Discovery Nov 2018

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UNT I L EV E RY C A NC ER I S C U RED

The Early Career Cancer Researcher Issue

FALL 2018


FROM THE DIRECTOR

The Future of Cancer Research including the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center — Jefferson Health (SKCC), are fast-tracked to the clinic and result in new practices for cancer prevention, detection, and cure. As a result, cancer death rates are decreasing for men, women, and children across the nation.

Karen E. Knudsen, PhD Enterprise Director Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center

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ancer research saves lives. Of this we are certain— breakthroughs in understanding of cancer development and progression at the nation’s leading National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers of excellence,

The hope for a future wherein cancer is a readily manageable disease is entirely dependent on centers such as SKCC accelerating the pace of discovery, and providing a fertile environment for the next generation of cancer researchers and caregivers to boldly explore new ideas and develop the next phase of novel therapeutics and technologies. We devote this issue of Discovery to those fearless early career researchers who are already changing our understanding of cancer, and identifying new means for cancer therapy. The plight of the early career researcher is challenging. Access to funding for researchers entering the field is limited, and the average age of a U.S. researcher receiving their first

major grant has slipped to 45 years of age (up from 38 in 1980). As such, many talented young minds opt out of careers in cancer research and discovery. These trends are particularly troubling, as it is the early career investigator who is often willing to challenge dogma, and blaze innovative new paths of discovery. Underscoring this concept, it is notable that most Nobel Prize winning discoveries in chemistry and medicine were originally generated by researchers before age 40. Given the critical importance of supporting the cancer research intellectual pipeline, SKCC leadership set about a new initiative in 2015 to attract the best and brightest early career cancer researchers to Philadelphia, and to provide the support needed to advance the pace of breakthrough discovery. As is evident in this issue, our bet has more than paid off. They are brilliant, fearless, and are paving a highway toward cure. They are the future of SKCC, and will be key authors of the last chapter of the book called Cancer. 

STAY CONNECTED TO THE SIDNEY KIMMEL CANCER CENTER BY VISITING OUR WEBSITE AND FOLLOWING US ON SOCIAL MEDIA! www.kimmelcancercenter.org

facebook.com/sidneykimmelcancercenter

@KimmelCancerCtr

@sidneykimmelcancercenter

linkedin.com/company/skccatjeffersonhealth

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CONT ENT S FEATURE ARTICLE

12 JEFFERSON GALA HONORS SKCC Jefferson Gala gathers the extended Jefferson Health family together to recognize leaders in discovery, innovation, clinical care, and philanthropy.

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EARLY CAREER CANCER RESEARCHERS Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics

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Surgery 5 Microbiology & Immunology

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Cancer Biology

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Urology 9 Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

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Radiation Oncology

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Medical Oncology

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FEATURED CLINICAL TRIAL

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NEW DEVELOPMENT HIGHLIGHTS

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CANCER RESEARCH IN THE COMMUNIT Y

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ASPLUNDH CANCER PAVILION

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COLL ABORATIONS OF NOTE

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WELCOME CENTER NEWS

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SURVIVOR STORY

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TEAM SKCC: PHIL ANTHROPIC SUPPORT

Transdisciplinary Integration of Population Science

News from our northern hub

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EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER PHARMACOLOGY & EXPERIMENTAL THERAPEUTICS

Expanding Immunotherapy Options to Treat More Patients

That phase I trial determined safety and efficacy of vaccinating colorectal patients with Ad5-GUCY2C-PADRE. Snook and colleagues have a phase II study planned for 2019 to vaccinate patients with gastric, esophageal, pancreatic, or colorectal cancers with Ad5-GUCY2C-PADRE and measure immune responses and clinical outcomes. Additionally, Snook recently led a preclinical trial that successfully killed tumors and prevented metastasis of colorectal cancer in mice using a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cellbased therapy. Currently, CAR T-cell therapy is approved to treat certain types of leukemia and lymphoma; however, using CAR T therapy to treat solid tumors has been more challeng-

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Snook believes it’s only the beginning for cancer immunotherapy, a subject he fell in love with as an undergraduate. “I discovered that nothing in all of biology is more amazing than the human immune system and wondered why we couldn’t harness its power and specificity to fight cancer.” From that point forward, he decided he would devote his career to doing just that. “My goals are relatively simple, though not easy. Almost 9 million people die from cancer every year and that number is expected to rise in the coming decades. My hope is that my research can help change that by identifying new immunological approaches to treat cancer,” Snook said. “More cancer immunotherapies have been FDA-approved in the past decade than

Adam Snook, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics

in all preceding decades combined, including several entirely new classes of therapies. I believe that we are entering the golden age of cancer immunotherapy and I believe that our work in gastrointestinal cancer immunotherapy can make a significant contribution.” 

What do you like to do when you are not in the lab? I love spending time with my wife and daughter. My daughter is 7 years old and brings a refreshing sense of wonder and innocence to the world. We love playing sports together and doing little science experiments at home.

What excites you the most about your work? This might be surprising, but I really love the creativity. It is so exciting to design really elegant experiments to test hypotheses, get a result, and repeat the process as we discover new things. I believe that science should be creative and enjoyable, rather than the dry, pragmatic stereotype.

Adam Snook, PhD, is one such SKCC researcher focusing on translational cancer immunotherapy. “Our goal is to make discoveries in laboratory and animal models and develop them into new therapies for cancer patients,” said Snook, who is Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. “Over the past decade, we’ve been able to identify a new immunotherapy approach for colorectal cancer in the laboratory and then translate that to a successful phase I clinical trial conducted here at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.”

ing thus far, so the concept of moving CAR T-cell therapy to colorectal cancer is a major breakthrough. His research, published in Cancer Immunology Research, was the last step in preclinical testing prior to human trials.

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mmunotherapy—treatment that uses a person’s own immune system to help fight cancer—is one of the most exciting and promising fields of cancer research in decades.


EAR LY CAREER RESEARCHER SURGERY

A Career Fostered Through Mentorship and Opportunities he Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center’s commitment to leading progress in the fight against cancer can be seen in the center’s focus on attracting and retaining the best and the brightest. This investment in the future is critical not only to SKCC, but to cancer research in general.

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is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the world. Thus, having a cutting-edge, young investigator join our team is critical for our overall mission,” said Jonathan Brody, PhD, Director, Surgical Research, and Co-Director, Jefferson Pancreas, Biliary and Related Cancer Center.

Hien Dang, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, is one of SKCC’s newest recruits. She was most recently a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis at the National Cancer Institute. Dang’s research focuses on the roles of RNA binding proteins as oncogenes in liver cancer.

“She focuses on a unique aspect of why liver cancer cells are so aggressive, and particularly she is working on studying a potent mechanism of gene regulation that allows these cells to be so deadly and malignant. Understanding this mechanism could open the door for new therapies and early detection strategies. Dr. Dang will align nicely with our expert liver surgeons.”

“We are very excited about having Dr. Dang join the Department of Surgery and the SKCC. Her work focuses on liver cancer, which approximately 700,000 people are diagnosed with each year throughout the world. Additionally, this cancer

Dang’s road to cancer research began with an interest in science starting in childhood. “I was always that curious kid who wanted to see everything and know how everything works,” she said.

What advice would you offer young scientists thinking about a career in cancer research?

Persistence. There is a lot of failure, a lot of disappointments, and a lot of days where it seems what you’re doing is meaningless. Persistence is required for these days. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel; you just gotta power through and keep moving forward.

My personal opinion is that this is the best part of science. This is when you get to test your ideas, yourself, and learn! You grow so much during these times. And if you are persistent, you always win.

What do you hope to accomplish during your career?

My goal is to make use of what I find to help patients. I envision my work to have a small but important role in how we understand the world and use that understanding to improve health. Honestly, I just love science and am happy to be doing it!

Hien Dang, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Surgery

School programs exposing kids to science and math through fun activities fostered her curiosity, while teachers and mentors encouraged her. Dang’s high school science teacher suggested she join a pre-college engineering program, which led to an internship with the Van Andel Research Institute at 17. She credits her mentor there, Jim Resau, for involving her in projects that introduced her to the field of cancer research. “It was he who encouraged me to go into oncology research and continue the path toward independence,” Dr. Dang said. “Science just seems to fit me perfectly. I can’t imagine doing anything else.” 

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EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER MICROBIOLOGY & IMMUNOLOGY

Using Basic Science to Elucidate Cancer Development

Through his work in basic immunology and T-cell immune responses in the intestine, Sangwon Kim, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, is deepening our understanding of chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the relationship to cancer. “The work of Dr. Kim is an excellent example of how a basic science project has excellent potential to help improve human health,” said Matthias Schnell, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Microbiology and Immunology. “Dr. Kim’s research identifies immune factors that cause chronic inflammation in the GI tract, eventually resulting in cancer. Only if we understand the mechanism of such pathological processes, new treatment options can be developed.”

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T cells are the control center of immune responses, a key target for cancer immunotherapies and crucial for pathogenicity in inflammatory bowel diseases. To function, they must migrate to the location of interest. “For example, they have to migrate to the sites of colon cancer to play their role during cancer immunotherapies or cause pathogenicity during inflammatory bowel diseases,” Kim explained. During postdoctoral training, Kim discovered T cells use a unique receptor (GPR15) for homing specifically to the large intestine, proving that T-cell migration to the small and large intestines are controlled separately. He recently identified a novel ligand, C10orf99, binding to GPR15 and is studying its effect on inflammatory bowel diseases with colleagues in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Kim also studies the effect of diet and gut microbiota on immune responses in the large intestine with a goal to manipulate T-cell responses by controlling diet and gut microbiota. He is discussing a collaboration with the Department of Medical Oncology GI Program to study the

What excites you the most about your work?

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o develop novel and effective treatments for cancer, researchers must first understand the molecular basis of the disease. Basic scientific research provides the foundation for discoveries that will translate to novel approaches in treatment, early detection, diagnosis, and prevention.

The fact that something unknown is there and that I can do something to find out the truth about it. Also, the fact that once I find out about what is going on, we may be able to utilize the knowledge to develop a therapy for treating diseases. What do you like about working at the cancer center?

I really like the collaborative environment in SKCC and Thomas Jefferson University in general. Also, I think SKCC plays a key part in setting up a good structural base for the research environment, and I really appreciate that.

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Sangwon Kim, PhD Assistant Professor Microbiology and Immunology

role of the GPR15-C10orf99 receptor-ligand pair in colorectal cancer. Kim credits a biology class in college as a spark that ignited his interest in medical research. “It was really fascinating to me to learn what is going on inside my body. But unknown things troubled me. I wanted to know more and get the truth about it. That curiosity has been my driving force to pursue a career in research. In Asian culture (Buddhism, Taoism) monks pursue enlightenment to enter Nirvana by practicing asceticism for many years. Sometimes, I feel like pursuing a career as a scientist has many similarities to the life of monks.” 


EAR LY CAREER RESEARCHER CANCER BIOLOGY

Understanding Leukemia to Develop Better Treatments

She followed her interest in science toward medicine—specifically cancer—due to her desire to directly help patients. “It’s believed that if a person lives long enough, he or she will develop some type of cancer. However, even young children can develop cancer. I went into oncology research because I want to help people, I want to learn about the unknown, and I want to make a real impact.” Meyer’s career led her to the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, where she is now Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology. Meyer’s lab focuses on a type of blood cancer called acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a group of cancers that originate from cells in the bone marrow, which normally produce cells of the immune system. She studies the causes of AML to try to understand the characteristics of the disease that might be susceptible to therapeutic intervention. Specifically, she aims to understand the role of epigenetics in regu-

“I hope that my lab will make discoveries at the lab bench that will progress through to treating AML patients,” Meyer said. Her research has already yielded important findings that advance scientists’ understanding of AML, which is an aggressive cancer with a survival rate of only 20-40 percent. “Dr. Meyer’s research has revealed two mutations that co-occur in AML that drive its development. She is now planning to identify alterations in AML cells caused by these mutations that may be targetable and that may ultimately lead to improved therapeutic strategies for patients with AML,” explained Christine Eischen, PhD, co-leader of the SKCC Molecular Biology and Genetics Program and Herbert A. Rosenthal, MD ’56 Professor in Cancer Research. Meyer, along with former colleagues at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, recently published a preclinical study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine that showed when blocking a

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What or who inspires you?

Sara Meyer, PhD Assistant Professor Cancer Biology

target molecule called F-box protein S-phase kinase-associated protein 2 (Skp2) on AML cells in combination with current AML treatments, the cancerous blood cells died and were replaced with healthy white blood cells. These early findings suggest Skp2 could be a potential treatment target for AML in the future. 

I am inspired by exciting scientific discoveries, cancer survivors and patient advocacy, opportunities to educate the public about cancer research, and the mentors I’ve had throughout my career.

“After taking my first genetics class in high school, I was hooked. Later as an undergraduate, I got my first lab research experience in a summer fellowship program, which resolved my decision to become a scientist,” said Meyer.

lation of critical survival or stem cell pathways that are active in AML cells.

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ara Meyer, PhD, was always interested in the field of medicine. “When I was a kid I wanted to be a veterinarian,” she said. It was a few years later when she knew she would one day don a white coat; however, she was drawn to the laboratory.

What do you like about working at the cancer center?

Being a part of and supported by an exceptional team of clinicians and basic scientists in the Hematologic Malignancies Program at SKCC.

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EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER CLINCIAL TRIAL

Harnessing the Immune System in a Breakthrough Clinical Trial

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new clinical trial is underway at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and is available to patients with multiple types of solid tumors. The trial seeks to offer more effective immunotherapy treatment options to patients for a variety of cancer types. This new phase I clinical trial will look at the safety, tolerability, and initial anti-tumor activity of the investigational, orally available drug AZD4635 both as a monotherapy and in combination with the immunotherapy durvalumab (Imfinzi). The study is open to patients with advanced solid malignancies, such as non-small cell lung cancer, metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, and colorectal carcinoma. This clinical trial is being led by Jennifer Johnson, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Oncology. This trial is a novel, early phase clinical trial that is looking at ways to modify the immune microenvironment. AZD4635 is a new oral medication that targets adenosine receptor A2 (A2AR). Adenosine is an important signaling molecule that exerts widespread effects on the immune system. It affects multiple immune cells including effector T cells, natural killer cells, regulatory T cells, and others. When adenosine sends signals through A2AR, it is able to inhibit the immune system’s anti-tumor responses, enabling immune escape of the tumors. An A2AR inhibitor, however, can promote the anti-cancer response

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of T cells within the tumor microenvironment, reducing tumor burden and enhancing anti-tumor activity. Data from preclinical studies have suggested that AZD4635 can restore immune responsiveness both alone as well as in combination with other cancer immunotherapies. “If you block adenosine signaling with an agent like AZD4635, our hope is that the tumors can no longer escape,” said Johnson. Durvalumab is a programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) checkpoint inhibitor currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat certain types of lung cancer and bladder cancer. Durvalumab works by targeting the immune-checkpoint protein PD-L1, which is a protein on the surface of many cell types, including some tumor cells. When PD-L1 attaches to the programmed death-1 (PD-1) protein on the surface

“If you block adenosine signaling...our hope is that the tumors can no longer escape.” of cancer-killing T cells, it applies a brake on the T cells, signaling to them to slow down and stop acting aggressively against the cancer. By releasing this brake applied by PDL1, durvalumab unleashes a patient’s immune system to fight the cancer. Patients are eligible for this trial even if they were previously treated with a checkpoint inhibitor and their cancer progressed. This gives patients another

Jennifer Johnson, MD, PhD Assistant Professor Medical Oncology

chance at experiencing the benefits of immunotherapy, Johnson explained. This clinical trial offering is one of the first SKCC will be doing in alliance with the Sarah Cannon Research Institute as part of the new collaboration between the organizations (see more on Sarah Cannon on page 19). By combining the strengths of both institutes, the collaboration will advance clinical research through an expanded early phase drug development program and investigator initiated trials, thus expanding the menu of clinical trials available to patients throughout the Delaware Valley and beyond. 


EAR LY CAREER RESEARCHER UROLOGY

SKCC Early Career Physician Revolutionizes Treatment of Genitourinary Cancers

One such clinician devoted to treating prostate and other genitourinary cancers is Mark Mann, MD, Assistant Professor of Urology. His research primarily focuses on diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, but includes clinical trials on all genitourinary cancers. “I found the landscape of genitourinary oncology to be in a big state of disruption, first with the advent of new surgical approaches and treatments with minimally invasive and robotic surgery and now with the immunologic and genetic revolutions that are occurring,” Mann said. Mann and colleagues recently performed the first high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) ablation of a prostate cancer in Pennsylvania. HIFU is a noninvasive, image-guided treatment that destroys tumors with high frequency sound waves. Treating cancer with less invasive treatments, such as image-guided therapies, is an important goal. One such treatment, image guided radiation therapy, has been treating several types

“Since there is so much similarity between breast cancer and prostate cancer, it was only a matter of time until we started image-guided treatment of the prostate and prostate cancer, and HIFU is leading this new wave currently,” he explained. Mann did not always know he would be a physician/scientist, however. A year after graduating high school, Mann decided he wanted to spend his future helping others. “I considered a few options in disparate fields that would allow me to live a comfortable life, and ultimately, felt that I needed to do something beneficial for other people individually and hopefully also the greater world as a whole,” Mann said. “Having had a grandfather, uncle, and father who were all physicians made the answer as to what I should do clear at that point.” On managing work with other aspects of life, Mann acknowledges that it can be challenging. “I’m fortunate that my family has numerous members in healthcare,

Mark Mann, MD Assistant Professor Urology

and as a result, the times when work intrudes on family and social lives is well understood. But there is no one answer for everyone. I think in truth, it is a constant struggle for everyone, especially now in the digital age of constant accessibility.” 

What do you hope to accomplish during your career? I want to improve diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes of patients with genitourinary cancers and help train the next generation of urologic oncologists to be better physicians than we are now. What advice would you offer young scientists thinking about a career in cancer research?

Additionally, Jefferson has a rich history in urology; its Department of Urology, established in 1904, is one of the oldest in the United States. Its researchers are committed to remaining on the forefront of the field.

of cancers, including breast cancer.

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s one of eight Prostate Cancer Centers of Excellence recognized by the National Cancer Institute, the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Jefferson Health is devoted to reducing prostate cancer incidence and mortality in the catchment area and beyond.

Read and be curious. Do not just read about your own field, although that is critical. Question your assumptions. Do not just assume that the way we do things now is the best, even if it is better than how it was done before.

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NEW DEVELOPMENTS AWARDS AND HONORS KAREN E. KNUDSEN, PHD

SEAN CLARK-GARVEY, MD

Elected Vice President/President-Elect of the AACI

ASH HONORS Award

Elected to the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors AACR Party with a Purpose Scientific Achievement Award MARK HURWITZ, MD

MARGARET KASNER, MD

Named Fellow of the American Society for Radiation Oncology

Appointed to the HemOnc Times Editorial Advisory Board

ADAM LUGINBUHL, MD

YAN YU, PHD, MBA

Named a Top Physician Under 40 by the Pennsylvania Medical Society

Appointed to the Association of Radiation Oncology Program Coordinators Advisory Board

VERONICA RODRIGUEZ-BRAVO, PHD

ADAM BINDER, MD

Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award

ASH Choosing Wisely Champion Award

Legacy of Hope Merit Award

Appointed to the ASH Committee on Quality

Appointed to the ASH Committee on Educational Affairs

AACR Party with a Purpose Early Career Investigator Award

GRANTS NEDA NIKBAKHT, PHD

NICOLE SIMONE, MD

ACS-IRG

NIH R01

Epigenetic regulation of T cell exhaustion in melanoma

Diet modification to augment radiation for breast cancer brain metastases

EDWARD HARTSOUGH, PHD

AMY LEADER, PHD (CO PI: GRACE LU-YAO)

ACS-IRG

NIH P30

Exploring the dimer-breaking property of PLX8394 in mutant BRAF cancers

Study of cancer risk behaviors of people living in Greater Philadelphia

GRACE LU-YAO, PHD, MPH (CO PI: KEVIN KELLY)

RUSSELL MCINTIRE, PHD

NIH SPORE P20

ACS-IRG

Precision interception of aggressive prostate cancer in African American men

Mapping SKCC cancer patients to identify the geographic distribution and correlates of clinical trial enrollment

VERONICA RODRIGUEZ-BRAVO, PHD ACS-IRG Analysis of nuceloprins’ role on genome stability of prostate cancer via multicolor fluorescent single-cell video microscopy

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NEW DEVELOPMENTS PAPERS OF NOTE Eisner V, et al., Mitochondrial dynamics in adaptive and maladaptive cellular stress responses. Nature Cell Biology. 2018 Jun 27 [Epub ahead of print]

Minieri V, et al., Targeting STAT5 or STAT5-regulated pathways suppresses leukemogenesis of Ph+ acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Cancer Research. 2018 Aug 28 [Epub ahead of print]

Fagliano JA, et al., Climate change, urban health, and the promotion of health equity. PLoS Medicine. 2018 Jul;15(7):e1002621

Rovner BW, et al., Preventing Cognitive Decline in Black Individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Neurology. 2018 Sep 10 [Epub ahead of print].

Spagnuolo M, et al., Transcriptional activation of the miR-17-92 cluster is involved in the growth-promoting effects of MYB in human Ph-positive leukemia cells. Haematologica. 2018 Aug 03 [Epub ahead of print]. Capparelli C, et al., ErbB3 targeting enhances the effects of MEK inhibitor in wild-type BRAF/NRAS melanoma. Cancer Research. 2018 Aug 16 [Epub ahead of print].

Karamanos NK, et al., Proteoglycan Chemical Diversity Drives Multifunctional Cell Regulation and Therapeutics. Chemical Reviews. 2018 Sep 11 [Epub ahead of print]. Gennaro VJ, et al., Control of CCND1 ubiquitylation by the catalytic SAGA subunit USP22 is essential for cell cycle progression through G1 in cancer cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2018 Sep 17 [Epub ahead of print].

Karasmanis EP, et al., Polarity of Neuronal Membrane Traffic Requires Sorting of Kinesin Motor Cargo during Entry into Dendrites by a Microtubule-Associated Septin. Developmental Cell. 2018 Aug 20;46(4):518-524.

Nevler A, et al., Host gene status influences tumor progression and radiotherapy response in -driven sporadic pancreatic cancer. Clinical Cancer Research. 2018 Sep 28 [Epub ahead of print]

Cho RJ, et al., APOBEC mutation drives early-onset squamous cell carcinomas in recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. Science Translation Medicine. 2018 Aug 22;10(455).

Teh JL, et al., Arrested developments: CDK4/6 inhibitor resistance and alterations in the tumor immune microenvironment. Clinical Cancer Research. 2018 Oct 4 [Epub ahead of print]

Rodriguez-Bravo V, et al., Nuclear Pores Promote Lethal Prostate Cancer by Increasing POM121-Driven E2F1, MYC, and AR Nuclear Inport. Cell. 2018 Aug 23;174(5):1200-1215.e20.

Abreu-Mota T, et al., Non-neutralizing antibodies elicited by recombinant Lassa-Rabies vaccine are critical for protection against Lassa fever. Nature Communications. 2018 Oct 11;9(1):4223. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-06741-w.

Csordås G, et al., Endoplasmic Reticulum-Mitochondrial Contactology: Structure and Signaling Functions. Trends in Cell Biology. [18.564]. 2018Jul; 20(7): 523-540

Kim FJ, et al., σ₁ Receptor ligand binding: an open-and-shut case. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. 2018 Nov;25(11):992-993. doi: 10.1038/s41594-018-0146-1.

SKCC Radiation Oncology Introduces New Capabilities Leksell Gamma Knife® Icon™

CyberKnife

The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center is the first cancer center in the Greater Philadelphia area to offer the Leksell Gamma Knife® Icon™ radiosurgery system to treat brain tumors. Jefferson also offers the CyberKnife radiosurgery system to treat tumors in various spots in the body. 11


FEATURE ARTICLE JEFFERSON GALA

Jefferson Gala Honors Sid

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ince 2003, the Jefferson Gala has gathered the extended Jefferson Health family together to recognize leaders in discovery, innovation, clinical care, and philanthropy. Each year at the gala, the Achievement Award in Medicine is given to an individual who has achieved and maintained excellence in their profession and who has actively contributed to the growth and development of their field, and the Award of Merit is presented to an accomplished Philadelphian who has enhanced the medical experience through leadership, contribution, and innovation. The 2018 honorees were Edith P. Mitchell, Brigadier General USAF (retired), MD, FACP, FCPP, and Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson. Mitchell, Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine and Medical Oncology; Associate Director, Diversity Programs; Director, Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities, was recognized for her work as a renowned medical oncologist, researcher, and champion of the underserved. Mitchell is known for her research on combined modality treatment— chemotherapy and radiation therapy together—as well as her work in breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers and other gastrointestinal malignancies involving new drug evaluation and chemotherapy, development of new therapeutic regimens, patient selection criteria, and supportive care for patients with gastrointestinal cancer. She is also known for her devotion throughout her career to helping medically underserved communities

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and individuals who, due to many factors including genetics, segregation and access to health care, are disproportionately affected by cancer. Mitchell was personally inspired to become a doctor when she was very young and her great-grandfather became ill. Because hospitals Dr. Stephen Klasko, Doug Pederson, and Dr. Edith Mitchell were segregated at the time, her family Review Panel, Cancer Investigations took care of him at home with the help Review Committee, Clinical Trials and of an African American doctor who Translation Research Advisory Commade house calls. He made quite the mittee, and the National Institutes of impression on Mitchell, who decided Health Council of Councils. In 2016, she wanted to become a doctor, too. Mitchell was named a member of the She is committed to addressing NCI’s Blue Ribbon Panel convened cancer health disparities through her to advise the National Cancer Adresearch and community outreach efvisory Board on Vice President Joe forts. Her community initiatives include Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot cancer screening events and survivor Initiative because of her experience receptions with the Enon Tabernacle in the cancer research community. Baptist Church in Northwest PhiladelIn addition to her service to the phia. She is co-chair of the National community through medicine, Mitchell Cancer Institute (NCI) Disparities joined the U.S. Air Force while attendCommittee and served as president of ing medical school at the Medical the National Medical Association—the College of Virginia, having received a nation’s oldest professional society for commission through the Health ProfesAfrican American physicians. One of sions Scholarship Program. Following the organization’s main goals is to proher residency and internship at Meharry mote equality and eliminate health disMedical College, Mitchell served on parities as well as increase representaactive duty while completing a medical tion of African Americans in medicine. oncology fellowship at Georgetown Mitchell serves on the NCI Institute University. She retired as a Brigadier


dney Kimmel Cancer Center General, the first female physician to attain the rank in Air Force history. Throughout her career, Mitchell has been recognized with myriad honors and awards, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology Humanitarian Award, American Cancer Society Cancer Control Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Practitioner of the Year Award from the Philadelphia County Medical Society, and the 2016 Historically Black College Alumnus of the Year. She was inducted into the National Historical Black College Hall of Fame and as an honorary member of the American Society of Radiation Oncology. She has received more than 15 military service medals and ribbons, including the Legion of Merit, Air Force Achievement and Commendation Medals, National Defense Service Medal, and the Humanitarian Service Medal. As Doug Pederson explains in his memoir, “one man can make a difference, but a team can make a miracle.” By honoring Pederson, who has a

reputation for candor and inspirational speaking, the Award of Merit recognizes the Eagle Pride at the heart and soul of Philadelphia and the shared sense of community that is the essence of Jefferson. This past season Clockwise, from left: Patricia MacDonald, Joe Pederson, in his second Weiss, Sharon Pinkenson, Brian Costello, Karen season as head coach, led Knudsen, Sidney Kimmel, Caroline Kimmel, Jerry Blavat, Rita Rome, Dick Dilshemer the Philadelphia Eagles to their first Lombardi Trophy in franchise histeam’s first playoff victory in 22 years. tory, with a 41-33 win over the New In his first season as Eagles’ head England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. coach, Pederson helped develop Pederson began his NFL coaching Carson Wentz, rookie quarterback career in 2009 with the Eagles as an and 2016 No. 2 overall NFL pick. offensive quality control coach, then Wentz set team and NFL rookie reas the quarterbacks coach. Before cords for completions and franchise becoming head coach of the Eagles in rookie records in pass attempts, January 2016, Pederson was offensive passing yards, passing touchdowns, coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs and completion percentage. from 2013-2015. He spent most of Pederson graduated from what is his playing career with the Green Bay now the University of Louisiana at MonPackers and was a reserve quarterback roe, where he was a three-year starting with the Packers during their Super quarterback. The Carolina Panthers Bowl XXXI win, making him one of drafted him in 1995, and he eventually only four people to win played for the Packers, Eagles, Mia Super Bowl as both a ami Dolphins, and Cleveland Browns player and head coach. throughout his career as a player. During Pederson’s time Over the past 15 years, the gala in Kansas City, the Chiefs has raised more than $15 million for committed the third-fewvarious programs and research arest turnovers in the NFL. eas across Jefferson Health. This He helped the team year’s gala raised more than $1.4 rebound in 2015 from a million and will benefit SKCC and 1-5 start to win 11 consecthe Neu Center for Supportive Medutive games—a franchise icine and Cancer Survivorship.  record—including the

From left: Dr. Stephen Klasko, Dr. Stephen Crane, Dr. Karen Knudsen, Dr. Edith Mitchell, Dr. Mark Tykocinski

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EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER BIOCHEMISTRY & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

Researching DNA Structure to Explain Infectious Diseases and Cancer

The Debler Lab’s current research focuses on understanding how chromatin—a substance within a chromosome consisting of DNA and protein—regulates gene expression and immune evasion in protozoan parasites that cause many devastating infectious diseases worldwide, such as sleeping sickness and malaria. As epigenetic processes play a central role in cancer development, Debler is also investigating chromatin proteins involved in cancer. “By visualizing proteins in three dimensions at atomic resolution, we can understand their function and the effects of disease-causing mutations, which are common in many diseases such as cancer, with unprecedented precision,” he explained. “My goal is to use a structure-driven approach to understand how mac-

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Debler encourages young investigators to join him in scientific research. “A career in science in general and in cancer research in particular can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. If one is passionate about these topics and willing to invest in rigorous training for an extended period of time, I highly recommend going into this direction,” he said. “There are more than a hundred types of cancers and we know very little about most of them in terms

Erik Debler, PhD Assistant Professor Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

of their molecular biology. It’s clear that despite all the progress, there is still a lot to discover from a scientific point of view, but also a lot to develop in terms of diagnostics and therapies toward individual types of cancer.” 

What excites you most about your work? I feel privileged to enjoy the freedom of academia and to do experiments that nobody else has done before. Science is a highly collaborative, international endeavor, and I truly enjoy working with my team, colleagues, and collaborators at Jefferson and around the globe.

How do you manage to balance your work with your life?

“Since I was a teenager, I have always been fascinated by the biochemical basis of life and by medicine,” Debler said. Undecided as to whether he should pursue a career as a physician or scientist, he did an internship with the Red Cross as an emergency medical technician, which helped him ultimately choose a career in basic life sciences.

romolecular machines regulate gene expression on the chromatin level, with an emphasis on protozoan parasites and cancer-related proteins. I hope that our mechanistic insights into these processes will pave the way for potent novel treatments for many parasitic diseases and for cancer. Beyond the science, I aim at creating a supportive, collaborative, and fun lab environment. I have had the privilege of working with many excellent people, including my mentors and those I have mentored, and I hope to have many more of these opportunities during my career.”

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s a structural biologist, Erik Debler, PhD, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, has always been particularly interested in the molecular and structural basis of disease.

Spending time with friends and family, as well as gardening, are a great change in pace from my life in the lab. I often have the best ideas for new experiments while away from my desk, so my job does not really end when I leave campus.


EAR LY CAREER RESEARCHER RADIATION ONCOLOGY

Using Dietary Interventions to Improve Response to Cancer Therapies

Simone’s research focuses on using dietary interventions to improve outcomes in breast and other types of cancers. Simone is particularly interested in understanding how diet can affect the immune system and potentially be used to improve response to immunotherapy coupled with radiation therapy. “I hope to establish myself as an expert in the immune effects of patient metabolism as they relate to the use of combination therapies, specifically with radiation,” she explained. In April 2018, Simone was recognized as an outstanding young investigator with an American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)-Takeda Oncology Scholar-in-Training Award in recognition of the high-quality abstract she presented at the AACR Annual Meeting. Her study proposed caloric restriction as a means of metabolically reprogramming tumor-associated macrophages – which are the most abundant inflammatory cells in the breast cancer tumor microenvironment (TME) and suppress antitumor immune function, contributing to treatment resistance – toward M1 phenotype to increase efficacy of radiation therapy.

These data suggest caloric restriction can counteract M2-polarization caused by radiation therapy in the TME and that caloric restriction may be a viable adjunct to standard therapies that could help overcome resistance to chemotherapy and immunotherapy. “Dr. Simone’s work exemplifies research by someone who approaches cancer from a different perspective and is willing to take risks to explore and develop new fields. Her work on the intersection of metabolism-nutrition and the transcriptome has numerous potential outcomes to change the way to treat cancer in the future,” said Adam Dicker, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of Radiation Oncology. Simone is also developing her clinical skills as a radiation oncologist focusing on breast and gynecological cancers. The patients whose care she is involved in are “the number one inspiration” for her, and being able to deliver good news to patients is one of the best parts of her job. To young scientists considering a career in oncology, Simone encourages them to find mentors willing to invest time and effort into

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Brittany Simone, DO Resident Physician Radiation Oncology

their development. Acknowledging how important mentors have been to her career, Simone hopes to provide the same support to others. “During my career I hope to have the opportunity to successfully mentor young physicians and scientists, as this was a crucial part of my career development. I would like to pay that forward in a meaningful way.” 

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s a physician-scientist in training, Brittany Simone, DO, is able to experience direct patient care as well as develop new, innovative therapies to impact the lives of her patients. Simone, who is a Resident Physician in the Department of Radiation Oncology, finds this extremely gratifying, as she gets to “experience the best of both worlds.”

What do you like to do when you are not in the clinic? I am an avid crossfitter, which is more like a hobby than it sounds. I also like to play golf, go skiing, and go to the beach. Did you always want to be a physician? When I was 2 years old I told my mother that I wanted to be a Veterinarian and I pursued engineering as my first endeavor, so I think that I always knew I wanted to be a scientist on some level.

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EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER MEDICAL ONCOLOGY

Cancer Care Delivery Research Aims to Improve Patient Outcomes

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hat processes can we implement to prevent unnecessary visits to the emergency department or hospital admission? How can technology enable us to provide clinical trials to sites with limited resources? How can we ensure that all patients have appropriate and timely access to supportive care? How do we ensure that implementation in these areas is generalizable across the health system? These are a few of the questions Nathan R. Handley, MD, MBA, would like to answer through his focus on the multidisciplinary field of cancer care delivery research. A relatively new area of study in the world of oncology, cancer care delivery research examines how organizational structures and processes, social factors, care delivery models, financing systems, and health technologies, as well as health care provider and patient knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors all influence the quality, cost, and access of cancer care.

Understanding these myriad factors can be used to ultimately improve clinical outcomes and patient well-being. “So many of the problems in healthcare in general, and cancer care in particular, are structural or organizational in nature—cancer care delivery research really has the opportunity to move the needle on quality, cost, and access to care, which are currently some of the most pressing questions for our society. It’s really invigorating to be engaged in something that feels so important,” said Handley, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Oncology. Handley always knew he wanted to be a scientist. His mother is a chemical engineer and his father is an organic chemist; conversations on scientific topics were naturally commonplace while Handley was growing up. He started to think about medicine in high school and now finds the different aspects of his career as

How do you manage to balance your work with your life outside of the lab/clinic?

I think a lot about work and life. One cannot be effective in a work environment if he is ineffective in the out-of-work environment. One of my professors in business school talked about defining the four domains of your life—work, home, self, and community—and figuring out how to find overlaps between them (“four way wins”). Biking to work, for example, checks the “self” box for exercise, as well as the “work” box (you have to get there somehow). Being fully engaged and present in whatever activity you’re doing is also a big part of this.

Who inspires you?

I really admire people who appreciate the complexities of large systems, can view problems from multiple perspectives, aren’t afraid to make big changes, and exude passion for improvement. Our CEO, Steve Klasko, is one of those people.

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Nathan Handley, MD, MBA Assistant Professor Medical Oncology

a physician and researcher inspiring. “I viewed medicine as a career in which one can wear many hats,” he said. “The idea of having a clinical practice and doing things to improve the care that you deliver in that practice seemed like a uniquely rewarding combination when I was originally thinking about medicine—and as it turns out, it is!” For young scientists thinking about a career in cancer research, Handley offers the advice one of his mentors once gave him: “Find good mentors and learn good time management skills. These two factors really drive success in research (and life).” 


CANCER RESEARCH IN THE COMMUNIT Y TIPS ANNUAL RETREAT

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Enhances Population Science Research with TIPS

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n September 17, more than 60 people attended the first annual TIPS Retreat at the Cira Centre in Philadelphia. Participants included faculty from Jefferson’s Departments of Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Surgery, Cancer Biology, and the College of Population Health, as well as faculty from Abington-Jefferson Health and Jefferson Health New Jersey. SKCC consortium members from Drexel University were also in attendance. Timothy Rebbeck,PhD, the Vincent L. Gregory, Jr. Professor of Cancer Prevention, Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Professor of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, delivered a keynote address. Over the last few years, the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Jefferson Health (SKCC) has successfully integrated population science — a field of research focused on improving public health on a broad scale — into its existing five cancer research programs through the creation of a mechanism known as TIPS, short for

Transdisciplinary Integration of Population Science. How is TIPS significant for the field of cancer research? Whereas other National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers often have a stand-alone population science research program, TIPS successfully integrates population scientists across SKCC’s current research programs, increasing collaboration among clinical, basic, and population science researchers. These scientific collaborations, happening inside and outside of the lab, hold the potential to maximize efforts to reduce disease risk, incidence, and death from cancer on both a local and national scale. TIPS is led by Grace Lu-Yao, PhD, Associate Director of Population Science at SKCC and a well-recognized cancer epidemiologist with expertise in outcomes research. Her research findings on cancer surveillance, screening, and treatment for prostate cancer have provided benchmark references that facilitate decision-making in cancer treatment.

TIPS investigators — including faculty members from Jefferson as well as SKCC consortium member Drexel University — primarily identify as population scientists or engage in population-based research alongside clinical and laboratory-based researchers and have a strong secondary focus in cancer risk, prevention, and/or control. TIPS investigators close the gap between discovery and the goals of accelerating cutting-edge population science and help build impactful community outreach and education interventions. TIPS also helps set cancer center-wide priorities for research centered on the Greater Philadelphia area, emphasizing disparities as well as genetic and behavioral factors influencing cancer risk. In addition, TIPS members provide mentoring to a large number of medical students, pre-doctoral students, and postdoctoral fellows, helping the next generation of researchers in cancer health services research and outcomes research. 

TIPS Retreat attendees at the Cira Centre

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ASPLUN DH CANCER PAVILION NEWS FROM THE NORTH

SKCC-Abington Awarded Grant to Establish Program for Gynecologic Oncology Patients Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA), will be used to establish and operationalize a Woman to Woman Program, which pairs gynecologic cancer patients with trained and supervised survivor volunteers who will provide one-on-one mentoring and support. Patients with cancers of the ovaries, cervix, uterus, vulva, vagina, and fallopian tubes being treated at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Abington – Jefferson Health in the Asplundh Cancer Pavilion will benefit from this program.

Mark S. Shahin, MD Director, Hanjani Institute for Gynecologic Oncology Deputy Director, Asplundh Cancer Pavilion

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bington – Jefferson Health has been awarded a $60,000 grant to form a program to help women undergoing treatment for gynecological cancers. The grant, provided by the

“We are truly honored to have been chosen to receive this generous grant, and we believe wholeheartedly that this unique program will make a difference in the lives of our gynecologic oncology patients by providing the unique support that comes from someone who has been through a similar circumstance,” said Mark S. Shahin, MD, Director, Hanjani Institute for Gynecologic Oncology and Deputy

Director, Asplundh Cancer Pavilion. Woman to Woman has grown to 35 hospital-based sites and six community-based organizations across the country since it was founded in 2003 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Abington – Jefferson Health is one of three grant recipients nationwide in 2018. While OCRFA’s core mission is to cure ovarian cancer, advocate for patients, and support survivors of ovarian cancer, the organization’s Woman to Woman Program serves women with all gynecologic cancers. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 110,070 new cases of gynecological cancers diagnosed in 2018. The Asplundh Cancer Pavilion is a brand-new, 86,000-square-foot facility located in Willow Grove, Pa. It offers comprehensive cancer care in a state-of-the-art facility in the community setting. 

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center - Asplundh Cancer Pavilion

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COLL ABORATIONS SARAH CANNON PARTNERSHIP

Drug Development Collaboration to Expand Clinical Trial Options for Patients

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idney Kimmel Cancer Center – Jefferson Health (SKCC) recently announced a unique collaboration with the Sarah Cannon Research Institute to advance clinical research through an expanded early phase drug development program and investigator initiated trials, leveraging the strengths of each. The organizations will combine expertise in drug development and research support services, which will expand the menu of clinical trials to patients across the Delaware Valley and beyond. Additionally, Sarah Cannon will provide SKCC-designed clinical trials at their national network sites.

“By combining the strengths of SKCC and Sarah Cannon’s robust cancer programs, we are bringing together experts who share a mission to advance cancer research so that patients will have greater access to the latest treatment options that focus on personalized care,” said Karen E. Knudsen, PhD, SKCC Enterprise Director. “We are excited to form a strategic partnership that will accelerate drug development both nationally and globally, with the goal of impacting a larger population of patients seeking new therapies.” SKCC has distinguished itself nationally through practice-changing discoveries that are rapidly implemented into clinical trials. At present, approximately 20 percent of Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center pa-

tients take advantage of advanced care options through clinical trials. Sarah Cannon pioneered the first community-based drug development

program in the United States and has grown to become a global leader in early phase research as well as in community-based cancer care. The organization has conducted more than 300 first-in-human studies and has been a clinical trial leader in the majority of approved cancer therapies over the last decade. Through its network of research sites, Sarah Cannon serves thousands of patients annually in clinical trials, including through its drug development units in Nashville, Tenn., Sarasota, Fla., Denver, Colo., and London, England. “At Sarah Cannon, we are focused on offering patients cutting edge cancer therapies closer to home – a commitment shared by our esteemed colleagues at SKCC,” said Howard A. “Skip” Burris, III, MD, President and Chief Medical Officer at Sarah Cannon. “Together, this collaboration will make a greater impact on the field of cancer research through the synergy of our scientific and operational expertise.” 

From left: Dee Anna Smith (CEO, Sarah Cannon), Dr. Karen Knudsen, Dr. Howard “Skip” Burris (CMO, Sarah Cannon) announced the partnership at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting

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WELCOME CENTER ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY

SKCC’s Cancer Support and Welcome Center Turns One

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n October 1, 2018, the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center’s Cancer Support and Welcome Center celebrated an important milestone: its first anniversary. A party was held at the Welcome Center for the occasion, which included food, beverages, and live entertainment. The Welcome Center, located in Center City Philadelphia, serves as a central arrival point for patients of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. It offers a range of services designed to bring people together, foster community, educate individuals, and offer effective tools to help patients and caregivers manage a cancer diagnosis. The Welcome Center also provides supportive care services and cancer-related information, including nutritional counseling and seminars, workshops, exercise classes, clinical trial and research information, ap-

Lou Lanza gets a caricature drawing 20

From left: Dr. Leonard Gomella, Lisa Capparella, Lou Lanza, Greg Garber

pointment assistance, and genetic risk assessment information. The center is open to past and current Jefferson patients, as well as those seeking treatment at other centers in the region.

Leonard Gomella, MD, Chair of the Department of Urology and co-leader of the SKCC Prostate Cancer Program, serves as medical director of the Welcome Center. 

Miriam Pomerantz showing a patient the many wig options available for cancer patients at the Welcome Center

From left: Maxine Cohen and Arleen Weitz


SURVIVOR STORY ANAPLASTIC ASTROCYTOMA

Newlyweds Face Cancer Diagnosis Together

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n 2016, London natives Lydia and Anikait Sharma had recently moved to Philadelphia for Anikait’s new job. The newlyweds were starting to feel settled when Lydia was struck with intense, debilitating headaches. Although Lydia had gotten headaches since she was a teenager, she had never experienced pain like this. She chalked it up to the stress of moving to a new country and adjusting to her job. By August 2017, however, her headaches were worse. After visiting urgent care several times, the doctor said that the headaches could have been the result of sinus issues, allergies, or vertigo. The couple were scheduled to go on vacation to Cancun during the last week of August, but Lydia’s doctor reassured her she would be fine. Unfortunately, her headaches got worse during the vacation. The day before they were to return home, Lydia began vomiting and became confused. She was rushed to the ER for a scan of her head. In the midst of all the chaos, Hurricane Harvey was expected to hit Mexico and travel along the Gulf toward the United States. A scan revealed a large cyst on Lydia’s brain as the cause of her headaches and related symptoms due to buildup of intracranial pressure. However, the scan also revealed something that no one was expecting to see — a tumor. The cyst was drained via craniotomy to relieve the pressure on Lydia’s brain. The medical team also performed a biopsy on the tumor to be analyzed once the couple returned to the United States.

Anikait began working with Jefferson neurosurgeon Christopher Farrell, MD, and a hospital-to-hospital transfer was arranged once Lydia was cleared to leave the Cancun ICU. She was eventually transported via a low-altitude medical evacuation and brought directly to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for further evaluation. At Jefferson, Lydia was diagnosed with an anaplastic astrocytoma, an often slow-growing but aggressive brain tumor. Farrell arranged for surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Luckily, the surgery went smoothly.

“We’re thankful to have access to such amazing care teams that have been on hand through this very difficult time for us.”

Anikait and Lydia Sharma

However, Lydia faced a setback when the surgery site became infected. This required another operation to clean the area and ensure the brain was safe from infection. Afterward, Lydia was required to start a lengthy course of an intravenous antibiotic to clear the infection and prevent it from returning.

Lydia completed her radiation treatment at the end of 2017. She is still under the care of Martinez for her chemotherapy treatment. Every two months, she undergoes a routine MRI of her brain, and she also receives routine bloodwork to help monitor adverse effects.

Once Lydia’s infection was gone, the Sharmas met with radiation oncologist Wenyin Shi, MD, PhD, and neuro-oncologist Nina Martinez, MD, to discuss Lydia’s upcoming treatment: a combination of radiation therapy and oral chemotherapy. For the first time, the word “cancer” was used to define Lydia’s condition — a difficult moment. However, the radiation oncology team was a source of comfort when Lydia was feeling emotional, providing her with words of encouragement and hugs.

The Sharmas credit Jefferson for helping Lydia get back to a normal routine. “We’re thankful to have access to such amazing care teams that have been on hand through this very difficult time for us.” Lydia is also thankful for everything that Anikait has done in his role as caregiver. “My husband has taken such good care of me and has done everything he possibly could. I’m eternally grateful to him for that.” 

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PHIL ANTHROPIC SUPPORT EVENTS

Cancer Awareness Night at the Phillies

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KCC Enterprise Director Karen Knudsen, PhD, threw out the first pitch during Cancer Awareness Night at the Phillies game in July. Attendees received a special Phillies Cancer Awareness Night hat in a color of their choice representing a different type of cancer. A portion of ticket sales benefitted SKCC and information on cancer screening was displayed throughout the stadium to raise awareness. 

The Phillie Phanatic high-fives Enterprise Director Dr. Karen Knudsen

Phillies legend Mike Schmidt’s PSA with Dr. Knudsen on the importance of sunscreen

Attendees wearing purple hats to support cancer research

Giacchino Lecture Awarded to Dr. Howard Soule, CSO of the Prostate Cancer Foundation

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oward Soule, PhD, Executive VP and Chief Scientific Officer of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, gave the Eleonore L. Giacchino Lectureship in Cancer, presented by Dietz & Watson, to kick off the 2018-19 Grand Rounds season. Eleanore Dietz Giacchino was a second-generation principal in Dietz & Watson—a Philadelphia-originated family business now in its fourth generation making premium meats and artisan cheeses. Dietz & Watson honor Eleanore, who was successfully treated at SKCC for cancer during her life, with this endowed lectureship series. Dr. Soule is a world renowned researcher and fundraiser who spoke on the role of venture philanthropy in cancer research. 

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Drs. Howard Soule and Karen Knudsen


PHIL ANTHROPIC SUPPORT EVENTS

SKCC Invitational

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he inaugural SKCC Invitational was held at the Atlantic City Country Club in August. The golf outing was followed with a private event with golf icon David Feherty at Ocean Resort Casino’s new Topgolf Swing Suite. All proceeds from the event benefitted the world-class research and patient care at the cancer center. 

Dr. William Keane (second from left) and his foursome before teeing off

From left: Missy Quinn, David Feherty, and Rich McClure

Party with a Purpose

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arty with a Purpose and the American Association for Cancer Research honored Karen Knudsen, PhD, SKCC Enterprise Director, with the 2018 Scientific Achievement Award, and Veronica Rodriguez-Bravo, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Cancer Biology, with the 2018 Young Investigator Award at the annual gala in October. 

Photo Credit: AACR-Whitney Thomas

Dr. Karen Knudsen speaks at the Party with a Purpose Gala

Photo Credit: AACR-Whitney Thomas

From left: Dr. Margaret Foti, Dr. Veronica Rodriguez-Bravo, Beverly Fassler Goldberg

To learn more about the many ways a gift today can have a significant impact on cancer breakthroughs, please contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 215-503-7604. 23


233 South 10th Street Bluemle Building Room 1050 Philadelphia, PA 19107

UPCOMING EVENTS DECEMBER

08 Boyds Philadelphia Shave Off Event JANUARY Grand Rounds Town Hall 02 Karen Knudsen, PhD

Director, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center BLSB 101

FEBRUARY Jefferson Health NJ Foundation Gala 23 The Borgata, Atlantic City

MARCH

21 Boyd’s Patron Party Get Your Rear in Gear 24 Run to support colon cancer research

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT KIMMELCANCERCENTER.ORG