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Directors of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer have elected David M. Reese, MD, Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Amgen, to a two-year term as Board Chairman effective immediately.
Dr. Reese oversees Discovery Research, Global Development, Global Regulatory Affairs and Safety, as well as Global Medical at Amgen, one of the world's leading independent biotechnology companies.
He has been a member of the Roundtable Board for the past year and, before that, he provided scientific counsel to the non-profit through its Life Sciences Council.
As chairman for the CEO Roundtable, he will guide work to develop and implement initiatives that reduce the risk of cancer, enable early diagnosis, facilitate access to the best available treatments, and hasten the discovery of novel and more effective anti-cancer therapies to help eliminate cancer as a personal disease and public health problem.
The non-profit was founded by former President George H.W. Bush in 2001 to bring bold and imaginative solutions to cancer treatment and prevention.
Dr. Reese has deep experience in the area of cancer research. Since he joined Amgen in 2005, he has served in various leadership roles within the Research and Development organization including Senior Vice President of Translational Sciences and Oncology where he oversaw the translation of Amgen’s medicines from the lab into the clinic and the overall oncology strategy.
Prior to joining Amgen, Dr. Reese was director of Clinical Research for the Breast Cancer International Research Group (BCIRG) and a co-founder, president and chief medical officer of Translational Oncology Research International (TORI), a not-for-profit academic clinical research organization.
Dr. Reese is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He completed training in Internal Medicine and Hematology/Oncology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine, and subsequently served on the faculty at UCLA and the University of California, San Francisco.
It is with profound sadness that the CEO Roundtable on Cancer announces the death of its founding chairman, Robert A. Ingram.
Ingram died March 24, according to his obituary. He was 80 years old.
In 2001, President George H.W. Bush asked Ingram, then chief executive officer of GlaxoWellcome, to organize a group of corporate leaders and take action to improve cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. This group became the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, and Ingram served as its first chairman. His business acumen was essential to establishing the early direction of the organization, yet he never lost sight of its ultimate purpose, always asking himself and his colleagues, “does it help the patient?”
After stepping down as chair of CEORT, Ingram continued to serve on the Board of Directors until his death. During that time, he was the inspirational force that motivated CEORT staff, membership, and collaborators to deliver solutions that have improved outcomes for cancer patients around the world.
“I was fortunate to work with Bob for 25 years,” said William Louv, PhD, CEO of CEORT. “His optimism and energy lifted all of us who have been fortunate to be in his orbit. It will never be the same, but we will carry on as he would want us to.”
In 2022, Ingram received the Dr. Charles A. Sanders Award from CEORT for collaborative scientific research in cancer.
"I'm so proud of what the Roundtable has become but I'm equally proud of where it's going," Ingram said at the awards ceremony. "As leaders, one of our most important roles is to support the lives of our employees and their families by the policies and benefits we put in place. I am humbled and honored to have had the opportunity through the Roundtable to help accelerate better health outcomes for so many people."
In 2006, Ingram was appointed by President George W. Bush to the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Advisory Board. He accepted his third Presidential appointment in 2019, when he was appointed by President Donald J. Trump to serve on the Presidential Cancer Panel. In 2014, Ingram received the North Carolina Award for public service, the highest civilian honor the state can bestow on an individual.
As CEO of GlaxoWellcome, Ingram helped lead the merger with SmithKline Beecham that formed GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). He served as vice chairman of pharmaceuticals at GSK before becoming strategic advisor to the CEO. He was also chairman of the boards at BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Black Diamond Therapeutics, Novan and Cree. He most recently served as a general partner at Hatteras Venture Partners in Durham.
In 2013, Ingram received the NACD B. Kenneth West Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Corporate Directors. In 2014, he received the Triangle Business Journal's Life Sciences Lifetime Achievement award. Ingram served on numerous civic and professional organizations, including the boards for the James B. Hunt Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy, and the Advisory Council of the Congressional Task Force on Biomedical Research and Innovation.
Ingram grew up in Charleston, Illinois, and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Eastern Illinois University.
The CEO Roundtable on Cancer announced that Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless, MD, has been unanimously elected to its Board of Directors.
Sharpless led the National Cancer Institute (NCI) from 2017 to 2022. He was appointed acting commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2019 and served for seven months before returning to his position at the NCI. Prior to his government service, Sharpless was the director of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center from 2014 until 2017.
“We are very excited by the election of Dr. Sharpless to the Board of Directors,” said Bill Louv, CEO of the Roundtable. “His experience as a researcher, an entrepreneur and an administrator gives him a singular perspective that will be a vital asset in our search for ways to eliminate cancer.”
An experienced cancer researcher, Sharpless is renowned for his discoveries related to cell aging. He founded G1 Therapeutics, which developed the FDA-approved medicine Cosela (Trilaciclib), used to prevent chemotherapy toxicity. He is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research Academy, the Association of American Physicians, the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the National Academy of Medicine.
A native of Greensboro, N.C., Sharpless earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a medical degree from the School of Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill. He completed his residency training at Massachusetts General Hospital and his clinical and research fellowship in hematology and oncology at Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care in Boston. He returned to Chapel Hill to accept a faculty appointment at the Lineberger Center in 2002.
Joya Delgado Harris, of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, briefed the White House Cancer Moonshot on disparities in cancer care for vulnerable and historically disenfranchised communities at a meeting in Washington, D.C. on April 19. The meeting was convened by the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) to brief the White House Cancer Moonshot on the importance of working hand-in-hand at the community level to address cancer inequities and the intention for collaboration on a national effort to close the gap in cancer screening.
Last year, the Biden Administration reignited the Cancer Moonshot and set a new national goal: reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years and improve the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer. The mission of NMQF’s Cancer Stage Shifting Initiative is to move medical standards in the country from late-stage to early-stage detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer; improving cancer care, and reducing the incidence of cancer deaths for all, with a particular focus on health equity in underrepresented populations.
The briefing led by Gary A. Puckrein, NMQF President and CEO, brought together stakeholders from the oncology community, minority health organizations, cancer experts and patient advocates to discuss earlier detection and treatment of cancer among underserved populations.
Speakers highlighted the link between environmental injustice, health disparities, and increased cancer incidence in at-risk, historically disenfranchised communities as well as the emergence of multi-cancer early detection technologies that could fundamentally shift cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment to an earlier stage.
Attendees also discussed investments needed to reduce health disparities including improving patient navigation of health resources, patient-provider communication, awareness of cancer screening and treatment options as well as rebuilding trust between the disenfranchised communities and key health stakeholders.
Other speakers included Dr. Durado Brooks of Exact Sciences; Shanda Cooper of Tigerlily Foundation; Bryon Daily of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; Latoya Hill of Kaiser Family Foundation; Dr. Rena Jones of the National Cancer Institute; Dr. Alpa Patel of American Cancer Society; Darrol Roberts of Hessian Labs; Juny Simpson of Genentech; Matthew Tejada of the Environmental Protection Agency; and Flint activist Arthur Woodson.
The National Minority Quality Forum will publish a report from the discussion by August 2023. For more information, please visit http://shiftcancer.org.
The CEO Roundtable on Cancer is pleased to announce the latest additions to its Going for Gold initiative, a partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Predominantly Black Institutions (PRIs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) across the nation.
Going for Gold extends the CEO Cancer Gold Standard™ employer accreditation to recognize universities that champion health and well-being by advancing prevention, diagnosis, and quality treatment for cancer for their students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and communities. The initiative also enables universities to contribute to research efforts through CEO Roundtable’s Project Data Sphere®, which helps expand access to clinical trial research and offers an open-access digital platform for aggregating and analyzing data to advance health equity efforts.
The newest members of the initiative are:
- Caribbean University in Bayamón, Puerto Rico
- Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Tex.
- Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, N.Y.
- Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Ark.
- Savannah State University in Savannah, Ga.
- Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala.
Going for Gold is intended to reduce disparities in cancer diagnoses and deaths among minority populations in the United States. Black Americans have the highest mortality rate of any racial and ethnic group for all cancers combined and for most major cancers. Hispanic Americans are less likely than non-Hispanic white Americans to be diagnosed with breast and prostate cancer, and more likely to die from cervical, liver and stomach cancer.
Going for Gold is focused on the 27 four-year HSIs with at least 60 percent Hispanic enrollment and seeks to include all 101 HBCUs in the U.S. Of those HBCUs, 50 institutions have health-affiliated programs such as medical schools, nursing, pre-med, health information and health communication, which provide opportunities for further engagement by partnering on clinical trials, developing health materials and shaping community outreach.
About Caribbean University
In 1969, Caribbean Junior College, the predecessor institution of Caribbean University, was founded in the city of Bayamón, Puerto Rico as a private, non-profit, co-educational and non-sectarian educational institution. Caribbean University has the vision of promoting social and economic change that increases the intellectual and personal maturity of society by offering an excellent higher education. Caribbean University is committed to the principle of accessibility for the most disadvantaged, comprehensibility in its offerings, and adaptability to meet the needs of the community it serves. It is committed to intellectual and social ethical development and accepts the responsibility of fostering respect for human dignity among its students and their personal commitment to improve society. Learn more at https://caribbean.edu.
About Huston-Tillotson University
Huston-Tillotson University, the oldest institution of learning in Austin, Texas, has roots dating back to 1875. HT is an independent, church-related, historically black, four-year liberal arts institution located on a 23-acre tree-lined campus near downtown in East Austin. Huston-Tillotson University’s mission is to nurture a legacy of leadership and excellence in education, connecting knowledge, power, passion, and values. The University offers associate and master’s degrees in addition to Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in more than 19 areas of study. Learn more at https://htu.edu.
About Medgar Evers College
Medgar Evers College, a Predominantly Black Institution (PBI) of the City University of New York (CUNY), was established in 1970 with a mandate to meet the educational and social needs of Central Brooklyn. The College, named for the civil rights leader, Medgar Wiley Evers, is committed to the fulfillment of this mandate.
Medgar Evers College's mission is to develop and maintain high quality, professional, career oriented undergraduate degree programs in the context of liberal education. The College offers programs both at the baccalaureate and at the associate degree levels, giving close attention to the articulation between the two year and the four-year programs. The College has a commitment to students who desire self-improvement, a sound education, an opportunity to develop a personal value system, and an opportunity to gain maximum benefits from life experience and from their environment. Learn more at https://www.mec.cuny.edu.
About Philander Smith College
Founded in 1877, Philander Smith College is a small, privately supported, historically Black, four-year liberal arts institution related to the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. The College offers four degrees: the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Science, the Bachelor of Business Administration, and the Bachelor of Social Work. The College's mission is to graduate academically accomplished students, grounded as advocates for social justice, determined to change the world for the better. Philander Smith College, the only United Negro College Fund member institution in Arkansas, strives to provide a quality education for all regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin or ethnic background. Learn more at https://www.philander.edu.
About Savannah State University
Established in 1890, Savannah State University is the oldest public Historically Black College or University in Georgia and the first institution of higher learning in the city of Savannah. Students select majors from 30 undergraduate and five graduate programs in four colleges — Business Administration, Education, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and Sciences and Technology. Learn more at https://www.savannahstate.edu.
About Tuskegee University
Located in Tuskegee, Alabama, Tuskegee University is a private, state-related and nationally ranked land-grant institution that serves a racially, ethnically and religiously diverse student body of 3,000-plus students. The institution was founded in 1881 by Booker T. Washington and is one of the nation's historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges since 1933, Tuskegee’s academic programs — many accredited by their respective accrediting bodies — currently lead to 41 bachelor’s, 16 master’s and five doctoral degree opportunities. Learn more at https://www.tuskegee.edu.
CEO Roundtable on Cancer Annual Meeting
Nov. 8-9, 2023
SAS Institute, Cary, NC
Going for Gold Summit
June 6-7, 2023
SAS Institute, Cary, NC
- Tamikia Lee has been named financial analyst for the Roundtable. She first joined the organization in 2021 as a business development specialist.
- Johnathan Rine has been named senior manager of CEO Cancer Gold Standard. Johnathan joined the Roundtable in 2019 as a business operations specialist for Project Data Sphere.
- Mark Slagle has joined the Roundtable as its executive director of corporate communications. He comes from Duke, where he spent more than 11 years in various marketing and communication roles. He holds a doctorate in mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia.
- Brittany Smith has joined the Roundtable as a business development specialist. She attended North Carolina Central University and has prior experience in early childhood education and project management. In her new role, she will provide support throughout the organization’s memberships, programs, and initiatives.
- Steve Southwick has joined Project Data Sphere as its director of data and IT operations. He comes from ConcertAI, where he served as its director of trial optimization. He earned degrees at Virginia Tech and New River Community College.
- Therese Martin has retired as program manager of CEO Cancer Gold Standard. She first joined the Roundtable in 2011 as a project assistant.
- MaryAnne Rhyne has retired as director of communications for the Roundtable. She joined the organization in 2020.
- Holly Smith has left Project Data Sphere for a new opportunity. She joined PDS as its director of data sharing products and platform in 2020.
- Betty Whichard has retired as chief financial officer and human resources director of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer. Betty joined the Roundtable in 2018 as its finance director.
Five new companies have joined the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and its campaign to do something more about cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for their employees, their families, and their communities.
The companies include Elligo Health Research®, an accelerator for clinical trials important to cancer care; Black Diamond Therapeutics, a precision oncology medicine company pioneering the discovery and development of therapies for genetically defined cancers with limited treatment options; Change Healthcare, a leading healthcare technology company focused on insights, innovation, and accelerating the transformation of the U.S. healthcare system; Jasper Health, developer of a digital guide for cancer patients; and B&C International, a global business management and consulting firm.
“The diverse areas of focus and expertise of these companies brings great energy and strength to our mutual interest in diminishing the toll of cancer and eventually eliminating this disease that affects so many families,” said William Louv, CEO of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer.
The CEO Roundtable on Cancer (www.ceoroundtableoncancer.org) was founded in 2001, when former President George H.W. Bush challenged a group of executives to "do something bold and venturesome about cancer within your own corporate families." The CEOs responded by creating and encouraging the widespread adoption of the CEO Cancer Gold Standard™ which calls for organizations to evaluate their health benefits and workplace culture and take extensive, concrete actions in five key areas of health and wellness to address cancer in the workplace. In 2018, the CEO Roundtable established Project Data Sphere® to accelerate cancer research through its online data platform and data-focused research programs.
“The work of the CEO Roundtable and Elligo Health Research align closely when it comes to facilitating access to the best available cancer treatments and advancing the discovery of new and more effective anti-cancer therapies through clinical trials,” said John Potthoff, Ph.D., CEO of Elligo. “We look forward to partnering to do more to support cancer patients, encourage prevention and improve the chances of eliminating this disease by offering research as care to patients.”
Elligo Health Research® (https://www.elligohealthresearch.com/) accelerates clinical trials through healthcare with access to over 150 million known patients and their HIPAA-compliant healthcare data, their IntElligo® Research Stack technology, and their PatientSelect identification and engagement model. Coupled with the largest Known Patient Access Network, Elligo’s Site Solutions enable healthcare practices and research sites to participate in clinical trials. By adaptive engagement of known patients and physicians, they accelerate the development of new pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device and diagnostic products.
“I am very pleased to be joining the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and to collaborate with such a renowned group of professionals who all share common goals of reducing the risk of cancer and facilitating access to best-in-class treatments,” said David M. Epstein, Co-founder, President and CEO of Black Diamond Therapeutics. “I live this mission daily, but there is still much to be done in addition to discovering and developing novel cancer therapeutics. It is inspiring to see the CEO Roundtable’s commitment to driving significant change in the way we as a society think about the impact of cancer and I look forward to contributing my insights to further these initiatives in the years to come.”
Black Diamond Therapeutics (www.blackdiamondtherapeutics.com) is a precision oncology medicine company pioneering the development of novel MasterKey therapies. They are addressing the significant unmet need for novel precision oncology therapies for patients with genetically defined cancers who have limited treatment options. Black Diamond is built upon a deep understanding of cancer genetics, onco-protein function, and drug discovery. The Company’s proprietary Mutation-Allostery-Pharmacology, or MAP drug discovery engine, is designed to allow Black Diamond to analyze population-level genetic sequencing tumor data to predict and validate oncogenic mutations that promote cancer across tumor types as MasterKey mutations. Black Diamond discovers and develops selective MasterKey therapies against these families of oncogenic mutations.
“I am delighted to be joining the CEO Roundtable on Cancer to work alongside our country’s leading cancer researchers as they drive invaluable improvements for one of healthcare’s most prominent diseases,” said Tim Suther, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Data Solutions, of Change Healthcare.
Change Healthcare is a leading healthcare technology company focused on insights, innovation, and accelerating the transformation of the U.S. healthcare system. They provide data and analytics-driven solutions to improve clinical, financial, administrative, and patient-engagement outcomes in the U.S. healthcare system.
The CEO Roundtable’s Cancer Gold Standard attracted the interest of Jasper Health. The Gold Standard is a workplace wellness accreditation program that offers an evidence-based framework for organizations to provide a healthier workplace by focusing on cancer risk reduction, early detection, and high-quality care.
“Jasper Health strongly believes our partnership with the CEO Roundtable on Cancer can rapidly accelerate the Gold Standard requirements for employers helping to provide a holistic approach to cancer support and best practice navigation for employees,” said Adam Pellegrini, co-founder and CEO of Jasper Health. “Jasper Health will work with CEO Roundtable members to deliver upon the mission of the organization and drive true health outcomes for employers.”
Jasper Health (www.hellojasper.com) is a digital guiding, navigation, and engagement experience that improves the lives of people living with cancer, those at high risk for cancer, and their caregivers. Its all-in-one oncology platform provides psychosocial support interventions while enabling connected care with the broader healthcare system. Their team includes seasoned leaders with decades of experience in digital health, clinical care, data science, and consumer engagement. Founded at Redesign Health, a company that powers innovation in healthcare, they believe that powerful technology and passionate people can relieve some of the stress of organizing care.
The CEO Roundtable mission of eliminating cancer is also a passion of Robert J. Brown, Chief Executive Officer of B&C International.
“We need a lot more vigorous things going on in our communities across the country to deal with cancer,” said Brown, who also serves as an ambassador for the Cancer Gold Standard. “Cancer is a mega problem. It deals with people at every level. I don’t care how poor you are, how rich you are, cancer is there and it’s waiting for you.”
B&C International (BCI) is a Global Strategy and Business Management Consulting firm headquartered in High Point, N.C. During its more than 50 years of existence, the methodologies and tools used by BCI have evolved, but their core principles remain the same. They are trusted advisors. Their systematic approach to aligning culture, communication, and execution, allows clients to gain confidence, clarity and consistency for strategic decision-making.
Customer service and patient experience expert Alphanumeric Systems, digital patient guide Jasper Health, and Shaw University, the oldest Historically Black College and University in the South, all have earned CEO Cancer Gold StandardTM accreditation by the CEO Roundtable on Cancer for their commitment to the health of employees, students and community.
“Adopting the Gold Standard is a tribute to the extraordinary leadership at Alphanumeric Systems, Jasper Health and Shaw University,” said MaryLis Rich, President, CEO Roundtable on Cancer Gold Standard. “Their commitment to employee and community health demonstrates that all organizations, large and small, can play an active role in winning the battle against cancer.”
The CEO Roundtable on Cancer, a nonprofit organization of CEOs and their companies, founded by former President George H.W. Bush, created the CEO Cancer Gold Standard to provide an evidence-based framework for employers to build a healthier workplace by focusing on cancer risk reduction, early detection, access to clinical trials, and high-quality care.
More than 7.4 million people are directly affected by the Gold Standard implemented at over 200 private, non-profit and government organizations, large and small, from diverse industries. Those organizations include the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the federal government's principal agency for cancer research and training, and many NCI- designated cancer centers.
In 2022, the CEO Roundtable launched the Going for Gold initiative to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) to implement the Cancer Gold Standard. Shaw University is the first HBCU to achieve this recognition.
“We are pleased to be a partner in this initiative and dedicated to leading a national movement to improve positive health outcomes within our communities,” said Dr. Paulette Dillard, President of Shaw. “This recognition is a very high honor, and we hope to inspire other organizations and educational institutions to follow suit.”
Organizations must demonstrate that their health benefits and workplace culture include extensive, concrete actions in five key areas: Health Education & Navigation, Prevention & Early Detection, Advancing Treatment, Survivorship, and Well-Being.
The Gold Standard is based on the latest scientific evidence and evolves to ensure the framework promotes the adoption of the best benefits and policies to maximize positive health outcomes for employees, families, and communities.
Alphanumeric (ASI) is a proven leader driven to make its mark by improving interpersonal and patient experiences. They go beyond call centers and contact centers - they provide top-tier customer service and patient experiences that exceed expectations. To learn more visit: https://www.alphanumeric.com/.
“It's great to be able to say that we are among the leaders in our industry when it comes down not only to execution but also to policy and procedure -- two things that set us apart,” said Randy Trice, CEO of Alphanumeric. “The accreditation is an honorable nod towards the caliber of people we work with in the pharma and life sciences spaces in North Carolina and globally.”
Jasper Health is a digital guiding, navigation, and engagement experience that improves the lives of people living with cancer, those at high risk for cancer, and their caregivers. Its all-in-one oncology platform provides psychosocial support interventions while enabling connected care with the broader healthcare system. Jasper’s team includes seasoned leaders with decades of experience in digital health, clinical care, data science, and consumer engagement. Founded at Redesign Health, a company that powers innovation in healthcare, they believe that powerful technology and passionate people can relieve some of the stress of organizing care. To learn more, visit www.hellojasper.com.
“We look forward to introducing the Gold Standard to new employers we are working with and helping them make the Gold Standard Pillars actionable and turnkey with new digital prevention and care capabilities,” said Adam Pellegrini, co-founder and CEO of Jasper Health.
Shaw University was founded in 1865. It is the oldest HBCU in the South, the first to admit women, and the first to earn the Cancer Gold Standard. Shaw is known for its great private liberal arts education. Affiliated with the Baptist Church, Shaw is home to the oldest historically black theological institution in America. Undergraduate studies at the university focus and connect with community outreach through the justice, social work, and health tracks. When the COVID vaccine was being rolled out, they opened a vaccine clinic to serve the community greatly affected by the virus. Dr. Paulette R. Dillard, President of Shaw, is a marine biologist and a Co-Director of the academic enrichment programs for the National Institutes of Health National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) funded Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (RIMI) project. Read more at https://shawu.edu/.
Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU) in Ponce, Puerto Rico, has committed to Going for Gold, becoming the first Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in the partnership.
“At Ponce Health Sciences University, we are honored to be part of this prestigious partnership that will allow us to continue contributing to improving the health of our communities. With this alliance, we confirm our commitment to continue our efforts to prevent and reduce cancer health disparities in the communities we serve,” said Dr. José A. Torres Ruiz, Chancellor of Ponce Health Sciences University.
Ponce Health Sciences University is the largest private medical school in Puerto Rico that provides a world-class education. Recognized in Puerto Rico and St. Louis, MO, for educational service and research achievements, the university continues its focus on the disciplines of Medicine, Clinical Psychology, Biomedical Sciences, Public Health, and Nursing.
By combining expanded academic and professional educational offerings in a cooperative and intimate learning environment, Ponce Health Sciences University graduates highly competent healthcare professionals dedicated to their community and the expanding future needs of their profession.
Learn more at https://www.psm.edu.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reaffirmed a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with Project Data Sphere (PDS). Scientific engagement with the FDA has been foundational to PDS and the PPP dates back at least 5 years.
Through our seven-year FDA-PDS symposium series, we have identified a number of areas at the frontier of analytics and regulatory science that PDS has developed into multi-institutional research programs.
In addition to our data sharing platform and collaborative analytics workspace, hosted by SAS, PDS has run five different research programs as a result of member engagement following these FDA-PDS workshops.
- The Prostate DREAM challenge – a crowd-sourced challenge to use emerging analytics approaches to identify biomarkers to aid in the management of patients with castrate-resistant metastatic prostate cancer.
- The External Control Arm program – a series of methods to construct and use existing patient performance data on standard-of-care therapy to supplement the control arm of a clinical trial, streamline evidence generation, and honor patient contributions to science.
- The Rare Tumor Registries program – a focused effort in Merkel Cell Carcinoma to demonstrate how high quality, longitudinal clinical data can transform patient care and inform the development of the next generation of medicines.
- The Immune-Related Adverse Events (irAE) program – a crowd-sourced challenge to establish clinical definitions of dozens of tissue-/organ-specific adverse events that occur in a small fraction of patients receiving immuno-oncology treatments. With these definitions in hand for a number of tissues and organs, we are now embarking on several additional projects (biomarkers, genomics, and digital health) that can improve patient management practices to keep patients on life-saving therapies.
- The autoRECIST program – a consortium-supported radiomics project where state-of-the-art machine learning techniques are being applied to medical images to ascertain whether a patient with advanced cancer has responded to therapy. This program has reported substantial progress on quantifying liver metastases and has pilot work demonstrating that these approaches can quantify metastatic lesions in lung and lymph nodes as well.
In the new iteration of the PPP, the FDA and PDS will be focusing on our data sharing platform, the irAE program, and autoRECIST. This focus highlights the necessity for continued work in these areas to establish widely adopted best practices. Our other research programs are undergoing lifecycle review with the Life Sciences Council (PDS’ scientific advisory board) and will continue in some fashion, though without the formal engagement with FDA.
Program lifecycle management also allows us to more thoroughly evaluate new research proposals and bring them before our membership. Our current portfolio of research proposals includes: digital pathology, pediatric oncology, cellular therapy, and developing tools to support the community of scholars across our partner HBCUs. This research portfolio is in review by the Life Sciences Council and potential funders.
We’re excited to introduce some new additions to our team as well as new roles for at least one veteran.
Project Data Sphere® President Bill Louv, PhD, is stepping up to lead the organization as chief executive officer effective immediately. Louv had been serving as interim CEO since January, succeeding Ken Lee, who retired. He has led PDS since the CEO Roundtable formed the research organization in March 2018. Louv also has held key leadership positions in the pharmaceutical industry for nearly 30 years.
David M. Reese, MD, Executive Vice President of R&D at Amgen, has been elected to the Roundtable’s Board of Directors. Reese also will serve on the Board for PDS.
At Amgen, Reese oversees Discovery Research, Global Development, Global Regulatory Affairs and Safety, as well as Global Medical. Previously he served as Senior Vice President of Translational Sciences and Oncology, where he oversaw the translation of Amgen’s medicines from the lab into the clinic and the overall oncology strategy.
Major General Elder Granger, MD, President and CEO of THE 5Ps, LLC, also has been elected to the Roundtable Board of Directors. Granger consults in the areas of health care, education and leadership and recently became an ambassador for our Going for Gold program.
Prior to his retirement from the US Army in 2009, Granger served as the Deputy Director and Program Executive Officer of the TRICARE Management Activity, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) in Washington, DC.
Aubrey Van Kirk Villalobos, DrPH, MEd, from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), will serve on the Health & Well-Being Council as a liaison with this important agency. She is a Health Scientist with the Implementation Science (IS) Team in the Office of the Director in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). In this role she leads efforts to advance the involvement of practitioners to help integrate evidence-based guidelines, programs, and policies for cancer control in public health and clinical practice. Her expertise will be critical as we continually seek to ensure the Cancer Gold Standard reflects the latest scientific evidence.
Jean-Charles Soria, Amgen’s senior vice president of Oncology within Global Development, joins our Life Sciences Council (LSC). The LSC brings together representatives of oncology pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to advise the CEO Roundtable on Cancer about ways to enable research and development to deliver more effective oncology therapies to patients faster. Soria is a medical oncologist and holds a doctorate in molecular biology. Additionally, he has authored or co-authored more than 670 articles in leading international journals and has appeared on lists of the most influential research scientists in the world.
Welcome to three new Going for Gold Ambassadors! In addition to Granger, we’ve also added:
Roberto A. Gonzalez, founder and principle of RA Gonzalez & Associates, a Veteran Service-Disabled, Veteran-, Minority-Owned small business, and Co - Founder of Cornerstone & Associates LLC. He retired in 1995 from the United States Army in the grade of Lieutenant Colonel in the Medical Services Corp after 20 plus years of services. While in the Army, he served at various levels of management and responsibility including a position as the Military Assistant and Senior Advisor to two Assistant Secretaries of Defense for Health Affairs, which included the management of the Nations' second largest integrated health care system.
Fields Jackson, Jr., CEO and Chief Cheerleader of Racing Toward Diversity Magazine, Cary, NC. Racing Toward Diversity is a quarterly magazine that showcases the best diversity efforts and initiatives being made today. Jackson also is President of the College Diversity Network; Adjunct professor at Shaw University in Raleigh, NC; Distinguished Visiting Professor at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, SC; and former Executive Director of the HBCU Business Dean Roundtable.
Representatives from seven Historically Black Colleges and Universities met on April 5-6 with CEO Roundtable on Cancer staff and partners SAS Analytics, Amgen, Merck, and Jasper Health to identify opportunities and areas of collaboration for our Going for Gold initiative to expand access to cancer detection, prevention, and treatment and to improve health in underserved communities.
“The collective think that came from this initial in person meeting was outstanding,” said Joya Delgado-Harris, Executive Director for the Gold Standard, including the Going4Gold initiative. “It was conveyed and understood that Going4Gold is a partnership and as such, we will work together to explore assets, capacity, influences on and around each campus so that strategies and initiatives can be built or enhanced, if already existing. We want to work smarter and learn from one another. Achieving Gold Standard accreditation will be a valuable tool to help each campus understand the best ways to implement G4G activities.”
The universities already have ramped up community health offerings during the pandemic with vaccine clinics and information sessions so there is an opportunity to build on that infrastructure. Other existing activities with potential for expansion included health fairs, walking clubs, mental health workshops, community gardens, smoke free environments, healthy food demonstrations and more.
Dr. Donald Alcendor, Associate Professor Microbiology and Immunology at Meharry Medical College, said the “Social determinants of health have changed since COVID. They have not gotten better, they have gotten worse. … We have to uproot misinformation in communities. … We have to think about new ways to attack a long-lasting problem.”
Corporate partners identified existing programs to consider expanding to support Going4Gold including SAS Analytics existing work with universities to equip them with data analytics software. There also are internships and fellowships offered by Amgen, Merck, and SAS.
Jasper Health is making available its Cancer Care Companion App to the universities to allow students and their families to connect with caregivers, providers, and health plan care teams.
There was consensus around the need for collaboration and innovation, not competition and duplication, to improve health and access to care for all communities.
Xavior Robinson, Director of Health Equity Partnerships and Operations at Merck, summed up that spirit. He said it’s not only important what the partners do together but how they do it. “A value of ours is co-creation,” he said emphasizing that does not mean extracting something to commercialize.
Schools attending the meeting were Dillard University, Livingstone College, Meharry Medical College, Southern University Law Center, Stillman College, North Carolina A&T State University, and Shaw University. Three schools -- Norfolk State University, Winston-Salem State University, and South Carolina State University -- were unable to attend.
For anyone interested in joining the partnership or learning more about it, reach out to Joya at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) Patient Registry initiative organized by Project Data Sphere is off to a fast start in 2022 with four manuscripts accepted for publication and a key contributor to the program, Dr. David Miller from Mass General Brigham and his team, has submitted two new manuscripts. Miller is co-chair of PDS' Merkel Cell Carcinoma Task Force.
The MCC Patient Registry is a national multi-institutional collaborative effort to record outcomes and events in MCC patients. MCC is a rare skin cancer, and this registry will trailblaze new methodologies that continue to enable investigators to derive insights about patient care from the real-world outcome data.
Dr. Sophia Shalhout, a data scientist from Mass General Brigham, presented her work on “Real world assessment of ipi-nivo in anti-PD-(L)1 refractory Merkel cell carcinoma” at the MCC Multi-center Interest Group meeting on March 25. Multiple members of the MCC taskforce -- Miller, Shalhout, and Dr. Kenneth Tsai, Pathology Research Vice Chair at Moffitt Cancer Center – have been invited to present on important aspects of Merkel Cell Carcinoma (including the registry work) at 2nd International Symposium on Merkel Cell Carcinoma (April 25 and 26).
We have learned that patient populations and clinical management decisions are more varied across sites than initially expected. This finding suggests that more patients will be required for certain subgroup analyses. We are evaluating options to increase patient accrual.
For more information, or to get involved, please contact Ravi Komandur, PhD, MCC Patient Registry Program Director, at email@example.com
Project Data Sphere’s Images & Algorithms (I&A) Program presented preliminary results from its autoRECIST project at the FDA Research Grand Rounds on Feb. 25. Nearly 200 attendees participated in this webinar which generated a great discussion.
The goal of the autoRECIST project is to develop deep-learning algorithms to reduce the time and cost and improve the performance of imaging in clinical trials, shortening the time from discovery to implementation, improving the accuracy of the reviews, and, ultimately, improving patient lives.
In oncology clinical trials, the overall assessment of tumor burden and response to therapy is estimated by a set of complex quantitative and qualitative criteria called Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST). To perform a RECIST assessment, a radiologist reads Computed Tomography Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine format (CT DICOM) images, identifies measurable lesions, picks two target lesions per organ (in up to five organs per patient), and records the largest diameter in target lesions. The same tumor images and measurements are then evaluated by an independent radiologist. An average of 30% discordance in radiological interpretation has been reported between readers.
Dr. Asba (AT) Tasneem, PDS Executive Director of the program, provided an overview of the work and discussed a four-year roadmap for the program. The two Principal Investigators at Columbia University Medical Center -- Dr. Binsheng Zhao, Director, Computational Image Analysis Lab, Department of Radiology; and Dr. Larry Schwartz, Chairman, Department of Radiology -- presented results from developing Liver Artificial Intelligence (AI) – the foundational AI which detects and segments liver lesions.
In the next four years, the autoRECIST project will develop deep learning algorithms to 1) calculate RECIST assessment based on volumetrics measurements of all lesions (autoVOL); and 2) automate the current RECIST 1.1 (autoRECIST).
For more information on the autoRECIST project please contact Asba (AT) Tasneem, PhD, Executive Director, Images and Algorithms Program (firstname.lastname@example.org).