Archive for October, 2008


Oct 24 2008

Introducing the new ACS Young Investigators

by at 4:16 pm

Congratulations to Suzanne O’Neill, Tapas Saha, Rebecca Riggins and Tushar Deb for successfully competing for our institutional American Cancer Society Young Investigator Awards. Suzanne’s project is entitled, “Breast Cancer Patients’ Experience with Risk for Recurrence Testing.” Tapas will study the role of chaperone-mediated autophagy in breast cancer. Rebecca is studying how exposure to BPA induces Tamoxifen resistance in ER-positive breast cancer, and Tushar is investigating the mechanism of Pnck-induced tumorigenesis in HER2 amplified human breast cancer.

Many of you may remember our very interesting and successful ACS symposium last month, where the talented young investigators who received last year’s awards presented their work to an audience that included representatives from ACS. I look forward to hearing presentations about these projects next year.

The GUMC strategic planning process is well under way, and I am helping to lead the Systems Biomedicine design team. It has been a pleasure to get to know Mark Smith from the Washington Hospital Center, who has designed what may be the leading medical informatics system that is available. Along those lines, we’ll be hosting a Chinese delegation next week hoping to engage them in collaborations around G-DOC and our drug discovery efforts.

Yesterday, Curt Harris, from the NCI gave a terrific Department of Medicine Grand Rounds discussing his approaches to analyzing polymorphisms and microRNA expression profiles to define cancer risk, prognosis and predictive value. Like many of us, he views the analysis of multiple parameters as being necessary to make sense of all the complex information that is being generated.

Have a great weekend.

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Oct 16 2008

Congratulations to Lucile Adams-Campbell

by at 10:45 am

I have the distinct pleasure of announcing that Lucile Adams-Campbell has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (read the press release). This is a remarkable achievement. I am sure you’ll join me in congratulating Lucile. As you know, Lucile recently joined us, and this external recognition further reinforces my delight in having her at Lombardi. Stay tuned for news about a special reception to recognize her achievement.

Dr. Potter with his portrait.

Dr. Potter with his portrait.

I really enjoyed last Friday’s lecture and reception honoring Dr. John Potter. I know the recognition of his founding contributions meant a lot to him. If you haven’t seen his portrait, check it out by the elevators in the Lombardi lobby.

Thursday is a big day for me, as I finally start seeing patients again. I’ll only have one half-day of clinic per week, but I can assure you that patient care is very important to me, and I am convinced that the humbling responsibility that comes with the territory inspires me and lends added urgency to my research and my research ambitions for Lombardi. What we all do really matters.

Finally, plans for submitting our competitive CCSG renewal are humming along. We have received first drafts for all the programs and cores, and now the hard work of reviewing the write-ups (I will be ably assisted by a small army of internal reviewers) has begun. After one round of revisions, the write-ups will go out to our ESAC for their review and comments.

That’s all for this week.

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Oct 10 2008

Celebrating Lombardi’s Past, Present & Future

by at 1:27 pm

One of the most remarkable features of Lombardi is that our total funding for research actually rose over the past six years, despite the end of the NCI doubling in 2003. This certainly reflects the excellence of our investigators, as we all compete in much deeper and more treacherous funding waters than in the past. So, I am delighted to report that we continue to compete very successfully. For example, our T32 grant, which supports many of our most important educational programs, fared extremely well in review, and will be highly competitive for a favorable funding decision. Congratulations and thanks to Anna Riegel for taking the lead on this very important initiative.

I spent Monday and Tuesday in Chicago, at the AACI meeting, with other Cancer Center Directors. One session focused on the importance of creating tissue banks, and developing high-quality methods for accessing, processing and distributing tissue specimens. We are fortunate to have developed a powerful collaboration with Indivumed to facilitate these activities; needless to say, this will be a fundamental backbone of efforts to create integrated clinical and molecular cancer databases. John Niederhuber, the Director of the NCI, gave a very thoughtful address, and was mercifully spared the onerous task of defending federal funding decisions regarding the NCI budget during the question and answer period.

Speaking of Dr. Niederhuber, I hope everyone will attend the inaugural John F. Potter, MD, Distinguished Lecture, which will be held at 4 pm today in the Gorman Building auditorium. We are honored by Dr. Niederhuber’s presentation of his lecture, but it is important to recognize that he in turn joins us in honoring Dr. John Potter, who is the founding director of the Lombardi Cancer Center. Dr. Potter was on the team of doctors that cared for Vince Lombardi, and occupies a special place in the history of Georgetown University and the Medical Center for having recognized, advocated and developed the Cancer Center. We are all here today because Dr. Potter had the vision and energy to make cancer research and cancer care a priority at Georgetown. To commemorate Dr. Potter’s accomplishments, a reception will follow his comments and Dr. Niederhuber’s presentation, with a rededication of his portrait, which currently hangs in the Martin Marietta conference room, to a more prominent location in the Atrium of the Lombardi building. I do hope you can join us for this memorable event.

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