Archive for April, 2010


Apr 28 2010

The Final Stretch

by at 2:24 pm

So, Todd Waldman popped into my office on Monday to show me the April 15 cover of “Cancer Research”, which features a figure from his article, “CDK4/6 Inhibition Arrests the Growth of GBM Intracranial Xenografts.” The in vivo imaging depicted on the cover really highlights the power of such technology, and also serves as a reminder of the potential power of rationally-designed targeted cancer therapies. Congatulations to Todd and his colleagues for this very nice accomplishment!

Of course, I think Todd’s real reason for stopping up was to vent about how the Caps are trying to blow their series against the Canadians, and to see if I had any insights into how the Flyers might fare if they face the Caps in a second round series. I have no insights to offer other than it seems to be helpful to have a very hot goalie on your side in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

We are in the final week of preparations for the Avon Walk, and are in our final fundraising push. Unfortunately, my right knee and leg have blown up a bit (too much training?), and I may need to mix my walking with service in the medical tent. Either way, I’ll be there.

Have a great week.

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Apr 23 2010

Getting Inspired

by at 7:28 pm

This week was largely dominated by the AACR meeting held at the Washington Convention Center. I got to as many posters and presentations as I could, but we had so many that it was impossible for any one person to be everywhere. So if I didn’t make it to your presentation, please accept my apologies. Karen Mallet told me that we had more media hits than any other cancer center at the AACR meeting. This is a testament not only to her good work, but to the wonderful material that our scientists presented. Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about Lombardi through their excellent presentations.

Mike Pishvaian had a poster on Wednesday morning and I expected he would be lonely because it was the “getaway morning.” However, when I stopped by to say hello, he was surrounded by a surprisingly large group of questioners who were interested in his poster, titled, “Synergistic anti-cancer activity of the CDK4/6 inhibitor PD-0332991 in combination with 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy in human colon cancer cells.” If that is any indication of the impact of his work and that of our other presenters, I would have to conclude that we did ourselves proud.

I ran from session to session, but took particular pleasure in my participation in several career mentoring workshops and as a speaker in the scientist-survivor program. I had an opportunity to interact with some incredibly accomplished and dedicated advocates who wanted to learn more about cancer research. It was very inspiring.

I will need that inspiration for our last big training walk before the Avon Walk. We are heading out Saturday morning in hopes of getting done before the skies open up. Our team has raised $54,000 as of this morning. There are still a few team members that need help to reach their $1800 fund raising goal to be able to participate in the Walk next week. If you are interested in helping out, you can visit the Lombardi/CBCC team page here.

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Apr 16 2010

AACR Preview

by at 12:30 pm

I’m looking forward to the upcoming AACR meeting at the Washington Convention Center Saturday through Wednesday. Like many of you, I plan to attend the meeting and Lombardi investigators are well-represented in posters and presentations. To make it easier to find your colleagues, a full list of oral and poster presentations and their locations and times is pasted at the end of this post. You can also view them in a Printable itinerary or Mobile itinerary.

I had a very interesting meeting with Dr. Reinhard Krepler who is the CEO of the Vienna General Hospital (AKH), which serves as Vienna’s university hospital. With 2141 beds, it is one of the largest hospitals in Europe. Dr. Krepler is interested in establishing a comprehensive cancer center along the lines of the US model and is touring various cancer centers here to understand how to proceed. Talking with him drove home the immense complexity and quality of comprehensive cancer centers (as if I didn’t know that from our CCSG!). Despite the remarkable patient population and general excellence of his hospital, it will likely take five to ten years of hard work for that hospital to emerge as a full-fledged comprehensive cancer center. It’s a sobering thought, but we can take pride in all that Lombardi has accomplished over the years. It’s easy to take our excellence for granted. Dr. Krepler’s visit was a useful reminder to the contrary.

Speaking of the CCSG, we’ve been asked by the NCI to provide the additional documentation related to our comprehensiveness review. This is a prelude to our notice of grant award, but nobody knows what the award amount will be.

Click through for a list of the AACR presentations. Continue Reading »

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Apr 09 2010

Adding Your Voice to the Lombardi/CBCC Team

by at 4:43 pm

I hope everybody has enjoyed the warm weather this week. Harriet and I are looking forward to another long walk this weekend as we prepare for the Avon Walk. Our team is really doing a spectacular job, and Jeanne Mandelblatt has been great about organizing walks for the team members. As of last night, the team was ranked #6, with more than $40,000 raised Thanks to everyone who has donated to the cause!

There is another important way you can help. On the days of the walk, there are designated cheering stations along the route. I can’t tell you how uplifting it is for the walkers to receive encouragement from team supporters as they pass by these stations. We would appreciate as many supporters as possible at each station. All Lombardi/CBCC cheerers will receive butterfly pins (i.e., the CBCC’s logo) as well as hats and t-shirts as well. How great would it be to have a sea of butterflies and Lombardi/CBCC hats at the closing ceremony, for example? Please join us in our efforts; you won’t even have to get blisters to make a difference!

I am looking forward to attending the Wellness Community’s annual gala tonight at the IMF headquarters. This is a great organization that addresses the needs of cancer patients and their families using a holistic approach that really embraces the Georgetown values of cura personalis. As some of you may know Liza and John Marshall have been heavily involved in the establishment and nurturing of the Washington chapter of this organization, and I am proud that Lombardi is able to support this activity.

Have a great weekend.

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Apr 01 2010

Spring in Washington

by at 1:59 pm

I simply cannot believe how beautiful Washington is at this time of year. I feel very lucky to be here to enjoy Spring, and of course to seeing everything “up close and personal” as I train for the Avon Walk. I am delighted to report that I have exceeded my personal fund raising target of $1800, and can now devote my efforts to helping my Lombardi/CBCC teammates achieve their goals. I hope some of you will want to help too. If you click on this link, you’ll be at the team’s homepage, showing who on the team still needs to raise money to meet their fund raising goals. Any help you provide will be greatly appreciated.

It’s been a quiet week for meetings, since Harriet and I scooted up to Philadelphia for our family’s Passover seder on Monday night, and got back into the office on Wednesday. And, of course things are winding down around here with Good Friday and Easter approaching. I took advantage of the time to complete my on-line human subjects certification, which is needed for all investigators who engage in research involving human subjects. I have clinic today, and must note that I am already seeing the impact of the Ruesch Center in my practice. Each of the major GI cancers now has a designated nurse navigator, and groups of clinicians and investigators are beginning to coalesce around these diseases. I was a pretty active clinician when I was at Fox Chase, which had a very active GI cancer program, but I can barely keep up with the new pancreatic cancer patients who are coming in through our active surgery and gastroenterology practices! This volume creates terrific opportunities for translational research focused on pancreatic cancer. And, knowing John Marshall as I do, I am sure that this is just the beginning.

Please accept my warmest wishes for a happy holiday.

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