Archive for July, 2018


Jul 30 2018

Pre-Beach Week

by at 7:59 am

(July 29, 2018) — Preparations for the CCSG site visit are now in full swing. I have met with all of the presenters to block out their slides. Polished first drafts are due this Friday, and we will review each presentation in group format starting on August 13. Meanwhile, I spent most of Saturday afternoon revising and finalizing our cancer center’s Strategic Plan, which will be reviewed at the Site Visit. We are compiling all new grants and publications that we have received since submission of the CCSG in May. If you have new publications, please bring them to the attention of Sharon Levy.

We have had good news on the funding front, and it looks as if we’ll be able to brag about at least four new awards, three of which are multi-investigator grants. More are likely to follow. We also can welcome funding that arrives with Marc Lippman. Finally, our colleagues at the John Theurer Cancer Center now more than qualify for CCSG consortium status based on CCSG-qualifying NCI funding, with six investigators holding eight qualifying grants, and a number of other peer-reviewed funded grants that add to their portfolio from other NIH agencies.

Other good news comes from our clinical research efforts, where we continue to accrue more than 30 patients per month to therapeutic clinical trials at MGUH. Continued progress in grant funding and clinical trial activities can only help us as we close in on October 17.

The highlight of the week for me was Friday’s Tumor Biology retreat. I was inspired by the quality and depth of work being done by the students, and the discussions around the posters had the quality of an AACR session with the warmth and familiarity of a family gathering. Kudos to the student organizers and thanks, as always, to Anna Riegel for her leadership of the T32 program.

It was not all work; Harriet and I managed to have dinner with friends on Monday and our granddaughter Aviva had a sleepover with us on Wednesday night. We took our son David and his wife Kelly out to dinner on Friday evening to celebrate his birthday. My work on the LCCC Strategic Plan on Saturday was sandwiched between a visit to the driving range to work on my terrible golf swing and a delightful dinner at the home of friends.

The coming week will be highlighted by a CPC program excursion to Hackensack for a retreat on Tuesday. Our bus leaves from the Harris Building at 5:40 am. The work week will end for me on Thursday; our weeklong family beach vacation starts on Friday. Accordingly, there will be no blog next week; I hope to stay off line as much as possible to enjoy the beach and my family.

Have a great week.

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Jul 23 2018

Moving Closer to the Big Day

by at 10:10 am

(July 22, 2018) — I hope you enjoyed your schizophrenic weather weekend! We had planned to make a day trip to Bethany Beach and got lucky when Sunday turned out to be a good weather day. We stayed in DC for Saturday’s torrential downpour and escaped from our house that evening to see a wonderful new movie, ‘Blindspotting.’ It is funny, disturbing, moving and thought-provoking.

The pace of work slowed just a little bit last week, and was devoted primarily to lining up our oral presentations for the CCSG site visit. We have some terrific stories to tell, and I am cautiously optimistic (though suffering through the usual anxieties) as we move closer to D-Day. Things will pick up in the coming week, and I am especially looking forward to Friday’s T Bio program Retreat.

Enjoy summer; it is almost half over!

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Jul 16 2018

A Shout Out to the NCI

by at 8:31 am

(July 15, 2018) — I hope you had a great week and weekend. My work week was punctuated by NCI meetings on Monday and Wednesday for my last BSC and CTAC meetings. I had served on the BSC for seven years (six as chair), and on CTAC for six years; my time on both committees was extended by the federal hiring freeze after the 2016 election. It was a great honor and opportunity to serve, but I sure can use the extra time!

As I reflect on these years of service – in support of the NCI intramural program (BSC) and also in support of the extramural program (CTAC) – I am deeply grateful for the passion, depth, scope and quality of this remarkable federal agency. Make no mistake; the unprecedented reduction in cancer mortality from 1971 to now – saving the lives of about 250,000 Americans and countless others worldwide on a yearly basis – is a direct result of the NCI’s leadership and investment in cancer research. It represents the very best of us, and makes me proud to be an American. I hope we retain the national consensus to continue this progress through sustained investment in cancer research to benefit generations to come. So far, so good.

As we begin to accelerate preparations for the CCSG site visit on October 17 I will try to retain this perspective as we all whine about the incredibly demanding CCSG process. I suppose it must be good for us!

Have a wonderful week.

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Jul 09 2018

Congratulations and a Fond Farewell

by at 10:05 am

(July 8, 2018) — I hope you had a great weekend and great holiday! I returned to work on Thursday after Harriet and I spent a wonderful long weekend with dear old friends at their beach house on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. We stopped by to see my father on the way up and back, which made the break even nicer. As if to emphasize that point, his first cousin died on Friday at the age of 95. I am glad we are able to see my dad as much as we do.

This past week has seen some sweet and bittersweet events here at Lombardi. On Friday we bade a fond farewell to Lucianne Cavalli, who has returned to Brazil with a wonderful faculty appointment at her home university. Earlier in the week we learned that Beppe Giaccone, already a Professor, was granted tenure, and that Becca Riggins has been promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure. Congratulations to both Beppe and Becca! It has been particularly wonderful to observe Becca’s development as an investigator, educator and consummate colleague over the years. She is truly a homegrown success. We look forward to great things from both of them in the future!

Meanwhile, the CCSG beat goes on, albeit behind the scenes for now. Importantly, our clinical trial therapeutic accruals are back on track, due to great work from many people, led by Mike Pishvaiain and Goga Radakovic, with much support from Mike Atkins, Beppe Giaccone and Michael Vander Hoek. We are finalizing the LCCC Strategic Plan, and have begun to work with the site visit presenters on the general format and content of their presentations. CCSG activities will ramp up throughout the summer. I for one cannot wait for October 18 (the day after the site visit)!

The coming week promises to be busy, as I have the NCI BSC meeting (my last one!) on Monday in Bethesda, and the NCI CTAC meeting on Wednesday in Shady Grove. This does not shape up as a lazy summer for me. Crazy, perhaps…

I hope you have a great week.

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Jul 02 2018

Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay

by at 10:31 am

(July 2, 2018) — Greetings from Harvey Cedars, NJ, on Long Beach Island! No blog this week.

Stay cool.

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