Archive for June, 2009


Jun 26 2009

Lombardi Magazine Launches New Online Format

by at 1:40 pm

The Lombardi Spotlight relaunches today as the new online version of Lombardi Magazine. Get a sneak peak at the design of Lombardi’s new web design and let us know what you think in the comments.

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Jun 19 2009

Addressing disparities in our city

by at 5:09 pm

I attended the DC Cancer Consortium Meeting at the Cosmos Club last Wednesday night where representatives from Georgetown, GW, Washington Hospital Center, Howard University, and the American Cancer Society met to discuss how to invest in strategies that will reduce cancer incidence, morbidity, and mortality in the District. For me, one of the highlights was seeing Arnie Potosky in action. I had invited him to discuss a proposal he’s putting together to establish a District of Columbia Cancer Outreach, Research, and Evaluation Database. It’s still under active discussion, but we’re hopeful that it or something like it will be adopted by the consortium. Steve Paterno also presented a very interesting proposal for a patient navigation network for the District. What pleases me about these initiatives is that they provide us with collaborative outlets for addressing disparities and health care access and care for our city.

Thursday morning I met with Lucile Adams-Campbell to get her thoughts about how we might coordinate obesity and cancer initiatives. We cam out with some exciting ways of connecting our science with the outreach and population intervention studies. These were echoed in a later meeting I had with Peter Shields.

After my meeting with Lucile about obesity, I then tried to increase the level of obesity at Lombardi by taking the CCSG team to lunch at the French Embassy. It was great to have a formal opportunity to thank them for a wonderful job and their hard work on getting the grant out the door.

I’m looking forward to attending the Gala Benefit Committee Reception tonight at the home of Darby and Monte Gingery, who are good friends of Tanya Potter Adler and Howard Adler who are this year’s Gala co-chairs. I will be joined by several of my Lombardi colleagues to thank the committee for all its hard work and provide continuing inspiration for our old and new friends who actively support the cancer center. By the way, you may want to check out the new website for the Lombardi Gala, which launches on Friday.

On Thursday, the Shared Resource Directors and Managers attended the first organizational meeting as we gear up to get the posters ready for the site visit. I was very gratified to see a member of nearly every Shared Resource in attendance, and I look forward to reviewing the poster drafts in the coming weeks.

I’m also looking forward to visiting Ohio State on Friday to present Grand Rounds there. I’m particularly interested in the opportunity to present some data from lab, which was just submitted yesterday for publication. It’s nice to know that I can continue to stay active in the laboratory and the clinic. It reminds me why I’m here and why it’s important to have cancer centers.

I won’t be here next week. I’m taking a week off and Harriet and I will be in an undisclosed and unfindable location. So don’t expect any blogs next week.

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Jun 12 2009


by at 5:32 pm

I went to Franklin Square Hospital on Tuesday to meet with John Zapas. He is chief of surgical oncology there and also happens to be head of Georgetown University’s oncology IRB. He is interested in melanoma and is academically-oriented, as are his colleagues at Franklin Square. I came away from those meetings with a request from John to include him and his colleagues as Lombardi members. Since Franklin Square is a MedStar hospital there is a natural affinity for interaction and collaboration in the future.

Speaking of MedStar, I was delighted to congratulate Rich Goldberg on his promotion to interim President of GUH. Also congratulations to Joy Drass in her new role as Executive Vice President for Operations of MedStar South. Her tenure as President here was remarkably successful in that she rescued the hospital from ruin and positioned it for future growth and success.

One of the highlights of my week was going to Politics and Prose Tuesday night to hear PJ O’Rourke speak about his new book, “Driving Like Crazy”. I’ve enjoyed his writing for years and he’s nearly as funny and insightful in person.

Another highlight was the Men’s Event on Monday Night. We had almost 160 people turn out to support our research programs in prostate cancer. I was touched by everyone’s commitment and generosity to our mission. It was especially nice to meet Charlie Neal who is an ESPN sportscaster with the most amazing bass baritone speaking voice I’ve ever heard. It was also great to see long-time Lombardi supporters Paul Schweitzer, Jack Schneider, Harvey Weiss, and many others, including Howard Adler. Howard and his wife Tanya Potter Adler are the chairs for this year’s Gala.

For once I wasn’t the tallest guy in the room because one of the guests was former Congressman Tom McMillen who played basketball at Maryland and then in the NBA for twelve years. This was his first Men’s Event, and like many others, I’m sure he was moved by our mission.

That’s all for now.

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Jun 05 2009

Opportunities abound at ASCO

by at 8:31 am

I finally felt as if I could take a deep breath. The CCSG was in, I had submitted (or participated in) three RC2 proposals, and I had submitted a non-competing administrative R01 supplement. And then I went to ASCO.

As you know ASCO has become a huge meeting, dwarfed only by the pharma-related meetings that surround it. In fact, many ASCO attendees struggle to even make it to the scientific sessions. According to a cab driver I spoke with, whenever ASCO is held, it is the busiest week of the year in Orlando (I repeat – in Orlando!). However, instead of feeling overwhelmed, I was struck by the amazing opportunities there are to make important contributions to the field of cancer research. So many clinical trials were presented, yet few would qualify as high-quality experiments in the eyes of a rigorous scientist. After all, we humans belong to an outbred species, possess free will, and object to incessant sampling of tumors and normal organs to help our doctors learn about new treatments. This is our field’s great challenge, and Lombardi’s opportunity to make a real difference is embedded in that challenge.

So, what is that opportunity? I believe that some answers will arise from the identification of new targets or pathways and the testing of new drugs and treatment strategies. However, we rarely know how to maximize therapy with existing drugs, even when those drugs target molecular drivers of the malignancies. For example, trastuzumab works as a single agent in only about a third of women with previously untreated HER2/neu overexpressing metastatic breast cancer. I believe that well designed clinical trials that rigorously examine pharmacodynamic endpoints can identify potentially responsive patients, and can yield molecular insights that drive research and improve patient care. There is no reason why the Lombardi scientific and clinical research community can’t assume a leadership role in this dynamic environment. Even though I have seen enough RC1 and RC2 grants to last me for quite some time, I look forward to helping Lombardi to address the “Grand Opportunity” and “Challenge” of revolutionizing clinical trial design, devising and implementing innovative biomarker analyses and integrating the information to drive future discoveries.

For those of you who would like to learn more about targeted therapies, the NCI has produced a web tutorial for health professionals called, “Understanding Targeted Therapies for Cancer.” You can access it on the NCI’s website.

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