Nov 02 2009

Obligation and Opportunity

by at 11:03 am

I’m glad that so many Lombardi faculty and staff were able to attend last week’s Town Hall meeting on Health Disparities in the Research Building Auditorium. The panel engaged in a lively discussion regarding the important issue of health disparities with a focus on the District of Columbia. Lucile Adams-Campbell really represented Lombardi in a thoughtful and persuasive manner. Another highlight of the session was the powerful presence of Tovoia Miner, who relayed her experience with breast cancer and the role the Capital Breast Care Center played in assuring timely diagnosis and therapy. I am proud of what Lombardi is doing in the area of Health Disparities and look forward to even more impact from these efforts with Lucile’s leadership. I’m also appreciative of the efforts of the Friends of Cancer Research in conceiving of and organizing this important event.

For those of you whose work infrequently crosses into the Cancer Center’s clinical activities, one area that I’ve been interested in strengthening is multidisciplinary patient care and research. This requires an expansion of Lombardi’s focus beyond medical hematology and oncology to more fully engage our colleagues in radiation oncology, surgical oncology, and other sub-specialties. Several weeks ago I met with a number of the clinical department leaders to describe what Lombardi is doing and to solicit ideas about how we can work together more effectively. It was a pleasure to meet with Bruce Luxon, the new Chair of Medicine, and to continue to work with Greg Gagnon in Radiation Medicine. I was pleased to see Lynt Johnson, who is Interim Chair of Surgery, and discuss ways to incorporate surgical oncology into Lombardi’s research portfolio. I was doubly pleased when Lynt revealed that he not only loves golf, but is as bad at it as I am. I look forward to sharing a few shanks with him in the future.

Finally, on Thursday and Friday I’ll be representing Lombardi at the NCI Translational Science Meeting, called TSM 2. Fortunately, the meeting doesn’t require substantial travel as it will be held in Tyson’s corner. Before I head out on Thursday, I will be giving the Department of Medicine Grand Rounds lecture in the Gorman Auditorium. I hope to see some of you there.

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Mar 05 2009

I spoke too soon

by at 9:25 pm

So it was 13 degrees outside when I left for work yesterday morning. It’s so much fun to live in “semi-tropical” Washington.

Despite the climate, I did have a scientifically interesting week. As I mentioned in my last post, Khaled El-Shami, Carolyn Hurley, and I met last Thursday with investigators from the NCI bone marrow transplant (BMT) program to discuss a really exciting protocol involving the infusion of allogeneic natural killer cells in patients with refractory myeloid malignancies. Key to the protocol will be the prospective haplotyping of natural killer cells by Carolyn; this will help select patients with appropriate mismatches that can drive natural killer cell recognition and attack against myeloid leukemia cells. The protocol is undergoing refinement as a result of our discussions and I’m hopeful to get it started in the very near future.

On Tuesday afternoon I had the pleasure of participating in the annual Spring Convocation in Gaston Hall, and was proud to have the opportunity to congratulate Bob Clarke and Mary Beth Martin for receiving vicentennial medals for 20 years of service to Georgetown. Joseph Neale, professor of biology, gave a thoroughly entertaining review of his life at Georgetown. Following the Convocation, the 1789 Society dinner was held in Riggs Library, celebrating the University’s most generous supporters. It’s reassuring to know that even during these difficult economic times that our core philanthropic support remains strong.

Last night, Harriet and I attended the Friends of Cancer Research annual awards banquet at the Hotel Monaco. It was great to see Ryan Hohman, who now works for Friends of Cancer Research, and we spent the evening with Peter Shields and his wife Leslie. Ellen Sigel, who heads Friends of Cancer Research, is a genuine force in the cancer advocacy world and has focused effectively on legislative remedies including advocacy of the Kennedy-Hutchison bill. Our location in DC and our identity as part of Georgetown University give us many opportunities to be a part of the action and to hopefully play a role in defining our nation’s agenda with respect to cancer research.

Finally, if anyone missed the Town Hall meeting yesterday, I have posted the slides online. I also recommend that everyone peruse the slides from Howard Federoff’s meeting about the stimulus bill.

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