Archive for December, 2017


Dec 18 2017

Jet Lag

by at 3:24 pm

(December 17, 2017) — Greetings on Sunday night. I am reasonably content because the Eagles edged the woeful Giants to clinch a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs, though they no longer appear capable of a deep run in the playoffs.

I also am jet lagged. This is not an opinion – it is evidence-based. I was in Switzerland for a meeting that was held on Friday. I flew out late Wednesday, arrived Thursday at about noon, grabbed a couple of hours of sleep, had to attend a dinner, and then had to work all day Friday. I flew back on Saturday, getting home at about 4 pm. I technically got enough sleep while I was away, but as I write this blog at 6 pm, my body is screaming that it is past midnight.

The week started on Monday with my usual range of meetings, punctuated by a trip out to MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Tuesday was highlighted by a really interesting all-day retreat of the Molecular Oncology program, which was organized by Jeff Toretsky and orchestrated by Rabin Roy. By the way, congratulations to Jeff on his election as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors!

I had to step out in the middle of the day, because Coach Patrick Ewing and two of his players stopped by the Ground Bles chemotherapy infusion area to join me in visiting with patients. The coach and his players were delighted to visit, and I believe we may have started a new tradition (photo!). Now, as you know, I am pretty tall, and have not been the shortest man in a crowded room for a very long time, but one of the patients we visited is 6”7”, and here I was in his room, dwarfed by him, the Coach and his two players as well.

Coach Ewing sure is tall – this is an evidence-based observation that is not subject to outside interpretation. Here’s another bit of fact-based evidence: over the past 300 years, the quest to advance knowledge to illuminate the truth has created miracles. It will continue to do so; nothing – and nobody – can stop us as long as we persist in our shared mission. As we all know from our own work, the road to truth is not linear – some research findings are rendered obsolete or inaccurate as new findings emerge. We always question the present, and we should as we search for deeper meanings and better understandings. But we must question established truth with a reverence for facts that form the basis of transformative discovery. The arc of history towards the truth is certain if not always steady, and the results speak for themselves in the miracles of scientific advances, the prevention and cure of human diseases and the lengthening of the human lifespan.

This is my last blog for 2017. It has been a privilege to share my thoughts with you this past year. As we head into 2018 I wish you holidays filled with peace, joy and happiness. And that’s the truth.

No responses yet | Categories: Uncategorized

Dec 11 2017

Let It Snow!

by at 10:35 am

(December 10, 2017) — It’s not as if we had to dig out, but it is feeling like December. We had a great weekend off – recovering from a really intense week – having our two granddaughters at our house for a sleepover. What a great time; the girls really love being together and we sure love having them over. We should recover any day now …

I needed a bit of R & R. We hosted our EAC last Sunday night and Monday, and got incredibly valuable feedback. The Monday sessions were really intense and interactive. We received a huge amount of constructive criticism about each of our programs, shared resources and Essential Characteristics, among others. I received especially strong counsel and endorsement of our Consortium application with John Theurer Cancer Center.

We had less than two days to process the information and prepare for our pre-CCSG application visit to the NCI Cancer Centers Branch. A delegation of the Lombardi Executive Committee met with the Branch leadership and primarily discussed the Consortium. We again received encouragement and look forward to revising our CCSG application with the EAC and NCI comments in mind.

While preparing for the NCI meeting, we had our annual Lombardi holiday party in the Leavey Center. It was wonderful to see so many of our Lombardi family, and to celebrate the season with everyone.

This coming week will be compressed because I will be traveling from Wednesday through Saturday. But I will have lots of work to occupy my time on the airplane rides!

Have a great week.

No responses yet | Categories: Uncategorized

Dec 04 2017

CCSG on my mind…

by at 10:33 am

(December 3, 2017) — Greetings on Sunday night. I am getting ready to attend dinner with Lombardi’s External Advisory Committee (EAC), which has been given the unenviable task of reviewing the very large current draft of our CCSG competitive renewal, which is due in late May. Lombardi members have done a heroic job of generating very strong first drafts of each of their respective sections, and I am grateful to everybody for their dedication and excellence. I particularly want to call out for appreciation the absolutely exceptional efforts of Sharon Levy, whose passion for strategy, detail and the Lombardi mission is second to nobody. Thanks, Sharon.

The formal EAC meeting is on Monday, from 8 am until about 3:30 pm. The EAC will review each of our many sections in detail, giving us knowledgeable and important advice so we can revise our sections and identify areas that need to be added, deleted or improved. Once we have the full comments of the EAC, we’ll begin to revise our drafts, hoping to send out revised and hopefully “ready to go” sections for an additional round of review early in 2018. It’s a lot of work, but I must say that trying to tie together these efforts in my Director’s Overview has given me a new appreciation for the broad range, exceptional quality and impact of the work we do at Lombardi. I am humbled to have the opportunity to oversee this wonderful enterprise.

Our next step is a visit with the NCI Centers branch next week to review our overall plans for resubmission and get some key questions answered regarding the many rules and regulations related to the CCSG. I certainly will be ready for a break at the end of December!

Have a great week; and thank you for the opportunity to work with each and every one of you; it never fails to inspire me. But now, it is time to get back to work!

No responses yet | Categories: Uncategorized