Annual Meeting Considers Shape of Things to Come in Cancer Research

PrintPerspectives on the future of cancer research and care, including the latest on CAR T-cell therapy, Big Data management, and international partnerships, will highlight the AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting, September 30 – October 2, in Chicago.

Stanton L. Gerson, MDIn the meeting’s first panel discussion, four distinguished cancer center leaders will share their insights and predictions for how academic cancer centers will evolve over the next decade. The discussion will be moderated by AACI President Stanton L. Gerson, MD, director of Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Gerson will be joined by Candace S. Johnson, PhD, president and CEO of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center; Michael B. Kastan, MD, PhD, executive director of the Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center; and Steven T. Rosen, MD, provost and chief scientific officer at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Gerson will also provide an update on AACI’s Network Care Initiative, including results of a survey looking at network management; standardization of care and the use of care paths; collaboration among cancer centers and community sites; employment network models; and access to clinical trials.

Roy Jensen, MDThe meeting will mark two major leadership transitions for AACI. Roy A. Jensen, MD, director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center, will become the association’s new president and will introduce his presidential initiative, which aims to develop a comprehensive, cancer-specific clearinghouse of model legislation for AACI cancer centers to share with their state legislators. In addition, Barbara Duffy Stewart, MPH, will preside at her final annual meeting after 19 years as AACI’s first executive director. Jennifer W. Pegher, who has served for six years at AACI as director of government relations and deputy director, will be the new executive director.

The annual meeting program includes a panel discussion on the nuts and bolts of
developing a CAR T-cell therapy program, including intake and management issues,
standard operating procedures, financial challenges, and regulatory requirements.
Approaching cancer care from a high-tech angle, a panel moderated by Moffitt Cancer
Center Director Thomas A. Sellers, MD, will convene commercial and academic players
in the Big Data arena with an eye toward enhancing dialogue and developing stronger
linkages that could lead to expanded information-sharing and improved patient care.

With a growing number of cancer centers establishing partnerships with countries in
the developing world, the AACI annual meeting will include an overview of cancer
research and treatment efforts in several countries including Kenya, Malawi, and Cuba,
where U.S. sanctions are creating unique collaboration challenges.

Meeting attendees will also hear a report from NCI Director Norman E. Sharpless, MD,
and a panel will examine revised guidelines for NCI’s Cancer Center Support Grant
application.

Richard and Susan RogelOn Monday, October 1, AACI will present its first Champion for Cures Award to Richard and Susan Rogel in recognition of their $150 million gift to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, which was renamed Rogel Cancer Center in their honor.

Also on October 1, Charles M. Perou, PhD, will receive the AACI Distinguished ScientistCharles M. Perou, PhD
Award. Dr. Perou, a pioneer in breast cancer research and precision medicine, will deliver a talk focused on sequencing studies for gene expression analysis, specifically, on research results showing the value of sequencing-based approaches in breast and lung cancers. The May Goldman Shaw Distinguished Professor of Molecular Oncology at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Perou is also the faculty director of UNC Lineberger’s Bioinformatics Group, co-director of its Breast Cancer Research Program, and a professor in its Genetics and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine departments.

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Monthly Links Roundup: August 2018

This month, we announced that Karen E. Knudsen, PhD, enterprise director of Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (SKCC) – Jefferson Health in Philadelphia, has been elected vice president/president-elect of the AACI Board of Directors.

Dr. Knudsen will be joined by four other new board members:

Randall F. Holcombe, MD, MBA
, University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center
Thomas P. Loughran, Jr., MD, UVA Cancer Center
Leonidas (Leon) Platanias, MD, PhD, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
Benjamin G. Neel, MD, PhD, Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone

The new members will officially join the board at our AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting, September 30 – October 2 in Chicago.

We highlighted Richard and Susan Rogel, recipients of the inaugural Champion for Cures Award, and Charles M. Perou, PhD, who will receive the AACI Distinguished Scientist Award at the annual meeting on October 1.

During the dog days of summer, we shared sun safety tips for Summer Sun Safety Month.

We highlighted the importance of HPV vaccination during National Immunization Awareness Month and encouraged AACI members to nominate exceptional physicians for the HPV Vaccination Champion Award.

Coming up in September:

Events:

Thursday, September 13 |Rally for Medical Research Capitol Hill Day – Washington, DC
Friday, September 21 | Biden Cancer Summit – Washington, DC
Sunday, September 30 – Tuesday, October 2 | AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting – Chicago, IL

Awareness Campaigns:

  • Blood Cancer/Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month
  • Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
  • Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month
  • National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
  • National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
  • Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

 

AACI Announces New Vice President/President-elect, 4 New Board Members

knudsen - squareAACI members have elected Karen E. Knudsen, PhD, as vice president/president-elect of the board of directors. Her two-year term will begin on September 30 during the AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Since 2015, Dr. Knudsen has been enterprise director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Jefferson Health in Philadelphia, where she previously served as deputy director and the founding member of the Prostate Cancer Program.

Dr. Knudsen is the third director of SKCC, an NCI-Designated Cancer Center
since 1995. She has been a member of AACI’s board of directors since 2016 and was program chair of the association’s 2017 annual meeting. She also serves on review, advisory, and elected panels for the Department of Defense, ASCO, AACR, and the NIH.

“Karen has contributed significantly to AACI through her dedicated service as a member of our board of directors and the association will undoubtedly become an even stronger advocate for cancer centers under her leadership,” said AACI Executive Director Barbara Duffy Stewart.

In addition to Dr. Knudsen, four leaders of AACI member cancer centers will join the board of directors on September 30:

holcombe - squareRandall F. Holcombe, MD, MBA, has been director of the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center since 2016. Dr. Holcombe led the center through major milestones including NCI re-designation and renewal of its NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

He is program chair for the 2018 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting and has served as a member of AACI’s Clinical Research Initiative (CRI) Steering Committee and chaired AACI’s Physicians Clinical Leadership Initiative (PCLI).Loughran - square

Thomas P. Loughran, Jr., MD, is the director of the UVA Cancer Center in Charlottesville, Virginia. Under his leadership, the center’s CCSG was renewed in 2017 with an outstanding rating, the highest score ever for UVA.

Dr. Loughran previously served as the founding director of the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute (2003–2013) and as program leader of hematologic malignancies at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute at the University of South Florida.

platanias - squareLeonidas (Leon) Platanias, MD, PhD, leads the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University in Chicago, an NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Since becoming director in 2014, Dr. Platanias has overseen a 50 percent increase in NCI funding for the center, a near doubling of the number of patients enrolled in early phase trials, and the recruitment of more than 100 new faculty.

Prior to his appointment as director, Dr. Platanias served as Lurie Cancer Center’s first deputy director from 2002 to 2013.

neel - squareBenjamin G. Neel, MD, PhD, has been appointed to fill the remainder of Dr. Knudsen’s term as a regular board member. Dr. Neel is director of the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center and professor of medicine at NYU Langone Health in New York City.

Dr. Neel is also an elected member of the American Academy of Physicians, a member of the AACR, and the co-founder of Northern Biologics, a company focusing on antibody therapeutics for cancer and fibrosis.

Drs. Knudsen, Holcombe, Loughran, Platanias, and Neel will work closely with other AACI leaders to support our mission of enhancing the impact of academic cancer centers.

Read our full press release to learn more about the new board members’ research interests, awards, and accomplishments.

AACI to Recognize Pioneers in Research, Philanthropy at Annual Meeting This Fall

On Monday, October 1, AACI will present two awards highlighting the importance of scientific discovery and philanthropic support in the cancer community.

Charles M. Perou, PhDCharles M. Perou, PhD, will receive AACI’s Distinguished Scientist Award in recognition of his accomplishments in the field of precision medicine and his groundbreaking research in characterizing the diversity of human tumors, which has profoundly impacted the treatment of patients with breast cancer.

The May Goldman Shaw Distinguished Professor of Molecular Oncology at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Perou is also the faculty director of UNC Lineberger’s Bioinformatics Group, co-director of its Breast Cancer Research Program, and a professor in its Genetics and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine departments.

Richard and Susan Rogel will be presented with the inaugural Champion for Cures Award in honor of their transformational philanthropy in support of cancer research and care.Richard and Susan Rogel

AACI established the Champion for Cures Award to recognize individuals who demonstrate significant leadership in supporting efforts to cure cancer. Earlier this year, the Rogels pledged $150 million to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, which was renamed Rogel Cancer Center.

Their gift—the largest in the University of Michigan’s history—will fund endowed professorships, competitive research grants, and scholarships, and will help the cancer center establish a collaborative network that will bring international experts to campus for 6 to 12 months to develop innovative new projects.

“Donors are an integral part of the ecosystem of cancer care,” said AACI President Stanton L. Gerson, MD, director of Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. “AACI wanted to honor a family like the Rogels, who’ve demonstrated their commitment to the success of the cancer center through their investment in research.”

The award presentations are a highlight of the AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting, scheduled September 30 – October 2 in Chicago. The event convenes AACI cancer center directors and executive-level administrators with leaders of national cancer research and advocacy groups, industry, and government health agencies to develop solutions to common challenges and to share best practices.

Register for the AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting.
View the meeting program.