publication date: May. 8, 2020

In Brief

Patton named CEO of OneOncology

Jeff Patton was named chief executive officer of OneOncology. Patton has been Acting CEO and president of Physician Services since February.

OneOncology includes five practices throughout the U.S., represents over 400 providers, and cares for approximately 250,000 patients annually at 160 sites of care. OneOncology partner practices deliver integrated oncology care services including screening and diagnosis, clinical trials, therapies, and survivorship or end-of-life care. A main responsibility of OneOncology is to help its partner practices expand services in cancer care.

“We formed OneOncology in 2018 with the idea that with physician leadership, common technology platforms, and access to capital, practices could have both the necessary scale and local decision-making authority needed to not only survive but thrive in today’s marketplace,” Patton said in a statement. “Today, as practices grapple with COVID-19 and plan for caring for patients post peak, the ideas that brought us together are exactly what will propel our future growth.”

Patton will continue as the executive chairman of the board at Tennessee Oncology.


Blumenthal named VP of Global Oncology Regulatory Affairs at Merck

Gideon Blumenthal was named vice president for Global Oncology Regulatory Affairs at Merck.

He is a former deputy director of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence.


Haura, Khushalani named clinical science research leaders at Moffitt

Eric B. Haura was named the associate center director of Clinical Science at Moffitt Cancer Center, and Nikhil Khushalani was named assistant center director of Clinical Research Review & Partnerships in a newly created role at Moffitt Cancer Center.

Haura will provide the strategic vision in developing physician-led laboratory science, as well as oversight of Moffitt’s clinical research operations, which includes more than 600 active clinical interventional trials and over 100 observational studies, including Moffitt’s Clinical Trials Office and Clinical Research Unit. Additionally, he will facilitate team science and clinical research opportunities with affiliate and consortium partners, and he provide guidance and mentorship to investigators at Moffitt.

Haura joined Moffitt in 2000 and has served in leadership roles in research, including director of the Lung Cancer Center of Excellence and co-leader of the Chemical Biology and Molecular Medicine Program. His research focuses on identifying new vulnerabilities and biomarkers in lung cancer, where his goal is to develop novel therapeutic strategies for his patients. His lab is also heavily involved in proteomics, the large-scale study of proteins, to identify new diagnostic tools for lung cancer. Haura treats patients as a senior member of the Department of Thoracic Oncology.

As assistant center director of Clinical Research Review & Partnerships, Khushalani will oversee Moffitt’s clinical trial scientific review operations. He will also work closely with Jennifer I. Vidrine, assistant center director of Research Strategic Partnerships, to expand clinical research offerings to affiliates and partners, including a clinical research unit opening in collaboration with AdventHealth in Celebration, Florida. This position also reports to Haura.

Khushalani joined Moffitt in 2015 as an associate member of the Department of Cutaneous Oncology, and became the vice chair and a senior member of the department. His clinical and research interests are in the development of novel therapeutics for patients with melanoma and other skin cancers. He studies the economic impact of new skin cancer therapies on health care, with the goal of devising strategies to reduce costs for patients. Khushalani is the principal investigator on several skin cancer clinical trials at Moffitt.


Bona named director of Benign Hematology at Smilow Cancer Hospital

Robert Bona was named professor of medicine (hematology) and inaugural director of the Benign Hematology Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital. He will also join as Medical Director of the Hemophilia Treatment Center for the Pediatric Hematology & Oncology Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital.

Bona will begin in his roles July 1.

Bona has been serving as a part-time member of the hematology department at Yale Cancer Center for the last three years.

Bona joins Yale from Quinnipiac University where he is a founding faculty member and professor of medical sciences at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine. Bona has led several research studies, clinical trials, and care innovations to advance the treatment of blood diseases.


Prebet, Zeidan named hematology leaders at Yale Cancer Center

Thomas Prebet was named leader of myeloid malignancies on the Disease Aligned Research Team, and Amer Zeidan was named director of the Hematology Early Therapeutics Program at Yale Cancer Center.

In these new roles, Prebet and Zeidan will work closely with Stephanie Halene, interim chief of hematology at YCC.

Prebet is an associate professor of medicine (hematology) and is focused on developing clinical trials for myeloid malignancies and translational advances for patients with acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes. In his new role as DART leader for myeloid malignancies, he will oversee the clinical trial team for myeloid malignancies and work to develop a complete portfolio of trials for our patients.

Zeidan is an associate professor of medicine (hematology) and is the Yale principal investigator for multiple NCI-sponsored and clinical trials in myeloid malignancies. Zeidan is also chairing the steering committee for a large pharma-sponsored randomized trial of myelodysplastic syndromes. As director of the Hematology Early Therapeutics Program, Zeidan will partner closely with Patricia LoRusso, associate cancer center director for Experimental Therapeutics at YCC, to develop a comprehensive phase I clinical trial portfolio for patients with hematologic malignancies.


Hamilton, Danilov join City of Hope

Stanley Hamilton, formerly of MD Anderson Cancer Center, was named chair of the Department of Pathology at City of Hope, and Alexey Danilov was named associate director of City of Hope’s Toni Stephenson Lymphoma Center.

Hamilton said his goal is to bring access to state-of-the-art specialized pathology to every patient at every City of Hope satellite center, as well as improving and enhancing the biomarker data used in clinical trials, and further integrating digital pathology into the overall informatics of the institution.

Danilov brought his independently-funded lab to City of Hope’s Toni Stephenson Lymphoma Center. Danilov researches treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and many forms of lymphoma.

Danilov is focused on identifying cell proteins—some that promote cancer growth, some that inhibit it—learning how they deteriorate, and finding drugs that can affect the process.


Tempera named associate professor in the Gene Expression & Regulation Program at Wistar

Italo Tempera was appointed associate professor in the Gene Expression & Regulation Program of The Wistar Institute Cancer Center.

Tempera is a molecular virologist with special expertise in the study of the Epstein Barr virus and how it regulates expression of its genes in the host cell during infection. Although EBV infection is very frequent and asymptomatic in most cases, in some individuals, especially those with a compromised immune system, it has a causative role in development of some types of cancer, including Burkitt’s lymphoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas.

Research in the Tempera laboratory aims to disrupt the natural capacity of EBV to modulate its gene expression pattern as a new approach for treating EBV-associated cancers.

Tempera identified the main cellular factor that regulates the three-dimensional structure of the EBV genome and his laboratory focuses on the role of this factor, named CTCF, in the formation of loops in the virus DNA.

These loops allow distant segments of the genome to be in close proximity and regulate expression of EBV genes that are necessary for its life cycle within the cell. The team is also exploring how EBV chromatin loops are regulated by another cellular factor called PARP1. Given the role played by PARP1 in regulating cell metabolism after DNA damage, these studies could provide an exciting link between host cell metabolism and regulation of EBV chromatin structure.

The Tempera lab specializes in genomics techniques that allow them to study long-range interactions within chromatin, or the genetic material in which DNA and proteins are packed together to form chromosomes.

Tempera comes to Wistar from the Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine of Temple University, where he established his lab in 2012 and was promoted to associate professor in 2017.


Bin Tian appointed professor, co-director of the Center for Systems & Computational Biology at Wistar

Bin Tian was appointed professor at the The Wistar Institute Cancer Center.

A molecular biologist by training, Tian focuses on RNA biology and understanding how gene expression is regulated at the post-transcriptional level. His research involves interdisciplinary approaches, including molecular biology, genomics and computational biology, to study RNA biogenesis and metabolism. His lab was among the first to characterize the functional genomics of alternative polyadenylation and has uncovered its role in many diverse cellular processes.

“Bin’s research has led to groundbreaking advances understanding the role of alternative polyadenylation in development and cell differentiation as well as in the context of cancer and cellular stress,” Dario C. Altieri, Wistar president and CEO, director of the Cancer Center, and the Robert and Penny Fox Distinguished Professor, said in a statement. “Bin’s work strengthens our RNA biology research and brings expertise in complex computational and genomic methods that will synergize with the work of our scientists across our research programs.”

Tian joins Wistar from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, where he was a professor. In 2003, he established his research group at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School where he became a tenured professor in 2014.


Tsvi Gal named head of infrastructure at MSK

Tsvi Gal has been appointed Head of Infrastructure of MSK.

Gal will lead the hospital’s technological and architectural development and make technical recommendations that align with MSK’s institutional and digital priorities.

Reporting to MSK’s Chief Information Officer, Atefeh Riazi, Gal will work with other leaders in Digital Informatics and Technology Solutions to develop a modernized infrastructure and data environment in support of MSK’s digital strategy, set by MSK’s Chief Digital Officer Claus Jensen.


Seattle Cancer Care Alliance opens Acute Clinical Evaluation Clinic

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance opened an Acute Clinical Evaluation clinic. The three bed ACE clinic at SCCA’s South Lake Union campus serves individuals receiving cancer care at SCCA who experience cancer- and treatment-related pain and symptoms that surpass their ability to manage at home.

Originally planned for summer 2020, the ACE clinic opened ahead of schedule so that cancer patients would not have to visit an urgent care or emergency room for cancer-treatment related issues, especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are committed to advancing the standard of cancer care, regionally and beyond, and the ACE clinic is a reflection of that commitment,” said Nancy Davidson, president and executive director of SCCA. “At SCCA, we provide comprehensive care, and the ACE clinic provides our patients with access to care from our highly trained, compassionate staff, specifically for their treatment-related pain and other symptoms.”

The ACE clinic is staffed by an oncology advanced practice provider and registered nurses specializing in cancer care. SCCA providers can refer patients to the clinic who need medical oncology care for pain and symptom management for issues including but not limited to gastrointestinal discomfort, fever/chills, dehydration, dizziness/lightheadedness, urinary tract infections, swallowing difficulties, swelling and skin conditions/rashes.

The ACE clinic does not provide emergency care and is limited to patients who are already receiving treatment from SCCA providers.


Robert Peter Gale receives ASJA award for “Chernobyl, the HBO miniseries: Fact and Fiction”

Robert Peter Gale has won an award in the opinion/op-ed category from the American Society of Journalists and Authors Inc. for his series “Chernobyl, the HBO miniseries: Fact and Fiction” (The Cancer Letter, May 17-June 21, 2019).

Gale is visiting professor of hematology at the Imperial College London, and executive director of clinical research in hematology and oncology at Celgene Corp.

“Gale’s series is fortified by his firsthand experience with one of mankind’s worst calamities,” the ASJA judges wrote. “He provides unsparing detail, outstanding insight, and intense perspective as he sorts fact from fiction as presented by HBO’s 2019 miniseries.”

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