Archive for May, 2009


May 28 2009

Clinical Trials and Clinical Endpoints

by at 6:39 pm

I hope everybody had a nice Memorial Day holiday. In case you were wondering the CCSG did get mailed out on Friday morning and the NCI did confirm receipt. Thanks again to Ellen, Stephanie, and the rest of the team who did such a wonderful job pulling together this truly massive enterprise.

I hope that everybody who is interested in the design of biomarker rich clinical trials was able to attend Thursday’s 3DT meeting chaired by Mike Pishvaian. It was an opportunity to hear about new clinical trial concepts and enrich their scientific content to increase their impact. Mike has done a great job organizing these meetings, which have resulted in the opening of several new clinical trials. Interestingly, our clinical trial accruals have improved over the past 6 months and I am convinced we can continue to make progress in this important aspect of our cancer center’s mission. I know I am doing my part because I have enrolled a few people in clinical trials over the past several weeks.

I was delighted to note the very nice turnout for the Wednesday seminar given by Sian Jones and Devin Dressman. The talks were both exhilarating (So much information!) and sobering (So much information!). Just imagine the impact of incorporating multiple databases and connecting the information to clinically relevant endpoints. It certainly will be fun and challenging to roll out G-DOC.

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May 20 2009

Out the Door

by at 2:56 pm

The completed CCSG renewal application (1243 pages of pure poetry) goes to the printer in less than 2 hours. What else is there to say?

It has been quite an experience and I am delighted to have shared it with so many of you over the past year. Unbelievably I managed to do some work on behalf of the cancer center in the midst of the surprisingly serene final days of sending out the grant.

On Monday morning I welcomed a remarkable group of investigators who attended a childhood cancer workshop host by Subha Madhavan. The workshop aimed to design a data portal to study pediatric malignancies. While I wasn’t able to attend all of it, great ideas were flying around the Warwick Evans conference room while I was there.

On Tuesday I paid a quick visit to the American Legacy Foundation open house to congratulate Dave Abrams on his accomplishments in establishing and staffing the Schroader Institute. I really look forward to seeing the Shroeder Institute and Lombardi work together to study and influence tobacco use.

Now that the core grant is (almost) out the door, I can turn my attention to finishing two RC2 grants, doing a couple of grant reviews for an upcoming P01 study section, and wrapping up the GUMC systems medicine design team deliberations in advance of an upcoming retreat. After wrestling the core grant into submission, everything else seems a bit easier in comparison.

Have a great Memorial Day holiday.

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May 14 2009

11 days left

by at 1:38 pm

The CCSG submission is due May 25th and will be sent in on Friday morning at 9 am. Needless to say, I have been doing nothing else lately but work on the grant, along with a small army of dedicated faculty and staff. Thanks to everyone who has done such a great job putting together a document that accurately reflects the accomplishments and plans of this terrific cancer center. After we all enjoy our Memorial Day weekend, will then switch gears and plan intensively for the Sept 23rd site visit.

I’d love to chat more, but now I have to get back to work.

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May 08 2009

Getting the Word Out about Lombardi

by at 11:52 am

I had a wonderful wet weekend cheering on the Lombardi team at the Avon Walk. I was proud of our team this year. We had 23 walkers who combined to raise $46,000.  It’s nice to be able to have a bigger impact for such a wonderful cause. Even more importantly the Lombardi cheering section was loud and quite prominent at many of the cheering stations. This was a big change from last year where only one person served as the Lombardi-designated cheerer.

You can bet that many people noticed our presence this year, and many people commented on Lombardi’s walking team, cheerers, and coordination of medical services for the Walk. We received a lovely check from the Avon Foundation at the Walk’s closing ceremony which will support the operation of the Capital Breast Care Center, and the head of the Foundation made special note of Lombardi’s increased presence at the Walk. As I’ve told you before, I want Lombardi to be a presence at important events like this, and this was a good start. But wait till next year!

On a related note, I had the horrifying experience of waking up to the sound of my own voice on the radio on Monday morning. Beth Beck and I were interviewed by local NPR affiliate WAMU about the Avon Walk, and when my alarm went off at 6 AM the next day, this is what I heard.

I attended the NCI Cancer Centers director’s retreat in Pentagon City on Monday evening and Tuesday (where John Niederhuber congratulated me on the successful Avon Walk – he must have heard the WAMU story). It appears as if the cancer centers should not expect a windfall for essential infrastructure from the stimulus package or the growing NIH budget. However it is clear that pay lines will be supported for R01s, with 16% pay lines and the flexibility to reach up to the 25th percentile in some instances. So let’s keep writing those grants.

Yesterday, I spent my day with the Lombardi Celebration Committee describing the work we do. I was inspired by the dedication and added energy of the group coming from new members. This is an important way to get the word out about Lombardi, and I look forward to attending the Celebration on November 7th.

I then drove directly to Capitol Hill to participate in a effort on behalf of cancer centers organized by the AACI and Friends of Cancer Research. I had a chance to meet with Legislative Assistants of several Members of Congress. While one never knows if those activities yield immediate dividends, it was nice that one of the Legislative Asssistants said, “It’s nice to see you again,” which means our message is getting across.

Oh, by the way, we have a core grant due on the 25th. We’re now in the home stretch and the final pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. If you happen to run into Ellen McLaughlin or Stephanie Pomerleau in the hallway, please give them your thanks because they are doing a wonderful job managing the complex task of putting together the grant submission.

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