Apr 08 2012

Restful Holiday on the Heels of a Hectic Week

by at 10:04 pm under Uncategorized

I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend. Friday was quiet because of Good Friday. I helped Harriet prepare for our family seder to celebrate the first night of Passover, which for a change actually coincided with Good Friday. I also had to drive out to Tysons Corner to help our youngest son pick up a used car – his vehicle was totaled a couple of weeks ago in the middle of the night by a presumed drunk driver while parked in front of the house he rents with some friends. We are grateful he was asleep when it happened, but you can imagine the hassle factor.

The rest of the weekend was really wonderful. We had most of the family at our place for the first night’s Passover seder Friday. While we did this regularly when we lived in Philly, this was the first time we’ve all been able to do this since we moved to DC, and it was soul-filing. Plus, the food was great (no thanks to me)! My father came down for the weekend, which was a real treat for us. OnIsaac Saturday night, we had the seder at our daughter’s house in Baltimore; it was the first time she and our son-in-law had hosted a family seder. We had a terrific time. Our grandson was in particularly fine form, as you will note from the accompanying picture!

On Sunday morning, Harriet and a few of her CBCC/Lombardi teammates did an 11-mile training walk for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I did the chauffeuring. The team is in third place for fundraising in the DC area. They still need every donation they can get so that every team member meets the minimum required amount to walk. Also they need cheerleaders on May 5 and 6 to keep the team’s spirits up for the 39 mile walk.  If you want to get involved please send an email to lombardicomm@georgetown.edu.

The early part of last week was dominated by the annual AACR meeting. The days kept me very busy with meetings that squeezed my ability to attend the scientific sessions. But, it is clear that immunotherapy is really making waves, with some blockbuster findings on the way –  just as I relinquish my position as a member of the Steering Committee of the AACR’s Cancer Immunology Working Group. I led the Task Force that led to the creation of the Working Group, and served as the Group’s first chair. In four years the Working Group has grown from an idea into more than 5,000 AACR members and has become a vital scientific and organizational constituency within the AACR. Georgetown Lombardi is primed to benefit from the coming revolution in immunotherapy through the recruitment of Mike Atkins – he is at the center of some of the most exciting work being done these days.  I got back Wednesday in time to welcome Mike on his first official day in the office. Hopefully you’ll all have a chance to greet him personally in the coming weeks.

On Thursday afternoon I participated in a Ruesch Center GI cancer research retreat headed by John Marshall and attended by a wide variety of GI cancer-focused clinicians and clinical researchers. It was very invigorating!

Finally, I want to provide another update on my young patient with metastatic colon cancer. He has received a little over two months of chemotherapy and feels well, and is enjoying his new baby. He is due for a CT scan to check on his response to therapy. Unbelievably, his insurance company is denying coverage of the CT scan. Hopefully, it is just an administrative snafu; if not, I plan to make a lot of noise! If there ever was a powerful clinical indication for a CT scan, this is it – the results will have a direct bearing on what we do next for him. More to follow…

Have a great week.


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