Billingsleys Host SKCC at Jefferson Cancer Care Staff At Phillies Game

Chad Billingsley

Chad Billingsley

Tiffnay and husband Chad Billingsley (Philadelphia Phillie Pitcher), will host a 100 Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Oncology staff at the Philadelphia Phillies – Los Angeles Dodgers game on Wednesday, August 5th 2015. Mrs. Billingsley is about to complete a successful treatment regime at the SKCC for a very rare form of gynecological cancer. For more information please see the Phillies web posting

Dr. Edith Mitchell Invited to Speak at the White House

Dr. Edith Mitchell

Dr. Edith Mitchell

Edith Mitchell, M.D., FACP, Clinical Professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology in the Department of Medical Oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and Director, Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, has been invited to speak at the White House on July 13th 2015 at the Conference for Aging.

This is a tremendous honor and we wish her all the best!

Alex Khariton named a Member at Large of the Board of Directors of the SROA

Mr. Alex Khariton

Mr. Alex Khariton

Congratulations to Alex Khariton, RTT, MBA, Administrator, Department of Radiation Oncology, Thomas Jefferson University, for being named to the Society for Radiation Oncology Administrators Board of Directors as a Member at Large.

His term begins at the conclusion of the Annual Business meeting in San Antonio on October 18 2015.

The SKCC would like to wish Alex the all the best on his commitment to serve.

Dr. Andrew Aplin Receives New NIH/NCI R01 Grant Award

Dr. Andrew Aplin

Dr. Andrew Aplin

Congratulations to Dr. Andrew Aplin for receiving a federally award (National Institute of Health/National Cancer Institute) R01 grant for his project: Mutant BRAF-regulated transcription factors in melanoma progression.

Dr. Joshua Palmer Awarded 2015 ACRO Travel Award & CCF Oncology Trainee Travel Award

Joshua Palmer. MD

Joshua Palmer. MD

The American College of Radiation Oncology (ACRO) is pleased recognize Joshua Palmer, MD, resident of the Department of Radiation Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University for his essay on Financial Toxicity and offer him a Travel Award to attend ACRO’s 2015 Annual Meeting, to be held May 14- 16 in Arlington, Virginia.

For more about the ACRO Resident program see their website

The Conquer Cancer Foundation (CCF) of ASCO is pleased to announce that Dr. Joshua Palmer has been selected to receive a 2015 Oncology Trainee Travel Award. This awards program is part of our ongoing effort to support the continuing education and professional development of trainee oncologists. With this award Dr. Palmer will be able to attend the 2015 ASCO conference in Chicago, Il.

For more about the ACRO Resident program see their website

SKCC Students and Fellows Receive The 2015 AACR Woman In Cancer Research Scholar Awards

2015 SKCC AACR WIR Scholars

Ileine Sanchez, Dr. Jessica Teh, Dr. Mizue Terai, Arpita Mondal and Kristina Shahriari

The Women in Cancer Research (WICR) Council has selected Ileine Sanchez, BS and Jessica Teh, PhD, MizueTerai, PhD, Arpita Mondal and Kristina Shahriari as recipients of a 2015 WICR Scholar Award. The American Association for Cancer Research were especially pleased to be able to recognize Thomas Jefferson University’s Ileine Sanchez’s, Dr. Jessica Teh’s and Dr. Misue Trai’s outstanding abstracts in the field of melanoma and skin cancer research. The Lankeanu Institute of Medical Research’s Arpita Mondal’s abstract is entitled “A novel pro-angiogenic role for IDO1 in inflammatory tumor promotion”.  Drexel University School of Medicine’s Kristina Shahriari’s abstract is entiteld “Interleukin-1β secreted into the bone metastatic niche by androgen receptor-negative prostate cancer cells enables skeletal metastasis”.

WICR Scholar Awards are given annually to WICR members who are scientists-in-training and presenters of meritorious scientific papers at the AACR Annual Meeting. Selection is made based on the Program Committee’s rating of your proffered paper and recommendations from the WICR Scholar Award Selection Committee.

For more about other 2015 AACR Women In Cancer Research Scholar Awards see their website

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Recognized by Commission on Cancer (American College of Surgeons)


The Commission on Cancer (CoC), a Quality Program of the American College of Surgeons, has presented the 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA) to 75 CoC-accredited cancer programs in the U.S.
This year the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center has received this achievement.

Established in 2004, the OAA recognizes cancer programs that demonstrate excellence by earning commendation for all applicable standards and providing quality care to patients with cancer. A program earns the OAA by completing the accreditation survey and receiving a Performance Report that indicates an accreditation award of “Three-Year with Commendation” outlining the commendation ratings for the seven commendation-level standards and no deficiencies.

Currently, there are seven commendation standards:

* Standard 1.9 – Clinical Trial Accrual
* Standard 1.11 – Cancer Registrar Education
* Standard 1.12 – Public Reporting of Outcomes
* Standard 2.1 – College of American Pathologists (CAP) Protocols
* Standard 2.2 – Nursing Care
* Standard 5.2 – Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS) Participation
* Standard 5.6 – Accuracy of Data

These 75 programs received the OAA as a result of surveys performed in 2014, and represent approximately 15 percent of cancer programs surveyed during this period. The majority of recipients are community-based facilities; however, there are also academic hospitals, integrated networks, and a Veterans Affairs facility that also received this year’s award. New programs undergoing initial survey and National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated programs are not eligible to earn the OAA.

Dr. Paul Stauffer Recognized By The Society of Thermal Medicine

Dr. Paul Stauffer

Dr. Paul Stauffer

Paul Stauffer, MD, Director of Thermal Oncology and Professor of Radiation Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and has been named the recipient of the George Hahn Award at upcoming Society of Thermal Medicine Meeting meeting. The George M. Hahn Award is presented every other year to an investigator whose research has contributed in a significant way to new clinical applications in thermal therapy. This lecture is named in honor of Dr. George Hahn who received the first Robinson Award in 1989. Dr. Hahn led a highly productive clinical program grant at Stanford for many years and his fundamental work in the heat shock response and in how hyperthermia modifies chemotherapy sensitivity still stands today as foundational work. His highly productive career exemplifies the translational attributes of this award.

For more about the Society of Thermal Medicine set their website

Dr. Simone Was Selected for the NRG Cancer Prevention and Control Committee

Nicole Simone, M.D.

Nicole Simone, M.D.

Nicole Simone, MD, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology, has recently been selected for NRG Cancer Prevention and Control Committee. We want to congratulate Dr. Simone for being selected to serve on the Cancer Care Research Delivery committee.

For more about the committee see the NRG Site

Dr. Myers Invited To Share His Research At Preventive Oncology Meeting

Ronald E. Myers, Ph.D.

Ronald E. Myers, Ph.D.

Ronald Myers, PhD, Professor of Medical Onocology, was invited to share his work on CRC screening as one of 3 “Best of CEBP” presentations at the recent American Society for Preventive Oncology 39th Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Alabama on March 16, 2015.

For more about the ASPO meeting see the agenda


SKCC Scientists Show That Cancer Cells Can Use Exosome Transfer To Pass On Agressive Traits

Dr. Lucia Languino

Dr. Lucia Languino

Until recently, researchers thought that cell division was the only way for an aggressive cancer cell to pass its traits along. New evidence is showing that cancers can become more dangerous by exporting aggressive traits to neighboring cells via exosomes. These small packages — bubbles — of membrane released into the extracellular environment hold pieces of host RNA, DNA and proteins. Now, a new study has shown that exosomes also can hold and transfer integrin molecules known to promote metastasis in several cancers. This discovery was made in a collaborative effort of the labs of Dr. Lucia Languino, Professor of Cancer Biology and Dr. Renato Iozzo, Professor of Pathology. Both are members of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University.

Because of the role of the αvβ6 intergrin in prostate cancer, Languino, first author Carmine Fedele and colleagues investigated whether the αvβ6 integrin might be transferred between cells via exosomes. The researchers examined the exosomes released from prostate cancer cell lines known to express the αvβ6 integrin and found that the exosomes were enriched with this integrin. The research also was supported by the work of Amrita Singh, a graduate student in Languino’s lab.

The results were published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. “This is an important addition to the research showing that tumors have novel ways of spreading aggressive traits,” says senior author Dr. Lucia Languino.

For more info see the Journal of Biological Chemistry Article or the ASBMB Press Release

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

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

Ed Federico
Media Relations Manager

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 and 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. 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.

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. 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.