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A recent study by Memorial Sloan Kettering, published in JAMA, found that if you’re a cancer patient, you’re more likely to survive your cancer when treated at Sylvester than nearly any other hospital in the nation.

From the Director


Mission: Innovation and Discovery “Sylvester’s enormous human talent brings different disciplines and areas of core knowledge to bear on team science projects that result in remarkable outcomes leading to better prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.” Dr. Stephen D. Nimer Director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center February 2016

Dear Colleagues: Since 1973, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center has been a center of innovation and discovery for cancer research and care. This creative culture is not by accident — it requires regular recharge with institutional investments in talent and technology, and an environment designed to foster team science and collaboration across disciplines and expertise. During the past three years Sylvester has recruited more than 75 cancer experts from the nation’s top cancer institutions and has become a magnet for the recruitment of international cancer scientists who are thought leaders in their fields. Each individual contributes to the rich, interdisciplinary milieu of Sylvester’s more than 130 cancer specialists and 115 cancer researchers, who collaborate with researchers from colleges across the University of Miami and institutions around the world. As I believe this report demonstrates, Sylvester’s enormous human talent brings different disciplines and areas of core knowledge to bear on team science projects that result in remarkable outcomes leading to better prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Ultimately, Sylvester’s culture of collaborative cancer research and care — which includes the areas of immunology, tumor biology, viral oncology, epidemiology, cancer control and health communications, to name a few — results in groundbreaking discoveries and game-changing cancer clinical trials that save lives.

With that in mind, we are very proud to be among an elite group of 11 cancer research centers nationwide — and the only one in South Florida — that achieve the best outcomes for cancer patients across a number of cancer types and disease stages. This was reported in a study by Memorial Sloan Kettering recently published in JAMA Oncology, highlighted on the facing page. From the vantage of my decades-long career as a cancer researcher and physician and as the director of this hardworking cancer center, I couldn’t be more proud of the collective accomplishments listed in this document. And I thank sincerely the men and women who get up every day and come to work at Sylvester to achieve a vision we all dream of — a world without cancer. Best regards,

Stephen D. Nimer, M.D. Director, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

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Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Sylvia Daunert, Ph.D., Pharm.D., M.S.

RESEARCHERS PATENT RAPID HPV TEST Collaborators Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H., Sylvia Daunert, Ph.D., Pharm.D., M.S., and Sapna K. Deo, Ph.D., developed and filed a patent on a rapid human papillomavirus (HPV) test to prevent cervical cancer among minority and underserved women. The test detects high-risk strains of HPV in as little as 15 minutes and works much like a pregnancy test — it can be conducted by a paraprofessional and involves a paper-based probe that provides results. While the Pap smear has significantly reduced cervical cancer cases in the United States, minority, low-income and underinsured women remain at greater risk of being diagnosed with and dying from cervical cancer. If found to be adequately sensitive, the HPV rapid test would revolutionize cervical cancer screening in resourcelimited settings that lack clinical and laboratory infrastructure. The project researchers were recognized by the Women’s Cancer Association with Researcher of the Year awards for their work on the rapid HPV test.


Sapna K. Deo, Ph.D.

Stephen D. Nimer, M.D.

A research team led by Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., has identified a new potential therapeutic target for acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Published in Cell Reports, Nimer’s study is his latest to probe the genetic and cellular processes leading to AML focusing on PRMT4, a member of the protein arginine methyltransferase family of enzymes that regulate genes at the cellular level. Nimer’s study found high levels of PRMT4 in AML patient samples and identified the mechanism by which the enzyme blocks normal differentiation of human stem/progenitor cells. Nimer discovered that depleting PRMT4 causes leukemia cells to die and his lab is now working with several biotech companies and other academic sites to develop clinically useful inhibitors of these enzymes. Together with Ramin Shiekhattar, Ph.D., Arthur Zelent, Ph.D., Ronan Swords, M.D., Ph.D., FRCPI, FRCPath, Justin Watts, M.D., Feng-Chun Yang, M.D., Ph.D., and Mingjiang Xu, M.D., Ph.D., they are exploring other forms of epigeneticfocused therapies against hematologic cancers.


Donald T. Weed, M.D., FACS

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Donald T. Weed, M.D., FACS, a head and neck surgeon, and Paolo Serafini, Ph.D., an immunologist, successfully used tadalafil — a medicine that has been FDA-approved and on the market for the treatment of various diseases since 2003 — in the treatment of patients with a type of head and neck cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, or HNSCC. The two discovered that myeloid-derived suppressor cells and regulatory T cells play a key role in the progression of HNSCC. They also found that an enzyme named PDE5 modulates these immune system cells and can be inhibited using tadalafil. In a singlecenter study conducted at Sylvester, Weed and his colleagues gave tadalafil to patients with HNSCC prior to surgery to remove their cancers and reported that the treatment was well tolerated and significantly reduced both myeloid-derived suppressor cell and regulatory T cell concentrations in the blood. This, in turn, made the HNSCC tumors more susceptible to destruction by the patients’ own immune systems.


CLINICAL STUDY COMPLETED OF NEW, HIGHLY ACCURATE PROSTATE SCREENING TOOL More than one million U.S. men undergo a prostate biopsy each year, the majority of which show either no or low-risk prostate cancer. In an effort to identify those patients most likely to benefit from biopsy, Dipen J. Parekh, M.D., and Sanoj Punnen, M.D., completed the first U.S. clinical trial of 4KScore, a new prostate cancer screening tool that combines measurement of four kallikrein proteins found in the blood with a patient’s age, digital rectal examination findings and prior biopsy status to predict the likelihood of the patient eventually developing a high-grade cancer. Their findings, published in European Urology, showed that the 4KScore was a near-perfect predictor of the probability of highgrade cancer that would require treatment being found on a subsequent prostate biopsy. The risk of missing a high-grade cancer with the 4KScore was minimal. The study reviewed 1,012 men from 26 institutions around the United States between 2013 and 2014; the test performed equally well for African-American and Caucasian men.

Paolo Serafini, Ph.D.

Dipen J. Parekh, M.D.

OVARIAN CANCER CELL LINES SUCCESSFULLY GROWN IN LONG-TERM CULTURE A team of researchers led by Tan A. Ince, M.D., Ph.D., has developed a technique for growing ovarian cancer cell lines that retain the molecular characteristics of the original tumor in longterm cultures. The results of the research have been published online in the journal Nature Communications in an article entitled, “Characterization of Twenty-Five Ovarian Tumour Cell Lines that Phenocopy Primary Tumours.” The key to Ince’s research is his development of a cell culture medium with a novel mix of nutrients that facilitate the ability of tumor cells taken from a patient to replicate in a petri dish without losing the phenotypic characteristics of the original tumor. Using the novel medium, his laboratory was successful in propagating 25 unique lines using ovarian cancer tumor cells from 26 patients. Furthermore, the molecular profile and drug response of these cell lines correlate with distinct groups of primary tumors with different outcomes. Ince and his team are making these cell lines available through the University of Miami’s non-profit Live Tumor Culture Core, which is providing cancer cell lines at cost to researchers around the world. The next steps involve expanding their methodology to other cancer types such as breast, lung, pancreas, colon and prostate cancers — small pilot studies are already in progress using different media optimized for these tumors to determine the individual response of patients to various cancer drugs.

Sanoj Punnen, M.D.

Tan A. Ince, M.D., Ph.D.

COMMUNITY-BASED PROGRAMS REDUCE STRESS FOR BLACK BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS Suzanne C. Lechner, Ph.D., initiated a community-based stress management intervention program leading to improved psychological adaptation of underserved, black women who were breast cancer survivors. Lechner’s team found that educational outreach to provide post-treatment breast cancer health and wellness information resulted in positive outcomes for stress reduction in study participants. Their findings have been published in the journal of the National Cancer Institute, Monographs. The report is the culmination of a five-year study funded by a $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The study began after researchers at Sylvester noticed that very few black women had enrolled in previously offered stress-management programs.

Suzanne C. Lechner, Ph.D.

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Erin Kobertz, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Alan Pollack, M.D., Ph.D.

$2 MILLION NCI GRANT TO ADDRESS CERVICAL CANCER DISPARITIES To combat cervical cancer in South Florida and beyond, the NCI awarded Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H., a $2 million, four-year grant. Her project is an extension of earlier NCI-funded research in which Kobetz and her SUCCESS collaborators conducted a community trial comparing two innovative modalities for disease prevention — navigation to Pap smear screening at local federally qualified health centers, and home-based self-sampling for human papillomavirus (HPV). In both arms, community health workers play a critical role in intervention delivery. However, preliminary data indicates that health worker involvement may matter less than the method of screening itself. The new study will test the significance of community health workers’ participation by comparing self-sampling provided by a community health worker with self-sampling provided by mail. Kobetz and her team will implement a two-arm analysis of 700 women from the three target communities. In addition to determining which method of self-sampling results in a greater number of women screened, the study also will include secondary outcomes, including comparisons of knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about cervical cancer and the importance of early detection of disease, access to care and the cost of each intervention strategy.


Dipen Parekh, M.D.

Sylvester researchers Alan Pollack, M.D., Ph.D., Sanoj Punnen, M.D., and Dipen Parekh, M.D., were awarded a $3 million, five-year NCI grant to explore breakthrough uses of MR imaging and genetic signatures in managing prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment. Current diagnostic methodologies don’t do a good job of identifying the tumor in some locations in the prostate and whether it is indolent or an aggressive form of the cancer. The foundation for the study is an advanced imaging technology known as multiparametric MRI, or MP-MRI. The researchers are exploring the potential of unique MP-MRI analysis software developed by their colleague Radka Stoyanova, Ph.D., that categorizes prostate tumors into “habitats.” Combined with molecular analyses from MRI-directed prostate biopsies, they expect to do a better job of finding aggressive tumors at the earliest possible stages and improve the selection of patients for active surveillance versus treatment.


Enrique A. Mesri, Ph.D.

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An interdisciplinary team of researchers led by Enrique A. Mesri, Ph.D., and Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., has received a $1.8 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study the role of stem cells in Kaposi’s sarcoma oncogenesis and therapy. Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) is the main type of cancer that affects people with HIV/AIDS. The researchers will employ state-of-the-art techniques, such as next-generation sequencing and proteomics, which will provide an unbiased analysis of how KS tumors respond and resist PDGFR-targeted therapies. This will generate insights and create new tools that will allow the creation of personalized therapies for AIDS-KS.


NIH/NCI AWARD FOR REGIONAL CANCER DISPARITIES RESEARCH A National Cancer Institute supplemental award will make the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center the coordinating center for the NCI’s Geographic Management of Cancer Health Disparities Program–Region 3 (GMaP3) — a research consortium of 11 institutions in seven southeastern states and Puerto Rico. The project is part of the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities’ Community Networks Program Centers. The one-year award supplements another five-year NCI grant, awarded in 2010, for cervical cancer research being conducted by Sylvester’s South Florida Center for Reducing Cancer Disparities, also known as SUCCESS. The founders of SUCCESS — Olveen Carrasquillo, M.D., and Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H. — will oversee GMaP3. Both are also program directors for community engagement at the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Sylvester’s Jay Weiss Institute for Health Equity, which Kobetz directs, will provide infrastructure and resources. The award builds on Sylvester’s existing grant from the NCI, which is focused on community-based translational research, and it promotes research collaboration among institutions that have shared goals but have traditionally worked in silos. There are plans to expand the program by adding three institutions — the University of Florida, Florida State University and the University of Puerto Rico — which have collaborated in related research programs in the past.

NATIONAL CAR-T IMMUNOTHERAPEUTIC STUDY FOR ALL Krishna Komanduri, M.D., and Lazaros Lekakis, M.D., are the principal investigators for the Sylvester location of the national Juno CAR-T cell study for relapsed or refractory CD19+ B-ALL. Sylvester is one of 11 institutions nationwide and the only center in Florida to offer this single-arm, multicenter Phase II trial to adult patients with relapsed or refractory B-ALL . The study’s approach involves infusion of the patient’s own T cells that have been genetically modified to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that will bind to leukemia cells that express the CD19 protein on the cell surface. The study will determine if these modified T cells — known as JCAR015 — help the body’s immune system eliminate leukemia cells. The trial will also study the safety of treatment with JCAR015, how long JCAR015 cells stay in the patient’s body, the extent to which JCAR015 eliminates minimal residual disease and the impact of this treatment on survival.

Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D.

Olveen Carrasquillo, M.D.

Krishna Komanduri, M.D.

Lazaros Lekakis, M.D.

IMMUNOTHERAPEUTIC TRIAL FOR SARCOMA Breelyn A. Wilky, M.D., is the principal investigator for a Phase II trial combining axitinib with pembrolizumab in patients with advanced alveolar soft part sarcoma and other soft tissue sarcomas. Sylvester is the only site in the world offering this trial of the drug combination to remove the cancer’s camouflage against detection by the body’s immune system. During the study period, investigators will assess safety of the combination based on the presence or absence of predefined toxicities. Correlative studies characterizing T cells in tumor tissue and in peripheral blood also will be performed. Additional exploratory imaging investigations and assessment of circulating tumor cells are included for all patients.

Breelyn A. Wilky, M.D.

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Honors, Awards and Appointments

CELEBRATING OUR 500TH STEM CELL TRANSPLANT On January 14, more than 150 patients, their families, doctors, nurses and caretakers came to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center to celebrate a tremendous milestone in the cancer center’s recent history — the 500th stem cell transplant conducted at Sylvester to treat blood disorders such as leukemia and lymphoma. University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., kicked off the event, thanking the stem cell transplant program’s leadership and staff (pictured in upper right photo) for their work.

“The work done by our stem cell transplant doctors and nurses is so important in the quest to treat and cure blood disorders. What they do every day is truly remarkable.” – Miller School of Medicine Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D.

“We’re one of the largest programs in the country now,” Krishna V. Komanduri, M.D., medical director of the Adult Stem Cell Program at Sylvester (pictured in middle of upper left photo) told the Miami Herald. Komanduri started the program in 2011 and has treated more than 500 patients so far, with patient numbers increasing every year. In the second half of 2015 alone, he and

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his team performed transplants on more than 100 patients. The highlight of the evening was a speech by the 200th patient of the program, George Schwartz, an art restorer from Boca Raton (pictured at right in the upper left photo). After being turned down by other doctors who told him he was too old for a transplant, Schwartz came to Sylvester for a second opinion. The doctors here conducted his transplant in July 2013, and he has been doing well ever since.

“The transplant gave me a new lease on life, and I am so thankful.” – 200th Stem Cell Transplant Patient, George Schwartz

Also attending was Keith Oliver (pictured at left in the upper left photo), the program’s 500th stem cell transplant recipient, who underwent treatment at Sylvester in September 2015. Together with Schwartz, Oliver and Komanduri received two proclamations recognizing the work done at Sylvester’s Adult Stem Cell Transplant Program — one from the state of Florida and one from Miami-Dade County. In addition, Sylvester unveiled a memorial bench to mark this milestone in the newly renovated gardens behind the building.


INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN PANCREATIC CANCER EXPERT LEADS SURGICAL ONCOLOGY Renowned pancreatic cancer clinician and scientist Nipun B. Merchant, M.D., was recruited to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center as chief surgical officer and director of surgical oncology research programs. Merchant comes to the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and UHealth – University of Miami Health System from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he was the director of the Vanderbilt Pancreas Center, chief of GI surgical oncology and co-leader of the GI Oncology Program at VanderbiltIngram Comprehensive Cancer Center. Merchant also assumes the newly created position of vice chair of surgical oncologic services and academic affairs within the department of surgery and is the chief of surgical oncology at University of Miami Hospital as well as chief surgical officer at Sylvester. In addition, he serves as chief of the division of surgical oncology. Through these roles, he is the leader/strategist coordinating cancer-related programs in the fields of general, endocrine, colorectal, and thoracic surgery. As vice chair, he leads the clinical and research enterprises of surgical oncology and oversees the educational and academic programs.

Nipun B. Merchant, M.D.

Riccardo Lencioni, M.D.

RENOWNED INTERVENTIONAL ONCOLOGIST JOINS SYLVESTER Riccardo Lencioni, M.D., joined Sylvester as director of interventional oncology research from the University of Pisa in Italy, where he was a professor at the School of Medicine. Lencioni is an accomplished interventional oncology specialist, particularly well known for his influential work on liver cancer. Interventional oncology is an emerging field of medicine using image-guided, minimally invasive techniques to deliver cancer therapies directly to cancer tumors. In the mid-2000s Lencioni and colleagues published a vision statement that is widely considered to be the birth of interventional oncology. Lencioni’s research explores the potential synergies between novel molecular-targeted therapeutic options and interventional techniques. He has been the principal investigator of the two largest clinical trials assessing the benefit of innovative regimens, and was also part of the research group that showed, for the first time, that a genetically engineered virus injected directly into a tumor has the potential to improve survival in cancer patients. Lencioni has been the chairman of the European and the World Conference of Interventional Oncology. He has authored more than 190 articles in peer-reviewed international journals and numerous chapters in textbooks on interventional radiology, gastroenterology, oncology and surgery. In addition, he has served as the editor of nine books, including “Embolization Therapy: Principles and Clinical Applications,” published in 2015.

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Honors, Awards and Appointments

Brian M. Slomovitz, M.D.

Stephen D. Nimer, M.D.

Jaime R. Merchan, M.D.

SLOMOVITZ LEADS GYNECOLOGIC ONCOLOGY INITIATIVES Brian M. Slomovitz, M.D., a fellowship-trained robotic surgeon and specialist in novel therapeutics for endometrial cancer and early detection of ovarian cancer, was recently recruited to serve as co-leader of Sylvester’s Gynecologic Cancers Site Disease Group and director of the division of gynecologic oncology in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He will also direct the division’s fellowship program. Slomovitz came to Sylvester from Atlantic Health System in Northern New Jersey where he also served as an associate professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and adjunct associate professor at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Within weeks of his arrival at Sylvester, Slomovitz contributed to establishing the dysplasia clinic, which takes a multidisciplinary team approach to provide research, screening and treatment for women and men who are at high risk of developing cervical, vulvar or anal cancer. Slomovitz is the principal investigator for the Sylvester arm of NCI-MATCH and is the principal investigator of several Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) clinical trials focused on endometrial and vulvar cancer. He has authored or co-authored more than 60 peer-reviewed articles and has lectured extensively. Slomovitz is board certified in both obstetrics and gynecology and gynecologic oncology.

NIMER RECOGNIZED BY BONE MARROW FOUNDATION Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., received the Dr. E. Donnall Thomas Award from the Bone Marrow Foundation. The award, presented at the foundation’s “Be a Lifeline” Gala in New York City on April 1, celebrates the groundbreaking work of the late Dr. Thomas, who pioneered bone marrow transplantation, and honors medical professionals who exemplify his achievements in the field. Nimer was given the award for “his dedication to spending his entire career advancing the research and improving the lives of patients with cancer.” An expert in treating leukemia and lymphoma, Nimer has conducted extensive clinical and basic science research in the treatment and genetic basis of adult leukemia and bone marrow failure states, defining the regulatory mechanisms that control the production of blood cells and exploring ways to improve the treatment of blood-based cancers. He has authored more than 200 scientific publications and has received numerous awards for his research, including the prestigious Irma T. Hirschl Career Scientist Award.

MERCHAN SELECTED FOR NIH DEVELOPMENTAL THERAPEUTICS STUDY SECTION Jaime R. Merchan, M.D., has been selected as a chartered member of the Developmental Therapeutics Study Section in the Center for Scientific Review of the National Institutes of Health. The six-year term began July 1. The section reviews applications addressing the experimental therapy of neoplastic diseases in in vitro systems and in vivo model systems, including some early-stage, pilot clinical trials. Its major emphasis is the rational development of novel therapeutic strategies that have a significant potential for early translation to the clinic. Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors. Page 10



David J. Lee, Ph.D.

David J. Lee, Ph.D., is appointed to the NIH National Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Advisory Council for a four-year term. As a member of the council, Lee advises the secretary of health and human services and director of the NIH and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders on the conduct and support of research and research training, health information dissemination and other programs for hearing disorders and other communication processes. In addition to his NIH appointment, Lee serves as principal investigator and project director of the Florida Cancer Data System, the statewide population-based cancer surveillance system. Lee succeeded Jill MacKinnon, Ph.D., who retired after 39 years. A joint project between the Florida Department of Health and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Florida Cancer Data System is one of the premier cancer surveillance systems in the nation. The registry has been collecting incidence data since 1981, making it one of the oldest sponsored programs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. In 1994, the system became part of the National Program of Cancer Registries administered by the Centers for Disease Control.

FLORIDA CANCER DATA SYSTEM RECEIVES GOLD CERTIFICATION The Florida Cancer Data System, Florida’s legislatively mandated, statewide, population-based cancer registry, has received the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries’ highest certification for the 13th consecutive year. Gold certification is awarded to central registries meeting the highest levels of completeness, data quality and timeliness in cancer abstract reporting. In 1978, the Florida Department of Health contracted with Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center to design and implement the registry. The Florida Cancer Data System began operation with a pilot project for cancer registration in 1979 and commenced statewide collection of cancer incidence data from all Florida hospitals in 1981. The registry now collects incidence data from hospitals, freestanding ambulatory surgical centers, radiation therapy facilities, pathology laboratories, and dermatology and physician offices. The registry is funded by the Florida Department of Health, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Program of Cancer Registries.

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Honors, Awards and Appointments

F. Daniel Armstrong, Ph.D.

Seal of Cancer Center of Excellence March 2015 - March 2018

ARMSTRONG RECEIVES ST. GEORGE NATIONAL AWARD For his longtime devotion to improving the lives of children with cancer and his work to advance science, health policy and education, F. Daniel Armstrong, Ph.D., was recently honored with the American Cancer Society’s 2015 St. George National Award. The award recognizes outstanding ACS volunteers who have demonstrated a willingness to serve in leadership roles and have significantly contributed to furthering the society’s strategic goals and mission. Armstrong has been an active investigator at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami for 30 years. His work on neurocognitive outcomes of children treated for brain tumors and acute lymphoblastic leukemia, as well as those treated with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, is internationally recognized. He has collaborated closely with other psychologists, pediatric oncologists, radiation oncologists, and many other cancer specialists on more than 20 multi-center clinical trials during his nearly 15-year role as chair of the behavioral sciences committee for both the NCI-funded Pediatric Oncology Group and Children’s Oncology Group. Armstrong’s work with the ACS dates backs to 1999. He has held several leadership roles and made important strides in advocating for health policy changes, fundraising and improving the quality of life for children and young adults with cancer.

SYLVESTER COMPREHENSIVE CANCER CENTER RECOGNIZED AS A CANCER CENTER OF EXCELLENCE Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has been recognized as a Cancer Center of Excellence by the state of Florida – one of just four cancer centers in the state, and the only one in South Florida, to earn this firstever distinction. The Cancer Center of Excellence Award Program is meant to encourage excellence in cancer care in Florida, attract and retain the best cancer care professionals to the state, and help Florida organizations be recognized nationally as a preferred destination for quality cancer care. The designation is based on measured success in delivering quality cancer care to patients and family members. Sylvester, part of UHealth – University of Miami Health System, treats more than 5,000 new cancer patients each year and its survival rates for many cancers are much higher than national averages.

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

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Sylvester Coral Springs

Sylvester Deerfield Beach


LIPPMAN INDUCTED AS FELLOW OF THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS Internationally known breast oncologist Marc E. Lippman, M.D., was inducted as a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), the oldest medical college in England. Lippman received the highest category of membership of the RCP at a ceremony held in London on July 8. Lippman, professor of medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is widely known for his research in breast cancer, having served as head of the Medical Breast Cancer Section, Medicine Branch at the National Institutes of Health, and as Senior Investigator at the National Cancer Institute. He is also a member of the Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute at Sylvester. Nominations are made by existing RCP fellows and include individual nominations of eminent physicians worldwide.

Marc E. Lippman, M.D.

Mohammad Jahanzeb, M.D.

JAHANZEB APPOINTED CHAIR-ELECT TO QOPI COMMITTEE Mohammad Jahanzeb, M.D., is the current chair of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPIŽ) Steering Group (a subcommittee of ASCO Quality of Care Committee). Jahanzeb, a breast and lung cancer oncologist and a professor of medicine, has been instrumental in the development of QOPI since its inception in 2002. He served as a member of the original QOPI Alpha Group, the original Measures Work Group and the Physician Champion Pilot Testing Group. As Chair, he will oversee and steer the strategic direction and implementation of the QOPI program. ASCO-QOPI is an oncologist-led, practice-based quality improvement program for hematology-oncology practices established with the goal of promoting excellence in cancer care by helping practices create a culture of self-examination and improvement. There are currently 200 QOPI certified practices in the United States. Sylvester, one of just three facilities to attain QOPI certification in the South Florida region, achieved a perfect score in 2013, its most recent three-year certification. Jahanzeb has served on the Breast Cancer and Lung Cancer Guideline Panels of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and on the breast and lung cancer committees of the Southwest Oncology Group.

Sylvester Hollywood

Sylvester Kendall

Sylvester Plantation

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RIDE. RUN. WALK. DCC FUNDS CANCER RESEARCH More than 3,000 bicyclists, runners, walkers and volunteers hit the road during the 2015 Dolphins Cycling Challenge V, now known as the Dolphins Cancer Challenge, or DCC. Together, they raised $4.7 million —100 percent of which was donated to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center to support life-saving cancer research. The fundraising goal for DCC VI in 2016 is $5 million. Since its inception in 2010 as the signature fundraising initiative of the Miami Dolphins Foundation, DCC has donated more than $11.5 million to Sylvester for cancer research and has been instrumental in funding innovative research projects across the spectrum of basic, translational and clinical science — helping to build programs that make a difference in the lives of countless cancer patients across South Florida.

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PAP CORPS RAISES $3.6 MILLION FOR CANCER RESEARCH The Pap Corps Champions for Cancer Research, a South Florida-based grassroots organization, made a $3.6 million gift to advance research in precision cancer medicine at Sylvester, South Florida’s only Cancer Center of Excellence. The Pap Corps funding supports the basic and translational research at Sylvester that promotes discoveries of genetic markers for individual cancers and the development of targeted treatments that will lead to better outcomes. The Pap Corps is one of the largest all-volunteer fundraising organizations in South Florida, with more than 50 chapters and 21,000 members dedicated to raising money for cancer research at Sylvester. In the last 60 years, The Pap Corps has provided more than $50 million to support research discoveries made in Sylvester’s labs.

Marc E. Lippman, M.D.

LAMPERT FOUNDATION ESTABLISHES BREAST CANCER RESEARCH FUND The Lampert Foundation donated $1.5 million to establish the Kinga and Edward Lampert Laboratory for Breast Cancer Research. The gift will support critical breast cancer research administered by Marc E. Lippman, M.D., deputy director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Research projects will focus on the development of translational research in breast cancer, the discovery of new mechanisms and targets for breast cancer treatment and new preventive and therapeutic opportunities resulting from fundamental research in breast cancer biology.

W. Jarrard Goodwin Jr., M.D., FACS

GIFTS ESTABLISH TWO ENDOWED CHAIRS IN HEAD AND NECK ONCOLOGY The W. Jarrard Goodwin Jr., M.D., FACS, Endowed Chair in Head and Neck Oncology Surgery has been established with a $2.5 million gift from the Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation and will be held by Donald T. Weed, M.D., FACS, co-director of the division of head and neck surgery at Sylvester, and professor of otolaryngology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The Virginia M. Horner Endowed Chair in Head and Neck Oncology Research has been established with a $1.5 million gift from Virginia M. Horner and will be held by Francisco J. Civantos, M.D., FACS, co-director of the division of head and neck surgery/otolaryngology, and professor of otolaryngology – head and neck surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Donald T. Weed, M.D., FACS

RESEARCH ACCELERATOR FUND DRIVES DISCOVERIES FORWARD Funding is the fuel that drives cancer research from basic science discoveries into breakthrough treatments and novel therapies. Yet, in an era of contracting federal research dollars and increasingly narrow NIH/NCI project funding, cancer researchers face funding obstacles that hinder timely translation of scientific discoveries into new patient treatments. At Sylvester, an anonymous and visionary philanthropist has established a $4 million research accelerator fund with gifts totaling $3 million. The Accelerator Fund supports leading-edge research into breakthrough treatments and novel therapies with the potential to advance the center’s vision of saving lives and transforming cancer care. By contributing to the Accelerator Fund, donors have an opportunity to drive improvements in cancer care and, ultimately, help save lives.

Francisco J. Civantos, M.D., FACS

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Sylvester’s Accomplishments Report  

Read about Sylvester’s 2015 achievements in cancer research and clinical care.

Sylvester’s Accomplishments Report  

Read about Sylvester’s 2015 achievements in cancer research and clinical care.