Archive for June, 2012

Team Draft’s National Campaign Cancer Tours Lombardi – Inside GUMC – Georgetown University Medical Center GUMC

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

 Inside GUMC – Georgetown University Medical Center GUMC.

Team Draft Tours Lombardi

A radiant, smiling picture of former NFL linebacker Chris Draft’s wife Keasha was never far from sight as he toured Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center on June 21.

As Draft walked through the clinic and the new state-of-the-art infusion center, full of questions about the facility and kind words for the patients he encountered, he would frequently pull up Keasha’s photos on his iPad to show those around him.

Looking at her youthful, healthy images, it is difficult to believe Keasha passed away from lung cancer at age 38 on December 27, 2011 – one month to the day after she and Draft were married. A former dancer, Keasha had never smoked and had always been physically active and fit before she was diagnosed with stage IV small cell lung cancer.

Draft, who retired from the NFL in 2010 after playing for numerous teams including the Washington Redskins, hopes people will stop in disbelief when they hear his and Keasha’s story and see her pictures. That’s part of his goal.

“I am determined to show a new face of lung cancer. I’m not trying to make it anything other than what it is, but want to make sure we tell the complete story,” Draft said during his visit.

Telling the Complete Story

The “complete story” is that lung cancer can affect anyone – including nonsmokers like Keasha. In fact, it is among the biggest killers out there – accounting for more deaths than breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney and skin cancers combined. Draft wants to shatter the misconception that people who get lung cancer somehow have brought it on themselves through smoking or other adverse behaviors.

Now devoting much of his time to building awareness of the disease and raising funds for research through his Chris Draft Family Foundation, Draft is on the road a lot these days, visiting cancer centers nationwide in an effort to spread a message of hope about the progress of lung cancer research.

While at Georgetown Lombardi, he met with members of the senior leadership team and interested researchers. Unassuming and approachable, Draft came alone, armed with just his iPad, a camera and a hand-held video camera.

He filmed a short video of Deepa Subramaniam, M.D., assistant professor in the division of hematology/oncology, discussing the vast heterogeneity of lung cancer types and the promise of personalized medicine.

According to Subramaniam, lung cancer in people who have never smoked accounts for approximately 15 percent of all lung cancer cases now. The incidence among nonsmokers and women is on the rise, and researchers are learning just how distinct the disease can be from patient to patient, and from tumor to tumor.

Individualized therapies that target unique tumor characteristics will be the answer to responding to this scourge, Subramaniam said, and to forging a “new paradigm in the classification of lung cancer.”

“We will gradually chip away at each slice of the lung cancer pie. We are going to cure those who can be cured, and convert the disease in those who cannot be cured into a chronic disease,” she said.

To view Draft’s video of Subramaniam, visit

For more information on Draft’s foundation and the national campaign to change the face of lung cancer,

By Lauren Wolkoff, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center

(Published June 29, 2012)

Where There’s No Smoke???

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Where There’s No Smoke
By Bob Hecker

A greater proportion of lung cancer patients are never-smokers. It’s a different disease and may require different therapy.

If 85 to 90 percent of lung cancer cases in the United States are linked to smoking tobacco, what’s behind the 10 to 15 percent of cases involving people who never smoked?

Medical scientists aren’t sure, but what they do know is that lung cancer in never-smokers is a biologically distinct disease from lung cancer in smokers, and one that sometimes can be treated differently with therapy targeting specific gene mutations.
“In the past decade, researchers have begun studying subtle biological differences in the lung tumors of smokers and of those who have never smoked,” says Gregory Otterson, MD, a medical oncologist and lung cancer specialist at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James). Otterson says carcinogens in cigarette smoke cause gene mutations that are often different from those found in lung tumors of people who have never smoked.
Read More

Miguel A. Villalona-Calero, MD, The James Comprehensive Cancer Center at Ohio State

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Dr. Villalona-Calero is a medical oncologist, lung cancer specialist, and an expert in drug development at the Ohio State University (OSU) Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Villalona-Calero’s current academic appointments are professor of the Departments of Internal Medicine and Pharmacology of The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health. He is also the director of the Solid Tumor Experimental Therapeutics program for OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center and co-medical director of the Clinical Research Unit at the Arthur James Cancer Hospital.
Dr. Villalona-Calero received his medical degree (magna cum laude) from Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Urena (U.N.P.H.U.), in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He completed his internship and residency at the State University of New York Health Sciences Center, and Medical Oncology fellowships at the University of Minnesota Hospital & Clinics and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He was further trained in the drug development field in the Institute for Drug Development, University of Texas Health Sciences Center and in Health Policy Leadership from New York University.
Dr. Villalona’s most significant contribution is translating his and others laboratory observations into cancer therapy. His unique education background combining medicine, oncology, drug development, pharmacology and health policy leadership, as well as his devotion and compassion to advocate cancer and take care of cancer patients, make Dr. Villalona-Calero a true bench to bedside translational researcher.
Recognition of his work by his peers has led to more than 70 peer-reviewed publications in journals with moderate to high impact factor, 150 abstracts, membership in three journal editorial boards, three NCI-supported R21 grants, a V Foundation/AACR Translational Cancer Research Award, an N01 clinical trials contract with the NCI (all as principal investigator), two ARRA supplements from the NCI, and numerous investigator-initiated clinical trials with pharmaceutical companies support. His abilities as reviewer and mentor has led to membership or faculty status in study sections (NCI/C-ONC, ASCO/AACR Vail Workshop in Clinical Research, NCI Investigational Drug Steering Committee, AACR 2009 annual meeting co-chair), as well as, primary mentor in two K awards and faculty in two T-32s and a K-12 grant. Respond and Donate

Gregory Otterson, MD, James Comprehensive Cancer Center at Ohio State

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Gregory A. Otterson, MD, is a Professor of Internal Medicine, Associate Division Director for Education, Co-Director of the Thoracic Oncology Program for the Division of Medical Oncology. He is also the Associate Director for the Hematology and Medical Oncology Fellowship Program. He is an Attending Physician in Solid Tumor Oncology at the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital & Richard J. Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University.

Dr. Otterson received his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, District of Columbia. His postgraduate training included an internship and residency in internal medicine at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois and a fellowship in medical oncology in the Clinical Oncology Program at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Otterson is board certified in medical oncology and Internal Medicine.

Dr. Otterson is a member of the NCCN Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Panel and a cadre member of the CALGB Respiratory Core Committe and holds professional memberships with: The American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American College of Physicians.

Dr. Otterson has contributed to over 100 publications, including journals, manuscripts, book chapters, book reviews, and abstracts, and has lectured extensively on oncology.

Stacey Scott Lung Cancer Registry

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The oldest of three children, Stacey was born to Donald and Marguerite Ray on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1967. She grew up in Tonawanda, New York, attended Sweet Home schools and received her bachelor of science from Medaille College in Buffalo, New York. Stacey enjoyed an early career in retail clothing and later found much gratification as a recruitment coordinator for Greater Buffalo Savings Bank. The beloved wife of William Scott, Jr., Stacey was a beautiful, loving young woman, close to her family and friends.

With a delightful sense of humor and an engaging laugh, many people say to know Stacey was to love her. From childhood she had a love of sports that was second to none, and while dedicated to the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills, Stacey was foremost, a diehard New York Yankees fan.

Diagnosis & Cancer Fight

As an active, athletic, non-smoking young woman, Stacey would not have been considered at high risk for lung cancer. Yet, in May of 2005 after complaining of fatigue and chest pain, tests confirmed the presence of malignant lung tumors. As often is the case, by the time lung cancer is diagnosed, it is beyond the early stages and is extremely aggressive and difficult to treat. Stacey fought mightily but lost her battle with lung cancer on September 17, 2005 at the age of 38.

The Registry Created

To express their deep love for Stacey, Bill, his partners at Scott Danahy Naylon, and Stacey’s family have created a lasting tribute in her honor. With the help of others, they started a charitable fund to create a lung cancer registry which will support promising early detection lung cancer research. Their generosity has helped established The Stacey Scott Lung Cancer Registry.

Mary Reid, PhD Epidemiologist & Registry Co-Director

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Dr. Mary E. Reid joined the staff of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in 2002 as a Research Scientist in the Department of Epidemiology. She came to RPCI from the Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, AZ, where she served as an Assistant Professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health and Co-Director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Training Program. She completed her doctoral training in Epidemiology and Cancer in 1998 at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
She has authored or co-authored more than 70 publications, serves as a regular reviewer for several cancer, nutrition and epidemiology journals and as a regular adhoc reviewer for several NCI grant mechanisms.

Chris Draft Pushes for Lung Cancer Death Decrease, in Honor of Late Wife

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Linebacker Chris Draft tackled tough for several NFL teams—and played to win. But, when the Redskins released him in 2010, he faced an opponent he couldn’t beat.

His fiancée, Keasha, who had never smoked, had stage four lung cancer.

Last November, chronicled in a poignant video that went viral, the two got married. With a beautiful white dress and an oxygen tank, Keasha walked the final few steps, and she and Chris exchanged vows.

Exactly one month later, Keasha died. She was 38.

Now Draft is a man on a mission, meeting with lung cancer groups and lobbying Congress to pass the “Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act,” which calls for the government to come up with a plan to cut lung cancer deaths in half by 2020.

This year alone, 160,000 Americans will die of lung cancer—by far the biggest cancer killer of all.

Even though smoking is the number one cause, the lung cancer alliance says the 60 percent of new lung cancer cases are people who quit—many decades ago—and 20 percent never smoked.

Charity Spotlight—Team Draft

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Ex-NFL linebacker Chris Draft knows about fighting for air, not due to smoking or a high altitude climb but because he lives with asthma that often landed him in the hospital. As much as he appreciated each breath during his football years, the fight behind it grew crystal clear when Keasha, his love at the time was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. She became the surprising face of lung cancer at age 37.

Keasha, once a Charlotte Hornets Honeybee dancer and a member of the Clemson University Rally Cat dance squad, struggled for breath and fought to dance, smile, and live even as her body weakened.

According to the CDC, more people die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. Roughly 200,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer yearly (tens of thousands of them never smoked) and about 150,000 die from the disease each year. Its virulence tends to cause death within months rather than years. That is why Keasha and Draft could no longer allow their busy schedules and other priorities to interfere with their relationship.

They met in 2006 when Draft played for the Carolina Panthers. He moved on to the Rams team in 2007 and the Bills a couple of years later, and then the Bears, which made time with Keasha periodic. Retirement from the Washington Redskins in 2010 finally brought them together full time. Soon Keasha would learn about her advanced lung cancer. Eight months after the diagnosis, Draft asked for her hand in marriage. He wanted to spend every remaining breath with her as husband and wife, be it a day or a second.

On November 27, 2011, they sat side by side to solidify their union and stood side by side to solidify their fight against lung cancer with the launch of Team Draft, dedicated to raising lung cancer awareness and increasing badly needed research funding by shattering misconceptions about lung cancer as strictly a “smoker’s disease,” self-inflicted by poor life choices. Keasha, who never smoked, died of lung cancer in December 2011 after just five weeks of marriage.

In February, Team Draft, under the Chris Draft Family Foundation, took its campaign national in honor of Keasha’s courage during life. The organization issued a challenge to all current and former NFL players and fans to support the campaign by using social media to spread lung cancer awareness.

The website imparts trends in the prevention of lung cancer, the disease’s prevalence and mortality, and emerging treatments. It is a place to share personal stories and upcoming events by the Draft foundation and numerous partner organizations.

“Our national campaign to change the face of lung cancer,” said Draft, “gives us a frontline view of the state of lung cancer research and treatment in America. This is an exciting period in the history of lung cancer treatment. The use of state-of-the-art lung cancer screening techniques is reducing mortality rates by 20% in some groups, while cutting-edge, team-based multidisciplinary treatment procedures are improving the quality of life for lung cancer patients across the country.

“And,” added Draft, “thanks to advances in molecular tumor mutation testing, researchers and treating physicians are developing effective personal lung cancer treatments designed to extend and ultimately save lives.”

Early detection, as in the case of most cancers is critical. Symptoms may differ by individual or not appear at all. The more evident symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing that does not go away, coughing up blood, wheezing, chest pain, and repeated respiratory infections, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.

Better yet is lowering the risk of developing lung cancer by, as most Americans know, not smoking and by avoiding secondhand smoke. Less well known are the benefits of testing one’s home for radon gas and ionizing radiation, then correcting any problems. The CDC also recommends avoiding asbestos and any unnecessary medical radiation to the chest. Experts say treating chronic lung diseases and infections, likewise, can help, as does recognizing the risk of lung cancer increases with age and informing doctors of relevant family medical history.

“The key to making even greater strides (and alternatively saving lives) is funding,” concludes Draft, “but funding for lung cancer research is impacted by the “smoker’s disease” stigma. That’s why Team Draft is campaigning to change the face of lung cancer.”

Lung cancer can develop in anyone. Draft has taken this message nationwide to primary schools, universities, TV interviews, and to NBA and NCAA dance teams. During his stop in Philadelphia, he visited patients at Children’s Hospital and met members of the National Lung Cancer Partnership Pennsylvania chapter. He talked with students at the Philadelphia High School of Creative and Performing Arts about the importance of music and the use of music therapy to treat patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Similar stops were just made in Chicago and Northern California. Draft is now on route to the NFL’s Rookie Symposium in Canton, Ohio where he will speak to the latest rookie class about being leaders on the field and in the community. Along the way, this week’s schedule includes visits to Georgetown University’s Lombardi Cancer Center in Washington, DC and the Roswell Park Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York. Such top cancer research treatment centers can look to Team Draft for a platform to reach more Americans, in addition to funding that extends their work.

Chris Draft wants the public to know that any success he has is not achieved alone. Respond and Donate Today

Courtesy of  of the Philadelphia Charity Examiner

Deepa Subramaniam, MD, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Deepa Subramaniam, MD, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University

Local Artist Fills Georgetown Lombardi Infusion Center with ‘Ribbon of Joy’

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Ribbons have become a popular and easily recognizable symbol of hope and support for cancer patients, survivors and advocates, with different cancers represented by a rainbow of colors.
Local artist Jo Fleming took this concept and transformed it into “Ribbon of Joy,”a 39-foot-long modular painting that will soon be installed in Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center’s new infusion center. Fleming, from Great Falls, Va, hopes the artwork will provide an emotional lift to patients and their caregivers and promote positive energy and healing.

“We diagnose and treat in an atmosphere filled with creativity and hope,” says Nancy Morgan, director of the Georgetown Lombardi Arts and Humanities Program, who has worked with Fleming to bring the impressive piece to Georgetown Lombardi. “Jo captured our philosophy of caring for the whole person in her paintings. It fits us perfectly. The reference to cancer is subtle, yet every person with cancer who sees the paintings gets the message.”

Fleming visited Georgetown Lombardi to get a sense of the environment and people and was inspired by the elements of the space that were already present, such as a large, multi-color mobile in the center of the lobby. She then created “Ribbon of Joy,” which mimics the sense of warmth and care she witnessed. The painting features 13 vibrantly colored cancer ribbons that flow together through a changing landscape.

“I wanted to find a meaningful way to address the individual. I wanted the work to say ‘We are all in this together,’” Fleming says on her process of creating the painting. “Cancer affects almost everyone—ourselves, our family and friends—so I joined the ribbons to each other and allowed them to flow through a changing landscape.” Fleming, whose father died of esophageal cancer and mother-in-law of lung cancer, knows first-hand the effect cancer can have on a family.

“I hope the artwork welcomes and pulls the visitor into the moment, outside of his or her concerns and provides a little lift,” says Fleming.
To find out more about Jo Fleming, please visit

By: Lauren Wolkoff and Alaina Farrish