publication date: May. 29, 2020

Conversation with The Cancer Letter

John Cleveland: How Moffitt will heal from conflict of interest trauma—and from COVID-19

John Cleveland

John L. Cleveland, PhD

Executive vice president, center director,

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

 

This story is part of The Cancer Letter’s ongoing coverage of COVID-19’s impact on oncology. A full list of our coverage, as well as the latest meeting cancellations, is available here.

As a freshly-minted director of H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, John Cleveland has two items  on top of his to-do list:

  1. Rework the center’s leadership, and

  2. Deal with a crippling pandemic.

On April 28, after serving as interim director for over six months, Cleveland was appointed center director and executive vice president of the Tampa-based NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Cleveland, whose research is focused on the molecular pathogenesis of cancer, joined Moffitt in 2014 as the associate center director of basic science.

“We have a succession plan at Moffitt for all of our leadership positions, and I was part of the succession plan for Dr. Thomas Sellers. I stepped up to the plate and took over the role of center director,” Cleveland said to The Cancer Letter. “Since Dec. 18, I was actually wearing three hats as the interim center director, the ACD of basic science, and the ACD of clinical science.”

Sellers, Moffitt’s former director, and Alan List, former president and CEO, stepped down Dec. 18, 2019, after an internal review alleged that they violated “conflict of interest rules through their work in China.” Four other researchers were similarly implicated in the investigation. Two of the ousted researchers—Sellers, and Howard McLeod—are disputing the cancer center’s allegations (The Cancer Letter, Jan. 3, Feb. 14, March 6, 2020).

As is the case at many academic cancer centers, Moffitt’s finances took a hit in the early months of the pandemic. Leadership and senior faculty took 10% to 15% pay cuts, and all employees were required to take 40 hours of paid time off.

“Yet we’ve weathered this storm, and we’re starting to see an uptick in the number of patients coming in and we have reactivated surgeries at all levels, and radiology is coming back as well,” Cleveland said. “We’re confident we’re going to weather the storm.”

Guiding Moffitt through recovery from the COVID-19 crisis is the first step in Cleveland’s program.

“I would like to grow by about 30%. More than this I worry that we may get too big for our britches and stop doing the things that make Moffitt remarkable, which really is team science,” Cleveland said.

Prior to joining Moffitt, Cleveland was a professor and chair of the Department of Cancer Biology at The Scripps Research Institute. Before that, he held various leadership roles with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Cleveland earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Maine, and his doctorate in immunology and microbiology from Wayne State University School of Medicine. He began his career at NCI.

“I felt like I was coming home. At Moffitt, I had a remarkable run as the ACD of basic science,” Cleveland said. “I think I’ve recruited about 60% of the current faculty in the division, including three new terrific chairs and program leaders and all of this was possible from the generous support from the state of Florida, who’s investing in Moffitt to the tune of around $25 million a year.

“It’s been a place where you can come and put your footprints in the sand. I did that with basic science. Now, I want to do it for the whole cancer center. I have size 15 feet, so I hope I can leave large footprints.”

Cleveland envisions significant investment in what he calls “five big programs” at Moffitt: immuno-oncology, cancer metabolism research, outreach and engagement and equity, cancer care delivery, and machine learning.

“Moffitt has experienced a rather staggering 9% growth per year in patient numbers,” Cleveland said. “If you do the numbers, that will double the size of the clinical care component of the institute in about eight years.”

In his first year, Cleveland plans to address the evolving controversy over the role of foreign state-funded programs in cancer research at Moffitt.

On May 13, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a public service announcement calling attention to targeting of research organizations by the People’s Republic of China to obtain IP on COVID-19 related research.

Some changes at Moffitt include a new process for conducting background checks for all new international employees, regardless of country of origin, revising the institution’s conflict of interest policy, and providing additional COI training.

“One of the things that’s actually going to happen next week is I’m having an Open Forum on Inclusion, which is one of our core values, as about 10% of our workforce is of Asian heritage,” Cleveland said. “Given the press, the leadership changes that were associated with problems with the Thousand Talents Program, and then COVID-19, we’re working very hard to make sure that all of our team members understand that Inclusion is at our foundation.

“We’re going to be talking about this next week to assure all our team members that, despite all of the things that have happened, we recognize that those of Asian descent and those from China are essential members of our Moffitt family.”

 

Cleveland spoke with Matthew Ong, associate editor of The Cancer Letter.

 

Matthew Ong:

Congratulations. What do you most look forward to doing as center director at Moffitt?

John Cleveland:

Thank you very much.

Front and center are our strategic research initiatives that senior leadership, the Board and our External Advisory Committee have given a ringing endorsement.

There are five strategic research initiatives that I see as extremely important. First, is to double down on our investments in immuno-oncology. We want Moffitt as the number one destination center for immunotherapy. We’re going to do that through strategic recruitments and building out an already exceptionally strong Immunology Program that’s led by two remarkable co-leaders, Jose Conejo-Garcia and Frederick Locke. 

We have one of the original FDA approved, CLIA-certified Cell Therapy Facilities that allows us to take immune cell products and put them back into patients. So, we’re undergoing a big expansion on that front as well. And we’re also rolling out a CRO called OncoBay that is specifically focused on the immunotherapy sector.

Second, we will be rolling out  a Metabolism program, where we will target metabolism at three levels, specifically targeting (i) differences in metabolism that are intrinsic to cancer cells, and that are unique to different tumor types; (ii) the immune system, where we can manipulate T-cell metabolism to reprogram these cells to become more effective killers, and to generate tissue resident memory T cells that have long lasting persistence and anti-tumor effects; and (iii) the metabolism of individual patients, which I think, is actually the most exciting.

Specifically, we’ve really ignored the fact that everything that we do to a patient actually affects their metabolism. Whether we give them chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or immune therapies, they’re all affecting the metabolism of the patient. You and I are different in our metabolism. That is targeting metabolism becomes the fifth pillar of cancer therapy along with radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.

Third we also need to double down on our investment in Cancer Outreach, Engagement and Equity. We have a remarkable associate center director of Community Outreach, Engagement & Equity, Dr. Susan Vadaparampil, and she’s a terrific leader in this space. Over the next six  years, we’ll be expanding our catchment area from 15 to 21 counties, and we’ll be servicing and giving Moffitt Care to almost half the population of the state of Florida through our new partnership with AdventHealth, which is a very large primary health care system that’s centered in Orlando, Florida.

Importantly, this partnership allows us to tackle the first part of our mission, which is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. We’re a tertiary cancer center, so we’re very good at working on the cure part, but we’re not very good at tackling cancer prevention, and our partnerships with AdventHealth will allow us to tackle this mission-critical goal. And we want to be leaders in this space.

Fourth, we want to invest in cancer care delivery, which focuses on the science, implementation, and economics of the delivery of cancer care to our patients. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of this, because it’s really affecting our ability to deliver cancer care to our patients. So this is clearly an area that we need to invest in, and in a big way. This is going to be led by our remarkable ACD of population science, Dr. Shelley Tworoger.

Finally, we’re also investing in machine learning. We just hired a remarkable investigator, Dr. Issam El Naqa from University of Michigan, as the founding chair of the Department of Machine Learning. We believe that machine learning has the real potential to transform everything we do, in research and in clinical care, in community outreach, you name it. This is going to affect our entire enterprise. We’re excited about rolling out this new initiative in the Division of Quantitative Science that is being led by another remarkable investigator Dr. Dana Rollison

Also key to our success are new changes in leadership and infrastructure we’ve made. When I took over as interim center director, there were some leadership changes that had to happen for us to move forward with our CCSG submission next January. First, we were successful in recruiting Dr. Eric Haura, the new ACD of clinical science. Eric is an exceptional physician-scientist. He is the director of our Lung Cancer Center of Excellence, is PI of four grants, has over 190 peer-reviewed publications and is a very translationally focused investigator, one who is a great role model for physician scientists and clinical investigators at the institute. He was a key recruitment and the External Advisory Committee strongly endorsed his appointment.

Second, we have also created additional layers of leadership to oversee specific areas of the cancer center, which is growing rapidly. Specifically, reporting up to Eric will be an assistant center director of clinical research Review and Partnership, Dr. Nikhil Khushalani. Nikhil is a top-tier clinical investigator, who serves as vice chair of the Cutaneous Oncology Department and is a member of the Moffitt Medical Board. He is a terrific clinical investigator, and he’ll oversee the clinical trials regulatory arm of trials at Moffitt.

Third, we’re doing a deep dive and looking at gaps and opportunities for building out more support for clinical trials. Clinical trials are a key recruitment tool at Moffitt for all researchers, where we have over 630 active clinical trials, and over 130 observational and behavioral intervention trials. Moffitt has a very clinical trial-rich environment where investigators can come and move their research into the clinic.

Indeed, as a “well-seasoned” investigator of 63 years, I’m now finally taking my basic research and moving it into the clinic in a lung cancer trial with Dr. Jhanelle Gray, our chair of Thoracic Oncology, and Dr. Doug Cress, a senior member of the Molecular Oncology Department. That’s the kind of thing that really excites investigators about coming to Moffitt.

 

MO:

How has your journey as a researcher led you here? And why did you take this job?

JC:

I first started out at the NCI, and trained with a remarkable investigator, Dr. Ulf Rapp. He was the discoverer of the Raf family of oncogenes. This was a really exciting time at the NCI, from ‘84 to ‘89, and it was a terrific experience, because there were a lot of new oncogenes being discovered, and the idea that oncogenes cooperate to cause cancer came out, and we were working on that topic as well.

While I was there, I collaborated with an amazing investigator named Dr. James Ihle, who was recruited to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as the chair of Biochemistry. Jim recruited me as his first faculty to that department at St. Jude’s, which was a terrific career move. I was there for 17 years. I was mentored by Jim and I was also blessed to be mentored by Dr. Charles (Chuck) Sherr, who was an HHMI investigator, as was Jim. Chuck was an amazing force, an investigator who was famous for discovering oncogenes, cyclins and their inhibitors, and then for discovering a new tumor suppressor that regulates the p53 tumor suppressor called ARF, the alternative reading frame tumor suppressor. With Chuck and his wonderful lab partner and wife, Martine Roussel, who is also a remarkable investigator—they are both members of the National Academy of Sciences—we did some of our very best work.

After 17 years I began looking for leadership opportunities outside of St. Jude’s, and I was recruited by Richard Lerner to the Scripps Research Institute, specifically to roll out a Cancer Biology Department at a new Scripps campus called Scripps Florida, which is in Jupiter in Palm Beach County.

With about $520 million investment from the state of Florida and Palm Beach County, Scripps created a top-notch academic institute that continues to thrive today. It was exciting to be part of something new and to be part of Scripps, which is a world-renowned research institute. I was the founding chair at Scripps-Florida and was a member of the steering committee that helped recruit up to 62 investigators.

While I was at Scripps and leading the Cancer Biology Department, I got to know Moffitt, because we were looking for establishing partnerships between Scripps and Moffitt. We tried to establish a joint research enterprise. It didn’t work out, but what did work out was establishing a relationship with Dr. James Mulé, the ACD of Translational Science here at Moffitt. Jim is also the guy who set up the Cell Therapies Facility and he is truly the founder of the immunotherapy enterprise at Moffitt. He also had amazing training with the real grandfather of the field, Steve Rosenberg at the Surgical Oncology Branch at the NCI.

I got to know Jim, and he reached out to me in 2013, and asked me if I’d be interested in a new opportunity of being the associate center director of basic science. He said, “It’s a division that needs some help, and needs some growth.” I interviewed for that position in November 2013, and I started the job in July 2014.

One reason that sold me on coming to Moffitt was actually meeting the man himself, H. Lee Moffitt. Lee’s really a remarkable individual (we call him “The Closer”), and he convinced me to come, through an inspiring recruitment dinner, but more so when he also dragged me over to the cafeteria to have lunch with patients.

That was an epiphany for me, I felt like I was coming home. Because I experienced the same kind of thing every day when I was at St. Jude’s. You know why you’re coming to work, right? You’re going there to take care of the patients. When I was hired at St. Jude’s, one of the first meetings I had was with the founder, comedian Danny Thomas, who was a remarkable man. He said, “I want you to take care of my kids. Don’t ever forget that.”

Then, when Lee took me over to the cafeteria, he told me the same thing, “I want you to take care of our patients. You’re here to do this, never forget that.” He says, “You’ve got a year to cure cancer.” Of course, it’s going to take longer than that, and there’s 300 different types, but that’s the kind of men that Lee and Danny are. These are the founders of cancer institutes that have become remarkable enterprises.

At Moffitt, I had a remarkable run as the ACD of basic science. I think I’ve recruited about 60% of the current faculty in the division, including three new terrific chairs and program leaders and all of this was possible from the generous support from the state of Florida, who’s investing in Moffitt to the tune of around $25 million a year.

These monies come from a program initiated by former Gov. Rick Scott, who developed this to support cancer centers in Florida. We’ve invested in research, and this investment has led to a huge ROI.

Indeed, the institute has enjoyed about a 30% growth over the last five years in research. We anticipate that we’ll have another 30% growth over the next five years as well. It’s been a place where you can come and put your footprints in the sand. I did that with basic science. Now, I want to do it for the whole cancer center. I have size 15 feet, so I hope I can leave large footprints.

 

MO:

Speaking of large footprints, you served as interim director after the major change in leadership last year. What was it like stepping in—forgive the pun—at a crucial transition point? Was it challenging?

JC:

Yes, it was challenging. I mean, first was the initial surprise and shock because I was not privy to the investigations that led to the change in leadership. I was told only two days before they were actually instituted and was asked at that time by the chair of the Institute Board of Directors, Timothy Adams, by our founder Lee Moffitt, and by the other executive vice presidents if I would consider taking over the role of interim cancer center director.

We have a succession plan at Moffitt for all of our leadership positions, and I was part of the succession plan for Dr. Thomas Sellers. It turned out that this was a very wise thing to do; and it’s the wise thing for any institute. 

It’s actually something that I was aspiring to anyway. In fact, when I was hired by Dr. Sellers back in 2014, the first question he asked me is, “Why do you want this job?” I said, “Well, to be honest, I really don’t want this job. I want your job.” But what I didn’t want was for it to happen this way, and in this fashion.

I stepped up to the plate and took over the role of center director. The following day, I called a meeting of all the other ACDs and they totally rallied. It was an exercise to see how close the Moffitt family really was. And the family was really, really tight, because we all really stepped up and helped each other out, to get through the crisis and the change of leadership.

On the day that it was announced to the institute, Dr. Doug Letson (physician-in-chief) and I got up there shoulder to shoulder and we told everyone, “Don’t worry, we’ve got you. We’re going to be alright. We’re a strong cancer center. We’re strong because of all of you, and because of the patients that we’re here to care for. We can’t let that mission stop.”

Being such a mission-driven Institute helped us get through this. We just kept on forging right ahead. And this came shining through at the EAC site visit that we had in late April. I’m sure that they came into this with concerns about the changes in leadership. They wanted to know that we were strong and they came away from that meeting saying that we were exceptionally strong, and that we should submit our CCSG renewal.

It was really, really challenging. These leaders were also very dear friends and close professional colleagues, and it was also personally very difficult. But when things like this happen and you have patients counting on you, you have to move forward. There are challenges in life, but these also create opportunities. It’s a new day and the future of Moffitt is very bright.

I have a remarkable group of peers in the EVPs at Moffitt who have greatly facilitated my transition into the center director position. Yvette Tremonti, who’s the CFO, is incredible. And so are Jack Kolosky, the COO, and L. David de la Parte, general counsel. Doug Letson is a terrific mentor and friend, as is our foundation president, Maria Muller.

We meet every week, and together we’ve overcome the challenges caused by changes in leadership and the COVID-19 pandemic and the fiscal crisis that ensued. Mr. Adams really stepped up as well as our leader during these difficult times. He’s been extremely engaged and is a dynamic leader of the board.

Looking back, what really saw us through were our succession plans and our remarkable cadre of leaders. This remarkable group of individuals helped the cancer center through these crises, and still rolled out dynamite research, clinical trials and clinical care.

It’s been a time when we’ve all learned that we’re very resilient, and we’ve truly come to appreciate the talents of each other. There’s an incredible synergy between the leaders and our faculty. And all of our trainees and staff have stepped up to the plate. 

Everyone has contributed at Moffitt to get by these crises. It is a very big family and a wonderful one, and it was created by the vision of Lee Moffitt. I feel blessed to work here. It’s a true honor and privilege to lead such a remarkable cancer center.

 

MO:

You spoke briefly about leadership changes and infrastructure changes when you took over as interim director—how have those changes affected your faculty and research enterprise?

JC:

Some of the infrastructure changes are still in flight. And, some of the infrastructure changes have led to the creation of new positions.

We’re also doing a deep dive to identify gaps and opportunities in clinical trial regulatory processes and in clinical trial operations, and this is ongoing. We’re doing a similar deep dive in research administration infrastructure. Moffitt’s had remarkable growth, but one of the things that we really haven’t done very well, and that we’re going to be doing well, is to grow infrastructure support at scale, to support all the research that’s going on at Moffitt.

At the end of the day, we’re going to come out much better—we’re going to be a more proactive and less reactive institute.

Moffitt has experienced a rather staggering 9% growth per year in patient numbers. If you do the numbers, that will double the size of the clinical care component of the institute in about eight years.

I don’t really want to grow that much on the research side, but I would like to grow by about 30%. More than this I worry that we may get too big for our britches and stop doing the things that make Moffitt remarkable, which really is team science.

One of the cool things here is that everybody that has an appointment on the research side, whether it be in basic science, population science, or quantitative science, also has an appointment in a clinical department. Clinical investigators have appointments in basic, population or quantitative science. Team science is really part of the DNA of Moffitt.

 

MO:

You’ve thoroughly described your scientific vision for Moffitt. What are some of your top leadership priorities in terms of growing the faculty and staff over the next few years?

JC:

After we get through with the CCSG submission next January, we’re going to have a national search for the ACD of basic science. Since Dec. 18, I was actually wearing three hats as the interim center director, the ACD of basic science, and the ACD of clinical science.

Clinical science was actually the toughest part. Eric Haura in his new role as the ACD of clinical science has been doing a remarkable job. There was an interim ACD of basic science before I came on board that served for two years, and that was Dr. James Mulé. I’ve asked Jim to again step up to the plate as the interim ACD of basic science, and thankfully he’s agreed to do so.

So, that’s one big leadership opportunity. Another is to hire a co-leader in our Cancer Biology & Evolution Program, which is a remarkably unique program led by Dr. Elsa Flores that applies Darwinian principles to understand how cancer initiates, progresses, sustains itself, and how we should treat patients by, for example, adaptive therapy.

As I noted before, we want to roll out a new Metabolism Program in the 2026 cycle. We need two co-leaders for this, and the way we’re envisioning this is that one co-leader would be at Moffitt and one would be with our partner at AdventHealth, which is remarkably strong in the metabolism arena. They have exceptional programs studying obesity and diabetes, which are the #2 and #3 risk factors for cancer.

There’s lots of opportunity for interactions between AdventHealth and Moffitt in the metabolism arena. To help support this initiative, we’ve created an associate center director of AdventHealth-Moffitt partnerships. And in Dr. Steven Smith, the vice president and chief scientific officer of the AdventHealth Research Institute, we have the perfect leader to help us realize this vision. Steven is a remarkable investigator in the obesity and diabetes field, and a physician-scientist who translates his work in the clinic.

AdventHealth has developed a new CRU in partnership with Moffitt where we’re also doing clinical trials together. Moffitt and AdventHealth have become one in this enterprise. We are jointly recruiting and Dr. Smith is a member of the Research Executive Committee.

We have a lot of positive vibes and we’re in an area that’s got a lot of positive vibes as well. Tampa is, probably to the surprise of many, a pretty young city. When I go into a restaurant, I’m always the oldest one there. And, there’s a lot of culture, great restaurants and beaches and there’s lots of things to do. It’s easy to recruit faculty here from the Northeast, from Boston or from New York. The whole place has a lot of good mojo going on.

 

MO:

Do you expect to engage in more healing and more morale-building after what happened in December?

JC:

Yes, I think we definitely need that. One of the things that’s actually going to happen next week is I’m having an Open Forum on Inclusion, which is one of our core values, as about 10% of our workforce is of Asian heritage.

Given the press, the leadership changes that were associated with problems with the Thousand Talents Program, and then COVID-19, we’re working very hard to make sure that all of our team members understand that Inclusion is at our foundation.

We’re going to be talking about this next week to assure all our team members that, despite all of the things that have happened, we recognize that those of Asian descent and those from China are essential members of our Moffitt family.

So, that’s one kind of healing that we’re still working on. I think other areas of healing will be more practical ones. We’re building up more support for clinical trials and research administration that are needed to make a more efficient streamlined institute.

We’re also working on being ultra-compliant. Given what happened, we did a deep dive on compliance, which is led by Donnetta Horseman. She reports up to David de la Parte, EVP and general counsel.

They’ve done a terrific job on reaching out to all the faculty and all the staff and giving us hyper-training in conflicts of interest training, to make sure that everyone is compliant.

 

MO:

The ubiquitous anti-Asian sentiment is part of an incredibly discouraging social and political reality that we’re dealing with at this time—and I’m glad to hear that you’re being proactive about countering mainstream anti-Asian rhetoric. Are there any other lessons to be learned from Moffitt’s investigations on research and funding conflicts of interest?

JC:

I think a major takeaway is that we actually have to provide the infrastructure for our investigators to help them receive the necessary training in this area. I think a lot of us have been learning this on the fly and never really paid enough attention to it. But with the events that have transpired, it’s become front and center, it’s become a priority. I think that is something that’s clear that we just have to pay a lot of attention to.

One of the things that we’re doing now is that electronic forms used for when faculty take outside activities also go to corporate compliance, which can warn faculty if they are traveling to a country of concern that’s been defined by the federal government. Then, they can step in and educate and provide advice to the faculty or staff member who might be traveling there.

We’re also having more in-depth COI training as part of the onboarding process and then there’s annual renewals of compliance training. Every year we’re going to be rolling this out for all faculty and staff where we will get primers to make sure that everyone’s compliant.

 

MO:

How has Moffitt been coping with the COVID-19 crisis, and what is your strategy for reopening? Also, how have your center’s finances and personnel retention been affected?

JC:

Research has been shuttered for about eight weeks now since the last week in March, when the work-from-home orders came through. Laboratories have been allowed to have at least one essential person come in per day and we did not shutter our animal experiments or our animal facilities, as we anticipated that when we could restart, we’d want to be able to hit “go” as fast as we can.

Work-from-home has been a struggle for most wet bench investigators, but trainees and faculty have been focusing on data analyses and writing grants and manuscripts. I told all my faculty that I wanted June/July to be a record-setting grant submission cycle, and most PIs are submitting at least two R01 grants. I think what we’re going to see is an incredible influx of grant applications at the NIH and probably an overburdened system.

People have been working from home, but now, over the past two weeks, we’re allowing more people in, as long as they’re coming in on alternative hours or alternative days. They come in and do their job, and then they go home. Likely in June, we’re going to be alternating shifts for the wet bench and probably for the dry labs as well.

There’s a Return-to-Campus committee that’s laid out guidelines that we need to have in place to return to work safely, and there’s also an assessment of individuals that were working on campus, but who can really work from home forever. It’s likely, our work-from-home workforce will more than double as a result of COVID-19.

Fiscally, the pandemic did hit the cancer center pretty hard. EVPs took a 15% pay cut, chairs and ACDs took a 10% pay cut, and everyone was forced to take 40 hours of PTO. Yet, we’ve weathered this storm, and we’re starting to see an uptick in the number of patients coming in and we have reactivated surgeries at all levels, and radiology is coming back as well. We’re confident we’re going to weather the storm.

 

MO:

It seems utterly superhuman that you’ve had to manage two major transitions in a span of five months—first, the leadership changes, and then COVID-19. You’re the second pure PhD to become the director of Moffitt. What was the national search for candidates like?

JC:

Tim Adams, the chair of the Institute Board of Directors, hired a national search firm called Russell Reynolds Associates to do a national search, and I applied for the position and was interviewed for the position by Russell Reynolds.

They did a thorough national assessment and a thorough assessment of my candidacy, which included a two-hour in-depth interview. After their review they came forward with recommendations to Mr. Adams and then to the Board of Directors, who indicated that I was the right candidate for the job.

The Board of Directors is also using the same firm to identify and recruit the new CEO/president as well. This is a very respected and talented search firm that has been involved in other major recruitments, for example, like at the Hutch and at NYU.

I have experienced nothing but support from my peers and colleagues on both the research and the clinical side.

I think we went through that process pretty seamlessly. And the EAC indicated that they were very supportive of this decision, even before I got the job.

 

MO:

With your background as a distinguished basic scientist, what does your confirmation as director say about the research culture at Moffitt?

JC:

The research culture of Moffitt is really remarkable. It’s science driven and translation is part of our DNA. Our goal is to do clinical trials to get our work into patients and to have our clinical trials lead to FDA approval and to changes in the standard of care. We’ve done that over and over again at Moffitt. I think that’s what really makes Moffitt remarkable.

Everyone knows that, that’s why we’re here—the mission is to cure cancer. That’s what we’re all about. The other part of our mission is a work in progress, which is preventing cancer. We need to double down on those efforts, and I firmly believe we can now tackle this through our partnership with AdventHealth. I’m very, very confident that we’ll make big inroads in this space as well.

 

MO:

Thank you for speaking with me at length.

JC:

Thank you as well.

Copyright (c) 2020 The Cancer Letter Inc.