Apr 01 2010

Spring in Washington

by at 1:59 pm

I simply cannot believe how beautiful Washington is at this time of year. I feel very lucky to be here to enjoy Spring, and of course to seeing everything “up close and personal” as I train for the Avon Walk. I am delighted to report that I have exceeded my personal fund raising target of $1800, and can now devote my efforts to helping my Lombardi/CBCC teammates achieve their goals. I hope some of you will want to help too. If you click on this link, you’ll be at the team’s homepage, showing who on the team still needs to raise money to meet their fund raising goals. Any help you provide will be greatly appreciated.

It’s been a quiet week for meetings, since Harriet and I scooted up to Philadelphia for our family’s Passover seder on Monday night, and got back into the office on Wednesday. And, of course things are winding down around here with Good Friday and Easter approaching. I took advantage of the time to complete my on-line human subjects certification, which is needed for all investigators who engage in research involving human subjects. I have clinic today, and must note that I am already seeing the impact of the Ruesch Center in my practice. Each of the major GI cancers now has a designated nurse navigator, and groups of clinicians and investigators are beginning to coalesce around these diseases. I was a pretty active clinician when I was at Fox Chase, which had a very active GI cancer program, but I can barely keep up with the new pancreatic cancer patients who are coming in through our active surgery and gastroenterology practices! This volume creates terrific opportunities for translational research focused on pancreatic cancer. And, knowing John Marshall as I do, I am sure that this is just the beginning.

Please accept my warmest wishes for a happy holiday.

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Feb 19 2010

Walking the Avon Walk

by at 2:11 pm

I was so delighted to be a part of Wednesdays “Fighting a Smarter War on Cancer” Symposium at the Leavey Center. This symposium reflected the challenge of the Ruesch Center to cure, and not just treat gastrointestinal cancers, John Marshall assembled a terrific lineup of speakers who really did a great job of speaking to a diverse audience. Many of these speakers were from Lombardi, and really demonstrated the depth and originality of the work being done here. I must say that I was very proud of our Cancer Center. I also was, as always, captivated by John, who was the sensational emcee’ of the event. Imagine seeing “Donohue” live in the studio (I guess I am dating myself), infused with a passion for a most worthy cause. It was a great day.

When I got done with clinic yesterday, I turned my attention to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, which will be held on May 1st and 2nd. As you know, Lombardi has a growing team of walkers, and I officially joined the team today. I invite everyone who wants to help us support this fabulous event to do so by joining our team. If you can, walk with us. If you can’t walk, cheer for the walkers. And, of course, feel free to support the team with a donation. Together, we can make a difference via our advocacy to have a huge impact on addressing breast cancer health disparities through our Avon Foundation-supported Capital Breast Care Center. We have great ambitions for this year’s walk. I will begin training as soon as the snowpack has receded, and predict that there will be many long walks in my future!

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Jan 19 2010

Learning more about informatics than I thought possible

by at 7:21 pm

Since this is my first blog of the year, I’d like to wish everybody a happy and healthy new year. I believe this will be a productive and highly successful new year. I hope everybody enjoyed the University-wide break during the week between Christmas and New Year and had a chance to spend the holidays with their families. Harriet and I had the unusual chance to be together with all of our grown children during that week and it was especially sweet. However, my son-in-law developed a brief but serious case of food poisoning that sent me in search of an all night pharmacy. Fortunately, I found one.

Thank you to Drs. Pishvaian, Dawson, Harter, Liu, Isaacs, Kessler, Cocilovo, Liang, Bright-Gbebry, Nancy Morgan and Jennifer Sween for generously giving up time this past weekend to participate in Lombardi’s booth at the NBC4 Health Expo (January 15th & 16th at the Washington Convention Center). As many of you know, Giant Foods invited Lombardi to be a part of their pavilion at the Health Expo, and we are excited by this opportunity to continue to reach out to the community in a number of ways to both do good and do well. Thank you to all of you who stopped by our booth to say hi.

One of the highlights of my week last week was a day-long meeting of a group that focuses on the signaling and bioinformatics of breast cancer. The meeting was organized by Bob Clarke and was held here in the E501 Conference Room and included a number of Lombardi scientists, two researchers from Fox Chase, and a group from the Virginia Tech Virginia Bioinformatics Institute. We identified a number of exciting collaborative directions and I learned more about informatics than I thought was possible.

Finally, I hope everybody will make time on their calendars to attend the first event sponsored by the Ruesch Center. John Marshall has poured his heart and soul into putting together a symposium on February 17th titled, “Fighting a Smarter War Against Cancer: Personalized Medicine & the Cure for Cancer.” John has put together a wonderful program which includes a handful of Lombardi scientists and a several high profile speakers from the cancer world. Mace Rothenberg the Senior Vice President of Pfizer Oncology will be giving the Thomas R. Schafer Memorial Lecture on the topic of “From Bench to Bedside to Pfizer.”

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Oct 04 2009

Still Recovering… (or, John Marshall is the Fifth Beatle)

by at 4:03 pm

Now that the NCI Site Visit is over, things are beginning to settle down a bit, I had the great fortune to attend a spectacular event this past Tuesday evening in the Riggs Library to honor Jeanne Ruesch and her family for donating $6.75 Million to establish the Otto Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal Cancers. The event was attended by many of Georgetown’s leaders, along with some friends of the Ruesch family. One of them, who used to work in E501 for Phyllis, was successfully treated for a seminoma by Nancy Dawson shortly after she arrived here; I am sure Nancy’s ears were burning as a result of the lavish praise that was tossed around about her skills as a physician and as a warm and caring person.

During the meal, I had the privilege of making a few remarks and introducing the star of the evening, John Marshall, who will direct the Ruesch Center. I do not exaggerate when I tell you I truly was the warm-up act for a superstar. John’s powerful and totally captivating presentation mesmerized the gathering; he embodied humanism, clinical virtuosity, soaring ambition, and a profound sense of the value of every single human life. In short, he exemplified cura personalis, and embodied everything that is good about Georgetown, and about Lombardi. I was humbled and honored to share the dais with him. To give you an idea of how he touched all of us, the Georgetown University Executive Committee met on Wednesday and Thursday, and at least four different speakers referred directly to John’s presentation as a prime example of how Georgetown University’s values can translate into action. Of course, both John and I expressed our profound gratitude to the Ruesch family for making John’s vision come to life. The establishment of the Ruesch Center will long be remembered as the critical event in the evolution of our efforts to make a difference in these challenging diseases.

On another note, please check out Lombardi’s presence as a sponsor of WashFM’s breast cancer awareness month activities. I am very pleased to see (hear?) us reaching out into the community in this way.

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