May 14 2010

At the Avon Walk Finish Line

by at 1:27 pm

Our team at the finish line

Our team at the finish line

This is the last Avon Walk report you’ll hear from me for some time. But I want to share with you the good news that the Lombardi/CBCC team raised nearly $70,000 and was ranked 6th in terms of money raised going into the Walk. The team of walkers was fantastic and the cheering sections in front of the Hospital and by the finish line were potent reminders that Lombardi is a force to be reckoned with in this region when it comes to supporting breast cancer. Congratulations to all of the walkers and to the team’s co-captains, Jeanne Mandelblatt and my wife, Harriet. I want to particularly thank Jeanne for her dynamic leadership of the team. I also want to thank Gina DeLuca for her behind-the-scenes support throughout the planning process and Peter Shields for leadership of the medical team. Due to the unseasonably warm temperatures, there were many dehydrated and cramping walkers, some of whom had to be transported to local hospitals. While I wasn’t able to walk as much with the team, I was gratified that I am still able to recognize dehydration and order fluids.

I can tell you that the team is already planning next year’s walk and I hope my leg has healed a bit before then.

I went to visit Anton Wellstein a couple weeks ago to talk about some work we’re doing with siRNA library screening. We’ve identified new targets for intervention for pancreatic cancer. And as so often happens with Anton, a spirited scientific discussion arose. It turns out that we are using potentially complementary strategies that could readily be imagined in a program project grant application or other collaborative research grant. Our conversation reminded me about the diversity and depth of the research that we do here and the need to maintain open channels of communication to assure that we leverage our excellence wherever possible. For example, I was

Todd Waldmans Cancer Research Cover

Todd Waldman's Cancer Research Cover

talking with Mike Pishvaian on Monday morning about work he’s been doing with cdk4 inhibitors, building on his research showing that cdk4 interacts with smad3 in several cancer models. He remarked on Todd Waldman’s very nice recent paper in Cancer Research that ended up the cover story for that issue. Although Todd employed a glioblastoma model for his research, he used a reagent that Mike had suggested he employ.

Finally, it is with a mixture of regret and happiness that I have to report that Allison Whitney will be leaving us as of July 1. She has foolishly decided that her best future belongs in San Francisco, where she and her boyfriend will be moving to pursue new opportunities. The source of my regret is obvious, but I am happy for Allison that she is following her dreams. In her four years at Lombardi Allison has transformed the Communications Office and has dragged us (not always kicking and screaming) into the 21st century. Her work to create a modern and useful website will serve us well for many years to come. A search for her successor will commence shortly. Please join me in wishing Allison well as she transitions to her new life.

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May 28 2009

Clinical Trials and Clinical Endpoints

by at 6:39 pm

I hope everybody had a nice Memorial Day holiday. In case you were wondering the CCSG did get mailed out on Friday morning and the NCI did confirm receipt. Thanks again to Ellen, Stephanie, and the rest of the team who did such a wonderful job pulling together this truly massive enterprise.

I hope that everybody who is interested in the design of biomarker rich clinical trials was able to attend Thursday’s 3DT meeting chaired by Mike Pishvaian. It was an opportunity to hear about new clinical trial concepts and enrich their scientific content to increase their impact. Mike has done a great job organizing these meetings, which have resulted in the opening of several new clinical trials. Interestingly, our clinical trial accruals have improved over the past 6 months and I am convinced we can continue to make progress in this important aspect of our cancer center’s mission. I know I am doing my part because I have enrolled a few people in clinical trials over the past several weeks.

I was delighted to note the very nice turnout for the Wednesday seminar given by Sian Jones and Devin Dressman. The talks were both exhilarating (So much information!) and sobering (So much information!). Just imagine the impact of incorporating multiple databases and connecting the information to clinically relevant endpoints. It certainly will be fun and challenging to roll out G-DOC.

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Dec 18 2008

Exciting projects for the New Year

by at 3:35 pm

I very much enjoyed attending the clinic’s holiday party on Wednesday, and I was impressed by Tod Greene’s excellent taste in music. I’m looking forward to tonight’s Lombardi-wide celebration as well.

I was very pleased by the positive response when I presented at last week’s Committee on Medical Center Affairs (COMCA) Board meeting. Our COMCA members are incredibly knowledgeable, deeply engaged, and very interested in helping the cancer center succeed in its mission. I came with a 12 slide presentation, but could only get through 9 slides because I was peppered by so many questions. While some of the COMCA members primarily have backgrounds in business, several of them are extremely knowledgeable about medical center operations and provided valuable feedback and informed advice.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Subha Madhavan yesterday to review the status of the G-DOC effort. It seems hard to believe she’s only been here for 3 months since she’s been an absolute whirlwind of activity since her arrival. I’m extremely excited to see our ideas transforming into tangible action, and am very excited to see what happens in the next 3 months.

I was gratified that my comments about Mike Pishvaian’s Drug Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics meeting generated such a nice response. Mike has organized a follow-up meeting on January 6th at 4 pm in E501, and we look forward to identifying the most promising clinical trial concepts for cancer center investment and rapid activation.

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Dec 10 2008

Looking forward to science

by at 12:59 pm

I hope everybody is surviving the holidays so far. I am off again, this time to San Diego for the yearly Antibody Engineering meetings sponsored by the Antibody Society. I am looking forward to the excellent science and to giving a talk about work going on in the lab. While it will be nice to enjoy the wonderful San Diego weather, it is even nicer to stay connected to science. It keeps me centered as I grapple with the day to day challenges (most of them are actually very interesting!) of running a Cancer Center.

Yesterday, I attended a very interesting meeting of the CCSG program formerly known as MTDT (no, we are not renaming it Purple Rain), organized by Mike Pishvaian. The objective was to identify new and exciting clinical trial concepts that would rapidly emanate from science being done at Lombardi, with support provided by me. Despite all of Mike’s efforts, the turnout was relatively sparse, though the discussions were vibrant and interesting. Those of us who attended got to have their ideas discussed and used as bases for a whole new generation of exciting clinical trials. Folks who chose not to attend really missed the boat on this opportunity!

Have a great rest of the week.

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