Half-Match Bone Marrow Transplant Procedure Yields Promising Outcomes for Cancer Patients

Dolores Grosso, DNP, Co-Principal Investigator and lead author of the article

Half-matched bone marrow or stem cell transplants for blood cancer patients have typically been associated with disappointing clinical outcomes. However, a clinical trial conducted at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson testing its unique, two-step half-match procedure has produced some promising results: the probability of overall survival was 45 percent in all patients after three years and 75 percent in patients who were in remission at the time of the transplant.

Reporting in the journal Blood in a published-ahead-of-print article dated August 25, Neal Flomenberg, M.D., Chair of the Department of Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Dolores Grosso, DNP, Co-Principal Investigator and lead author of the article, and colleagues discuss the results of 27 patients treated on this phase I/II trial who had diagnoses that included leukemia, lymphoma and myelodysplasia.

The patients received their transplant in two steps. First, after receiving radiation therapy to further treat their disease, the patients were given a specified dose of T cells (a type of immune cell that fights infection) from their half-matched family donor. The donors were parents, siblings or children of the patient. The patients next received the drug cyclophosphamide to help the newly infused donor T cells to be more tolerant to the patient’s body. The second step of the transplant occurred when the patients received a dose of their donors’ stem cells to help their blood counts return to normal and further strengthen their new immune system.

Dr. Flomenberg and his team found that after a follow-up of 28-56 months, overall survival for the patients after one year was 54 percent and 48 percent at three years. Patients in remission at the time of the transplant fared better with an overall survival of 75 percent. Seventeen of the 27 patients—with a median age of 52 years old—were alive six months after their transplant, which was the official end point of the trial.

While more recent studies have shown promising increases in overall survival for patients undergoing half-match transplants, historically, clinical outcomes for these types of transplants have been poor, which has limited the use of this type of procedure.

The results of the Jefferson trial represent a very promising improvement in this area.

Bone marrow or stem cell transplants are performed in order to replace a patient’s diseased immune system with that of a healthy donor. Traditionally, the use of a genetically fully matched donor has been associated with the best results in bone marrow transplant, but many patients lack a fully-matched related or unrelated donor. Almost every patient will have a half-matched donor (also known as a haploidentical donor) in their family, however.

The successful use of haploidentical donors would greatly expand the number of donors available to a patient, extending this therapy to almost everyone who would benefit from receiving a transplant.  This would include minority patients, including patients with sickle cell anemia, who do not have as many fully-matched unrelated donors available to them.

“Our half-match bone marrow transplant results open up many doors for different types of patients who can’t find an exact match,” said Dr. Flomenberg. “It also justifies recommending that patients at high risk for relapse should consider having a half-match transplant early in the treatment of their disease.”

“Jefferson’s two-step procedure provides promising results that could serve as the basis for further exploration and optimization of the technique,” he added.

Jefferson medical oncologists’ approach is unique in that the dosage, timing and treatment of donor T cells was carefully controlled and optimized. No other transplant regimen controls the exact amount of donor T cells given.  The investigators believe that dosing the T cells in this way helped avoid many of the life-threatening side effects of this type of transplant.

“We believe the dosage and timing of T cells from the donor into the patient is essential for success. In fact, it’s equally as important as prescribing specific doses of radiation and chemotherapy to initially treat the disease,” said Dr. Grosso. “The goal of this two-step regimen was to develop a better technique for half-matched patients with relapsed blood cancers initially, but we also showed that it can be appropriate for high risk patients earlier in their disease who lacked fully matched donor options.”



Robert B. Den, M.D., Joins the Department of Radiation Oncology at Jefferson

Robert M. Den, M.D., Department of Radiation Oncology

Radiation oncologist Robert B. Den, M.D., recently joined Thomas Jefferson University Hospital as an attending physician, and was also named an assistant professor at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in the Department of Radiation Oncology.

Dr. Den is a clinical scientist who specializes in the treatment of prostate cancer, combining his laboratory research that investigates novel anticancer agents in combination with radiation and hormonal therapy for locally advanced and high risk prostate cancer.

A graduate of Yale University with a B.S. in chemistry, Dr. Den received his medical degree from Harvard University in 2006. Dr. Den’s postgraduate training began at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston as an intern of medicine before becoming a resident in radiation oncology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital from 2007 to 2010, and ultimately serving as chief resident (2010-2011).

Dr. Den will serve as a radiation oncologist in the Bodine Center for Radiation Therapy at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson.

“I’m looking forward to continuing my prostate cancer research with my colleagues here at Jefferson, including the department’s chair, Dr. Adam Dicker, and Dr. Karen Knudsen,” said Dr. Den. “What’s equally important is taking that research to bedside so patients may benefit.”

“Our goal is to personalize the care for each man with prostate cancer, to effectively eradicate the disease,” he added.

Dr. Den is the 2010 recipient of the prestigious Prostate Cancer Foundation Ben Franklin Young Investigator Award. That work is examining the importance of the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor gene, RB, in the response of prostate cancer cells to radiation and hormonal therapy. The research begins to address the ability to personalize therapy based on RB status.

Expanding on that research, Dr. Den is also the principal investigator for a Department of Defense Physician Research Training Award to study whether RB can be used to determine which therapeutic modalities should be administered to patients with locally advanced prostate cancer.  He is also working towards opening a clinical trial to study preoperative radiation for high risk prostate cancer patients.

Dr. Den is member of several professional societies including the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and has co-authored over 25 scientific papers, abstracts and book chapters.



A Tumor Suppressor May Also Fight Obesity

The hormone receptor guanylyl cyclase C (GCC) has been established as a suppressor of colorectal cancer tumors, but new evidence from Thomas Jefferson University suggests it may also help fight one of the country’s biggest pandemics: obesity.

Reporting in the August 25 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Scott Waldman, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Jefferson, and colleagues found that silencing GCC affected appetite in mice, disrupting satiation and inducing obesity. Conversely, mice who expressed the hormone receptor knew when to call it quits at mealtime.

Revealing a never-before-shown endocrine axis between the intestine and hypothalamus, the research could provide novel therapeutic targets to control appetite, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, a promising notion, given that one-third of the U.S. population is considered obese.

Until now, the role of GCC outside the gut has remained elusive. Dr. Waldman and his team have previously shown its role as a tumor suppressor and biomarker that reveals occult metastases in lymph nodes. But its role in appetite is new and surprising territory.

“We were working with GCC-deficient mice to look at its role in tumorigenesis in the intestine,” said Dr. Waldman.  “Then the mice grew up, and we noticed something: They got fatter.

“We couldn’t understand why it was happening, because GCC is expressed predominantly in intestine, and there was no indication that it regulated any function that had to do with metabolism and nutrient uptake.”

To investigate this, Dr. Waldman, who also leads the Gastrointestinal Malignancies Program at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, and his colleagues raised both GCC mice and GCC deficient mice, tracking their weight, satiation responses, hepatic and serum triglyceride measurements, hormone receptor expression, and physical activity.

When food was digested by the mice, they found, the gut released hormones into the blood stream, not just within the intestines, and up into the brain, where the hormone receptors were triggered. Mice with GCC knew when to stop, but hormone receptor-deficient mice never got the message that their stomachs were full. They simply kept eating and became obese.

“They got to be diabetic and developed the metabolic syndrome, fatty livers, etc.” Dr. Waldman said. “We ruled out usual suspects: gastroenterology function was normal. They weren’t more sedentary than wild type mice. And they did not have abnormal metabolism. We realized they just have a different appetite.”

The research offers up a new neural-gut axis that explains appetite more, but it still begs some questions: Do obese people possess little to no GCC? And if so, does that mean obese people have a genetic disposition to gain weight?

It’s possible, said Dr. Waldman, but it’s still unclear. There is the possibility that obese people do not have the receptor or they do not release enough hormones to trigger the receptor. More studies are needed to better explain this, he added.

“Obesity could be biological, and not behavioral,” said Dr. Waldman. “But there is no evidence here that confirms that; however, knowing this new information opens that possibility.”



ADVANCE for Nurses Magazine Features KCC’s Senior Adult Oncology Center

The multidisciplinary staff at the Center assesses the many health challenges confronting senior adults and recommends a personalized cancer treatment plan for each patient. Jefferson staff members Pat Dugan, Vicki Squire and Barb Daulerio were interviewed for the article.

The nursing magazine, ADVANCE for Nurses, put the spotlight recently on the Senior Adult Oncology Center at Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center, and its unique approach to senior cancer care. The multidisciplinary staff assesses the many health challenges confronting senior adults and recommends a personalized cancer treatment plan for each patient.

Cancer care coordinator for the Jefferson Senior Adult Oncology Center, Barbara Daulerio, BSN, RN, explains in an Advance for Nurses story, “This clinic examines what cancer treatment means to a specific person. Age alone does not determine functional capacity; our comprehensive geriatric assessment is able to give us a much clearer idea of what sort of cancer treatments a patient can or cannot tolerate.”

Learn more by reading “Tailored Treatment: Senior Cancer Care Personalizes Healing at the Kimmel Cancer Center.”

Also, see the photo gallery of the center and our staff —  “Senior Oncology Care: A Personalized Approach to Special Patient Population” — featured on the magazine’s website.

ADVANCE for Nurses provides concise, practical information on clinical, management, professional and career development issues for nurses practicing in all areas of the profession. The magazine is in print serving five regions that cover all 50 states, and online with regional websites serving nurses across the country.



Blocking Receptor in Key Hormone Fires Up Enzyme to Kill Pancreatic Cancer Cells

Hwyda Arafat, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University

Pancreatic cancer researchers at Thomas Jefferson University have shown, for the first time, that blocking a receptor of a key hormone in the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) reduces cancer cell growth by activating the enzyme AMPK to inhibit fatty acid synthase, the ingredients to support cell division.

With that, a new chemopreventive agent that inhibits the angiotensin II type 2 receptor—never before thought to play a role in tumor growth—could be developed to help treat one of the fastest-moving cancers that has a 5-year survival rate of only 5 percent.

Hwyda Arafat, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and the co-director of the Jefferson Pancreatic, Biliary and Related Cancers Center, and her fellow researchers, including the chair of the Department of Surgery at Jefferson, Charles J. Yeo, M.D., FACS, present their findings in the August issue of Surgery.

Angiotensin II (AngII) is the principal hormone in the RAS that regulates our blood pressure and water balance; it has two receptors: type 1 and type 2. AngII is also generated actively in the pancreas and has been shown to be involved in tumor angiogenesis.

Previous studies have pointed to the hormone’s type 1 receptor as the culprit in cancer cell proliferation and tumor inflammation; however, the idea that type 2 had any effect was never entertained.

By looking at pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) cells in vitro, Jefferson researchers discovered that the type 2 receptor, not just type 1, mediates the production of fatty acid synthase (FAS), which has been shown to supply the cell wall ingredients necessary for cancer cells to multiply.

FAS was previously identified as a possible oncogene in the 1980s. It is up-regulated in breast cancers and is indicator of poor prognosis, and thus believed to be a worthwhile chemopreventive target.

“AngII is not just involved in cell inflammation and angiogenesis; it’s involved in tumor metabolism as well,” said Dr. Arafat, a member of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. “It promotes FAS with both receptors, which makes the tumor grow.”

“Blocking the type 2 receptor reduces PDA cell growth with the activation of AMPK, revealing a new mechanism by which chemoprevention can exploit,” she added. “In fact, maybe combined blocking of the two receptors would be more efficient than just blocking one receptor.”

AMPK, or adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, is the focus of several agents today, including ones for diabetes and related metabolic diseases. It is a master metabolic regulator for cells that is activated in times of reduced energy availability, like starvation. Activation of AMPK has been shown to improve energy homeostasis, lipid profile and blood pressure. The enzyme also activates a well-known tumor suppressor, p53.

“The main thing is activation of AMPK in tumor cells,” said Dr. Arafat. “AMPK is the perfect candidate as it regulates multiple targets that both halt tumor cell division and activate programmed cell death. Although it is yet to be determined how the type 2 receptor imposes deregulation of AMPK activity, identification of the type 2 receptor as a novel target for therapy is very exciting”

Next, Dr. Arafat and fellow researchers are proposing to take this research into animal studies. They hope to target the receptors early on in the disease to better understand its prevention capabilities and also study its treatment potential. Considering pancreatic cancer is typically detected in later stages, finding better ways to treat cases that have progressed further along would be of great benefit to patients.



Leukemia Drug Reverses Tamoxifen-Resistance in Breast Cancer Cells

Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson demonstrate drug combination’s “antioxidant effect” on cancer cells and fibroblasts

Taking a leukemia chemotherapy drug may help breast cancer patients who don’t respond to tamoxifen overcome resistance to the widely-used drug, new research from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson suggests.

Interestingly, researchers found that tamoxifen combined with dasatinib, a protein-tyrosine kinase inhibitor, reverses the chemo-resistance caused by cancer-associated fibroblasts in the surrounding tissue by normalizing glucose intake and reducing mitochondrial oxidative stress, the process that fuels the cancer cells.

Previous animal studies have confirmed that combining tyrosine kinase inhibitors with anti-estrogen therapies, like tamoxifen, can prevent drug resistance, but none have suggested that the target of the inhibitors is the cancer-associated fibroblasts.

The researchers report their findings in the August 1 issue of Cell Cycle.

About 70 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer will have estrogen receptor positive (ER(+)) disease, which indicates that the tumor may respond to tamoxifen. However, a large percentage of these tumors—up to 35 percent—have little to no response to the drug or eventually develop resistance to it.

In this study, researchers sought to better understand drug resistance by looking at the metabolic basis in an ER (+) cell line and cancer-associated fibroblasts. The researchers have previously established a relationship between the two, where cancer cells induce aerobic glycolysis by secreting hydrogen peroxide in adjacent fibroblasts via oxidative stress. In turn, these fibroblasts provide nutrients to the cancer cells to proliferate, a process that ultimately makes tumors grow.

Here, they investigated and then demonstrated that this interaction was also the basis of tamoxifen resistance.

In a sense, the drug combination had an “antioxidant effect” in these types of cancer cells, according to Michael P. Lisanti, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and a member of the Kimmel Cancer Center.

“The fibroblasts are what make ER (+) cancer cells resistant to the tamoxifen,” said Dr. Lisanti. “But the tamoxifen plus dasatinib maintained both fibroblasts and cancer cells in a ‘glycolytic state,’ with minimal oxidative stress and more cell death, most likely because of an absence of metabolic coupling. The supply between the two was cut.”

“This suggests resistance to chemotherapeutic agents is a metabolic and stromal phenomenal,” he added.

Researchers showed that ER (+) cancer cells alone responded to tamoxifen but when co-cultured with human fibroblasts had little to no effect. Similarly, dasatinib, a chemotherapy drug used to treat leukemia patients who can no longer benefit from other medications, had no effect on fibroblasts alone or cancer cells. Together, however, the drugs prevented the cancer cells co-cultured with the fibroblasts from using high-energy nutrients from the fibroblasts.

This combination resulted in nearly 80 percent cell death, the team reported—a two to three fold increase when compared with tamoxifen alone.

“The drugs have no effect when they are used alone—it’s in unison when they effectively kill the cancer cells in the presence of fibroblasts,” said Dr. Lisanti. “This opens up the door for possible new treatment strategies. This ‘synthetic lethality’ may help patients overcome resistance in the clinic.”

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Researchers involved in the study include Ubaldo E. Martinez-Outschoorn, of the Jefferson Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Center and Department of Medical Oncology; Zhao Lin, of the Departments of Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine and Cancer Biology;Ying-Hui Ko, of the Departments of Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine and Cancer Biology; Allison F. Goldberg, of the Department of Surgery; Neal Flomenberg, chair of the Department of Medical Oncology; Chenguang Wang, of the Departments of Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine and Cancer Biology; Stephanos Pavlides, of the Departments of Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine and Cancer Biology; Richard G. Pestell, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson and Chair of the Department of Cancer Biology; Anthony Howell, of the Manchester Breast Centre & Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Unit; and Federica Sotgia, of the Departments of Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine and Cancer Biology.



Radiation after prostate removal is cost-effective, but less likely to be recommended by urologists

Timothy Showalter, MD, Department of Radiation Oncology

Receiving radiation therapy immediately after a radical prostatectomy is a cost-effective treatment for prostate cancer patients when compared with waiting and acting on elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, according to a new study by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital.

What’s more, a separate, but related study, found that urologists were less likely than radiation oncologists to recommend adjuvant radiation therapy or to believe it improves overall survival.

There has been question over whether administering adjuvant radiation therapy after removing the prostate is an appropriate course of action because of associated toxicities, risk of overtreatment and costs, even with data supporting its benefits to overall survival, but a new decision analysis published online in the Annals of Oncology on June 9 found that the procedure is a practical option for patients.

“This work demonstrates that adjuvant radiation therapy is a cost-effective strategy for selected patients after prostatectomy,” said Laura Pizzi, PharmD, associate professor at the Jefferson School of Pharmacy, and senior author of the study. “It is typical for cancer treatments to provide clinical be

nefit at a cost; however, the cost per success that we reported for adjuvant radiation therapy is on the low end when one broadly considers the cost per success reported for other cancer treatments.”

The objective of the study was to construct a decision analytic model to estimate the real world cost of adjuvant radiation therapy versus observation from the payers’ perspective, using peer-reviewed, published data from a Southwest Oncology Group prospective, randomized trial. Side effects, overtreatment and the price tag were taken into account.

Nearly one-third of newly diagnosed men with prostate cancer—almost 220,000 men were diagnosed in 2010—undergo radical prostatectomy. Previous studies have shown that adjuvant radiation therapy improves biochemical progression-free survival and overall survival for these patients; however, most do not receive the treatment.

“Despite being shown to be effective, less than 20 percent of qualifying patients receive it,” said Timothy Showalter, M.D., assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University, associate research member of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, and lead author of the study. “Although not all patients will benefit from adjuvant radiation therapy, the level of utilization is low

er than expected based on the positive, published results of randomized clinical trials.”

“Studies like this one are an important step toward establishing the value of this treatment and suggest that adjuvant radiation therapy should have a role in the treatment of selected patients. Our group has embarked on a large-scale research program to evaluate and improve treatments after prostatectomy for patients with high-risk prostate cancer, and these studies are critical foundational accomplishments,” he added.

Side effects, risk of overtreatment (the subset of patients who may not have failed PSA tests after radiation therapy despite adverse pathologic factors) and the high price have cast some doubts for patients and physicians alike. In many cases, physicians choose to observe patients closely with serial PSA tests and offer radiation therapy only as a salvage treatment after a rise in the PSA levels.

But this new analysis, Dr. Showalter says, “substantiates the benefit of adjuvant radiation therapy,” taking these factors into consideration, including toxicity and overtreatment.

Another study by Dr. Showalter and colleagues, published online in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics on May 25, attempted to gauge physician beliefs and practices for adjuvant radiation therapy after a radical prostatectomy.

Leonard Gomella, MD, Department of Urology

Significant discordance was identified. An online survey found that urologists were less likely to recommend radiation therapy immediately after a radical prostatectomy than radiation oncologists. Instead, those clinicians most likely opt to perform frequent PSA tests to monitor cancer, recommending salvage therapy if levels become elevated.

The investigators designed a Web-based survey of post-radiation prostatectomy radiation therapy beliefs and policies. A total of 218 radiation oncologists and 92 urologists completed the survey instrument. Adjuvant radiation therapy after a radical prostatectomy was recommended for qualifying patients by 78 percent of radiation oncologists and only 44 percent of urologists.

Urologists were also less likely to believe that adjuvant radiation therapy improves overall survival (71 percent of radiation oncologists vs. 63 percent of urologists), and perceived higher rates of radiation-related toxicities than radiation oncologists. Physicians’ estimates of radiation-induced urinary problems affected their likelihood of recommending radiation therapy.

The fact that adjuvant radiation therapy use has not increased since the publication of randomized trials supporting the therapy suggests that clinicians have not embraced it, according to the researchers.

“These two studies provide important insights into decision-making regarding radiation therapy after prostatectomy,” said Leonard Gomella, M.D., the Bernard W. Godwin, Jr. Professor of Prostate Cancer and Chairman of the Department of Urology at Thomas Jefferson University. “The disagreement between urologists and radiation oncologists highlights the need for additional research to determine the role of adjuvant therapy in selected patients, and is another example of the importance of multidisciplinary prostate cancer care for our patients to make informed medical decisions.”



Director of KCC, Dr. Richard Pestell, in July issue of Runner’s World

July 2011 Issue of Runner's World

Dr. Richard Pestell, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson and former national-class distance runner, was featured in the July issue of Runner’s World.

Dr. Pestell spoke with the magazine for the cover story titled “Outrunning Cancer”–which focused on the running community’s ability to raise million of dollars each year to fight cancer.

“When the story of cancer meets a runner’s story, the combination can be quite powerful,” said Dr. Pestell.

Read the full feature story here: “Outrunning Cancer: Team Effort” by John Brant.

Dr. John Wagner, of the medical oncology department and also a runner, was mentioned in the article, as well.



Bernadette E. Garofola Named ASRT Fellow

Bernadette E. Garofola, chief radiation therapist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

Bernadette E. Garofola, M.Ed., R.T.(R)(T)(CT), chief radiation therapist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, has been named a Fellow of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.

Ms. Garofola was honored at a ceremony on June 18 at the ASRT Annual Governance and House of Delegates Meeting in Albuquerque, N.M.

The honorary Fellow category was established by ASRT in 1956 to recognize members who have made outstanding contributions to the profession and to ASRT. Fellows have volunteered in leadership positions at the national and local levels, written articles for publication, presented at professional meetings and helped advance the radiologic science profession.

Backed by a radiologic science career that spans nearly 30 years, Ms. Garofola has participated in ASRT volunteer activities since she joined the association in 1986. In addition to serving terms as a delegate for the Radiation Therapy and Management Chapters, she has been a member of a number of ASRT communities including the Committee on R.T. Advocacy, Committee on Bylaws and Committee on Nominations. She also is a member of the Philadelphia Society of Radiologic Technologists and served as its president in 2001.

For more information about ASRT and the radiologic science profession, visit www.asrt.org.



Edith Mitchell Receives ‘Practitioner of the Year’ Award from Philadelphia County Medical Society

Edith Mitchell, M.D.

Edith Mitchell, M.D., clinical professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, was named 2011 “Practitioner of the Year” Award by the Philadelphia County Medical Society (PCMS).

For her excellence in clinical care and community service, Dr. Mitchell will be presented the award on Saturday, June 11, during the PCMS President’s Ball at the Ace Conference Center in Lafayette Hill, Pa., celebrating the installation of its 150th president.

“For over 165 years, this society has been advocating for the best in healthcare for all the citizens of Philadelphia,” said Dr. Mitchell, who is also Associate Director for Diversity Programs at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. “It’s a great honor to be part of those efforts and recognized for it with this award.”

Dr. Mitchell has spent her medical career helping individuals in medically underserved areas to realize that simple changes in lifestyle can have a dramatic impact on cancer care. Through her work, Dr. Mitchell has demonstrated the importance of community service and outreach especially to those individuals who may not have the means to seek out more conventional medical advice.

She received a bachelor of science in Biochemistry “With Distinction” from Tennessee State University and her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. Dr. Mitchell entered active duty after completion of her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Meharry Medical College and a fellowship in Medical Oncology at Georgetown University. She is now a retired Brigadier General from the United States Air Force.

Dr. Mitchell’s research in pancreatic cancer and other gastrointestinal malignancies involves new drug evaluation and chemotherapy, development of new therapeutic regimens, chemoradiation strategies for combined modality therapy, patient selection criteria and supportive care for patients with gastrointestinal cancer.

She travels nationally and internationally teaching and lecturing on the treatment of gastrointestinal malignancies.

As a distinguished researcher, she has received numerous Cancer Research and Principal Investigator Awards, and serves on the National Cancer Institute Review Panel and the Cancer Investigations Review Committee.  She has also authored and co-authored more than 100 articles, book chapters, and abstracts on cancer treatment, prevention, and cancer control.



KCC American Cancer Society Research Symposium

The 3rd Annual Kimmel Cancer Center American Cancer Society Research Symposium will be held today at 2 p.m. in 101 BLSB.

KCC Director Richard Pestell, M.D, Ph.D, will present the keynote address and 2010 American Cancer Society-Institutional Research Grant Award recipients.

Amy Leader, DrPH, MPH, and Hushan Yang, Ph.D, will discuss their research. A reception will follow.

This event celebrates the ACS Institutional Research Grant at Thomas Jefferson University, which provides support for junior faculty members performing cancer research.



Dr. Pestell and the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital to be honored by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure

pestell

Dr. Richard G. Pestell

Dr. Richard Pestell, Director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, will receive the “Light of Life” award at the 2010 Susan G. Komen Pink Tie Ball on Saturday, October 16.  Also that evening the “Beacon of Hope” award to the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital  will be accepted by Thomas J. Lewis, President and CEO, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. For more information about the Susan G. Komen For The Cure Philadelphia Pink Tie Ball – please see  web page or pdf file.