publication date: Jul. 27, 2018

In Brief

DuBois, Pollak named editors of Cancer Prevention Research 

The American Association for Cancer Research named Raymond DuBois and Michael Pollak as editors-in-chief of Cancer Prevention Research.

Cancer Prevention Research publishes original preclinical, clinical, and translational research on the biology of premalignancy, risk factors and risk assessment, early detection research, and chemopreventive interventions, including the basic science behind these areas. The journal was launched in 2008 with Scott Lippman as the founding editor-in-chief.

DuBois is an expert in the molecular and genetic basis of colorectal cancer. His work in this area has led to a better understanding of the role of anti-inflammatory agents such as aspirin in the tumor microenvironment, and has subsequently resulted in various clinical trials, including treating precancerous polyps with celecoxib (Celebrex), an arthritis drug that selectively inhibits COX-2, an enzyme that facilitates inflammation.

DuBois is past president of the AACR, chairman and president of the AACR Foundation, a fellow of the AACR Academy, and has served as a member of the AACR Board of Directors. In addition, he has served as an editorial board member of Clinical Cancer Research and as an associate editor of Cancer Research. He is also a recipient of the Dorothy P. Landon-AACR Cancer Research Prize and the AACR-Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Cancer Research Award.

Pollak has served on the editorial board of Cancer Prevention Research since its inception. He holds the Alexander Goldfarb research chair in cancer research at McGill University in Montreal and directs the Division of Cancer Prevention of the Department of Oncology. Pollak is a medical oncologist at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal and is involved in clinical trials of novel agents related to growth factor targets.

He directs a multi-disciplinary research program at the Lady Davis Research Institute, which investigates insulin and insulin growth factor physiology in relation to cancer, and provides specialized ELISA assays for epidemiologic and pharmaceutical collaborators. He has received a number of prestigious honors and awards.


Walker named new COO of City of Hope

Jeff Walker, formerly a chief operating officer at Ohio State University, has been named COO of City of Hope. 

Walker has more than two decades of experience in cancer center leadership and transformation. He joined City of Hope earlier this year as senior vice president in transformation development and has been leading the institution’s efforts around operational design and planning for new strategic initiatives and ventures. 

As COO, Walker will lead patient care operations for the Duarte, California, campus and all community practice locations as well as all research operations. He will oversee the management of the enterprise-wide physical plant, including an estimated $1.1 billion in new construction projects.

Prior to coming to City of Hope, Walker served as the chief operating officer for The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and the James Cancer Hospital, overseeing and integrating the administrative and operational structure to support the program’s research and clinical missions. During his tenure, the new James Cancer Hospital was built and opened, becoming the third largest cancer hospital in the country.  

Walker has also served as executive vice president for the Roswell Park Cancer Research Institute in New York and, prior to his roles at Ohio State and Roswell Park, he held administrative leadership positions at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute during his 14 years at UPCI.

Walker serves as vice-chair of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Center executive committee, treasurer of the Association of American Cancer Institutes, and is a member of the executive and finance committees of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the Cancer Center Administrators Forum.


Manotti named senior vice president, chief development officer at MSKCC

Kenneth Manotti has been named senior vice president and Chief Development Officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Manotti has more than 30 years of fundraising and leadership experience at major institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, the American University in Cairo, and the University of Chicago. He was senior vice president of University Development and Alumni Relations at New York University.

Manotti’s appointment concludes a national search for new leadership for MSK’s fundraising program, which was led for the past 15 years by Richard Naum as senior vice president for Development and Anne McSweeney as Special Advisor to the President.

Under their direction, the Campaign for MSK surpassed its $3.5 billion goal, providing vital support for innovation and discovery research to transform cancer treatment in New York and around the globe.

At the University of Chicago, where Manotti served as vice president for Alumni Relations and Development from 2011 to 2017, he helped direct a successful $5 billion capital campaign, working collaboratively with university leadership, trustees, and advancement colleagues.

Before that, he served as vice president for Institutional Advancement at the AUC, where he led university-wide development, alumni affairs, and marketing and communications programs in the United States, the Middle East, and Europe. Prior to his work at the AUC, he was associate dean for External Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, where he directed the $550 million Wharton Campaign.


Agarwal named chief medical officer at Epizyme

Shefali Agarwal was named chief medical officer of Epizyme Inc. In this role, Agarwal will oversee all of the company’s activities related to the global strategic development of tazemetostat, a potent, selective, orally available EZH2 inhibitor, as well as additional pipeline candidates.

Over the span of her career, Agarwal has held leadership positions across medical research, clinical development, clinical operations, and medical affairs.  She has led clinical and regulatory engagements for small molecules, biologics, liposomal and cell therapy products across the full spectrum of drug development, from pre-IND work to filing.  

Agarwal most recently served as chief medical officer at SQZ Biotech, where she built and led the clinical development organization, which included clinical research operations and the regulatory function. She brings significant oncology experience to Epizyme, having held leadership positions at Curis and Tesaro.  

At Curis, Agarwal oversaw the phase II study for its dual HDAC/PI3K inhibitor in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and the phase I study in solid tumors for its oral checkpoint inhibitor.  At Tesaro, Agarwal led the NDA and EMA submissions for Zejula (niraparib) in ovarian cancer. She has also held positions of increasing responsibility at Covidien, AVEO Oncology, and Pfizer.

In addition to receiving her MBBS medical degree from Karnataka University’s Mahadevappa Rampure Medical School in India. Agarwal earned a master’s of public health from Johns Hopkins University, where she led clinical research in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine. She also holds a master’s of science in business from the University of Baltimore’s Merrick School of Business.


IU’s Broxmeyer receives NHLBI Outstanding Investigator Award

Indiana University Distinguished Professor Hal Broxmeyer received the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Outstanding Investigator Award to continue his 35 years of research into umbilical cord blood transplantation.

Broxmeyer received a seven-year, $5.4 million grant to continue his research into how to maximize the use of adaptable blood-forming cells in cord blood for transplantation for certain types of cancer, metabolic and blood diseases.

Broxmeyer is a professor of microbiology and immunology, the Mary Margaret Walther Professor Emeritus, and chairman emeritus of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at IU School of Medicine. He is also a co-leader of the hematopoiesis and malignant hematology research program at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute created the awards program in 2016 to provide leading researchers with more flexibility and financial security to conduct groundbreaking research or expand on previous discoveries.

Broxmeyer has focused on expanding the effectiveness of cord blood since 1983 when he and colleagues first proposed the concept of using umbilical cord blood as an alternative source of hematopoietic stem cells for transplant. In 1988, his lab processed the blood used in the first successful umbilical cord blood transplant in Paris and the cord blood used in subsequent transplants in Baltimore, Cincinnati and Minneapolis. The first treatment for a 5-year-old boy with the blood disorder Fanconi’s anemia was a success, and five of the six subsequent cord blood transplants were successful.

Over the years, the Broxmeyer lab has worked on finding solutions to issues that limited the use of cord blood for transplant. One key problem that restricted its use for transplant in large children or adults was the limited number of stem cells collected from one umbilical cord.

However, his team published a remarkable finding in the journal Cell in 2015 that found that the numbers of stem cells in bone marrow and umbilical cord blood had been grossly underestimated because they are typically collected in ambient air that has an oxygen level of about 21 percent. By collecting blood in a more controlled environment with lower oxygen levels, they determined that many more useable stems cells could be harvested.

He also has been at the forefront of research that identified an enzyme, dipeptidyl peptidase-4, that can reduce blood cell production. Research on this enzyme to enhance blood cell production remains one of his interests.


Royce, Kircher selected for ASCO’s 2018-2019 Health Policy Fellowship Program

Trevor Royce and Sheetal Kircher have been selected for the American Society of Clinical Oncology Health Policy Fellowship Program.

Now entering its third year, the fellowship program offers oncologists the opportunity to gain the knowledge base, skills, and experience necessary to shape regulatory and legislative policies that directly affect the practice environment and impact patients with cancer and their care teams. The next ASCO health policy fellowship runs from July 1 to July 1, 2019.

Royce is chief resident at the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program and immediate past vice-chair of the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology Executive Committee.

During medical school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, he spent a year as a Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellow conducting health services research with a focus on prostate cancer.

Royce attended the University of Virginia, where he studied biomedical engineering. Before medical school, he pursued graduate school at Georgetown University and completed an internship in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. During residency he obtained an MPH at the Harvard School of Public Health.  He will join the faculty at UNC Chapel Hill this fall.

Kircher is a medical oncologist and assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at Northwestern University. She obtained her medical degree from the Rush Medical College and completed her fellowship in medical oncology at Northwestern University. During her research fellowship at the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs, focusing on health services, she also obtained a master’s degree in Health and Health Outcomes from the University of Michigan.

Kircher’s clinical focus is the treatment of gastrointestinal malignancies and her research interests are related to health care delivery throughout the cancer continuum, including long-term survivorship and the impact of cancer treatment costs on patients, health systems, and payers. She currently serves as the medical director of the Survivorship Institute of Northwestern, where she oversees programmatic aspects of delivering survivorship care.

As ASCO health policy fellows, Royce and Kircher will participate in the following activities:

  • Active participation in policy development for high-impact issues in oncology,

  • Small-group teaching sessions delivered by ASCO professional staff and qualified volunteers,

  • Training in communication and leadership skills, as well as advocacy strategies, and

  • A mentored research project that advances an ASCO policy initiative.

The application period for next year’s Health Policy Fellowship opened July 1 and must be submitted online using ASCO’s Grants Portal.

ASCO conducts and administers the fellowship with funding support from the Conquer Cancer Foundation Mission Endowment.

Copyright (c) 2018 The Cancer Letter Inc.