Two Drexel University College of Medicine Professors Receive Grants Through Statewide Refunds for Breast Cancer Research Campaign

Pat Haipin-Murphy, President  & Founder, PA Breast Cancer Coalition; Mauricio Rcginalo, PhD, Associate Professor; Alessandro Fatatis, MD, PhD, Professor; and Kenny Simansky, PhD, Vice

Pat Haipin-Murphy, President & Founder, PA
Breast Cancer Coalition; Mauricio Rcginalo, PhD,
Associate Professor; Alessandro Fatatis, MD, PhD,
Professor; and Kenny Simansky, PhD, Vice Dean for
Research

The Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition recently awarded two Drexel University College of Medicine researchers (and Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Members) grants from its statewide Refunds for Breast Cancer Research campaign. Alessandro Fatatis, MD, PhD, professor in the Departments of Pharmacology & Physiology and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, and Mauricio Reginato, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, each received a $50,000 award for their breast cancer research.

PBCC is honoring Reginato for his research in triple negative breast cancer. “My sister-in-law died from breast cancer at age 37 leaving behind two small children,” said Reginato. “As cancer researchers, these are the stories we want to eliminate. This program not only funds cutting-edge cancer research but also provides hope for patients who are dealing with this terrible disease.”
Fatatis won his grant for his research in cancer development. “It is virtually impossible for any PA resident not to be affected by the impact exerted by breast and cervical cancer on family, workplace and human society at large,” said Fatatis.

More than $3 million has been donated to the Refunds for Research campaign, which allows Pennsylvania taxpayers to donate their state tax refunds directly to this important work. More than 80 Refunds for Research grants have been awarded to Pennsylvania scientists looking for the cause of and cure for breast cancer. All Pennsylvania residents can contribute to the PBCC’s Refunds for Breast Cancer Research fund through the PA-40 income tax form by choosing code “A” on line 32.

For More Information see the Drexel Press Release

MEDIA CONTACT
Ed Federico
Media Relations Manager
215.255.7331
Edward.federico@drexelmed.edu



Dr. Adam Dicker Nominated to Serve on National Cancer Institute Committeee

Dr. Adam Dicker

Dr. Adam Dicker

The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson is proud to announce that Dr. Adam Dicker, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology,  Sidney Kimmel Medical School, Thomas Jefferson University has been nominated by NRG Oncology and NCI to serve as a member of the National Cancer Institute’s NCTN Core Correlative Sciences Committee, for a two-year renewable term.

This Committee is tasked with reviewing and prioritizing correlative science research proposals from investigators requesting access to banked, non-reserved biospecimens collected on clinical trials of the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN), and data associated with those specimens.



Jefferson Joins Elite Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium

Only institutions with proven track records of rapidly translating innovative scientific discoveries to improved standards of patient care are granted membership to the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium (PCCTC). In November, The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University was appointed membership to the PCCTC, joining 14 other leading academic medical centers in the nation’s premier prostate cancer clinical trials group.
The partnership not only gives Jefferson patients access to groundbreaking clinical trials from across the country, but brings Jefferson’s research in prostate cancer to centers across the United States. This will help researchers to complete their studies faster, and bring much needed novel therapies to patients sooner.

“Over the past several years, teams of basic scientists and clinical researchers have been working together to bring new discoveries in the laboratory to patients,” said Wm. Kevin Kelly, D.O., Professor of Medical Oncology and Director of the Solid Tumor Division at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, and leader of the efforts to join the PCCTC in the Philadelphia area.

Already two of Jefferson’s concepts have made their way from the research bench to a PCCTC clinical trial. The first approach is exploring a biomarker of prostate cancer aggressiveness that would allow doctors to stratify patients based on their cancer’s genetic fingerprint. “This approach would let us select the treatment for the patients more appropriately on the first try rather than using a trial-error approach,” says Leonard Gomella, M.D., Chair of the Department of Urology at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Jefferson.

An additional study from the research laboratory of cancer biologist Karen Knudsen, Ph.D., the Interim Director of Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and Interim Chair of the Department of  Cancer Biology at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Jefferson, focuses on targeting a molecule in prostate cancer cells that would enhance endocrine therapy – one of the most common treatments for this type of cancer. “It’s a testament to the strength of our relationships at Jefferson that we can bridge the gap between science and medicine to develop these clinical trials,” says Dr. Knudsen.

The PCCTC was developed ten years ago with support from the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) in response to gaps identified in prostate cancer clinical research by physician investigators and prostate cancer advocates. The main objective of the PCTCC is to coordinate clinical research efforts to bring new therapies to patients with prostate cancer quicker. To date, the PCCTC has been very successful and has been instrumental in the development and approval of some of the new drugs for prostate cancer.

“We are proud to be the lead institution in the Philadelphia metro area to join the PCCTC and excited to be able to offer the newest treatments to our patients,” says Adam Dicker, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of Radiation Oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Jefferson.

About The Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium (PCCTC)

The Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium (PCCTC) was initiated in 2005 by the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) in response to gaps identified in prostate cancer clinical research by physician investigators and prostate cancer advocates. Now a major multicenter clinical research organization consisting of a nationwide network of physicians at 15 academic institutions specializing in cutting-edge prostate cancer research, PCCTC members work together on a single mission: to design, implement and complete hypothesis-driven early phase trials in prostate cancer, translating scientific discoveries to improved standards of care. For more information, please visit www.pcctc.org.

Media Only Contact:
Edyta Zielinska
Jefferson University Hospitals
Phone: 215-955-6300



New genomic test can direct appropriate use of radiation therapy following prostate surgery

Dr. Robert Den

Dr. Robert Den

The identification of the right patients for post-operative radiation therapy and the timing of administering that therapy are not easily answered by clinical risk factors alone. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, showed that patients with low genomic risk may be optimally managed with observation after radical prostatectomy (prostate surgery), while those with high genomic risk may be better managed earlier with adjuvant radiotherapy. The study, conducted by researchers from Thomas Jefferson University and Mayo Clinic using a commercially available genomic classifier by GenomeDx.

“The optimal timing of post-prostatectomy radiation therapy is a subject of debate,” says Robert Den, M.D., of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and lead author of the study. “Common practice is to wait for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) rise after surgery before intervening with radiation treatment. The results of this study suggest that we can use a genomic test to identify a group of men who will benefit from earlier administration of additional local treatment.”

Current clinical practice guidelines from the American Urological Association (AUA) and the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) recommend physicians offer adjuvant radiotherapy after surgery for men who have been diagnosed with intermediate and high-risk prostate cancer. These recommendations are based on evidence from multiple randomized clinical trials, which demonstrated the efficacy of earlier, or adjuvant radiotherapy with reductions in recurrence and progression as compared to a “wait-and-see” approach after surgery. However, not all men receive a benefit from early radiation therapy, and there is an obvious need to identify patients who will and won’t benefit, so as to avoid overtreatment and serious side effects such as incontinence, impotence, and rectal bleeding.

According to the AUA, adjuvant radiation therapy is administered because of adverse pathology after radical prostatectomy, while salvage radiation therapy refers to initiation of radiation therapy only after PSA rise, commonly referred to as biochemical recurrence. Until now, clinicians have used pathology and clinical risk factors, which are less accurate measures of metastatic risk, to select men appropriate for treatment with radiation therapy.

“This potentially practice changing study is an example of the collaborative nature of the multidisciplinary genitourinary group at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University which provides the highest quality of care to our patients,” says Dr. Leonard Gomella, the Bernard W. Godwin Professor of Prostate Cancer and Chairman of Department of Urology.

“Determining the right patient and the right time for radiation therapy is not straightforward. Patients have to balance the potential complications from radiation treatment with the risk of prostate cancer recurring. This test may enhance our ability in deciding who should or should not be considered for adjuvant radiation versus close monitoring,” says R. Jeffrey Karnes, M.D., associate professor and vice chair in Urology at Mayo Clinic and an investigator on the study.

The study, entitled, “A Genomic Classifier Identifies Men with Adverse Pathology after Radical Prostatectomy Who Benefit from Adjuvant Radiation Therapy,” included 188 prostate cancer patients who received radiation therapy after prostate surgery at Thomas Jefferson University and Mayo Clinic between 1990 and 2009. The genomic classifier stratified patients with low, average, and high genomic risk with 0%, 9%, and 29% five-year cumulative incidence of metastasis (p=0.002). Patients with average-to-high genomic risk who were treated with the more aggressive adjuvant radiation therapy had a five-year metastasis incidence of only 6% compared to 23% (p=0.008) for those who waited for PSA recurrence to trigger initiation of salvage therapy. In addition, the study found no disadvantage for salvage therapy in men with low genomic risk, suggesting that these men may improve quality of life by waiting for possible PSA rise rather than taking a course of immediate radiation therapy after radical surgery.

The researchers included Drs. Adam Dicker, Leonard Gomella, Edouard Trabulsi, and Costas Lallas.

The abstract is available at PubMed and the full publication is available at the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Discussions of the publication can be found at the UrologyTimes.com and OncologyPractice.com and the GenomeDX Press Release and at the ASCO Post and The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink.

Media Only Contact:
Edyta Zielinska
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
Phone: (215) 955-6300
Published: 2/17/2015



Dr. William Kevin Kelly appointed leader of the Biology of Prostate Cancer Program

Dr. William Kevin Kelly

Dr. William Kevin Kelly

The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center would like to congratulate Wm. Kevin Kelly, D.O., Professor of Medical Oncology and Director of the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology, on his new appointment as the Leader of the Biology of Prostate Cancer Program.  Dr. Kelly has been a considerable asset to the cancer center and Jefferson as a whole since his recruitment in 2010, and he brings substantial translational and clinical expertise to this role.

In addition to his 25 years of experience as a clinician, Dr. Kelly is a nationally recognized translational researcher, known for his work on urological malignancies and his expertise in drug design and development.  Kelly’s research linking elevated prostate-specific antigen levels to prostate cancer treatment outcomes remains a foundation for drug development in patients with advanced prostate cancer today.

Prior to joining the Jefferson faculty, Dr. Kelly directed the Clinical Research Management Office at the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center and co-directed prostate and urological oncology program at Yale University. He spent the previous 15 years on the faculty at Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in the Genitourinary Oncology Division.



Dr. Lucia Languino appointed Director of the Jefferson Graudate School of Biomedical Sciences PhD Program in Genetics, Genomics and Cancer Biology

Dr. Lucia Languino

Dr. Lucia Languino

The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center would like to congratulate Lucia Languino, Ph.D., Professor of Cancer Biology and member of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, in her appointment as the new Director of the Jefferson Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Program in Genetics, Genomics and Cancer Biology.

Dr. Languino has been a member of the Jefferson faculty since 2010, having previously served on the faculty of Yale University and the University of Massachusetts. With over two decades of research supported by continuous funding from NIH and other agencies, and a current focus on the biology of prostate cancer, Dr. Languino has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the role of integrin-mediated cell signaling in cancer progression.

Throughout her career, Dr. Languino has been actively engaged in graduate student and postdoctoral education and training in the classroom and laboratory as a teacher and mentor.



Dr. Andrew Aplin to Lead Basic Science of the Sidney KImmel Cancer Center

Dr. Andrew Aplin

Dr. Andrew Aplin

Congratulations to Andrew Aplin, PhD, for his appointment to lead Basic Science for the SKCC! Dr. Aplin has already distinguished himself as the leader of the Cancer Cell Biology and Signaling Program, and he will bring his energy and scientific expertise to all aspects of basic research here at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. Please join us in congratulating him on this new expanded role.

Dr. Aplin’s research laboratory focuses on melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Since 2002, he has identified downstream targets of mutant BRAF-MEK-ERK signaling in melanoma, demonstrated the contribution of these targets to the malignant traits, and analyzed the influence of the tumor microenvironment. More recently, his lab has analyzed the determinants of response and mechanisms of resistance to BRAF inhibitors. Through his collaborations with Takami Sato and Carol Shields on the Jefferson campus, Dr Aplin and his team are extending their studies into ocular melanoma. His laboratory also collaborates with clinicians in the Melanoma Center of Excellence at Jefferson and with melanoma researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the Wistar Institute. Through this research, they aim to promote the bi-directional flow of new discoveries between the laboratory and the bedside.

Andrew’s expertise and accomplishments in both basic and translational research, combined with his natural leadership skills, gives us the utmost confidence in his ability to take the helm of this important position.



Mary Kate Cellmer, Manager, SKCN, elected to board of the Association of Cancer Executives

Mary Kate Cellmer

Mary Kate Cellmer

Mary Kate Cellmer, BS, Manager, Clinical Operations of Sidney Kimmel Cancer Network, was elected to the board of the Association of Cancer Executives.



Hold Your Breath to Protect Your Heart

Dr. Pramila Rani Anne

Dr. Pramila Rani Anne

A recent article in the Practical Radiation Oncology was highlighted in Eureka Alerts. The research, performed by members of the Department of Radiation Oncology and the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center of Thomas Jefferson University, indicated the importance of breathing control during radiation therapy for left breast cancer in protecting the heart from radiation exposure. Harriet Eldredge-Hindy, first author of the article, explained “We wanted to determine how effective breath-hold could be in shielding the heart from extraneous radiation exposure during treatment of the left breast.” Dr. Pramila Rani Annne, senior author of the article, remarked “Given that this technique helps to shield the heart during radiation treatment for breast cancer, we routinely offer breast cancer treatment with the breath hold technique at Jefferson.”



Angel Medina, CFO of SKCC elected to board of the Association of Cancer Executives

Angel Medina

Angel Medina

Angel Medina, MBA, MSHA, Vice-President of Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Chief Financial Officer of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center was elected to the board of the Association of Cancer Executives.




Dr. Carmine Fedele is awarded an AICF Fellowship

Dr. Carmine Fedele

Dr. Carmine Fedele

Carmine Fedele, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Languino’s lab, has been awarded a 2014-2015 Fellowship (2nd year) from the American Italian Cancer Foundation. His project involves determining the effect of integrin expression on the composition and function of exosomes in prostate cancer cells. For more details about the American Italian Cancer Foundation, please see their website




Dr. Nevalainen wins SKCC Innovator of the Year Award

Drs. Pestell and Nevalainen

Drs. Pestell and Nevalainen

On December 16, 2014, Dr. Marja Nevalainen was awarded the 2014 Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Innovator of the Year award. The award was presented presented by Dr. Richard G. Pestell, Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.




Infusion Center Toy Drive

Jefferson Oncology Infusion Program staff  held a toy drive during the month of December were they collected over 100 toys to help Pediatric Oncology patients in the Philadelphia area.

Oncology Infusion Center Toy Drive

Oncology Infusion Center Toy Drive




2014 SKCC Consortium: Symposium and Poster Session

On October 1st, 2014 the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Consortium held a Symposium and Poster Session. Senior Leadership presented overviews of the work being done across the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Consortium. Also, progress reports were presented by the recipients of the 2013 SKCC Consortium Pilot Project Awards.  The afternoon portion of the event was composed primarily of a Poster Session from SKCC Consortium graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Below, is list of the winners from the Poster Session:

Post-Doctoral Fellowship Poster Awards:
1st    Fernando Blanco, PhD
2nd   Edward Hartsough, PhD
3rd   Atul Goyal, PhD

Graduate Student Poster Awards:
1st    Debra Klopfenstein
2nd  Sergey Karakashev
3rd   Valerie Sodi

Below is a selection of photos from the day’s event and here is the days agenda.



Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Tribute Dinner Hosted By Phialdelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field

2014 SKCC Tribute Dinner

2014 SKCC Tribute Dinner

The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University held its annual tribute Dinner on September 5th, 2014. The honorees of the annual event were he Philadelphia Eagles for their effort to fight Cancer. The event was held at Lincoln Financial Field. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Cancer Breakthrough Research Fund. For more about the event click here and here

 



Dr. Gomella, Associate Director for Clinical Affairs Appointed to NCI Genitourinary Cancers Steering Committee

Dr. Leonard Gomella

Dr. Leonard Gomella

Dr. Leonard Gomella, Chairman of the Department of Urology and Associate Director for Clinical Affairs for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer at Jefferson has been appointed to serve on the NCI Genitourinary Cancers Steering Committee (GUSC). The GUSC is one of sixteen steering committees formed to leverage current NCI-supported NCTN Groups, Consortia, SPOREs and Cancer Center structures to design and prioritize national cancer related clinical trials. The GUSC charge is to prioritize and review concepts for phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials and provide a forum for critical review of concepts for new trials by a broad spectrum of experts from across the NCI-supported clinical trials enterprise and from international partners.

Dr. Gomella, one of the founding members of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, also serves as Clinical Director for the Jefferson Sidney Kimmel Cancer Network and as Urology Chair for NRG, formerly the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group. In addition to being recognized as an outstanding clinician in regional and national “Top Doctor” listings, he is involved in translational basic science and clinical research in the development of new diagnostic techniques and treatments for prostate, bladder and kidney cancer.



Global Positioning at the Cancer Frontline

Richard G. Pestell, M.D., Ph.D.

Richard G. Pestell, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Pestell’s recent TEDx presentation “Is Good Health a Choice?” was featured in an “Australia Unlimited” article by David Varga.

The article describes Dr. Pestell’s background and upbringing as well as highlighting his  innovative research involving the “GPS of Cancer” (the biological navigation system that allows malignant cancer cells to spread to the most vulnerable regions of the body).




Dr. Tu Dan Awarded ASTRO Seed Grant

Dr Tu Dan

Dr Tu Dan

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has awarded Dr. Tu Dan a 2014 Resident/Fellows in Radiation Oncology Research Seed Grant.  The ASTRO Research Evaluation Committee and Board of Directors were pleased to recognize Dr. Dan’s application based upon its scientific merit. Dr. Dan will be provided with a one-year grant in the amount of $25,000.  Dr. Dan was selected from over 50 applicants and only 2 grants were given.




Amanda Taylor Receives 5 Year NCI Fellowship

Amanda Taylor

Amanda Taylor

Amanda Taylor, a doctoral candidate in the Genetics, Genomics and Cancer Biology Program conducting her thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Steven McMahon has received a 5 year fellowship from the National Cancer Institute/NIH totaling $221,400. The award was made for a project entitled: “Myc overexpression regulates metabolic reprogramming by mitochondrial polymerase”.




Dr. Curry Receives Grant to Investigate Head and Neck Cancer

Joseph Curry, MD

Joseph Curry, MD

Joseph Curry, MD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, has been selected to receive this year’s American Head and Neck Society/American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation Young Investigators Combined Grant. Under the mentorship of Dr. Ubaldo Martinez-Outschoorn, Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology and Dr. William Keane, Chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Dr. Curry will investigate metabolic coupling between cancer and stromal cells in head and neck cancer and its role in carcinoma cell proliferation and resistance to apoptosis.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Centralized Otolaryngology Research Efforts (CORE) grants program is a collaboration of several societies, foundations, and industry supporters focused on providing support for research in the field of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery.