Archive for October, 2014


Oct 26 2014

Back to the real world

by at 8:37 pm

I am stewing a bit because I just watched the Eagles lose an incredibly exciting game that was within their grasp. But now back to the real world….

I returned from a trip to Copenhagen for a meeting regarding the therapeutic targeting of the erbB family of receptors on Friday. It was a very good meeting, and quite worthwhile. As short trips to Europe go, it was painless but I slept poorly on both Wednesday and Thursday evenings due to jet lag, so when I returned to DC on late Friday afternoon I was pretty fried. The weekend gave me a chance to catch up on some needed rest.

I’ll need that rest because I leave for Chicago on Monday morning for the American Association of Cancer Institutes Cancer Center Directors’ meeting, and return on Tuesday afternoon. We then have a dinner for the Lombardi External Advisory Committee (EAC), followed by an all day meeting on Wednesday to review our progress and receive feedback regarding our plans for the future. The EAC gives us an incredibly important reality check, and I look forward to its feedback.

Things slow down for the rest of the week. I probably won’t have time to watch the Monday night game against the Cowboys, but I sure will be rooting for the Washington team!

Have a good week.

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Oct 19 2014

Another Successful Lombardi Gala

by at 10:36 am

What a busy week! Certainly the highlight was the 28th annual Lombardi Gala, with over 800 attendees. We raised a lot of money, though final figures are not yet available. I gave a brief talk, lamenting the fact that our honoree, Stuart Scott of ESPN, could not be here to accept his award for courage from the NFL Players Association because he is undergoing active treatment for his cancer. He was ably represented by Jay Harris, another ESPN anchor. DeMaurice Smith was his customary dynamic and very persuasive self, and it was wonderful to be able to honor longtime Gala supporter Sam Foster, Jr. for his many contributions. I am very grateful to Gala Co-Chairs Jill Kilpatrick, Paul Schweitzer and Brian Katz for their tireless efforts. And, no Gala report would be complete without recognizing the amazing work of Elena Jeannotte and her great team, which included Patton Carrington, Tori Hamed and a small army of other colleagues and volunteers. It takes a whole lot of work to make a major event run smoothly and seemingly effortlessly. Thanks, Elena!

It was especially sweet to be able for Harriet and me to share the event with our children and their better halves. Our kids have never before attended the Gala, and I believe they had a great time. Our house was really hopping this weekend! Unfortunately, Harriet injured her foot while getting ready to leave for the event, and was pretty hobbled by the end of the evening, but she seems to be improving, thankfully, We’ll see what the orthopedists have to say,

The other major work event of the week was my presentation to the MedStar Health Board of Directors to discuss Lombardi’s progress and how we are approaching the challenges of integrating patient information and molecular data. Clearly, this is an area of utmost importance, and the Board was fully engaged and interested in considering ways to make this happen in conjunction with Georgetown scientists and informatics experts.

On a less upbeat note, my young patient with metastatic colon cancer has not been doing well, though I did see him and his wife at the Blue Hope Bash on Thursday evening to benefit the efforts of the Chris4Life Foundation, one of the Ruesch Center’s significant benefactors and collaborators. He has been a major force in helping this Foundation grow. The cruel irony of how his illness interferes with his tireless efforts to make a difference against a killer made this a bittersweet experience for me and his many friends and supporters at the event.

The coming week promises to be very busy, assuming that Harriet’s injured foot cooperates. I have a meeting of the NIH Center for Scientific Research oversight committee on Monday, and on Tuesday afternoon I am scheduled to fly to Copenhagen for a meeting on Wednesday night and Thursday. Jet lag is never fun, but the science promises to be worth the effort.

Have a good week.


Louis M. Weiner Lombardi Gala Speech 10.18.14:



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Oct 12 2014

A Busy October

by at 10:44 pm

As I write this on Sunday evening, I am waiting for the Eagles-Giants game to start, just having watched the disappointing end to the Redskins game. It seems as if it will be another long season for Washington fans, though I think the team is actually a lot better than last year.

I had a lot of speaking activities this past week, starting with a Presentation at the Doctors Speak Out Event in the Leavey Center on Tuesday morning. I enjoyed the chance to educate GUMC supporters about the fascinating area of tumor immunology. Shortly after that I too a train up to Philly to participate as a member of the Fox Chase Cancer Center’s External Advisory Board. NCI Cancer Center directors help each other out, and it is particularly satisfying to help out Rich Fisher and many of my old friends and colleagues as their gear up for their CCSG re-competition. I returned on Wednesday evening, and started Thursday morning with a 7 am meeting with other members of the GU Executive Committee, several members of the Board of Directors and the senior Advancement team to discuss the current fundraising campaign and future fundraising goals. I then attended the business meeting of the GU Board of Directors until I headed off to a busy clinic. After clinic I headed up to the Irish Pub in Glen Echo for a dinner honoring Matt Ellis, this year’s Dickson lecturer, with Bob’s wife Jane and his brother joining us. It was great fun and very meaningful. I got home by about 9:30 pm, just in time to get to that day’s emails and prepare for the next day.

Friday started out at the Ronald Reagan Building for the annual CBCC Gift of Life Breakfast, where my remarks were most definitely overshadowed by the powerful presentation by breast cancer survivor Jennifer Griffin. Her passion, gratitude and articulate understanding of the challenges faced by women with breast cancer provide us all with a powerful reminder that, while October may be the month we rededicate our efforts to breast cancer research, prevention and care, the fight really occurs every day with the highest possible stakes for every one of our patients.

This makes football seem fairly trivial (which is true, of course), but I am looking forward to tonight’s game! It’s my last “break” for a while, since I am heading into a very busy rest of the month, which will be highlighted in part by next weekend’s annual Lombardi Gala. We hope to raise a lot of money for the cause. I am especially delighted because this will be the first Gala our kids have attended–no doubt I will give them enough ammo for them to tease me for another 20 years!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and have a good week.

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Oct 05 2014

Kudos to Subha…

by at 9:54 pm

Last week was highlighted by the Innovation Center for Biomedical Informatics (ICBI) sponsored symposium on bioinformatics, where Subha Madhavan and her organizing team did a great job of putting together an exciting program. I was able to attend the Thursday morning session, which focused on the emerging field of informatics and cancer immunotherapy. There were some thought provoking talks, and an excellent panel discussion. The keynote speech from Atul Butte (Stanford) was a genuine tour de force–a TED-style talk delivered with energy, enthusiasm and a compelling vision. Kudos to Subha!

I left work a bit early on Friday to observe the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. The ritual, which includes 24 hours of fasting, is actually a marvelous opportunity for self-reflection and a renewed sense of energy and purpose. After “breaking the fast” on Saturday evening, Harriet and  I went home, ready to get up early on Sunday to take a train to Philadelphia for the wedding of one of the sons of our friends and former next door neighbors. The train is a lot easier than the car, as I am composing this blog on the return trip.

Of course, I missed most of the Eagles game because the wedding began at halftime of the game. From what I can gather I did not miss much. Never has a winning record felt so precarious. Hopefully the Redskins can make things interesting tomorrow night. But Seattle is really good…

Have a great week and enjoy the game tomorrow.


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