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. 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.



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





KCC Researchers Awarded $480,000 from Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Richard Pestell, MD, PhD and Andrew Quong, PhD

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation recently announced that Dr. Richard Pestell and Dr. Andrew Quong received unanimous approval for studies in breast cancer, the second most prevalent cancer-related cause of death in women in the United States.

Beginning October 1, 2013, Dr. Pestell will receive $240,000 to continue the “Molecular Genetic determinants of Breast Cancer Stem Cells” study and Dr. Quong will receive $240,000 to continue the “Clinical Proteomics for Breast Cancer Diagnostics” study.

Dr. Pestell’s study will focus on basal breast cancer including triple negative breast cancer, defined by the absence of three receptors (estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 [HER2]). Triple negative breast cancer is prominent among African-American women, and currently no targeted therapies for this type of breast cancer exist. Within human breast cancer a subset of cells have characteristics of stem cells (BTIC), which may contribute to recurrence and therapeutic resistance. The mechanism by which the gene DACH1 inhibits BTIC is being determined as a new approach to enhance therapeutic responsiveness. Dr. Pestell’s findings over the last year that DACH1 binds to and enhances function of the p53 tumor suppressor, but fails to bind mutations of p53 identified in human breast cancer, adds further weight to the original hypothesis that DACH1 is a breast tumor suppressor. Dr. Pestell’s studies in 2012-2013 will continue to define the role of endogenous DACH1 as a breast cancer suppressor.

Support from BCRF has also allowed Dr. Quong to complete his studies examining changes in protein levels in breast tumors. From these observed changes, Dr. Quong’s team found changes in the metabolism of tumor cells that are related to the local microenvironment of the tumor. These changes in metabolism can potentially be exploited for both imaging and drug development. In addition, Dr. Quong has continued his work identifying markers that are indicators of toxicity and response to therapy.

In 2012-2013, the goal of Dr. Quong’s research is to determine new strategies for patient treatment that include radiation therapy. By measuring the protein and gene expression in tumors, his will use this information for choosing treatment and also monitoring the patients’ response to treatment both for effectiveness and adverse side effects.



KCC Ranked as One of Best Cancer Hospitals in US

Men’s Health magazine recently ranked the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson among the best in the nation, calling out its success in treating prostate cancer, a leading cancer in men.

The American Cancer Society estimates there will be more than 1.5 million new cancer diagnoses in 2013.

Jefferson scientist, Matthew Schiewer, Ph.D., recently received the Prostate Cancer Benjamin Franklin Young Investigator Award, and will use the funds to help find treatments for advanced-stage prostate cancers.

Jefferson is home to top-of-the-line equipment and high-tech features like electron and photon-beam treatment and complete 3-D treatment planning.  We offer comprehensive diagnostic and treatment options for prostate cancer in addition to state-of-the-art prostate imaging and biopsy service.

When indicated, a prostatectomy can be performed either laparoscopically or via open surgery.  Jefferson physicians were the first in the Delaware Valley to remove the prostate laparoscopically, and have extensive experience with and numerous scientific publications on the use of the da Vinci® Surgical System.

“It is rewarding for our team to be recognized for excellence in cancer care,” says Richard G. Pestell, MD, PhD, MBBS, FRACP, MBA, Kimmel Cancer Center Director.  “We are one of only eight NCI-Designated cancer centers in the United States with a prostate program formally reviewed and endorsed by the National Cancer Institute. This program, led by Leonard Gomella, MD and Karen Knudsen, PhD, is a powerhouse of key advances in prostate cancer.  Our leading edge research and clinical care excellence across a wide spectrum of cancer specialties, including men’s health, enable us to deliver the best outcomes for our patients.”

Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson

The Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson is a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated clinical cancer center for excellence in cancer care and research. U.S.News & World Report also recognizes Jefferson as one of the best hospitals in the nation for Cancer care. Taking into account your varied needs, our nationally renowned cancer experts bring together a team of specialists in a wide range of disciplines to work with you and your primary care or referring physician to devise a personalized treatment plan.

The physicians and scientists of the Kimmel Cancer Center have helped pioneer new approaches to cancer treatment by transforming scientific discoveries into improved patient care. Our physicians are experienced in using the most advanced treatment methods and technologies and are at the forefront of developing new therapies. As a result, you may have the opportunity to take part in one of the more than 120 clinical trials for promising new cancer treatments being conducted at Jefferson at any given time.

by Danielle Servetnick on Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 in Cancer CareIn The News.



KCC Investigator wins Prostate Cancer Foundation Benjamin Franklin Young Investigator Award

Matthew Schiewer, PhD

Matthew Schiewer, PhD

Matthew Schiewer, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Karen Knudsen’s lab in the Department of Cancer Biology, is the recent recipient of a Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award. Dr. Schiewer’s investigations will focus on the role of PARP-1 in DNA damage repair and the inhibition of PARP with specific medications as a potential therapy for advanced, metastatic prostate cancer. PARP-1 may reduce cancer progression by reducing the activity of the androgen receptor, the engine of prostate cancer. This project is highly translational in nature, and a greater understanding of the relationship between PARP inhibition and AR activity may provide new therapeutic opportunities for prostate cancer patients with advanced disease.

Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator awards are designed to promote long-term careers in the field of prostate cancer research by providing three-year grants for transformational research focused on prostate cancer advances and new treatments to improve patient outcomes. Since 2007, PCF has invested more than $25 million in Young Investigator awards.

Project Title: Determining the translation capacity of the PARP-1/AR axis in prostate cancer

For more info about the 2013 Awards please see the Prostate Cancer Foundation announcement.




Kimmel Cancer Center “All Hands” Meeting

The Kimmel Cancer Center held it’s quarterly “All Hands” meeting on May 1, 2013. Dr. Richard Pestell, Director of the Kimmel Cancer Center, delivered his quarterly “State of the Cancer Center” address. Awards were presented in four categories. A special “Lifetime Achievement” Award was presented to Jouni J. Uitto, MD. The Basic Science Award was presented to Scott Waldman, MD, PhD. The Clinical Science Award was presented to Nicole Simone, MD. The Administration Award was present to Oliver Dutton. Also a special presentation on the services offered by Cancer Genomics Shared Resource was present by Paolo Fortina, MD.

Dr, Jouni Uitto receives Special "Lifetime Acheivement" Award from Dr. Richard Pestell

Dr. Scott Waldmn Receives Basic Science Award From Dr. Richard Pestell

Dr. Nicole Simone Receives Clinical Science Award From Dr. Adam Dicker

Mr. Oliver Dutton Receives Administration Award From Ms. Mika Harding



Jefferson Post-Doc Receives National Cancer Center Fellowship

Dr. Edward Hartsough

Dr. Edward Hartsough

Edward Hartsough, Ph.D. received a post-doctoral fellowship from the National Cancer Center Organization ( http://www.nationalcancercenter.org/ ).  The fellowship grant is entitled “Next-Generation RAF Inhibitors in V600E BRAF Melanoma.”  Dr. Hartsough works in Dr. Andrew Aplin’s lab at the Kimmel Cancer Center.

The National Cancer Center was founded by Dr. J. Ernest Ayre in 1953 as a non-profit organization committed to research and education about cancer. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and its incidence is on the rise. BRAF mutations are found in half of melanomas and the funded work will study new mutant BRAF targeting agents in preclinical models.




Kimmel Cancer Center “All Hands Meeting”

The Kimmel Cancer Center held it’s quarterly “All Hands” meeting on December 12, 2012. Dr. Richard Pestell, Director of the Kimmel Cancer Center, delivered his quarterly “State of the Cancer Center” address. Awards were presented in 3 categories. The Administration Award was presented to the KCC Post-Award Administration Group (Dina Liebowitz, Melissa McDaid Dyer, Melanie Elliott, Karen Gosik, Tracey Kajkowski, Kathy Wyszynski, Rick Yellis and Pam Bachman). The Nursing Award was presented to Bone Marrow Transplant Unit (Patricia Cornett Farley, Michael Sun, Ngoc Bao Ho, Minh Duc Tran, Brendan McGuire and Barbara Stanback). The Clinical Award was presented to Matthew Carabasi, MD. There were also special presentations about upcoming Consortium-wide Pilot/Special Project Funding opportunities. Dr. Richard Davidson discussed the American Cancer Society – Institutional Research Grant. Drs. Andrew Quong and Noreen Robertson discussed the KCC Pilot Project Program (funding provided by TJU and Drexel). Dr. Banu Onaral and Mr. Davood Tashayyod discussed the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Translational Research Partnership Program.

Dr. Matthew Carabasi receives the Clinician Award from Drs. Neal Flomenberg and Richard Pestell

The Bone Marrow Transplant Unit receives the Nursing Award from Drs. Neal Flomenbger and Richard Pestell



Kimmel Cancer Center “All Hands Meeting”

The Kimmel Cancer Center held it’s quarterly “All Hands” meeting on September 12, 2012. Dr. Richard Pestell, Director of the Kimmel Cancer Center, delivered his quarterly “State of the Cancer Center” address. Awards were presented in 4 categories. The Administration Award was presented to Janene Palidora. The Nursing Award was presented to Cheryl Santosusso. The Clinical Award was presented to Vochita Bar Ad, MD. The Basic Science/”Discovery of the Year” Award was presented to George Prendergast, PhD. In addition to the KCC Awards, the “Distinguished Mentor” Award was presented to Karen Knudsen. PhD by the Jefferson College of Graduate Studies Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and the Jefferson Postdoctoral Association. Dr. Renato Iozzo also received the “Distinguished Mentor” award. See JCGS Page for more

Dr. Noreen Robertson receives the Administration Award from Drs. Richard Pestell and Richard Davidson

Ms. Janene Palindora receives Administration Award from Mr. Richard Haldeman

Ms. Cheryl Santosusso receives Nursing Award from Dr. Neal Flomenberg

Ms. Cheryl Santosusso receives Nursing Award from Dr. Neal Flomenberg

Dr. Vochita Bar Ad receives the Clinicican Award from Dr. Neal Floimenberg

Dr. George Prendergast receives Basic Science/"Discovery of the Year" Award from Dr. Richard Pestell

Dr. Karen Knudsen receives JCGS "Distinguished Mentor" Award from Dr. Lisa Kozlowski




Kimmel Cancer Center “All Hands Meeting”

The Kimmel Cancer Center held it’s quarterly “All Hands” meeting on June 19, 2012. Dr. Richard Pestell, Director of  the Kimmel Cancer Center, delivered his quarterly “State of the Cancer Center” address. Awards were presented in 3 categories. The Administration Award was presented to Rita Genovese, CPC, PCS. The Basic Science Award was presented to Adam Ertel, PhD. The Nursing Award was presented to Susan Krick, RN. The Clinical Award was presented to Edith Mitchell, MD.

Ms. Rita Genovese receives Administrative Award from Mr. Richard Haldeman

Ms. Susan Krick receives Nursing Award from Dr. Adam Dicker

Dr. Adam Ertel receives the Basic Science Award from Dr. Richard Davidson

Dr. Adam Ertel receives the Basic Science Award from Dr. Richard Davidson




Dr. Karen Knudsen Led Group Receives Million Dollar Prostate Cancer Foundation Award

Karen Knudsen, Ph.D.

A group of investigators led by Dr. Karen Knudsen was awarded a 2-year challenge grant of one million dollars by the Prostate Cancer Foundation.  The details of this award (from the PCF web site) are:

2012 Movember-PCF Challenge Award

Lead Investigator:
Karen Knudsen, PhD
Thomas Jefferson University

Title
Interrogation of Aberrant DNA Repair in Sporadic Prostate Cancer

Co-investigators: Johann De Bono, MD, PhD, Royal Marsden Hospital; Felix Feng, MD, University of Michigan; Mark Rubin, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College.

What this means to patients: Understanding the extent and impact of alterations in DNA Damage Response pathways in prostate cancer patients will target specific DNA repair problems and allow effective Precision Medicine (tailored treatment regimens) based on molecular subtyping of patient DDR alterations matched to drug therapy.

Synopsis: DNA Damage Response (DDR) pathway alterations are changes in DNA repair mechanisms that promote genomic instability and have been associated with local and advanced prostate cancer. Dr. Knudsen and team will identify and comprehensively determine the frequency of abiraterone in DDR pathways at different stages of prostate cancer progression. They will determine the clinical relevance of these DNA repair defects in prostate cancer patients and their role in the development and progression of treatment-resistant prostate cancer. Previous studies showed that the DNA repair protein PARP1 is elevated in tumors of advanced prostate cancer patients. PARP1 is recruited to sites of androgen receptor function and is required for AR activity in both hormone-dependent and treatment refractory disease. PARP inhibition therefore has dual effects on cancerous cells; 1) impairs DNA repair in tumors and, 2) suppresses AR signaling—halting cancer progression. Dr. Knudsen and colleagues will evaluate effects of combination therapy with PARP inhibitors and next generation anti-androgens in treatment-resistant prostate cancer patients.



Dr. Onder Alpdogan and Dr. Jianqing Lin Granted ACS-IRG Awards

Congratulations to Dr. Onder Alpdogan and Dr. Jianqing Lin for each being selected recipients of an ACS-IRG award.

The American Cancer Society-Institutional Research Grants (ACS-IRG) are designed to provide seed money to support junior faculty members with an interest in cancer research. The ACS defines junior faculty as investigators at the rank of assistant professor or equivalent who are eligible to apply as a principal investigator for grant support from national agencies.

Jianqing Lin, M.D., assistant professor of medical oncology


Dr. Lin’s Research Overview
The current proposal is a continuation of the concept that digoxin is an inhibitor of HIF-1a that will subsequently slow the growth of prostate cancer progression. Since the drug has minimal toxicity, it would be an ideal therapy to explore in other disease states in prostate cancer. With the awareness of over-treatment and treatment related complications in men with low-risk localized prostate cancer patients are willing to be on active surveillance. This current proposal is to examine the effects of digoxin to delay or reverse prostate cancer progression, with significant effort on tissue acquisition and to understand the molecular pathway affected with the treatment of digoxin. This study will shed light on the effects of future HIF-1a inhibitors for the treatment of prostate cancer and the foundation for future NIH funding.

Dr. Alpdogan’s Research Overview

Onder Alpdogan, M.D., assistant professor of medical oncology

Use of haploidentical HSCT in the treatment of advanced/relapsed RCC is a novel idea and has never been studied in preclinical models. We believe that haploidentical transplant model is a better platform to develop immunotherapy to solid tumors specificall renal cell carcinoma. Immunological response would be faster than other transplant models because of MHC disparity. This innovative new approach might give us an opportunity to develop new treatment strategies for patients with resistant/relapsed RCC after exhausting standard therapy including cytokine (IL-2) and Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKIs). These studies will not only generate new information about clinically relevant treatment strategies, but also provide substantial new findings about stem cell biology and transplantation.



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.