Cancer Community Loses Two Leaders
Dr. Stephen Williams, founding director of Indiana University’s (IU) Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, died of melanoma on February 15. Under his leadership, the Simon Cancer Center experienced tremendous growth, including the opening last year of a $150 million facility at IU’s medical complex in downtown Indianapolis. Dr. Williams authored more than 150 medical articles. His research interests included ovarian and prostate cancer and identifying new treatments for epithelial cancer.
Dr. Williams spoke about his fight against cancer as he received the IU President’s Medal of Excellence in August, when the Simon Cancer Center celebrated its expansion.
“In the last couple of years, I myself have become a cancer survivor and recently completed a very difficult treatment,” he said. “As I reflect on the last few months and how difficult it has been for me, it is absolutely clear that treatment, while important, is not good enough. I can say definitely that it is easier to prevent and detect cancer than it is to treat it.”
Dr. Eugenia Calle, former vice president of epidemiology at the American Cancer Society (ACS), died suddenly February 17. An Atlanta, GA, man has been charged with her death.
Dr. Calle contributed groundbreaking research on the causes and prevention of cancer. Among her major accomplishments were two landmark studies on the relationship between obesity and cancer, contributions to understanding the risk factors for breast and other cancers in women, and research on hormone-replacement therapy in relation to female cancers. She served as an adjunct professor of epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, a member of NCI’s Board of Scientific Counselors, several NCI subcommittees, and on the editorial boards of several cancer journals.
“Jeanne was one of the world’s most respected epidemiologists, researching the causes of cancer, especially obesity and diet,” said ACS President Dr. Otis Brawley in a statement. “Jeanne brought a formidable intellect and passion for finding answers to cancer through her research. We are shocked and deeply saddened by the senseless loss of this tremendously talented friend and colleague.”
Gail Selected for ASPO Award
Dr. Mitchell Gail, senior investigator with the Biostatistics Branch of NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, has been selected to receive the 2009 Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Society of Preventive Oncology (ASPO). The award will be presented at the Society’s annual meeting, which will be held in Tampa, FL, from March 8–10. ASPO established this award in 1983 to recognize individuals whose research has greatly advanced its mission of cancer prevention and control.
CCR's Gottesman Elected to AAM Board, Three Others Named AAM Fellows
Dr. Susan Gottesman, a scientist from NCI’s Center for Cancer Research (CCR), was one of six new governors elected to the Board of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) earlier this month. Dr. Gottesman, co-chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology and head of the Biochemical Genetics Section, studies small regulatory RNAs. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1998 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999 in recognition of her work on energy-dependent proteolysis.
Governors on the Board serve a 3-year term and set strategic direction for the Academy, ratify election to Fellowship, develop new topics for colloquia, and establish new programs and initiatives consistent with its overall mission.
Three scientists from CCR were among the 72 microbiologists elected AAM Fellows earlier this month.
Dr. Giorgio Trinchieri, director of CCR’s Cancer and Inflammation Program and chief of the Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, focuses on the role of inflammation, innate resistance, and immunity in carcinogenesis, cancer progression, and prevention or destruction. Dr. Trinchieri is credited with discovery of the molecule interleukin-12.
Dr. Jeffrey Strathern is chief of the Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology Laboratory. As head of the Genome Recombination and Regulation Section, Dr. Strathern’s research focuses on mechanisms of genetic recombination, particularly double-strand-break repair, and mechanisms of gene regulation, including gene silencing.
Dr. Amar J.S. Klar is a senior investigator in the Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology Laboratory and head of the Developmental Genetics Section. Dr. Klar’s main research focus is the genetics and molecular biology of gene silencing and mating-type switching in yeast. In other research, his lab has explained the mechanism of asymmetric cell division, which is used to explain brain hemispheric differentiation in humans and visceral organ laterality in vertebrate development.
Fellows of the Academy are elected annually through a selective peer-review process based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. Fellows represent all subspecialties of microbiology, including basic and applied research, teaching, public health, industry, and government service.
HINTS Identifies Hispanic Information-seeking Trends
Compared with other racial and ethnic groups, Hispanic populations are significantly less likely to look for information about cancer and less likely to feel confident in their ability to find such information, according to a new analysis of data from NCI’s Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). HINTS is a cross-sectional health communication survey of U.S. adults that tracks trends in health information usage over time and cancer-related communication, knowledge, attitudes, and behavior in the population. This recently released HINTS Brief, available in both English and Spanish, indicates that Hispanics, particularly Spanish-speaking Hispanics, experience greater challenges to seeking and interpreting cancer information. Differences in cancer information seeking and information access may contribute to disparities in health outcomes among disadvantaged populations.