Archive for August, 2013


Aug 18 2013

Nearing Summer’s End

by at 8:31 pm

While it is not quite time to break out a rendition of “September Song,” (the best version of which I have heard was by Jimmy Durante, of all people), summer is clearly racing to the finish line. It has been busy, due to CCSG Site Visit preparations – we had an all day prep session last Monday, to be followed by this coming Wednesday’s day-long mock site visit with our External Advisory Committee. I find myself practicing my talks on a daily basis.

One of my most important meetings last week was with folks on the S-Level, to hear more about the issues that still need to be addressed to allow them to do their work in an appropriate environment. I am grateful for everyone who has endured various interruptions in their work due to flooding. We are working hard with GUMC and GUH to be sure we stay on track.

My clinic was pretty busy this week. I am putting many of my patients on waiting lists for the anti-PD1 antibody clinical trials that will open here in September. It is exciting to be able to offer patients with desperate problems the opportunity to participate in cutting edge clinical trials of new agents that have genuine clinical promise. And, it is exciting to be able to offer this opportunity here at Lombardi!

I was out of the office on Friday, as I went on a road trip with Mike Atkins, Beppe Giaccone and Sharon Levy up to MedStar Franklin Square Hospital in Baltimore to discuss clinical research collaborative opportunities. It was a productive day, and we look forward to strengthening these ties. Speaking of Sharon, she does a genuinely remarkable job in organizing our clinical research operations. How she can get everything she does accomplished in only 15 hours per day, ten days per week is beyond my understanding! But I sure am glad to have her on our side – she is another of Lombardi’s precious assets.

This will be my last blog until after Labor Day. Harriet and I leaving town next weekend to spend about a week in Philly with our kids to watch Ella and kick back just a little bit.


See you in September!


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Aug 12 2013

A Constant Reminder

by at 8:03 am

The relative summer quiet has been punctuated by the rapid fire pace of our CCSG site visit preparations. As I mentioned in last week’s blog, I was able to steal away for two days of R & R on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday afternoon we had a series of site visit preparation sessions, with another series on Thursday morning. We are rounding into shape, but still have a way to go until it is perfect. We have another all near-all day session on Monday, and then will refine our presentations for the mock site visit on August 21, which will be attending by many members of our External Advisory Committee.

We will continue to have rehearsals through September, and I intend for there to be at least one open rehearsal open to all Lombardi staff.

On Thursday afternoon I had a pretty busy clinic. Regular readers of this blog may remember my 32-year old patient with metastatic colon cancer who has been on chemotherapy with a combination of 5-fluorouracil, irinotecan and a PARP inhibitor on a clinical trial since January. Well, his disease was found to have progressed last week and I met with he and his wife to discuss next steps. They are considering a phase 1 trial utilizing a combination of cetuximab and nilotinib, which is based on Lombardi science.

These wonderful young people are constant reminders to me of why we do research, and how high the stakes are for them, and for all of our patients. I hope they choose to participate in the trial, but most of all I want to see a day when all of our patients can look forward to effective therapies that allow them to achieve their life goals. We are beginning to see hints of that progress using immunotherapy for dreaded diseases such as metastatic melanoma, kidney cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, and I sure hope that the gastrointestinal malignancies are next in the cue!

Have a great week. I know mine will be rich and rewarding, because Isaac’s day care is closed and he will be with us, at least through Wednesday night. Harriet will handle the days, but I will have a lot of bedtime reading to do. So please excuse me, but I have to brush up on my dinosaur facts and mythologies!


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Aug 04 2013

A Midsummer’s Night Blog

by at 10:23 pm

It used to be that summer was slow in the academic world. Not any more! Every day seems to be busy, and the evenings are filled with dinner meetings just as if it was wintertime. Because of our CCSG preparations, we are not taking a proper vacation this summer, and are just grabbing days here and there. I am taking off Monday and Tuesday to spend some time with my father, who will be visiting us this coming week. We are thinking of driving out to visit some wineries in Virginia on Tuesday if the weather is ok.

Speaking of the CCSG, we had another rehearsal on Wednesday and while we still have a lot of work to do, things are coming along nicely. Our next group meeting is next Wednesday, and our mock site visit is on August 21. So while my presentation is rounding into shape, I am plenty busy reviewing drafts.

While writing this blog, I am mindful of the midsummer bog that is the Lombardi S Level. The occupants of the S Level have had to endure many inconveniences due to recurrent flooding, and several occupants have moved or will do so soon. I am confident that the problem will be rectified, but admire the S-Level citizens for their fortitude and dedication despite the uncertainties and disruptions they have endured. For their sakes I hope I never have to blog again about the bog!

By the way, welcome back, Lauren Wolkoff! While we will miss her daily presence in the Research Building, Building D is not too far away. We’ll be seeing a lot of Lauren as we head towards the site visit, and look forward to her continued support of Lombardi and its mission.

Have a great week.



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