Archive for July, 2017


Jul 31 2017

Summer, a SPORE and Survivorship

by at 10:27 am

Could there be a more beautiful summer afternoon than the one we had on Sunday? It was perfect. Harriet is recovering (beautifully) from back surgery she had a couple of weeks ago and is back to walking without limitations, which means we again are able to enjoy strolling around the city. We took a great walk on Sunday; I hit a few golf balls, some fairly well. Then, it was off to our oldest son’s place for a barbeque with all the kids and grandkids to celebrate our youngest son David’s birthday. We went out to celebrate with David and his wife Kelly Thursday evening at Centrolina in City Center. It’s a good place, but I thought the setting was better than the cuisine.

Last week started on a somber note as I attended a memorial service and reception in honor of Elizabeth Donohue, a Lombardi patient and former co-chair of the Lombardi Gala. Liz fought her disease with great courage and grace, as did her husband Tom. She will be missed by many, and remembered with enormous affection and respect.

I continued to meet with investigators who are interested in participating in the pancreatic SPORE throughout the week, and we are beginning to define and refine the projects. I am amazed by the depth and quality we have in this area of research.

We also had a really exciting initial meeting of folks interested in developing a formal cancer survivorship program at Lombardi. This will be a clinical program that is intensely multidisciplinary, and will have research embedded throughout. As many of you know, cancer survivorship is one of the themes of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program, and is also one of the Cancer Center’s crosscutting themes. The turnout was remarkable for a midsummer’s meeting, and I believe this augurs well for its future success.

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Jul 24 2017

No Vacation

by at 11:11 am

This week’s blog is abbreviated because most of my work was done remotely, as Harriet had back surgery last Monday. I was not at work, but it did not feel very much like a vacation! She is doing well, and is most definitely on the mend. It’s really wonderful to have relatively straightforward and minimally invasive surgical solutions to problems that would have been permanently disabling (such as many back problems) only a century ago.

Contrast that, if you will, to the grim news we heard this past week regarding Senator John McCain’s newly diagnosed glioblastoma. It’s a powerful reminder for me, especially when contrasted with the progress that has been made in those areas of medicine where surgical solutions are routine, that we have a lot of work before us!
That is exactly what I will be back to doing, effective Monday. Have a great week.

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Jul 17 2017

All’s Well That Ends Well

by at 10:46 am

My work week was very intense because of two day-long meetings on the NCI campus last week.  On Tuesday I chaired the Board of Scientific Counselors meeting. As always, we reviewed several major lab programs, with much intense discussion as we assessed the merits of many investigators. It was incredibly interesting, but there were a few tricky issues to consider. Anybody who thinks the NCI intramural program review process is not as rigorous as external peer review should spend some time as an intramural program reviewer. Then, on Wednesday I participated in the NCI CTAC meeting back on the NCI campus. The national clinical enterprise is really expanding; for example, the NCI Match trial is literally going to accrue thousands of patients who will receive mutation profile-directed cancer therapies. Trials like this are changing how cancer research is done. Even if the results are negative (and I think there will be some wins) it is a new era for the field of cancer research.

I continue to whittle away at my sections of the CCSG competitive renewal. But, I took a break over the weekend when Harriet and I went on a brief road trip to New York (because our planned train trip was derailed by a disruptive construction project at New York Penn Station) to see the hit Broadway musical revival of ‘Hello Dolly’. Harriet is a big fan of Bette Midler, who most certainly did not disappoint. She was fabulous; so was her co-star David Hyde Pierce (our own Nancy Morgan’s brother!). Having met Dave at Nancy’s retirement reception a couple of years ago made this a more personal experience for us. We stopped by after the show to chat with him briefly. He is a kind, gracious person – just like his sister! Hello Dolly is a great, hugely entertaining musical – an all-time classic. I can’t place it at quite the same level as my personal favorites – ‘West Side Story,’ ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Hamilton’ – but I have rarely had more fun at a Broadway show. Ironically, we had to give up our tickets to see ‘The Originalist’ at the Arena Stage when the ‘Hello Dolly’ tickets became available. Luckily, our son Ken and daughter-in-law Sarah were able to get a baby sitter, used the tickets, and they loved the play. It’s so nice to have them living nearby. I guess that ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ (apologies to Mr. Shakespeare).

I am taking off a few days early this week, but expect to continue to slog away at the CCSG until I return on Thursday. Have a great week.

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Jul 10 2017


by at 9:49 am

Summer is certainly here. The pace of life has slowed a bit, and our work week was truncated by the July 4 holiday. I have had a chance to catch up on some needed work, such as completing my mandatory FY 2018 SITEL education module requirements for MedStar Health (I am going to be very busy later this year!), polishing off a required GUACUC module for our laboratory animal work, plowing through 5 CCSG shared resource write-ups and beginning to attack some of the Director’s Overview sections for our upcoming CCSG competitive renewal. This will be a summer filled with writing.

Harriet and I had a very pleasant weekend, starting with dinner with friends on Friday night, and a date night in Bethesda, with a light bite at the Silver Diner followed by a movie – the Big Sick – a charming romantic comedy that has earned every one of its 4 stars, in our opinion. And Sunday brought with it a chance to play golf on a wonderful course in basically perfect weather. The only thing wrong with an otherwise perfect afternoon was my lousy golf game. But, no matter – a bad afternoon of golf on a glorious day is still a spectacular and rewarding waste of time!

I hope you find time to waste a glorious afternoon or two as this summer continues to meander through our lives. Have a great week, and remember to drink plenty of your favorite non-alcoholic beverages as the temperatures rise!

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