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.




Dr. Gabriele Di Sante Awarded American Italian Cancer Foundation Research Fellowship

Dr. Gabriele Di Sante

Dr. Gabriele Di Sante

Gabriele Di Sante, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Pestell’s lab, has been awarded a 2014-2015 Fellowship from the American Italian Cancer Foundation. For more details about the American Italian Cancer Foundation, please see their website.



Dr. Pestell and Austrailian Prime Minister

Dr. Richard Pestell and the Honorable Tony Abbott

Dr. Richard Pestell and the Honorable Tony Abbott

On June 10th 2014 Dr. Pestell attended an engagement in New York with the Prime Minister of Australia, the Honorable Tony Abbott, accompanied by several cabinet members. Dr. Pestell discussed with these individuals some new initiatives at Jefferson along with the “Leg Up not a Handout” initiative. In the picture you can see Dr. Pestell going over that plan with Prime Minister Abbott to strengthen our international relations here at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University.



KCC Collaborating with BioBank Graz

From left to right Prof. Berthold Huppertz, Dr. Richard Pestell, Prof Peter Holzer and Amir Oryan.

From left to right Prof. Berthold Huppertz, Dr. Richard Pestell, Prof Peter Holzer and Amir Oryan.

Dr. Pestell meets with representatives from Medical University Graz and BioBank Graz as they discuss the growing MOU partnership agreement between Medical University Graz and the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University.



Holistic Care at the KCC

Dr. Richard Pestell and Dr. Pratap are featured at this classical yoga event entitled “Rethinking Cancer” on May 18th in the Hamilton building. The event was held to create awareness and the presence of mindfulness stress reduction within cancer patients.



KCC Post-doctoral selected as AICF Fellow

Dr. Claudia Capparelli

Dr. Claudia Capparelli

Claudia Capparelli, a post-doctoral fellow in  Dr. Andrew Aplin’s lab, has been selected as an American-Italian Cancer Foundation (AICF) Fellow for the 2014-15 academic year!   Ten were chosen out of an extraordinary pool of Italian talent and she will join several other accomplished second-year AICF fellows who are currently pursuing careers in cancer research in the US.

.



Is Good Health a Choice?: Richard Pestell at TEDxOccidentalCollege

In this talk, given at the TEDxOccidentaCollege meeting, Dr. Pestell explores cultural assumptions that drive cancer seeking behavior. He will reveal solutions that will empower you to live healthier starting today.



Dr. Aplin Wins Innovation Award

Dr. Andrew Aplin

Dr. Andrew Aplin

Congratulations to Dr Andrew Aplin, Department of Cancer Biology, has received the 2014 Jefferson Medical College Michael and Melina Pellini Award for Innovation in the Biomedical Sciences. The award is given “For the elucidation/description of a specific discovery, technique, or instrument/device that has led to new concepts or approaches to experimentation or patient care.”




Dr. Richard Pestell Receives Advance Global Australian Award in Biotechnology Category

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Dr, Richard Pestell

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Dr, Richard Pestell

Dr. Pestell received the award for his work at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson as well as Prostagene, LLC, which is a biotechnology company he founded. Please see this Financial Review Article for more information bout this year’s Advance Global Australian Awards. Also please see this video clip of Dr. Pestell receiving the Advance Global Australian Award in Biotechnology at the Sydney Opera House.



Dr. Gomella elected to the Clinical Society of Genitourinary Surgeons

Dr. Leonard Gomella

Dr. Leonard Gomella

Leonard G. Gomella, MD, The Bernard W. Godwin Professor of Prostate Cancer, Chairman, Department of Urology, Associate Director, Jefferson Kimmel Cancer Center, Clinical Director Jefferson Kimmel Cancer Center Network, Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Journal of Urology has been elected to the Clinical Society of Genitourinary Surgeons. This is considered one of the most prestigious societies in the field with active membership limited to 25 of the top academic urologists in the US.



Jefferon’s Kimmel Cancer Center Holds 5th Annual Men’s Event

Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center hosted its 5th Annual Men’s Event to benefit prostate cancer research and awareness at the Prime Rib Restaurant on November 14.

Below are some photos of the night, award ceremony and entertainment provided by Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time,” Jim Breuer of Saturday Night Live.


“Spirit of Caring” Awardee:

Wm. Kevin Kelly, D.O.

Professor, Medical Oncology and Urology,
Director, Division of Solid Tumor Oncology

The “Spirit of Caring Award” is presented to an individual to recognize outstanding leadership in cancer research and the hope they hold for improving the quality of life in every community.

“Spirit of Courage” Awardee:
Anthony DiPrimio, PhD

Author, Prostate Cancer: What Men Need to Know About this Disease and Its Treatment

The “Spirit of Courage Award” is presented to an individual who has demonstrated great personal courage, strength and dignity while battling cancer and supporting others in their fight against cancer.

“Spirit of Commitment” Awardee:
Neal Rodin

President, International Financial Company, LLC

The “Spirit of Commitment Award” is presented to an individual to recognize outstanding commitment to supporting the work of the Kimmel Cancer Center through personal and professional contributions dedicated to finding a cure.

“Spirit of Innovation” Awardee:
Dendreon:
The company applies its expertise in antigen identification, engineering and cell processing to produce active cellular immunotherapy (ACI) product candidates designed to stimulate an immune response. They pioneered a novel, first in class autologous immunotherapy first approved for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Dendreon is headquartered in Seattle with corporate operations based locally in the Delaware Valley and manufacturing plants in Georgia and California.

The “Spirit of Innovation” Award is presented to an organization whose innovation in cancer measurably improves business and/or clinical processes that impact product development, prevention programs, research, or patient care.



ACS-IRG Pilot Projects Awarded for 2013

Left to Right: Dr. Jordan Winter, Dr. Lara Weinstein, Dr. Aejaz Sayeed, Dr. Richard Pestell, Dr. Tali Gidalevitz, Larry Slagle, Ruth Ann Dailey, Dr. Marja Nevalainen

The Jefferson Kimmel Cancer Center hosted the Annual ACS-IRG Luncheon on September 17th to announce the 2013 Pilot Project award recipients from Thomas Jefferson University. Awardees include Sheikh Aejaz Sayeed, PhD from the Department of Cancer Biology; Jordan Winter, MD, from the Department of Surgery; Yaron Moshel, MD, PhD from the Department of Neurological Surgery; Tiffany Avery, MD, MPH from the Department of Medical Oncology; Lara Carson Weinstein, MD, MPH from the Department of Family & Community Medicine and from Drexel University,  Tali Gidalevitz, PhD from the Department of Biology. Each Awardee briefly explained their research projects to Ruth Ann Dailey, Vice President, Corporate and Distinguished Partners and Larry Slagle, Distinguished Giving Director, of the East Central Division of the American Cancer Society. Ms. Dailey and Mr. Slagle explained the ACS mission and offered ways in which the Pilot Project recipients would be able to assist them in that mission.



Kimmel Cancer Center “All Hands Meeting”

The Kimmel Cancer Center held it’s quarterly “All Hands” meeting on September 11, 2013. Dr. Richard Pestell, Director of the Kimmel Cancer Center, delivered his quarterly “State of the Cancer Center” address. Awards were presented in several categories. Two “Special Recognition” awards where presented to  Andrew Quong, PhD and Jeanine Voll (not pictured). The “Discovery of the Year” Awards was presented to Alexander Mazo, PhD. The Nursing Award was presented to Tamara McGovern, RN. The Basic Science Award was awarded to Dr. Andrew Aplin (not pictured). A Special Team Nursing Award was presented to  the ONCare Nursing team. A Special Administration Award was present to the ONCare Administrative Team.

Dr. Alexander Mazo Receives "Discovery of the Year" Award from Dr. Richard Pestell

Dr. Alexander Mazo Receives "Discovery of the Year" Award from Dr. Richard Pestell

Dr. Andrew Quong Receives "Special Recognition" Award from Dr. Richard Pestell

Dr. Andrew Quong Receives "Special Recognition" Award from Dr. Richard Pestell



ONCare Administrative Team Receives Special team Admimistration Award From Dr. Neal Flomenberg

ONCare Administrative Team Receives Special team Admimistration Award From Dr. Neal Flomenberg



ONCare Nursing Team Receives Special Team Nursing Award From Dr. Neal Flomenberg

ONCare Nursing Team Receives Special Team Nursing Award From Dr. Neal Flomenberg


Ms. Tamara McGovern Receives Nursing Award from Dr. Neal Flomenberg

Ms. Tamara McGovern Receives Nursing Award from Dr. Neal Flomenberg





A Link between Hormones and DNA Repair Provide New Clues to Treat Advanced Prostate Cancer

Karen Knudsen, Ph.D.

For advanced prostate cancers, new strategies for therapeutic intervention are urgently needed, and require a better understanding of how tumor cells go from slow growth to aggressive behaviors that threaten patient lives.

A new study, published by Thomas Jefferson University’s Kimmel Cancer Center researchers in the September 11th online edition of the journal Cancer Discovery, showed that hormones promote DNA repair, and that this process is critical for prostate tumor cell survival. The research also revealed a new therapeutic target that has potential for improving management for patients with advanced disease.

“We’ve known for decades that in prostate cancer, disease development and progression are dependent on the action of androgens (testosterone), but the means by which androgens promote these events remain poorly defined,” says lead author Karen Knudsen Ph.D., Professor of Cancer Biology at Thomas Jefferson University and the Deputy Director for Basic Science at Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center. “The concept that androgens assist cancer cells in repairing DNA damage helps to explain how tumors evade therapeutic intervention. The good news is that these discoveries may point toward a new way to treat patients with aggressive disease.”

Inhibiting androgens is the first line of treatment for advanced prostate cancers, but this therapeutic strategy is only transiently effective, generally because tumors develop “rescue” pathways to restore androgen action. To try and understand the implications of this process, and to find means for treating such advanced disease, the researchers identified new molecular pathways involved in relaying messages from the androgen receptor to DNA repair genes. They found that androgens enhanced DNA repair by turning on the gene for a powerful DNA repair enzyme called DNAPK.

When the researchers inhibited DNAPK, they saw a reduction in tumor cell growth, and using disease models, observed that standard therapies were more effective. By acting on a more selective target in the androgen pathway, the researchers hope to improve androgen inhibition strategies and to help patients who no longer respond to androgen-inhibition-based therapies.

“These findings give us new insight into how tumors can evade existing therapies. Most importantly, the fact that prostate cancer cells use androgens and DNAPK to survive therapeutic intervention unveiled an Achilles heel for advanced tumors that we can capitalize on,” said Dr. Knudsen.

The researchers discovered that pharmacologic agents, some of which are already in clinical trials for other malignancies, can be used to suppress DNAPK activity. “The next step for us is to translate these findings into the clinical setting. Luckily, our prostate group is highly collaborative, and we are already in the midst of designing clinical trials to fast-track DNAPK inhibitors into the clinic”, said Dr. Knudsen. “There are always challenges in introducing new therapeutic targets, but if we are correct, there is every reason to believe that DNAPK inhibitors can be used to improve outcomes for patients with advanced disease.”

The study from Dr. Knudsen’s laboratory was a result of an inter-institutional team effort, including contributions of the first author and graduate student Jonathan F. Goodwin, key collaborators from the Thomas Jefferson University Department of Radiation Oncology, Dr. Adam P. Dicker, and Dr. Robert B. Den, and from the University of Michigan, Dr. Felix Y. Feng.

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Media Only Contact:
Edyta Zielinska
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
Phone: (215) 955-6300
Published: 9/11/2013