Jones, Parwani Recruited to Key Roles in Ohio State Wexner Pathology Programs
DAN JONES and ANIL PARWANI were recruited to serve in leadership roles for specialized pathology services offered across The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Jones will serve as vice chair and director of molecular pathology in the Department of Pathology and as director of molecular pathology for The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center—Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.
Parwani, was appointed vice chair and director of anatomic pathology in the Department of Pathology. In addition, Parwani will serve as the director of a new shared core facility focused on digital pathology imaging and pathology informatics.
Jones most recently served as medical director of cancer diagnostics devices at the Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute, where his group was responsible for the development of more than 100 oncology, genomics and pathology assays. Previously, at MD Anderson Cancer Center, he was a tenured professor overseeing a research laboratory and the clinical molecular diagnostics team that served 13 cancer care centers. In this role, he also designed molecular monitoring protocols for clinical trials.
Jones has authored more than 250 scientific manuscripts and book chapters, emphasizing advanced diagnostics and the molecular basis of leukemia and lymphoma as well as molecular modeling of outcome and response to standard therapies in colon cancer, melanoma and other solid tumors.
Parwani arrives from the University of Pittsburgh, where he served as a professor of pathology and biomedical informatics and director of the division of pathology informatics.
In his new role as vice chair and director of anatomic pathology, Parwani will focus on automation and standardization of anatomical pathology operations including implementation of bar coding and tracking solutions within the laboratory information system.
At OSUCCC-James, Parwani will direct the digital pathology service focused on expanding precision cancer diagnostics and treatment. Parwani has published more than 250 peer-reviewed articles and several books and book chapters focused on the digital pathology, pathology informatics, diagnostic and prognostic markers in genitourinary pathology and molecular classification of kidney cancer.
BROAD INSTITUTE and MD ANDERSON CANCER CENTER were designated the Genome Characterization Centers in a five-year project supported by the NCI to characterize the genomic changes found in tumors.
GCC’s funding comes via a research subcontract with Leidos Biomedical Research Inc., operations and technical support contractor for NCI’s Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research.
The centers will provide Whole Genome, Whole Exome and RNA sequencing to support three main project areas:
• The Exceptional Responders Initiative aimed at discovering and understanding the molecular events involved in extraordinary individual responses to otherwise unsuccessful targeted experimental cancer therapies.
• The ALCHEMIST Project (Adjuvant Lung Cancer Enrichment Marker Identification and Sequencing Trials) aimed at providing molecular data to support biomarker classification and genomic characterization of lung cancer patients enrolled in clinical trials.
• The Cancer Driver Discovery Project aimed at providing additional statistical power to discover driver mutations in lung, colon and ovarian cancer.
The project was funded under Contract No. HHSN261200800001E.
ROBIN DAVISSON was named president and CEO-elect of the Melanoma Research Alliance effective Oct. 1.
Davisson, the Andrew Dickson White Professor of Molecular Physiology at Cornell University, brings to MRA more than 25 years of internationally recognized scientific research and deep engagement in graduate student and postdoctoral education and mentoring.
She was recently elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She recently served as the director of graduate studies of the Molecular and Integrative Physiology field at Cornell for seven years.
Prior to joining Cornell, Davisson was a tenured member of the faculty of the University of Iowa where she taught and researched neuroscience, cardiovascular physiology, and genomics.
“Robin’s track record of research and leadership will guide MRA into its next phase as we look to advance the organization and our impact on the field of melanoma research,” said Debra Black, MRA co-founder and chair. “Recent landmark advances in melanoma treatment have provided new options for patients, but existing therapies still benefit too few. With Robin at the helm, MRA is poised to accelerate strategic, collaborative, and accountable research efforts needed to advance cures and prevent more melanoma.”
Davisson’s engagement with MRA will be phased in gradually throughout 2015 and into 2016 as she fulfills her commitments at Cornell University.
MD ANDERSON CANCER CENTER and Esperance Pharmaceuticals Inc. entered into a strategic alliance to accelerate the clinical development of its lead anti-cancer candidate, EP-100, for the treatment of ovarian cancer, and to collaborate on preclinical studies of EP-100 as a treatment for breast cancer.
At the 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting, the company reported positive results from a phase II trial of EP-100 in ovarian cancer patients resistant to paclitaxel. EP-100 is a targeted membrane-disrupting peptide designed to seek and destroy cancer cells that overexpress luteinizing hormone releasing hormone receptors on their surfaces. LHRH receptors are over-expressed in a wide range of cancers including ovarian, breast, prostate, pancreatic and endometrial cancer.
MD Anderson will conduct additional studies to help prepare for a phase III trial of EP-100 in ovarian cancer, including more fully elucidating its mechanism of action and identifying potential biomarkers to support the selection of those patients most likely to respond to the drug.
It also will collaborate with Esperance to conduct studies needed to initiate clinical trials of EP-100 in breast cancer and assess the anti-cancer potential of other drug candidates generated by Esperance’s Cationic Lytic Peptide platform technology. Further details of the agreement were not disclosed.