Career Development : Calendar

Philadelphia Chapter: Media briefing about anticipating tomorrow's cancer treatments

07/27/09     Philadelphia, PA

This three-hour event is open to all AHCJ members. It's planned as a fast-moving summary of the institution's highlights. Most presenters will speak for 15 minutes. (The CEO Mike Seiden gets half an hour) The subjects will range from trends in personalized medicine and women's cancer to advances in radiation oncology and robotic surgery. Fox Chase maintains these researchers are all likely to make news in the next 12 months. There's no guarantee, of course. 

The program includes lunch which reporters can purchase. A full schedule is attached. 

This will mark the third AHCJ event in the Philly area over the past year. 

If you go, RSVP to Karl Starl ( or Fox Chase's Frank Hoke at 

Directions to Fox Chase are at

Fox Chase Cancer Center, Conference Rooms C&D

Monday, July 27, 2009, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Cancer is on pace to become the leading cause of death worldwide by 2010. But more people are also surviving cancer today because of advances in prevention, research, and treatment. Please join us for a briefing and lunch with some of Fox Chase Cancer Center's leading scientists and clinicians to learn about some of the most promising anti-cancer strategies being pursued today.

10:00 a.m.: Registration and reception

10:30 - 11:30 a.m.: Session 1: Towards Personalized Cancer Medicine

Fundamentally, cancer is always a genetic disease, whether the genetic flaws involved are inherited or acquired or both. Genes are also very personal - no two individuals have the same genetic makeup, and no two tumors have precisely the same genetic profile. For this reason, the field of oncology is leading the way into the emerging field of personalized medicine. The concept of personalizing a patient's cancer treatment comes in many forms, from genetic risk analysis to differing tactics for the clinical application of genetic knowledge. This session will feature four researchers, each with their own take on the field of personalized medicine:

10:30 - 10:45 a.m.: Mary Daly, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Clinical Genetics

In 1991, Dr. Daly established the Margaret Dyson Family Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase to provide personalized prevention strategies and early detection services for women with a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer and women who have had breast or ovarian cancer or a biopsy showing benign breast disease. The first of its kind in the region and one of the first in the nation, the program has served more than 10,000 families to date. The program has also served as the model for additional prevention services at Fox Chase, such as risk assessment for gastrointestinal cancers, prostate cancer, and melanoma, with a new effort in head-and-neck cancers in development. Today, Dr. Daly heads a new clinical department that seeks to use the increasing depth of genetic knowledge about cancer to guide individual patient treatment. Dr. Daly is also the leader of Fox Chase's Keystone Program in Personalized Risk and Prevention, one of five programs established in 2008 that aim to bring the power of team-based science to bear on important cancer questions.

10:45 - 11:00 a.m.: Jeff Boyd, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer

In addition to his role in directing the overall scientific research portfolio of Fox Chase, Dr. Boyd recently led the formation of the Institute for Personalized Medicine (IPM), a program that will aim to match emerging targeted drug therapies to the unique genetic profiles of individual patient tumors on a much larger scale than previously possible. The IPM is built on Fox Chase's extensive and well characterized Biosample Repository and Tumor Bank and incorporates the critical additional element of specific sequencing information about individual tumors. The IPM also operates in collaboration with Fox Chase's highly regarded Phase 1 clinical trials program, which tests a broad spectrum of novel cancer therapeutics in patients with advanced cancer. 

11:00 - 11:15 a.m.: Suzanne Miller, Ph.D., Director of Behavioral Research

While genetics dominates the discussion around personalized medicine, Dr. Miller advocates a broader approach that incorporates an assessment of each patient's individual psychosocial needs. According to Dr. Miller, each patient responds to a cancer diagnosis as differently as each tumor might respond to a particular therapy.  From cancer screening through diagnosis, treatment through survivorship, how patients view and react to their cancer plays a fundamental role in their fight against the disease. To truly personalize care, Dr. Miller suggests, we should provide training in how to assess a patient's psychological perspective.

 11:15 - 11:30 a.m.: George Simon, M.D., Director of Thoracic Oncology

Dr. Simon is a physician-researcher who specializes in better understanding and treating lung cancer and mesothelioma. Currently, he is devising experimental clinical protocols that will match therapy to the genetic profile of an individual patient's tumor. Dr. Simon was recently recruited to Fox Chase from the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, where he led a team that showed that patients whose tumors exhibit high levels of activity of a gene called ERCC1 have a good prognosis, do not derive additional benefit from extended platinum-based chemotherapy, and can thus be spared the side effects of that therapy. Dr. Simon and his colleagues have since shown the feasibility of chemotherapy based on ERCC1 and another gene called RRMI, which predicts gemcitabine resistance. Such genetically tailored chemotherapy suggests a path toward dramatically improved outcomes for patients with advanced or stage IV non-small-cell lung cancer. Dr. Simon is developing a clinical trial for launch later this year or early next year that will test the use of a specific series of genetic tests to steer lung cancer patients towards receiving combinations of cancer drugs individually selected to target their disease.

11:30 a.m. - Noon: Lunch with remarks by Michael Seiden, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO

Dr. Seiden assumed the presidency of Fox Chase Cancer Center in 2007, arriving from Massachusetts General Hospital and Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. He has since launched a number of innovative projects to advance cancer research and treatment. Among these are the Keystone Programs for Collaborative Discovery, the Institute for Personalized Medicine, and Fox Chase Cancer Center Buckingham. Additionally, Fox Chase will open the Women's Cancer Center later this year. All of these initiatives build on a pronounced strength at Fox Chase, the close integration of its research and clinical faculty. As a leading gynecologic oncologist, Dr. Seiden is also the principal investigator on Fox Chase's ovarian cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence, or SPORE. These prestigious grants from the National Cancer Institute bring together teams of scientists and physicians to translate discoveries made in the laboratory into new treatments for testing in the clinic. Dr. Seiden is also overseeing Fox Chase's efforts to expand in the face of fast-rising demand for its cancer treatment services. Currently, the Center's expansion options fall into three categories, all of which "have warts," as he puts it: 1) expand into a small portion of adjacent Burholme Park or, failing that, build up on our current footprint; 2) split the campus to build new facilities at a second location; and 3) move the integrated campus to a new location.

Noon - 1:00 p.m.: Session 2: Moving Cancer Care Forward

Cancer treatment falls generally into three categories: surgical oncology, radiation oncology, and medical oncology, with the last of these being, perhaps, the broadest of the three. In all of these areas, Fox Chase physicians are making significant advances and improving cancer treatment. Additionally, as the new Women's Cancer Center will showcase, Fox Chase is committed to integrating all treatment modalities to offer patients the best possible cancer care.

Noon - 12:15 p.m.: Angela Bradbury, M.D., Director of the Margaret Dyson Family Risk Assessment Program

Dr. Bradbury, a medical oncologist, is the Director of the Margaret Dyson Family Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center, established in 1991 by Dr. Daly. Dr. Bradbury has specialized training in clinical cancer genetics, as well as social science research and survey-based research methodologies. Predictive genetic testing and ethical dilemmas in the cancer prevention field are her primary research focus. Dr. Bradbury's interest and ongoing research in medical ethics allows her to consider more deeply the impact of medicine on individuals and society as a whole. Currently, she is studying how and when parents communicate their BRCA1/2 mutation status and associated risk for breast and ovarian cancer to their children. A recent focus of her research has been on the impact that early communication of genetic risk has on children's health and risk behaviors. She is a graduate and former faculty member of the nationally recognized MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago.

12:30 - 12:45 p.m.: Robert Burger, M.D., Director of the Women's Cancer Center

Breast and gynecological cancers represent a third of all cancers in women and account for a fourth of all cancer deaths in women. Building on decades of research and progress against these cancers, Fox Chase Cancer Center will launch the region's first Women's Cancer Center later this year, with surgical oncologist Dr. Burger as its founding director. His vision is for the Women's Cancer Center to become a national resource for best clinical practices and collaborative research in women's cancers. Dr. Burger is also the co-director of the Ovarian Cancer Research Program, and his own research interests include risk assessment and prevention for ovarian cancer and the development of targeted therapeutics for gynecologic cancers. He is the principal investigator for a major clinical trial evaluating bevacizumab in patients with advanced ovarian cancer - the largest study of its kind in the world, with the potential to change the standard of care for this disease.

12:15 - 12:30 p.m.: Eric Horwitz, M.D., Acting Chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology

Fox Chase has pioneered some of the world's leading radiation therapy tools, including Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), ultrasound-guided targeting, image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), and magnetic resonance imaging. Under Dr. Horwitz's leadership, Fox Chase continues to work to advance the field of radiation oncology, this year becoming the first site in North America to use High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) for cancer treatment, for example. HIFU uses sound waves to create heat that destroys cancer cells with great precision. On July 15, Fox Chase will open a world-class radiation therapy center in Bucks County that will offer state-of-the-art treatment capabilities such as the Calypso 4D localization system, the Trilogy Linear Accelerator with Rapid Arc, the LightSpeed RT 16 CT Simulator, and the CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System. Dr. Horwitz is also the current president of the American Brachytherapy Society.

12:45 - 1:00 p.m.: Andrew Gumbs, M.D., Director of Minimally Invasive Hepato-Pancreatic and Biliary Surgery

Fox Chase is among a handful of institutions worldwide using robotics or laparoscopy to treat patients with nearly all types of cancer. This is due to a strong institutional commitment to making the benefits of these new minimally invasive surgical techniques - greater precision to protect nearby healthy tissues and preserve organ function, less overall trauma to the body, and faster, more complete recovery - available to all cancer patients. A recent recruit to Fox Chase from the Institut Mutualiste Montsouris in Paris, Dr. Gumbs exemplifies this commitment. He is advancing minimally invasive surgical techniques for cancer treatment almost daily. Since his arrival in December 2008, he has performed a series of first-in-the-region, first-in-the-nation, and even first-in-the-world cancer surgeries, sometimes saving the lives of patients who were told elsewhere that their cancer was inoperable. He is also involved in developing new technologies to add to the minimally invasive surgeon's arsenal.