Oct 18

Kirk And McDonnell Named To National Academy Of Medicine


Duke Cancer Institute members Donald P. McDonnell, PhD, and Allan Douglas Kirk, MD, PhD, are among the three Duke faculty members recently named to the National Academy of Medicine, an independent advisory organization made up of leading professionals in health, medicine and the natural, social, and behavioral sciences. Duke’s Robert M. Califf, MD, on leave to serve as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, was also named.


Allan Douglas Kirk, MD, PhD

Allan Kirk joined Duke from Emory University in 2014 as chair of the Department of Surgery and surgeon-in-chief forthe Duke University Health System. An internationally recognized surgical scientist and authority on transplant immunology, Kirk has focused his research on the development and implementation of new immunomodulatory strategies for transplantation and other conditions.

Kirk received his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine in 1987 and completed his PhD in immunology at Duke in 1992. He completed his general surgery residency at Duke in 1995 and a multi-organ transplantation fellowship at the University of Wisconsin in 1997. From 1997 through 2001, Kirk served in the United States Navy, reaching the rank of commander and principal investigator at the Naval Medical Research Center. He also served as a senior investigator at the National Institutes of Health, working as inaugural chief of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Transplantation Branch.

Donald McDonnell

Donald McDonnell, PhD

Donald McDonnell is chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and the Glaxo Wellcome Professor of Molecular Cancer Biology at Duke University School of Medicine. He is also the co-director of the Women’s Cancer Program at the Duke Cancer Institute.

McDonnell’s work focuses on the development of new ways to treat and prevent breast and prostate cancers. He and his team are recognized as leading innovators in the field of drug discovery and their work has resulted in the identification of several drugs that are currently available to patients or which are currently under development. His most recent work has led to the definition of biochemical links between obesity, elevated cholesterol and increased risk of breast cancer and therapy failure in breast cancer patients.

McDonnell received a degree in biochemistry from the National University of Ireland (Galway) was awarded a PhD in cell biology from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where he then joined the faculty. After a short tenure with Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., he came to Duke in 1994 and has served numerous leadership roles prior to being named department chair.

The National Academy of Medicine serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as adviser to the nation and the international community. Election to the academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

New members are elected by current active members through a selective process that recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health.

Official Duke Health News Press Release:
Three Duke Medical School Leaders Honored by National Academy of Medicine


Permanent link to this article: https://sites.duke.edu/dukecancerinstitute/kirk-and-mcdonnell-named-to-national-academy-of-medicine/

Oct 18

MoDukes Shave Down

Dr. Michael Granieri

Michael Granieri, MD

Each year, on November 1, men around the world, in fact 5 million strong, shave down and prepare for the hairy month ahead—each one growing his biggest, bushiest moustache.

Our MoDukes are again ready to support the Movember Foundation and its efforts to fund breakthrough research in prostate and testicular cancer. Join the MoDukes as they grow moustaches and raise funds to keep science moving forward to better treatments and a cure. To learn more about the Movember Foundation and to join or pledge to the MoDukes fundraising team, go online to MoDukes.


Permanent link to this article: https://sites.duke.edu/dukecancerinstitute/modukes-prepare-for-annual-shave-down/

Oct 18

Caring House “A Calling” for Cancer Survivor

Executive director of Caring House Sheridan van Wagenberg (left) with Sasha Zabavin, who's served as a volunteer, as community development manager, and now as director of annual giving at Caring House.

Executive director of Caring House Sheridan van Wagenberg (left) with Sasha Zabavin, who’s served as a volunteer, as community development manager, and now as director of annual giving at Caring House.

After graduating in May 2012 from North Carolina’s High Point University with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing, Sasha Zabavin moved to New York City for a promising internship with a large retail company. Six months later, on the Friday before Christmas, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma.

Initially stunned and admittedly scared, she moved back home to New Hampshire where she received treatment with the support and encouragement of family and friends. Three years later, cancer-free and having since earned a master’s degree in nonprofit management, Zabavin, now 26, is the new director of annual giving at Caring House, a Durham-based extended stay facility providing comfortable, supportive and affordable accommodations to outpatients being treated at Duke Cancer Center.

In her short life Zabavin has worked in client relations at a Greensboro law firm and volunteered with various charities, but she’s experienced the greatest satisfaction at Caring House—first as a dedicated volunteer, then as community development manager, and now in her current role. Caring House is where, she said, she can see the “immediate impact” of the work that is so personal for her.

“I feel like my work here is a calling,” she said. “I feel so blessed to be able to give back and help people going through a similar experience to my own.”

Caring House executive director Sheridan van Wagenberg said Zabavin’s story is “very motivating” for staff and guests. In the eight years since van Wagenberg has been at Caring House, Zabavin is the first staff member she can remember who is a cancer survivor.

Zabavin gets a chance to mingle with guests from time to time—when she’s not busy with the day-to-day administrative aspects of her position. When opportunity presents, she’s open to sharing her personal story with guests—when she “senses it’s appropriate and relatable.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: https://sites.duke.edu/dukecancerinstitute/caring-house-a-calling-for-cancer-survivor/

Oct 14

DCI Welcomes New Assistant VP, Community Oncology, DUHS

David Nalepinski

David Nalepinski

Effective Oct. 3, David Nalepinski assumed the role of assistant vice president of Community Oncology, Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Health System (DUHS).

“Cancer is a complex and progressive disease, often requiring resources from many parts of our healthcare system,” said Nalepinski. “From a patient perspective, this can be overwhelming.  As the Duke Cancer Institute continues to grow its services and locations beyond Durham, we have to ensure excellence in the areas of quality, safety, and clinical operations. Patients need access to comprehensive and well-coordinated subspecialized care, and to the ancillary and supportive care that ensures its success. I will help strengthen existing relationships, and create new relationships as needed. I will also serve as a resource for our care providers, so they can be a resource for our patients.”

Nalepinski served, for the past seven years, as director of the oncology service line at Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. There, he was responsible for the overall administrative leadership of 13 disease site groups as well as tumor boards, tumor registry, survivorship and supportive care services.

In his new role at Duke, Nalepinski will provide administrative leadership in support of community oncology initiatives for the DCI. In collaboration with entity leadership at all three hospitals and DCI physician, nursing and administrative leadership, he will manage, guide and support activities that ensure that outpatient and inpatient quality and safety excellence is available and delivered to the oncology population. He will also engage with and serve as a liaison to the Duke Cancer Network (DCN).

“David’s extensive experience in leading oncology efforts at Dartmouth’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center, which is located on their main campus in a remote area of New Hampshire with major population centers some distance away, will be tremendously helpful to the DCI as we continue to work toward integrating our academic and community activities more seamlessly,” said Lori Pickens, MHA, administrator, DCI, and associate vice President of oncology services for DUHS. “We are extraordinarily fortunate to have David as a member of our team.”

Nalepinski earned a master of science in health policy and clinical practice from Dartmouth College. In addition to directing the service line at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, he served in various other capacities at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for the past 13 years, including as practice manager, otolaryngology and audiology; regional practice manager, DHMC regional operations; practice manager, solid organ transplant surgery; and practice manager, vascular surgery. Previous to that he was division manager of gastrointestinal, tumor and endocrine surgery, and manager in the department of anesthesiology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado and community director for the March of Dimes in Colorado Springs.

Permanent link to this article: https://sites.duke.edu/dukecancerinstitute/dci-welcomes-new-assistant-vp-community-oncology-duhs/

Oct 13

Hey DCI! Get Your FREE Football Tickets!

football_tixAs part of employee recognition efforts, Duke Cancer Institute has acquired football tickets to the Duke vs. UNC game on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m.

Duke Cancer Institute is able to provide two (2) tickets per DCI employee on a first come, first served basis. Ticket quantities are extremely limited for this event, so there is an absolute maximum of two (2) free tickets per employee. For those employees who need more than two tickets, Duke has arranged for DCI to access a block of discounted tickets for purchase for our employees. Additional tickets can be purchased by calling 919.684.8858. Please mention your affiliation with DCI, and you will receive a $35 discount off the regular price of $65!

On Monday, Oct. 31, all orders for additional tickets will be merged with the free ticket requests, and placed together for distribution to you to ensure that the free tickets are seated together with the additional purchased tickets. While you can still purchase discounted tickets after Oct. 30, please note that those seats will not be located with the free ticket seats.

To receive free tickets (tickets are limited to two per DCI employee) to attend the game, please email DCIPROMOTIONS@dm.duke.edu and write in the subject line “Request for Tickets.” Please remember tickets are limited. Ticket recipients will receive a notification email confirming that they will be receiving the free ticket(s), along with instructions regarding ticket distribution.

For more information regarding the DCI discount, email Bradley Reynolds. Please indicate affiliation with Duke Cancer Institute.

Permanent link to this article: https://sites.duke.edu/dukecancerinstitute/hey-dci-get-your-free-football-tickets/

Oct 10

Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivor Making Strides

Bonita Holliday and Johnnie Guy on their wedding day, June 1, 2013.

Bonita Holliday and Johnnie Guy on their wedding day, June 1, 2013.

Bonita Holliday-Guy was just kicking back watching TV one hot August night three years ago when she felt a small lump high up on her breast. She promptly had it checked out by her primary care physician who suspected a cyst and referred her for an ultrasound.

A radiologist at Duke Raleigh Hospital looked at the scans and ordered a mammogram that day. A biopsy followed, and triple negative breast cancer—whereby breast cancer cells don’t have estrogen or progesterone receptors or the HER2/neu growth-promoting protein—was the diagnosis. Her tumor was about two-and-a-half centimeters.

According to the American Cancer Society, these cancers tend to grow and spread more quickly than most other types of breast cancer, and because the tumor cells don’t have hormone receptors, commonly used hormone therapy and drugs that target HER2/neu aren’t helpful.

This kind of cancer also tends to occur more often in younger women and in women who are African-American or Hispanic/Latina. Holliday-Guy, an operations manager for Xerox, was diagnosed at 38 with no family history of breast cancer.

Holliday-Guy’s case went before a breast cancer tumor board and a lumpectomy was recommended for that September, followed by eight rounds of chemo therapy every other week. Her oncologist was Michael Spiritos, MD, and surgeon was Lisa Tolnitch, MD, both of whom are now based at Duke Women’s Cancer Care Raleigh.

Married only four months when she was diagnosed, Bonita-Holliday said her new husband was saddened, but “very supportive.” Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: https://sites.duke.edu/dukecancerinstitute/triple-negative-breast-cancer-survivor-making-strides/

Oct 07

With NCI Funding, DCI, Vivor Partner on Mobile Financial Assistance Tool

Yousuf Zafar, MD, MHS

Yousuf Zafar, MD, MHS

Yousuf Zafar, MD, MHS, and healthcare technology company Vivor are the recent recipients of a National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute six-month grant of $224,997, which will fund initial development of a novel technology-based method designed to reduce cancer patients’ financial burden by improving access to financial assistance programs.

Zafar, the project’s principal investigator, is an oncologist and associate professor of medicine and public policy at Duke University School of Medicine who has done extensive research on the effect of financial toxicity in cancer care.

The primary grantee, Vivor, builds software designed to maximize the use of financial assistance programs by patients and providers. The company employs a unique blend of domain expertise and cutting-edge technology to transform the way access financial resources.

“A large proportion of cancer patients are at risk of experiencing treatment-related financial burden that worsens their quality of life and prevents them from receiving the best cancer treatment possible,” said Zafar. “This project will explore ways that could potentially reduce the burdens of cancer and improve the quality of care delivery.”

The first phase of the project, which was funded by NIH/NCI, centers around developing a web-based tool called Bridge that allows patients to quickly and accurately identify financial assistance resources for their unique situations. The tool’s usability will be studied and improved upon with study participants enrolled at DCI.

Zafar and Vivor CEO Ian Manners are anticipating an additional NIH/NCI award upon completion of Phase 1 in the amount of $1.5 million to extend Bridge into a fully-featured mobile app that empowers patients to estimate and plan their expenses during treatment, identify assistance programs, and coordinate with a financial counselor to secure financial assistance. Phase II will also include a randomized controlled trial, conducted by Zafar’s team at DCI, comparing Bridge to standard-of-care financial counseling. The trial will primarily measure Bridge’s ability to reduce patient out-of-pocket cost. Additionally, the trial will assess Bridge’s impact on patients’ knowledge of financial resources, quality of life, and subjective financial distress.

“This STTR Fast-Track grant from NCI allows us to develop technology that reduces financial toxicity by taking advantage of existing but underused resources,” said Manners. “Beyond the benefit for patients, this technology will also have significant commercial potential due to its compelling value proposition for provider organizations and pharmaceutical companies.”


Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R42CA210699. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


Permanent link to this article: https://sites.duke.edu/dukecancerinstitute/with-nci-funding-dci-vivor-partner-on-mobile-financial-assistance-tool/

Oct 05

Duke Campus Club Wants You!

img_2495Duke Campus Club is a vibrant, inclusive and active organization connecting Duke-affiliated women who are employees, spouses of employees, alumnae, OLLI participants, Duke volunteers, and family members.

High-profile speakers, behind-the-scenes tours, excursions, and an annual trip are on the event calendar. Members can also choose from more than 30 interest groups, such as book clubs, museum and music appreciation, gallery tours, gourmet cooking, games, hiking, running, bowling and much more. Activities are held during the daytime, evening and weekends to fit busy schedules. A no-pressure participation approach allows members to select based on individual schedule. Annual membership dues for Campus Club are $25.

New and prospective members are invited to mix and mingle at a Duke Campus Club “After Hours” reception, Monday Oct. 10, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Parizade restaurant, 2200 W. Main Street, Durham. Complimentary munchies and a cash bar are provided. This is a great chance to visit with members and to get acquainted with the many interest groups offered. RSVP by contacting Andrea Erwin at andreaerwin@nc.rr.com.

wantyou-01Duke Campus Club members are invited to the annual Fall luncheon, Monday, Oct. 24, at Parizade restaurant, 2200 W. Main Street, Durham. The keynote speaker is Katharine Brophy Dubois, PhD, a Duke professor of history and religious studies who writes best-selling historical romance novels under the pen name Katharine Ashe. Members can purchase tickets and find more information on the Duke Campus Club website.

For  information about joining Duke Campus Club, contact Diane Staton, VP Membership, or visit Duke Campus Club at www.DukeCampusClub.com.

Permanent link to this article: https://sites.duke.edu/dukecancerinstitute/duke-campus-club-wants-you-4/

Oct 05

October 2016 Newsmakers

WATCH: Kimberly Blackwell, MD on the Treatment Landscape of HER2+ Breast Cancer at the State of the Science Summit (ONC Live)

New Frontiers in Breast Cancer (TIME)
Features Shelley Hwang, MD

Stage 0 breast cancer: When should you wait and see? (Chicago Tribune)
Features Shelley Hwang, MD

Proactive Surgery Remains a Delicate Decision (Sarasota Herald Tribune)
Features Shelley Hwang, MD

Duke Nurse/Musicians Strikes Right Note Against Breast Cancer (ABC 11)
Features Daniel Nickels, RN

WATCH: Lleukemia and Lymphoma patients get ready for ‘Light the Night’ in Cary (WNCN)
Features Duke leukemia and lymphoma patients

Radiation Therapy Advances Have Improved Survival Rates for Early-stage Lung Cancer Patients (Imaging Technology News)
Features Matthew Boyer, M.D., Ph.D. 

Pets battling cancer help lead doctors to cures, treatments for people (The Denver Post)
Features Duke researchers

Does Air Pollution Kill?  (MedPageToday)
Features H. Kim Lyerly, MD

Susan G. Komen Foundation to give NCCU $405,000 for breast cancer disparities initiative (Goldsboro News-Argus)
Features Nadine Barrett, PhD, director of DCI’S Health Equity and Disparities office, who will lead the public health and community engagement component of the program

WATCH: Shared Decision-Making in Hematologic Malignancies (Oncology–Cancer Network) and Thomas LeBlanc, MD, on Patient Shared Decision-Making in Hematologic Malignancies (OncLive)
Features Thomas W. LeBlanc, MD, MA 


Metformin Targets Central Carbon Metabolism and Reveals Mitochondrial Requirements in Human Cancers (Cell Metabolism)
Features Xiaojing Liu, PhD, Iris L. Romero, MD, Lacey M. Litchfield, PhD, Ernst Lengyel, MD, PhD, Jason W. Locasale, PhD

Nivolumab monotherapy in recurrent metastatic urothelial carcinoma (CheckMate 032): a multicentre, open-label, two-stage, multi-arm, phase 1/2 trial (The Lancet. Oncology. 2016 Oct 07 [Epub ahead of print], featured in Uro Today)
Features Padmanee Sharma, MD, PhD, Margaret K Callahan, Petri Bono, MD, PhD, Joseph Kim, Pavlina Spiliopoulou,PhD, Emiliano Calvo, MD, PhD, Rathi N Pillai, MD, Patrick A Ott, MD, PhD, Filippo de Braud, MD, Michael Morse, MD, Dung T Le, MD, Dirk Jaeger, MD, Emily Chan, PhD, Chris Harbison, Chen-Sheng Lin, PhD, Marina Tschaika, Alex Azrilevich, Pharm. D, Jonathan E Rosenberg, MD 

Universal Mask Usage for Reduction of Respiratory Viral Infections After Stem Cell Transplant: A Prospective Trial (Clinical Infectious Diseases)
Features Anthony Sung, MD, Samantha Thomas, Terry Hyslop, PhD, Cristina Gasparetto, MD, Gwynn Long, MD, David Rizzieri, MD, Keith Sullivan, MD, Gloria Broadwater, MS, Nelson Chao, MD, Mitchell Horwitz, MD

Permanent link to this article: https://sites.duke.edu/dukecancerinstitute/october-newsmakers-3/

Oct 04

Nationwide Ovarian Cancer Clinical Trial Shows Promise

Angeles Secord, MD with her patient Laura Elzie. “Ms. Elzie is a remarkable person, who has worked throughout her care,” said Secord.

Angeles Secord, MD, with her patient Laura Elzie. “Ms. Elzie is a remarkable person, who has worked throughout her care,” said Secord.

When IBM IT architect Laura Elzie, 60, was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer three years ago by her long-time primary care physician she was momentarily stunned when she heard, “Some of us never know how we are going to leave this world, but at least you know.” For months she’d been told her pain, a symptom caused by constipation, was treatable. It wasn’t until she complained and asked for a sonogram that the truth came to light.

Elzie’s doctor referred her to oncologists at Duke Cancer Institute and UNC Lineberger Cancer Center. She even got a third opinion from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Upon choosing Duke gynecologic oncologist Angeles Secord, MD, Elzie was scheduled for surgery, followed by chemotherapy.

Cleared after six months, this mother-of-four and grandmother-of-nine went back to work—commuting weekly between North Carolina and Texas. She remained in remission for eight months before her cancer recurred. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: https://sites.duke.edu/dukecancerinstitute/nationwide-ovarian-cancer-clinical-trial-shows-promise/

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