraZeneca to further evaluate the clinical effectiveness of osimertinib in the treatment of epidermal growth factor receptor-positive non-small cell lung cancer.

The following studies were awarded funding through NCCN ORP:

Daniel Gomez, of MD Anderson Cancer Center, “Randomized Phase II Trial of Osimertinib with or without Local Consolidation Therapy for Patients with EGFR-mutant Metastatic NSCLC (NORTHSTAR).”

Pasi Jänne, Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, “A Phase II Study of Osimertinib in Combination with Selumetinib in EGFR Inhibitor Naïve Advanced EGFR Mutant Lung Cancer.”
Submissions were peer reviewed by the NCCN Osimertinib Scientific Review Committee.

The funded concepts were selected based on several criteria, including scientific merit, existing data, and the types of studies necessary to further evaluate the efficacy ofosimertinib.

NCCN ORP draws upon the expertise of investigators at the NCCN member institutions and their affiliates to facilitate all phases of clinical research. This research is made possible by collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in order to advance therapeutic options for patients with cancer. To date, this research model has received more than $60 million in research grants and supported more than 140 studies.


Saint Luke’s and Washington University School of Medicine announce clinical trials affiliation

Saint Luke’s Cancer Institute announced an affiliation with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis effective June 1, 2017, giving Saint Luke’s cancer patients expanded access to clinical trials beginning in late summer.

Saint Luke’s Cancer Institute is part of Saint Luke’s Health System which consists of 10 hospitals and campuses in the Kansas City area and the surrounding region.

Copyright (c) 2018 The Cancer Letter Inc.