Archive for October, 2011


Oct 14 2011

Raising Funds for Breast Cancer Research

by at 5:35 pm

As I write this, the sun is finally peeking out from the clouds on a late Friday afternoon. It has been a busy week, as usual.

However, it did start with a bit of Lombardi-directed fun. On Monday I participated in the Swing Fore the Cure Golf Tournament in Virginia, which raises money for breast cancer research here. This year’s event was quite successful, and it was a privilege to represent Lombardi by making a brief speech before hacking my way around the course. Naturally, I did have those one or two shots that will keep me coming back for more punishment. One of the other speakers, former football player Jeff Bostic, gave a terrific talk. I was reminded about the difference between being big (me) and being huge (him) when we shook hands and my right arm disappeared somewhere in his right palm. At that moment I was exceptionally pleased to not be playing football against him!

That evening I headed up to Philadelphia to participate as an external advisor for a multi-institutional cancer vaccine grant that is funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and led by Scott Waldman from Thomas Jefferson. I spent much of Tuesday at that meeting. Wednesday was filled by a number of meetings, but culminated with a lovely event at the British Embassy, hosted by the wife of the Ambassador, Lady Scheinwald, to celebrate the Capital Breast Care Center.

This was followed the next morning by the CBCC’s annual Gift of Life Breakfast. Speakers included me, Beth Beck,  executive director of the CBCC, Michelle Fenty and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, as well as a few patients. Our Keynote Speaker was Felicia Knaul, a Harvard economist and breast cancer survivor who has spearheaded efforts to improve breast cancer screening and care in Mexico.

I then had to scoot over to the State Department for a meeting on global issues related to breast cancer, which was sponsored by the Avon Foundation. As you may know, Avon has generously donated more than $5 million to support the CBCC and Lombardi-based breast cancer research over the last several years.

Then, I had the pleasure of attending a dinner for Soon Paik, the 2011 Dickson Lecturer, at Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown. Unfortunately, the skies opened up as I was walking from my car to the restaurant, drenching me as thoroughly as I could ever remember!

Friday was dominated by the Dickson lecture. I was really blown away by Soon Paik’s thoughtful presentation, and I believe he is really onto some very important concepts that can and should be translated into the clinic. It was wonderful to see Jane and Natasha Dickson, along with other members of Bob’s family, at the dinner and the luncheon that followed the lecture. If the measure of a man is the legacy he leaves behind, then Bob’s impact certainly looms even larger than Jeff Bostic’s massive grip.

One more note before I go: if you have not signed up yet to participate in the ACS Making Strides 5k on October 29, I urge you to do so. Lombardi is a flagship sponsor, which means we’ll have great visibility and it promises to be a wonderful event. Minetta Liu will be speaking on behalf of Lombardi in front of several thousand people. If you want to get involved, email

That’s all for now. Have a wonderful and dry weekend.

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Oct 07 2011

Korea and Beyond

by at 5:21 pm

Sorry I missed doing a blog last week. Lots of stuff is going on, of course.

I returned from a trip to South Korea early last week, where I finalized a scientific research collaboration with scientists from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Research near Seoul. We’re going to conduct synthetic lethal screen of a c-met directed antibody using our EGFR siRNA library and a new c-met directed siRNA library. And no, they did not throw in a flat screen TV. It should be an exciting collaboration. It took a little while for me to recover from jet lag, because it was a very short trip!

Then, last Friday I had the honor of speaking at John Potter’s retirement ceremony from Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. It was a full military event, and was both impressive and moving.

On Monday, I was delighted to celebrate our new faculty and those who have been promoted at a reception in E503. The rest of the week has been something of a blur, with rapid fire meetings and dinners on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening. There can be too much of a good thing…

Tuesday’s highlight was a morning press conference — organized by American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network — at the Capital Breast Care Center given by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL),  U.S. Rep. Rosa De Lauro (D-CT), and Tanya Snyder, breast cancer survivor and wife of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

Hosts included CBCC Executive Director Beth Beck and Michelle Fenty (who chairs the CBCC Advisory Council). The passion of all the speakers was genuine, particularly an inspiring talk by Stacey Ferguson, a CBCC patient whose description of the impact of cancer on she and her family was truly moving. This was an extraordinary event.

Later, I was also incredibly excited by my chance to  finally give a lecture to Georgetown medical students! I really had a ball giving that talk, and I look forward to doing it again. Thanks to Bassem Haddad for seeking me out to give the talk.

Wednesday and Thursday were dominated by GU Board of Director meetings. The Board dinner on Wednesday evening was held at Riggs Library – always a treat – and was highlighted by an after-dinner speech by Georgetown alumna Claire Perry, guest curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s American Art Museum. She has an exhibit there called the Great American Hall of Wonders, through January 2012. The exhibit focuses on 19th century American art, science and invention. As luck would have it, I just finished reading a book, “What Hath God Wrought”, which is a history of America between 1815-1848. So, the lecture really reinforced the book, though I resisted the temptation to ask her smart-aleck questions!

On Thursday evening a group of us had dinner with Dan Hayes, Friday’s Grand Rounds speaker. Dan, of course, worked here for five years, and it’s always great to welcome back our friends.

By the way, it’s not too late to sign up for the ACS Making Strides 5K on Oct. 29. Minetta Liu will be the leader of our group, and our efforts will help show the ACS that we appreciate all they do to support cancer research. Besides, Lombardi is a flagship sponsor again this year, so it’s important that we have a great showing!  Contact Lombardi Communications at for more information or to sign up.

That’s all for now. Have a great weekend!

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