Director's Message 2019

2019 - A Pivot Year for the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center

Portrait of Stan Gerson
David Schwartz Photography

What happens after we celebrate an Exceptional merit rating for NCI designation, renewal of the GI SPORE, the BETRNet, the K12 program, a series of large new grants: a P20 planning grant for Cancer Disparities, a U01 on digital pathology, two R25 training grants, our own CAR-T-CD19 cell therapy program, and many new recruits adding to our scientific brain power?

While we are our own tough act to follow, with all of your input, we are well-positioned to make our cancer center even better in 2019!

We will be recruiting: chairs for Biochemistry, Pharmacology and Cancer Biology; research faculty to the School of Medicine; clinical investigators at Taussig and Seidman; and additional effort in immune-oncology, population sciences and radiochemistry.

We will focus on multi-investigator research and grant applications as ongoing efforts are being pursued in: the gender impact of brain tumors (P01 led by Justin Lathia and Jill Barnholtz-Sloan); obesity and energy in cancer (P01 led by Nathan Berger); and an AML/MDS SPORE (led by Jarek Maciejewski), to name a few. The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center will help support these with new administrative support for programs and multi-PI grants and through pilot awards over the course of the year. VeloSano will soon announce its pilot grant RFAs, yet another opportunity to support those innovative research efforts that you are mulling. Please consider this as an ideal way to pursue a multi-investigator collaboration.

The Cancer Center will also initiate a search for the position of Associate Director for Cancer Population Sciences. This is part of our effort to redefine, reinvigorate and expand the collaborative cross-program efforts of our program in cancer prevention and control. Think about ways you might pursue implementation sciences - the process of effectively delivering your discovery to our population - such as population research engagement with our hospital-based efforts in cancer management, coordination of care and patient benefits from cancer screening, early detection, vaccination and intervention. 

We will increasingly focus on our Scientific Initiatives (SIs), all interdisciplinary, cross-program efforts to encourage novel research and multi-disciplinary efforts. In addition to our seven SIs: Drug Discovery, Genomics, Cancer Immunology, Women's Cancers, Brain Tumors, AYA Cancers, and Community and Disparities, we have introduced an eighth: Computational Diagnostic Informatics, led by Anant Madabhushi. We look forward to each of these initiatives generating multi-PI grant applications.

Please look at our updated Strategic Plan and let me know what is missing and what you feel is important to add.

Finally, we have also created business plans for our shared resources (core facilities) and are ready to make significant investments in them to support new technologies and needs. Let us know what incredible discoveries you will make and how we can help.

Happy New Year - 2019 will be incredible for cancer discovery and impact here in Cleveland!

Stan Gerson, MD
Director, Case CCC