Director's Message: Clinical Research Leadership Transition

The cancer center is delighted to announce that Mikkael Sekeres, MD, MS has been appointed Associate Director for Clinical Research for the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (Case CCC). As Associate Director, Dr. Sekeres will oversee our entire portfolio of clinical trials, our translation of basic laboratory findings to clinical application and the conduct of clinical investigation. He will be responsible for the Clinical Research Office, the Protocol Review and Monitoring Committee (PRMC) and the Data and Safety Monitoring Committee (DSMC), which collectively oversee therapeutic cancer clinical trials. He has been a valued member of the Executive Committee since 2014 as Deputy Associate Director for Clinical Research, where he oversees the Clinical Research Operations Committee and was responsible for development and maintenance of policies and procedures that govern clinical research across the consortium.

Portrait of Mikkael Sekeres

Dr. Sekeres is an oncologist at Cleveland Clinic and a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. His research focuses on patients with Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and older adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). He has held numerous leadership roles locally, nationally, and internationally - too many to name here - so I will just hit the highlights. At the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, Dr. Sekeres is Director of the Leukemia Program and Vice Chair for Clinical Research. He Chairs the Medical Advisory Boards for the Aplastic Anemia and Myelodysplastic Syndromes International Foundation and the Dresner Foundation, and has served as Chair of the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee of the FDA, Editor-in-Chief for the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Clinical News magazine, and as a Member of ASH’s Executive Committee. In addition to authoring over 400 scientific manuscripts, he writes a regular column for the New York Times and has written the book When Blood Breaks Down: Life Lessons from Leukemia (The MIT Press 2020). If you haven’t read his medical columns, they are poignant, insightful, and always hit their mark. I encourage you to read his reflections on life as an oncologist.

Portrait of Mitchell Machtay

Dr. Sekeres will succeed Mitch Machtay, MD, who has served as Associate Director for Clinical Research since 2017. Dr. Machtay came to Cleveland in 2009 to chair the Department of Radiation Oncology at University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University. He has served as co-PI of the Lead Academic Participating Site (LAPS) Grant for the National Clinical Trials Network (NCI-NCTN), which was successfully renewed in 2019 with an exceptional merit rating. The LAPS grant supports clinical trials of NCTN studies across our consortium, at University Hospitals and Cleveland Clinic, and the MetroHealth System. Dr. Machtay is also co-Director of the Clinical Oncology Research Career Development Program (K12), our long-running interdisciplinary training program for clinical oncology junior faculty physicians interested in pursuing academic research careers as physician-scientists, which was renewed in 2018. At University Hospitals, in 2016 Dr. Machtay played an integral role in the opening of the Proton Therapy Center. This was the first center of its kind in Ohio, making targeted radiation therapy available to patients close to home, and allowing easier access to clinical trials. Nationally, Dr. Machtay is Deputy Chair for Research of NRG. He will leave Cleveland for a senior leadership position at the Penn State Cancer Center and the Penn State College of Medicine. Dr. Machtay is a highly regarded national clinical research leader in radiation oncology, and we will miss his leadership.

Please welcome Dr. Sekeres to the Senior Leadership team, and wish Dr. Machtay luck as he transitions to his new position.

Stan Gerson, MD
Director, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center