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.

.



2013 Kimmel Cancer Center Ball

On Saturday June 8th, 2013, the Kimmel Cancer Center held its 4th Ball at the Ritz Carlton Philadelphia. Edward Glickman, the Kimmel Cancer Center’s first Advisory Board Chairman was honored and presented with the “Spirit of Commitment” Award.

Please look here for more details about the 2013 KCC Ball.

A gallery from the Ball is below:



Team Jefferson at 2013 Get Your Rear in Gear Race

Mika Harding, Richard Pestell, and Ruslan Banatskiy at this year's GYRIG race

Supporters of the Kimmel Cancer Center joined “Team Jefferson” for this year’s Get Your Rear in Gear 5K and 10K runs, 2 mile walk or a kids’ fun run.

Proceeds support cutting edge research in colorectal cancer and compassionate care.

Maria Grasso, founder and organizer of GYRIG Philadelphia, presented a check to Jefferson from last year’s event proceeds in the amount of $50,000 a week before the race.

A resident of Mount Laurel, N.J., Grasso lost her own father and grandfather to colon cancer.   Inspired by a desire to fight the diseases that claimed her loved ones, Grasso has grown the event from a few hundred participants to more than 4,000 as she approached the fifth year.

This annual race event is part of awareness and fund-raising efforts during March, National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.



Jefferson Graduate Student Receives 2013 Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation Award

JMNMF President Greg Safko and Jefferson's Curtis Kugel

Curtis Kugel, a Thomas Jefferson University graduate student in the Department of Cancer Biology, was one of 10 students from leading cancer centers across the U.S. to receive a $10,000 “Research Scholar Award” (RSA) from the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation (JMNMF) for his exceptional research work.

JMNMF Chair, Regina Shannon Bodnar, and Board/RSA Committee member, Esther Hoffberg.  and JMNMF President Greg Safko, presented the award to Mr. Kugel at the Kimmel Cancer Center’s Bluemle Life Sciences Building on March 20.

Kugel was also accompanied by Dr. Richard Pestell, Director of the Kimmel Cancer Center, and Andrew Aplin, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology.

Kugel’s research focuses on targeting receptor tyrosine kinases in an attempt to prevent resistance to RAF inhibitors in melanoma and improve the efficacy of those inhibitors.

“I am very excited to have been chosen to receive this award from the JMNMF for my work on melanoma research,” said Kugel. “With applicants working alongside some of the leading melanoma researchers and applying from some of the country’s top cancer centers, receiving this award is truly an honor.”

The JMNMF is a nonprofit public charity founded in January 2004 to foster melanoma education, advocacy and research. In just eight years, the Foundation has grown dramatically to become an influential voice in the melanoma community and is now established as a national, and international, “voice for melanoma prevention, detection, care and cure.”

The nationally competitive grants increased by nearly 11 percent in 2013 (following a 30 percent funding increase in 2011) to significantly enhance the potential for advancements in the melanoma cancer field and encourage a larger number of students to choose melanoma research as their professional career path.

The 2013 RSA applicant pool and cancer research centers represented grew to include 44 of the country’s most promising young melanoma researchers, and 28 prominent National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Cancer Centers.

As first in the U.S. to fund graduate student melanoma researchers, the JMNMF program is celebrating the program’s seventh anniversary.

According to Regina Shannon Bodnar, “Our Foundation’s ‘Research Scholar Awards’ are invaluable at the grassroots level, to specifically grow interest in melanoma research, at leading cancer research centers nationwide.  If we can attract the brightest young minds, that are considering or are already within the nation’s cancer research pipelines, to pursue a career in melanoma research – we’re that much closer to better understanding the disease, identifying the means for effective treatments and, most importantly, finding a cure for this deadly and increasingly prevalent disease.”

For more information about JMNMF, please visit: http://www.melanomaresource.org/



Remembering ASCO Founding Member Dr. Jane Cooke Wright

Standing left to right - Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr.; Dr. Robert L. Comis; Dr. Stanley R. Hamilton; Dr. Randall C. Morgan; Dr. Al B. Benson, III; Dr. Edith P. Mitchell. Seated – Dr. Jane Cooke Wright.

In February, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) announced the passing of Jane Cooke Wright, M.D., a true pioneer, mentor, and renowned researcher. Dr. Wright was one of seven founding members of ASCO – the only woman among the founders – and the Society’s first Secretary/Treasurer. She died on Tuesday, February 19 at the age of 93.

Pictured above, Dr. Edith Mitchell, a Clinical Professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology in the Department of Medical Oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, and Director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities, is joined by other ASCO members and physicians, with Dr. Wright seated.



2nd Annual Spring Fling

Please join us for our 2nd Annual Spring Fling benefiting the Helping Hand Fund for cancer patients and caregivers.

Save The Date Announcement

April 12, 2013
8:00 PM to MIDNIGHT
The Waterfall Room
2015 S. Water Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148

Tickets $50.00
Includes buffet dinner, top-shelf open bar,
dancing, raffles, 50/50 and door prizes

Contact Mia Burgis or Nicole Ferroni
mia.burgis@jefferson.edu or nicole.riverso@yahoo.com



Karen Knudsen, Ph.D., Appointed Deputy Director of Basic Science at Thomas Jefferson University

Thomas Jefferson University and the Kimmel Cancer Center are pleased to announce that Karen E. Knudsen, Ph.D., has accepted the position as Deputy Director of Basic Science, and will hold the prestigious Hilary Koprowski Chair in the Department of Cancer Biology.

Dr. Knudsen received her Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego in 1996, focusing on cell cycle checkpoint control.  Her postdoctoral studies with Dr. Webster K. Cavenee at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research cultivated a program centered on the mechanisms underlying hormone-dependent cell cycle control.

Dr. Knudsen was recruited to Thomas Jefferson University in 2007 (now a Professor in the Departments of Cancer Biology, Urology, & Radiation Oncology) after a successful career at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, where she was a tenured Associate Professor.  In addition to her duties as the Deputy Director, Dr. Knudsen also serves as Leader of the Kimmel Cancer Center Biology of Prostate Cancer Program, and Director of the Greater Philadelphia Prostate Cancer Working Group.

Dr. Knudsen’s research interests are dedicated to understanding the mechanisms by which hormone receptor and cell cycle deregulation lead to prostate cancer progression and therapeutic bypass.  The overall goal of Dr. Knudsen’s laboratory is to utilize this information for successful development of precision medicine, so as to improve therapeutic outcome and patient care through rational therapy delivery.  Her studies identifying tumor suppressor and hormone receptor alterations have uncovered new targets for treating advanced disease, and led to development of biomarker-driven clinical trials.

Dr. Knudsen serves on a multitude of national boards and committees, including those for the American Association for Cancer Research, the Endocrine Society, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.  She has been a Senior Editor for Cancer Research since 2007, is an Associate Editor for Endocrine-Related Cancer, and sits on the editorial boards of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, the American Journal of Pathology, Molecular Endocrinology, and Oncogene. Most recently, Dr. Knudsen was appointed Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Cancer Research by the American Association for Cancer Research.  Dr. Knudsen has received numerous awards for her research, including the Ronald Ross Award for Excellence in Hormone-dependent malignancies from the Pacific Rim Breast and Prostate Cancer Research Organization, and the Richard E. Weitzman Laureate Award from the Endocrine Society.



Edith Mitchell Appointed to NCI’s Clinical Trials & Translational Research Advisory Committee

Edith P. Mitchell, M.D., FACP, a medical oncologist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Clinical Professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology in the Department of Medical Oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, has been appointed to the National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials and Translational Research Advisory Committee.

Dr. Edith Mitchell

The committee makes recommendations on the NCI-supported national clinical trials enterprise to build a strong scientific infrastructure by bringing together a broadly developed and engaged coalition of stakeholders involved in the clinical trials process. This encompasses oversight of all trials both extramural and intramural.

The committee will also provide broad scientific and programmatic advice on the investment of tax payer dollars in clinical trials and supportive science. This will lead to enormous potential for more specific cancer treatment, coupled with the complexity of evaluating new, highly specific agents integrating knowledge, insights, and skills of multiple fields into a new kind of cross-disciplinary, scientifically-driven, cooperative research endeavor.

The Committee will consist of 25 members.

Congratulations to Dr. Mitchell on this appointment.



Jefferon’s Kimmel Cancer Center Holds 4th Annual Men’s Event

Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center hosted its 4th Annual Men’s Event to benefit prostate cancer research and awareness at the Prime Rib Restaurant on November 15.

Guests enjoyed cocktails, dinner, auctions, and entertainment from special guest Jay Mohr. The event grossed over $200,000.

Below are some photos of the night, award ceremony and stand up act by Jay Mohr.

Nataliia Pestell and Richard Pestell, Director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson

Leonard Gomella, MD, Chair of the Department of Urology, Jay Mohr, and Tricia Gomella

Recipients of the “Spirit of Commitment Award” Edwin "Tucker" Boyton and Albert Pizzica and Richard Pestell (middle)

Andrew Quong, Albert Pizzica, Leonard Gomella, Tricia Gomella, Jay Mohr, Nataliia Pestell, Richard Pestell, Edwin "Tucker" Boynton, and Mika Harding

Recipient of the "Spirit of Caring" Award S. Grant Mulholland, M.D., and Albert Pizzica

Mark Hurwitz, Professor and Vice Chair for Quality, Safety, and Performance Excellence and Director of Thermal Oncology of the Department of Radiation Oncology and Jane Hurwitz

Anne and Matt Hamilton

Jay Mohr

President of Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, David McQuaid and Richard Webster, Chief Operating Officer

Auction items

David McQuaid and Robert Den, M.D., Department of Radiation Oncology

Leonard Gomella

Recipient of "Spirit of Courage" Award Barry E. Bressler, Esquire, and Albert Pizzica

Jay Mohr



Karen E. Knudsen Named New Editor-in-chief of AACR Journal Molecular Cancer Research

Karen Knudsen, PhD

The American Association for Cancer Research is pleased to announce Karen E. Knudsen, Ph.D., professor and Hilary Koprowski chair in the departments of cancer biology, urology and radiation oncology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and deputy director for basic science of the NCI-designated Kimmel Cancer Center as the new editor-in-chief of Molecular Cancer Research, one of its seven major peer-reviewed journals.

“I am honored and excited for the opportunity to lead Molecular Cancer Research,” said Knudsen, who will serve as the journal’s editor-in-chief for five years. “I hope to establish the journal as the seat of outstanding basic research related to cancer.”

Knudsen will officially begin her term in January 2013.

Molecular Cancer Research is an online and print journal that publishes original, novel and well-designed studies on the molecular and cellular aspects of cancer biology. Papers selected for publication represent new information in basic research that has implications for cancer therapeutics in angiogenesis, metastasis or genomics. The first issue of the journal was published in November 2002.

“Dr. Knudsen brings a wealth of expertise to the position of editor-in-chief of Molecular Cancer Research,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. “We are confident that her experience with the peer review process, coupled with her extensive knowledge of basic cancer research, will build on the journal’s success and impact in the field.”

Knudsen’s scientific accomplishments include the authorship of more than 80 peer-reviewed publications in cancer and biomedical science journals. In addition, she has authored numerous book chapters focusing on transcription and cell cycle regulation in hormone-dependent cancers. Knudsen’s research interest is predominantly prostate cancer and the molecular mechanisms that underlie tumor progression.

Throughout her career, Knudsen has been involved in both national and international scientific committees, and has held numerous leadership roles in scientific publishing, including Cancer Research. She recently received the Excellence in Mentoring Award from Thomas Jefferson University, the Richard E. Weitzman Laureate Award from the Endocrine Society and the Ron Ross Award from the Pacific Rim Breast and Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Knudsen received her doctorate from the University of California, San Diego in 1996. She trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research with Webster K. Cavenee, Ph.D.

Knudsen served as assistant professor in the department of cell and cancer biology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine for five years and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2005. Two years later she joined Thomas Jefferson University as an associate professor in the departments of cancer biology and urology. In 2010, Knudsen was promoted to professor, and in addition to her duties as the deputy director of the Kimmel Cancer Center, she currently serves as the program leader for the Kimmel Cancer Center Program in Biology of Prostate Cancer.

Knudsen succeeds Michael B. Kastan, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of the Duke Cancer Institute, as editor-in-chief of the journal.



New Ocular Melanoma Research Grant in Honor of David Eschelman

David Eschelman, M.D.

The Community United for Research and Education of Ocular Melanoma, or CURE OM, recently announced a new research grant in honor of Dr. David Eschelman of Thomas Jefferson University’s Department of Radiology specifically for the study of ocular melanoma.

Uveal melanoma, also known as ocular melanoma (OM), is diagnosed in about 2,000 people a year in this country. Though rare, it is the most common eye cancer in adults.

CURE OM was created by the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF).

At a time when there was a major shortage of a specific liver-directed treatment for people with OM, Dr. Eschelman went to bat for patients as a fierce advocate, CURE OM stated in a recent newsletter.

Dr. Eschelman collaborated with Guerbet USA, Congress and the FDA to find a permanent new source for this drug. As a result of his perseverance, a new source of the therapy was approved in a very short time.

Because of his dedication to bringing life-changing treatments to people with OM, Guerbet USA created the second CURE OM research grant in his honor to aid research and inspire others to continue important work.

While the grant was created in Dr. Eschelman’s name, CURE OM will be accepting research proposals and decide on the recipient of the research award based on a peer-reviewed process. More information about the grant will be posted on the CURE OM website soon.

“The MRF extends sincere appreciation to Dr. Eschelman for his work and dedication, and to Guerbet USA for its support of the OM community,” the newsletter stated.



The Kimmel Cancer Center Remembers the Late Sen. Arlen Specter

The Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson is remembering longtime proponent of cancer research Senator Arlen Specter, who passed away on Oct. 14 at the age of 82, after a battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

On the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Specter led the fight to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health from $12 to $30 billion to expand medical research to find cures for cancer and other maladies.  He also supported expanding health care for seniors and children and proposed legislation to cover the almost 50 million Americans who do not have health insurance.

“Despite his own battles with cancer, Sen. Specter fought tirelessly through much of his 30-year Senate career on behalf of biomedical research and the special needs of cancer patients and their families,” the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI)  said in a statement. The KCC is a member of the AACI, along with 5 other Pennsylvania institutions.

“Sen. Specter was a dedicated friend to the cancer research community and he will be remembered for his unwavering support of programs that ease the burden of cancer on all Americans,” added AACI President William S. Dalton, PhD, MD.

Sen. Specter’s fights did not go unnoticed at the KCC.

In 2009, Sen. Specter was honored at the Kimmel Cancer Center Inaugural Ball  with the “Spirit of Courage Award,” which 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.

Also, on Monday, Elena Gitelson, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University, spoke to CBS3′s Pat Ciarrocchi to provide insight on both non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, another cancer Sen. Specter battled in the mid- 2000′s. Dr Gitelson was not involved in the medical care of Sen. Specter.

“Lymphomas are a large spectrum of different diseases,” Dr. Gitelson told CBS. It’s a condition that begins when lymphocytes that normally fight infection in the body’s system go haywire, she said, noting that in some cases, the Hodgkin’s variety can transform into the non-Hodgkin’s type, with both requiring specific chemotherapies.

Alternatively, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma may develop as a new disease.

“A very important factor is how strong your spirit is when you fight cancer,” said Dr. Gitelson. “And I have been admiring his.”



Kimmel Cancer Center to Host 4th Annual Men’s Event with Special Guest Jay Mohr

Jay Mohr

Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center will host its 4th Annual Men’s Event at the Prime Rib in Philadelphia, with Special Guest Jay Mohr, comedian, actor, radio host, best-selling author and of Saturday Night Live and Jerry Maguire fame.

The event will take place on Thursday, November 15 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m at the Prime Rib Restaurant.

It’s an evening of cocktails, dinner, entertainment, auctions and friends to benefit prostate cancer research and awareness at the KCC, a National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Center.

Honorary Chairs:

Richard Pestell, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson

Leonard Gomella, M.D., Chair, Department of Urology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

Co-Chairs:

Edwin (Tucker) Boynton, KCC Advisory Board Member and Partner at Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP

Albert Pizzica, M.D., KCC Advisory Board Member, and Owner and CMO, AP Executive Management, LLC

Awards:

Barry E. Bressler, Esquire, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP, prostate cancer survivor and Men’s Event Committee member of 4 years, will receive the “Spirit of Courage” award, presented to an individual who has demonstrated great personal courage, strength and dignity while battling cancer and supporting others in their fight against cancer.

The “Spirit of Caring” Award will be awarded to S. Grant Mulholland, M.D., of Jefferson, 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.

The “Spirit of Commitment Award” will be given to Men’s Event Co-Chairs, Edwin “Tucker” Boynton and Albert Pizzica, M.D., 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.

For more information about event or tickets, please contact Mika Harding, Interim Executive Director of Development, 215.503.1195, Mika.Harding@KimmelCancerCenter.Org or visit http://www.kimmelcancercenter.org/news/mens-event/2012/



KCC’s New Magazine “Milestones” is Now Available

Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center announces its first issue of “Milestones,” an online magazine covering breakthrough research, faculty, clinical updates, events and all things KCC.

This issue’s cover story delves into the latest advances in cancer genomics and how researchers are transforming cancer treatment with focused genomics.

“The work of Dr. Paolo Fortina and the staff in the Cancer Genomics Shared Facility allow the cancer center to provide the highest quality genomic analysis using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). The technology allows us to determine the molecular drivers of an individual patient’s tumor. With NGS, we will provide more specific therapy, targeting the molecular mechanisms driving an individual patient’s tumor. In this way, we will provide the most specific and least toxic therapies for all patients who come to our door,” writes Richard G. Pestll, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the KCC, in this issue’s “Director’s Perspective.”

Look for Q&A sections on researchers and clinical staff, the latest in melanoma and breast cancer research, the phase I clinical trial program, and past and future events, including November’s Men’s Event with comedian Jay Mohr.

To read the online version of the 2012 Fall/Winter “Milestones” magazine, please visit
http://www.kimmelcancercenter.org/about/Fall-Winter-2012-Milestones.pdf



Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Ranked Among Best for Cancer by U.S. News & World Report

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital has again been ranked as one of the nation’s best hospitals for cancer care by the U.S. News & World Report, coming in at No. 20 in the 2012 Best Hospitals survey.

Last year, Jefferson ranked 31st in the nation for cancer.

In addition, the hospital was ranked number three in the state of Pennsylvania and number two in the Philadelphia metro area.

This year, the institution ranked among the best in the nation in 11 specialty areas, including cancer. What’s more, there was a dramatic improvement in nine of those 11 ranked specialties.

U.S. News & World Report this year named Thomas Jefferson University Hospital 7th in the nation in orthopedics, 12th in pulmonology, and 14th for rehabilitation medicine.  Jefferson was also nationally ranked in diabetes and endocrinology (25), ear nose and throat (16), gastroenterology (22), geriatrics (31), gynecology (40), nephrology (39), and urology (27).

The urology ranking is 21 places higher than last year.

“Jefferson University Hospital is again honored to be among the top hospitals across so many specialties.  This recognition is a reflection of our commitment to our patients and providing a standard of care that is among the very best in the nation and the region.  Our clinicians and staff work tirelessly to move us forward and provide the high-quality care the community has come to expect from Jefferson,” said David P. McQuaid, FACHE, President, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Inc.

Since its establishment in 1825, this academic medical center has provided nationally recognized care intended to improve the health of all the communities it serves. Jefferson accomplishes its mission in partnership with Thomas Jefferson University and as a member of the Jefferson Health System.



ATP: From Bystander to Actor in Kinase Regulation

Tung O. Chan, Ph.D.

A new function of ATP—beyond its passive roles as an energy source and a phosphate donor for phosphorylation reactions—was unraveled by Jefferson researchers.

Their studies revealed a new model of kinase regulation, whereby ATP modulates an “on-off-switch” mechanism in Akt by inducing conformational changes in the Akt kinase domain.

The three members of the Akt protein kinase family play key roles in multiple cellular processes, including glucose metabolism, cell survival and proliferation, and cell migration. The Jefferson team’s data was reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and was the subject of a perspective in Science Signaling in their May issue, entitled “Uncaging Akt.”

Jefferson paper’s senior author Tung O. Chan, Ph.D., assistant professor at Jefferson’s Center for Translational Medicine and Ulrich Rodeck, M.D., Ph.D., professor at the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology, indicate that their work, together with a complimentary study by Genentech researchers, describes a new mechanism with high translational appeal.

Ulrich Rodeck, M.D., Ph.D.

A molecular switch that affects the activation state of specific Akt isoforms may be exploited to modulate Akt signal strength in malignant diseases, as well as in diabetes and diseases of the heart and the central nervous system.

The Jefferson studies were conducted by a team of investigators at the Center for Translational Medicine, Department of Medicine and Kimmel Cancer Center, in collaboration with colleagues in the Departments of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology, Radiation Oncology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and Pharmaceutical Sciences.



Dr. Karen Knudsen and Dr. Renato Iozzo receive Distinguished Mentor Awards.

On Monday, June 11, 2012, at the Annual Jefferson Postdoctoral Research Symposium, Dr. Karen Knudsen and Dr. Renato Iozzo were honored with The Distinguished Mentor Award. The Distinguished Mentor Award was established to recognize Jefferson faculty members that excel in the mentoring of postdoctoral fellows. The award also serves to highlight the importance of positive and effective mentoring of postdoctoral fellows. A good mentor not only teaches his/her mentees but serves as an advocate, advisor and positive role model during the period of direct training and most often, in the following years. It is our hope that the Distinguished Mentor will serve as a model for the entire university and help to enhance the culture of mentoring at Jefferson.



Dawn Scardino named 2012 LLS Woman of the Year

Dawn Scardino named LLS Woman of the Year

Dawn Scardino, Coordinator of Academic Services in the Department of Medical Oncology, was named the 2012 Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Woman of the Year for the eastern Pennsylvania Chapter.

Dawn took the top recognition for raising almost $27,000 in a 10-week fundraising “race” that began on Jan. 30 and ended on April 12.  Four women and nine men took part in the race.

Participants had 10 weeks (Dawn did it in eight!) to organize and run their campaigns, with the goal of raising the most money in their chapters. The man and woman who raises the most are named the winners.

The winners–the top male prize went to Anthony Falco, who raised over $200,000–were announced at the Grand Finale Celebration at the Union League of Philadelphia on April 12.

In total, the whole group raised almost $443,000.

All proceeds from the effort go to the LLS, whose mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life for patients with these diseases.

The funds Dawn raised are in honor of LLS’s Boy of the Year, Andrew Clark, a 13-year-old leukemia survivor who began his battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, at the age of 3.

Since 1949, the LLS has funded over $680 million in medical research aimed at curing different cancers. LLS supports therapies that not only help blood cancer patients but are now used to treat patients with rare forms of stomach and skin cancers and are being tested in clinical trials for patients with a range of cancers including lung, brain, breast, pancreatic and prostate.

Dawn started at Jefferson in 1991.  Since her arrival in Medical Oncology in 2008 she has helped with the recruitment of 27 new faculty members to the department. This was Dawn’s first year participating in the LLS campaign race.



Kimmel Cancer Center Founding Directors Portrait Unveiled


Dr. Richard G. Pestell, Martha Mayer Erlebacher, Dr. Carlo M. Croce, Dr. Richard L. Davidson

A portrait of Dr. Carlo Croce, the founding Director of the Jefferson Kimmel Cancer Center, painted by Philadelphia artist Martha Erlebacher, was unveiled on Tuesday, April 10, 2012, at 4:00 PM in the Bluemle Life Sciences Building.

Martha Mayer Erlebacher has been recognized as one of the leading representational figurative and still-life artists in America who has shown her work nationally and internationally. A number of books and periodicals feature her work, much of which “examines the deep metaphorical and social themes of contemporary culture through her painterly and aesthetic images.”

Dr. Croce is world-renowned for his contributions involving the genes and genetic mechanisms implicated in the pathogenesis of human cancer. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine in the United States and the Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze detta deiXL in Italy. He has earned a plethora of awards in recognition of his hard work and dedication including two Outstanding Investigator awards from the National Cancer Institute and most recently, an Elected Membership to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Joesph S. Gonnella and Dr. Carlo M. Croce

Dr. Croce is a principal investigator on eleven federal research grants and has more than 950 peer-reviewed, published research papers. A native of Milan, Italy, Dr. Croce earned his medical degree, summa cum laude, in 1969 from the School of Medicine, University of Rome. He began his career in the United States the following year as an associate scientist at the Wistar Institute of Biology and Anatomy in Philadelphia. In 1980, he was named Wistar Professor of Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania and Institute Professor and Associate Director of the Wistar Institute, titles he held until 1988. From 1988-91, he was Director of the Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

In 1991 Dr. Croce was named Director of the Kimmel Cancer Institute at Thomas Jefferson University.  While here, Dr. Croce discovered the role of microRNAs in cancer pathogenesis and progression, implicating a new class of genes in cancer causation.  After thirteen years as Director of the Kimmel Cancer Center, Dr. Croce moved to Ohio State University in 2004.  Under his direction at OSU, faculty within the Human Cancer Genetics Program conduct both clinical and basic research.  Basic research projects focus on how genes are activated and inactivated, how cell-growth signals are transmitted and regulated within cells, and how cells interact with the immune system. Clinical research focuses on discovering genes linked to cancer and mutations that predispose people to cancer.