publication date: Apr. 19, 2019

In Brief

William Cance named interim director of University of Arizona Cancer Center as Andrew Kraft steps down

William Cance, deputy director of the University of Arizona Cancer Center in Phoenix, was appointed interim director of the UA Cancer Center, effective July 1.

Cance’s appointment was announced April 16 in an email from Michael D. Dake, senior vice president, UA Health Sciences. On March 28, Andrew S. Kraft, the cancer center director, said he would be stepping down from that position.

The text of Drake’s email follows:

Dr. Cance is a renowned oncology surgeon and physician-scientist who joined the UA in October 2016. He holds the position of professor, Departments of Interdisciplinary Oncology, Pharmacology & Toxicology, and Surgery for the UA Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy–Phoenix. Dr. Cance received his medical degree from Duke University. He completed his residency in general surgery at Barnes Hospital/Washington University School of Medicine and a fellowship in surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Dr. Cance is the principal investigator on a 25-year R01 grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) focusing on focal adhesion kinase (FAK). He has been awarded numerous other grants from the NCI and National Institutes of Health, as well as the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the U.S. Department of Defense. He has served on the NCI Board of Scientific Counselors and is currently a member of NCI Subcommittee F that focuses on institutional training and education. His cancer focus and expertise includes thyroid cancer, parathyroid disease, advanced GI malignancies and he is board-certified in general surgery.

Since his arrival, he has made enormous strides in Phoenix and across the state to establish a culture of collaboration to advance cancer care and treatment. He will oversee all clinical operations and research for the UA Cancer Center and will have a primary leadership role in the UA Cancer Center’s 2020 submission for renewal of our Cancer Center Support Grant.

I am confident that his keen focus on collaboration will enhance programs, advance basic science, reduce disparities and elevate the UA Cancer Center’s reputation for excellence in service to our state.


The text of Kraft’s email follows:

Dear Colleagues,

I want to let you know that I will be stepping down as Director of the University of Arizona Cancer Center effective June 30th. I would like to thank you for your efforts in building cancer research at the UACC and impacting on our patients. Since I arrived, together we have accomplished much in the last 4 ½ years including obtaining National Cancer Institute designation, developing a new External Advisory Board and Community Advisory Committee, solidifying program leadership, building shared resources, and developing a strong clinical component to our Cancer Center. Together, we have started a new Human Immune Monitoring Facility, a CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Editing Service, a Bioinformatics Shared Resource, and a Drug Discovery Core at UACC-Phoenix. Having recruited national leaders in Outreach and Engagement, Immunobiology, and Head and Neck Cancer, we have strengthened the foundation of the UA Cancer Center. I know that the future is bright, and I look forward to working with each of you as a faculty member at UA.



Jefferson, Temple extend due diligence period for negotiations over sale of Fox Chase

Thomas Jefferson University and Temple University have agreed on a 90-day extension of the due diligence period for the purchase of Temple-owned Fox Chase Cancer Center.

“We are having extensive and productive discussions with Temple leadership about Fox Chase Cancer Center and how best to work together to make healthcare more accessible to everyone in Philadelphia,” Steve Klasko, president of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health, said in a statement. “The complexity and importance of the transaction requires additional time for assessment.”

On Jan. 10, the parties agreed on a 90-day due diligence period (The Cancer Letter, Jan 18). Now, the deadline has been extended to June 30.

No cancer center carrying an NCI designation has ever been sold on open market. Fox Chase, which has the highest level of NCI designation—that of a comprehensive cancer center—was sold to Temple in 2012 for $84 million. Jefferson has the NCI Cancer Center designation.

Any agreement Jefferson and Temple may reach would be subject to federal and state regulatory approval.

Not only is Fox Chase a comprehensive cancer center, but it’s one of the “dedicated cancer centers,” a group of 11 freestanding institutions that treat cancer and no other disease. These centers are exempt from being reimbursed based on DRGs, or Diagnosis-Related Groups, under the Prospective Payment System.

The deal, as originally discussed, also included the sale of Temple’s interest in Health Partners Plans, a Philadelphia-based HMO that serves Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program populations in the state.

Jefferson is a rapidly growing health system that has 14 sites in downtown Philadelphia, Northern and Northeastern Philadelphia, and South Jersey. The system also has 20 network affiliates.


Dany Habr named chief medical officer at Pfizer Oncology

Dany Habr has joined Pfizer Oncology as chief medical officer as of April 15.

Habr joins Pfizer from AbbVie where he served as their head of Oncology Global Medical Affairs, where he led launch readiness for medicines in hematology, lung and brain cancer indications. Prior to that he was the Global Clinical Development head for medicines to treat myelofibrosis, multiple myeloma, lung and breast cancer at Novartis.

“Dr. Habr’s experience is unparalleled in the industry and he has a strong passion for oncology. We are delighted to have him join the team as we continue on our path of developing the best possible treatment options for cancer patients,” Andy Schmeltz, Global President and General Manager, Pfizer Oncology, said in a statement.

Habr replaces Charles Hugh-Jones, who left Pfizer for Allergan last summer.

Earlier this year, Mace Rothenberg was promoted from his position as chief development officer, oncology, to chief medical officer.


Lisa Kachnic named chair of Columbia Department of Radiation Oncology, chief of Radiation Oncology Service at NY-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Lisa Kachnic was named chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and chief of the radiation oncology service at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center effective Sept. 1. She will also serve as associate director for Cancer Network Strategy in the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Kachnic is currently a professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She previously served on the radiation oncology faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston University School of Medicine. She is a fellow of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

A past president and current governor of the American Board of Radiology, Kachnic is the vice chair of the radiation oncology committee and co-chair of the ano-rectal subcommittee for the SWOG Cancer Research Network research base, where she serves as the multi-modality executive officer. Kachnic is also the chair of the NRG Oncology, NCI Community Oncology Research Program’s Cancer Control and Prevention Division, and is involved in NRG Oncology’s GI strategic committee.


ASCO & The Conquer Cancer  Foundation announce merit awards

The Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology announced the recipients of its 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting Merit Awards. These awards support oncology trainees who are first authors on abstracts selected for presentation at the ASCO annual meeting.

This year, Conquer Cancer recognized 125 recipients with Merit Awards at the 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting, having already awarded 33 symposia-specific Merit Awards in 2019. These oncology professionals are recognized for their respective field and research advancements within the cancer care community.

The complete list of 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting Merit Award is posted here.

Special Merit Awards are presented each year to trainees and junior faculty who have the top-ranking abstracts for the ASCO Annual Meeting. The ASCO Scientific Program Committee will present five additional recipients with Special Merit Awards in their respective abstract categories:

  • Dai Chihara, NCI at NIH

    • Receives the Bradley Stuart Beller Endowed Merit Award for the highest ranking abstract overall.

    • Supported by Friends and Family of Dr. and Mrs. Ronald Beller.

  • Sarah Abou Alaiwi, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

    • Receives the Allen S. Lichter, MD, Endowed Merit Award for the second highest ranking abstract overall.

  • Po-Ju Lin, University of Rochester Medical Center

    • Receives the Pain and Symptom Management Special Merit Award for the highest ranked abstract in pain and symptom management research.

  • Adriana Fonseca, The Hospital for Sick Children

    • Receives the Brigid Leventhal Special Merit Award for the top-ranking abstract in pediatric oncology.

    • Supported by The Berry Family.

  • Sumit Gupta, The Hospital for Sick Children

    • Receives the James B. Nachman Endowed ASCO Junior Faculty Award in Pediatric Oncology for the highest scoring abstract in pediatric oncology.

    • Supported by Friends and Family of Dr. James B. Nachman.


IMF co-founders Susie and Brian Durie receive honorary doctorate from Vrije Univesiteit Brussel

International Myeloma Foundation co-founder and president, Susie Durie, and Chairman Brian Durie were awarded a joint honorary doctorate for scientific excellence from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel at a ceremony in Brussels.

Honorary doctorates were also bestowed upon Swedish statistician Hans Rosling (given posthumously),  French mathematics historian Karine Chemla, Belgian pioneering mathematician Freddy Van Oystaeyen, American mathematician and champion of better STEM education Padmanabhan Seshaiyer, Dutch physicist and science communicator Robbert Dijkgraaf, and political cartoonist Gerard Alsteens.

The university praised what its leadership called Durie’s “extraordinary” merit: “He is at the foundation of the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities, which have led to a significant increase in life expectancy following the diagnosis of multiple myeloma.”  Together with Susie Durie, they founded the IMF “to inform patients and to involve them in the knowledge about their illness, but also to encourage doctors worldwide to work together to develop best practice guidelines.”


Margo Shoup to join Western Connecticut Health Network as network chair of cancer service line

Western Connecticut Health Network has announced the appointment of Margo Shoup as the new network chair of the cancer service line. Shoup will provide strategic and clinical leadership for all aspects of WCHN’s cancer services, including medical oncology and subspecialty practices.

In her role as network chair, Shoup will oversee the integration of cancer services, especially as WCHN forms a new, unified innovative health system with Health Quest, to be called Nuvance Health. Cancer services include diagnostic imaging, genetic counseling, medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, research and clinical trials, and support services.

Shoup will also develop multidisciplinary disease management teams. Specialists and services dedicated to specific types of cancer will wrap around patients. Patients will have the most advanced and expert diagnoses, treatments, and care plans delivered expeditiously and conveniently in the same health network.

Shoup will also manage the first-of-its-kind cancer care collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center that successfully launched at Norwalk Hospital in 2017. The aim of the unique collaboration is to accelerate access to the newest cancer treatments for residents of Fairfield County, Connecticut. To learn more about MSK physicians at Norwalk Hospital visit

Shoup currently serves as president of the Central Surgical Association, and treasurer of the Western Surgical Association. She is also a member of the Society for Surgical Oncology, the Society of University Surgeons, and the Southern Surgical Association.

From 2012 to 2018, she was a director of the American Board of Surgery, as the representative for the American College of Surgeons.

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