Posts Tagged ‘Tackling Lung Cancer’

Mark Varvares, MD, Director, Saint Louis University Cancer Center

Sunday, May 26th, 2013




Mark Varvares, MD
Director, Saint Louis University Cancer Center


Undergraduate: University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
Medical School: Saint Louis University School of Medicine
St.Louis, MO
Internship: Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Chicago, IL
Residency: Harvard Medical School
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA
Fellowship: Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Head and Neck Reconstructive Surgery
Board Certification
American Board of Otolaryngology
American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Clinical Interests
Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, free flap reconstruction of head and neck defects, skull base surgery, surgery of the parotid, thyroid and parathyroid glands, surgery of the larynx, cancer of the nose and paranasal sinuses

Research Interests
How the surgical pathology of head and neck tumor impacts survival, the histopathological response of head and neck cancer to chemoradiation, clinical outcomes as related to head and neck cancer therapy

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Friday, May 24th, 2013






William Pao, M.D., Ph.D.

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Dr. Pao is a physician-scientist with a special interest in thoracic oncology. Dr. Pao’s research focuses on identification of genes involved in the pathogenesis of lung tumors and stratifying tumors intoclinically relevant molecular subsets. Using information derived fromthese experiments, Dr.


Ph.D. – Yale University, 1998

M.D. – Yale University, 1990

Fellowship – Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 2005

Fellowship – Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 2004

Internship – New York Presbyterian Hospital, 2000

Residency – New York Presbyterian Hospital, 2000

Research Specialty

The Pao Laboratory aims to perform translational research in the area of solid tumor biology, using lung cancer as a paradigm. The overall goal is to develop molecularly-tailored treatments for patients with lung cancer.

Research Description

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S and worldwide. Most cases arise in former or current smokers, but about 10% of cases also occur in individuals who smoked less than 100 cigarettes in a lifetime (“never smokers”). Lung cancers are currently classified by histopathological techniques as either small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) or non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In North America, adenocarcinoma (a type of NSCLC) is the most frequent type of histological tumor, accounting for 40% of all cases of lung cancer.

New “targeted” epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) like gefitinib (Iressa) and erlotinib (Tarceva) have given us a window of opportunity to elucidate clinically relevant molecular subsets of lung adenocarcinomas. For example, clinical trials have shown that gefitinib has an overall response rate of 10% in American and European populations, and 28% in Japanese patients. Retrospective analyses suggested that gefitinib is most efficacious in “never smokers” with adenocarcinoma histology. Such findings can now be largely accounted for by research from our group and others showing the relatively high incidence of mutations in the gene encoding EGFR in these respective populations and the association of EGFR mutations with increased sensitivity to both gefitinib and erlotinib.

While EGFR mutations are common in tumors from never smokers, mutations in KRAS, which encodes a signaling molecule downstream of EGFR, more commonly occur in individuals with substantial cigarette use. Moreover, EGFR and KRAS mutations appear to be mutually exclusive, suggesting that EGFR and KRAS mutations within lung epithelia are equivalent in their tumorigenic effects. We found that mutations in KRAS are associated with primary resistance to these drugs. This suggests that pre-treatment mutational profiling of both EGFR and KRAS may help guide treatment decisions regarding the use of these agents.

Unfortunately, virtually all patients who initially respond to gefitinib and erlotinib eventually develop acquired resistance. We have shown that tumor cells from patients whose disease progresses after initial responses on therapy with these agents frequently harbor second-site mutations in EGFR. The predominant second mutation substitutes methionine for threonine at position 790 in EGFR, which is predicted to block binding of gefitinib and erlotinib to the ATP-binding pocket of the kinase. Interestingly, the T790M amino acid change is analogous to changes seen in other kinases targeted by a related kinase inhibitor, imatinib (Gleevec), in patients that develop acquired resistance to that drug. Using a genomic approach, we have also recently found that tumor samples from patients with acquired resistance to gefitinib or erlotinib harbor amplification of MET, which encodes another tyrosine kinase. MET amplification appears to occur independently of T790M mutations. Importantly, MET inhibitors are currently being developed in the clinic.

The Pao Laboratory is now focused on the following:

1)            Defining further molecular subsets of lung cancers, based primarily upon mutational profiling of the oncogenome in tumor samples.

2)            Elucidating other mechanisms of sensitivity and resistance to EGFR inhibitors in lung cancer. For example, we recently showed that in drug-sensitive EGFR mutant lung cancer cells, induction of BIM is essential for apoptosis triggered by.



Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D. President and CEO Karmanos Cancer Institute

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer

Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D., is a world-renowned thoracic oncologist who has spent his career researching risks, progression, treatments and outcomes related to lung cancer, with a special focus on non-small cell lung cancer.
Dr. Bepler began his tenure as president and chief executive officer of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit in February 2010. Karmanos is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated, comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. In addition to his chief administrative duties, Dr. Bepler also serves as principal investigator of Karmanos’ National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center Support Grant; and associate dean of Cancer Programs, Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSU SOM).

Prior to coming to Karmanos, Dr. Bepler was director of the Comprehensive Lung Cancer Research Center; department chair of Thoracic Oncology; and program leader of the Lung Cancer Program at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL. He also served as professor of Medicine and Oncology at the University of South Florida. Prior to joining the Moffitt Cancer Center, Dr. Bepler was director of the Lung Cancer Program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY. He also held positions at Duke University Hospital and Durham VA Medical Center.

Dr. Bepler has secured more than $45 million in cancer-related research funding since the mid-1980s. He has published more than 158 peer-reviewed articles, including articles in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Cancer Research. His awards and recognitions are numerous and include an appointment to the Fleischner Society for Thoracic Imaging and Diagnosis (2012); the Moffitt Cancer Center’s Scientist of the Year (2008), the American College of Physicians Information and Education Resource Editorial Consultant (2007 – 2008), and he served on the Journal of Clinical Oncology Editorial Board (2006 – 2008). He also holds eight patents.

Dr. Bepler is a native of Germany. He received his medical and doctorate degrees from the Philipps University School of Medicine and Dentistry in Marburg, Germany. His postdoctoral fellowships were completed at the National Cancer Institute, Philipps University and at Duke University Medical Center.

Dr. Bepler is married and has four children. He resides in Bloomfield Township, Michigan.



Richard J. Battafarano, MD, PhD — University of Maryland, Greenebaum Cancer Center

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Richard J. Battafarano, M.D., Ph.D.,is the head of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center and a member of the surgical faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. As a chest surgeon with particular expertise in lung and esophageal cancer, he plays a key role in caring for patients at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center.

Dr. Battafarano came to Maryland from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., where he was an assistant professor of surgery in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery since 1999. He was also a thoracic surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, where he co-chaired the Siteman Cancer Center Protocol Review and Monitoring Committee and the hospital’s Cancer Committee.

“Dr. Battafarano brings high energy and a strong background in clinical care and research, including translational research in esophageal cancer,” says Stephen T. Bartlett, M.D., professor and chairman of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and chief of surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center. “He is a great clinician as well as a respected leader and educator, and I expect him to make significant contributions as we embark on a new era in thoracic surgery.”

Prior to his work in St. Louis, Dr. Battafarano completed a residency in cardiothoracic surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and New York Hospital from 1997 to 1999. His general surgery training consisted of a surgical internship at Abington Memorial Hospital in Abington, Pa., followed by four years of surgical residency at the University of Minnesota Health Sciences Center. During his general surgery residency, he entered the M.D. / Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota and completed his doctorate in Biomedical Sciences.
Dr. Battafarano received his medical degree from Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia and earned his bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania’s Haverford College.

“My goal is to provide excellent service to our patients and referring physicians for the full range of diseases of the chest. We will make it as easy as possible for physicians throughout the region to refer their patients, including those with the most challenging problems, and we will provide appointments within 7 to 10 days,” says Dr. Battafarano.

In addition to his expertise in lung and esophageal surgery, Dr. Battafarano has experience in a full range of complicated lung procedures, including lung volume reduction surgery, as well as minimally invasive surgical techniques such as video-assisted surgical removal of lobes in the lungs. He also performs sympathectomy, a surgical treatment for excessive sweating known as hyperhidrosis.

Dr. Battafarano’s basic research interest is in certain cellular pathways that speed cell growth in esophageal cancer. “Overexpression of the signaling pathway, known by the scientific designation WNT, leads to the rapid growth of esophageal cancer cells and their ability to spread to lymph nodes and other organs in the body,” he says. “Our hope is to improve the chances for cure in patients with esophageal cancer by developing targeted therapies directed against this pathway that can be incorporated into the multidisciplinary care of these patients,” says Dr. Battafarano.

Richard J. Battafarano, MD, PhD — University of Maryland, Greenebaum Cancer Center from TEAM DRAFT on Vimeo.

Ping Yang, M.D., Ph.D, Mayo Clinic Cancer Research Center, Rochester, MN

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Dr. Yang’s primary appointment at Mayo Clinic is in health sciences research. She also holds a joint clinical appointment in Medical Genetics and Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.

She is an epidemiologist with special training and experience in genetic epidemiology. Her long standing research interest has been in the causes and outcomes of lung cancer.

Dr. Yang is leading three NIH R01 grants and co-leading three other NIH grants, investigating the causes, prevention and treatment of lung cancer. In 1997, she initiated and has since been leading the Epidemiology and Genetics of Lung Cancer research program, which has been designed to accomplish the following goals with a multidisciplinary approach:

Identify low penetrant yet high frequency genes that are involved in lung carcinogenesis, cancer progression and prognosis;
Investigate the roles of chronic and non cancerous lung diseases including inherited disorders in lung cancer risk;

Evaluate the health and quality of life among long term lung cancer survivors;
Search for high penetrant but rare lung cancer susceptibility gene(s) by family based methods; and In the framework of the Rochester Epidemiology Project, continue to monitor the trends in lung cancer morbidity and mortality, to provide new leads as to causes, to estimate the attributable risks of high and/or low penetrant genes and their interactions with known carcinogens, and to evaluate the effectiveness of screening/early detection efforts.

Dr. Yang has been a member of the Mayo Clinic team since 1996 and is also a Professor of Epidemiology with Mayo Medical School.

Ping Yang, M.D., Ph.D, Mayo Clinic Cancer Research Center, Rochester, MN from TEAM DRAFT on Vimeo.

Dr. Augusto Ochoa, Director of LSU Health Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Augusto Ochoa, MD
Professor of Pediatrics
Adjunct Associate Professor, Biochemistry
Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center

DegreesM.D. – 1982

Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia

Bio Post-doctoral Fellowship – Immunology, Immunobiology Research Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 1982 – 1986
Assistant Professor, Immunobiology Research Center, University of Minnesota, 1986-1989
Head, Immunotherapy Laboratory, National Cancer Institute, Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, Frederick, MD, 1989 – 1996
Head, Signal Transduction Laboratory, National Cancer Institute, Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, Frederick, MD, 1996-1997

Residency in Pediatrics, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans, LA, 1997- 2000
Fellowship – Allergy/Immunology, Louisiana State University, New Orleans, LA, 2001-2003

Board Certification:
Pediatrics, 2000

Research Interests T cell function
Cytokine production
Macrophage-T cell interaction
Immune regulation
Immune dysfunction and disease
Tumor Immunology


Dr. Augusto Ochoa, Director of LSU Health Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center from TEAM DRAFT on Vimeo.

Dr. Paul Bunn, University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

In 1984, Dr. Bunn was recruited to the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center as a Professor of Medicine in Medical Oncology and Head of the Division of Medical Oncology. In 1986 Dr. Bunn became the Director of the University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Bunn has been President of ASCO, IASLC, and AACI, chairman of the FDA Oncology Drug Advisory Committee, and is currently the Executive Director of the IASLC.
Dr. Bunn’s research interests focus on novel therapies for lung cancer. He has published more than 300 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 122 reviews and 90 book chapters on lung cancer. Dr. Bunn’s studies have set standards for the treatment of lung cancer, have identified issues of natural history and have identified bio markers of prognosis and therapy selection. Dr. Bunn is the principal investigator on numerous national and local therapeutic trials and is also the principal investigator for the SPORE grant in lung cancer that is designed to conduct transnational research.

Dr. Paul Bunn, University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center from TEAM DRAFT on Vimeo.

Dr. Robert Kratzke, University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Dr. Kratzke received his M.D. from the University of Washington in 1983. He conducted an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1983-1986 and was Research Fellow at the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, 1986-1988. He was on the medical staff of the National Cancer Institute from 1988-1994. He joined the Minneapolis VA Medical Center in 1999 and is currently the Skoglund Professor of Lung Cancer Research and an associate professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Minnesota.
Research Interests

My laboratory conducts research into the role of genetic and epigenetic alterations in the development of thoracic cancers. We have looked extensively at the nature and consequences of mutations involving either the retinoblastoma susceptibility (Rb) or the p16INK4a gene in both lung cancer and mesothelioma. We have identified that the p16INK4a gene product, for example, is absent in virtually all cases of mesothelioma. This appears to be an attractive target for gene replacement therapy in this relatively infrequent disease. Previously, we have been using viral transfer vectors in vitro to investigate this potential.

Recently, we have changed to recombinant protein vectors for gene therapy in an attempt to avoid the potential toxicities of viral vectors. In addition, our lab has become interested in cap-mediated translation as a target for cancer therapy. We hare participating in a novel drug design program that hopes to manufacture a new class of drugs targeting this mechanism. Our lab has also finished a large project to develop molecular assays for micrometastatic disease in patients with early stage (resectable) lung cancer and colon cancer, results of which we are beginning to analyze and report.

Dr. Robert Kratzke, University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center from TEAM DRAFT on Vimeo.

Mayo Clinic Cancer Center NIH

Friday, January 18th, 2013

The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center with a multisite presence. Its three campuses — in Scottsdale, Ariz., Jacksonville, Fla., and Rochester, Minn. — give the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center a broad geographic reach, enabling it to serve diverse patient populations around the world. The campuses are also home to outstanding, internationally recognized physicians and scientists who collaborate across the full spectrum of cancer research, from basic biology to treatment, as they seek ways to reduce the burden of cancer.

Mayo Clinic Cancer Center NIH from TEAM DRAFT on Vimeo.

Edward Kim, MD, Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina is Tackling Lung Cancer

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Nationally Recognized Cancer Experts Join Levine Cancer Institute
“A CANCER INSTITUTE WITHOUT WALLS.” THIS IS THE PLEDGE OF CAROLINAS HealthCare System’s (CHS) Levine Cancer Institute to the community—to bring world-class cancer care closer to home.

“The Institute is working to define the future of cancer care—where innovations in research and treatment are brought closer to home for patients to improve outcomes and quality of life,” says the Institute’s President, Derek Raghavan, MD, PhD.

While there are many integral components to building a leading cancer program, one of the key pieces is being able to offer patients access to the latest research and treatment options. To help fulfill this mission, the Institute has brought on board several nationally recognized cancer experts.

Edward S. Kim, MD

Joining the Institute from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is Edward S. Kim, MD, who will serve as chair of the Department of Solid Tumor Oncology and Investigational Therapeutics. Dr. Kim is recognized as a national leader in molecular prognostication for lung cancer and specializes in thoracic oncology and head and neck cancers. In his previous role as professor and oncologist at MD Anderson, he also served as the center’s principal investigator for Southwest Oncology Group, one of the largest of the National Cancer Institute-supported cancer clinical trials cooperative groups. Named a top physician by U.S. News & World Report, Dr. Kim received his medical degree from Northwestern University through the Honors Program in Medical Education. He completed his residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, and a medical oncology fellowship at MD Anderson.

Donate Today as Team Draft’s leads a National Campaign to Changing the Face of Lung Cancer

Edward Kim, MD, Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina from TEAM DRAFT on Vimeo.