Battling Cancer with discussants J. Michael Bishop, Hala Moddelmog, Max Coppes, Henry Friedman, Michael Milken, John Niederhuber and Steven Rosenberg speaking at the 2007 Aspen Health Forum. Clifton Leaf moderates the discussion.
For decades the cure for cancer has seemed just around the corner. Diagnostic advances have facilitated earlier detection, and radiation and chemotherapy have become more precise, but the cure still remains elusive. Why? What are the barriers we must overcome?- Aspen Institute
J. Michael Bishop
J. Michael Bishop is University Professor and Chancellor at the University of California, San Francisco, and a recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Dr. Bishop and his colleague Dr. Harold Varmus were jointly awarded the Nobel for their discovery of proto-oncogenes' normal genes that can be converted to cancer genes by genetic damage. This work led to the recognition that all cancer probably arises from damage to normal genes, and provided new strategies for the detection and treatment of cancer.
Dr. Bishop has served as a scientific advisor or member of numerous oversight boards, including the Board of Trustees of The Salk Institute, the National Cancer Advisory Board, and the Medical Advisory Board for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is the author of more than 300 research publications and reviews, and of the book How to Win the Nobel Prize: An Unexpected Life in Science.
Max Coppes is Executive Director of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Childrenâ€™s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and Professor of Medicine, Oncology and Pediatrics at Georgetown University. Dr. Coppes is a seasoned pediatric oncologist and is widely regarded as one of the leading experts on Wilms tumor, the most common kidney cancer in childhood.
He is actively involved in national and international childhood cancer committees and recently was elected to the Board of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology. Dr Coppes received his MD from Leiden Medical School in the Netherlands, his PhD from the University of Amsterdam, and his MBA from the Haskayne School of Business in Calgary, Canada. Since he obtained his MBA, Dr. Coppes has increased his involvement in hospital administration and has developed an interest in risk management.
Clifton Leaf, an award-winning business journalist, is currently writing a book on the war on cancer for Alfred A. Knopf, which is due to be published in early 2008. He also serves on the board of directors for Susan G. Komen For the Cure, the world's largest breast cancer foundation.
Previously, he was Executive Editor at Fortune, where he edited major features and, for several years, directed its Wall Street and investing coverage as well. In addition, Leaf has written numerous articles for Fortune, including his 2004 cover story, entitled "Why We're Losing the War on Cancer (And How to Win It)," which won the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business Journalism, the Henry R. Luce Award for public service, and the NIHCM's 2005 Health Care Journalism Award.
Prior to joining Fortune, he was Executive Editor of SmartMoney and held editorial positions at Fitness Magazine and Harper's Bazaar.
Michelle McMurry is Director of the Health, Biomedical Science, and Society Policy Program and the Aspen Health Forum at the Aspen Institute. She trained in pediatrics and molecular immunology. Since transitioning into health and science policy, her work has focused on the intersection of biomedical research funding policies and healthcare disparities and global health inequities. She has been a Global Health Fellow at the Council for Foreign Relations and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Health Policy at George Washington University.
She was formerly a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco. She formerly oversaw health and social policy issues for Senator Joseph Lieberman and was the senior health policy advisor for the Lieberman for President Campaign. She also worked to improve diversity in graduate science education in the Office of the Director of the National Science Foundation as an AAAS Science Policy Fellow.
Michael Milken was called "The Man Who Changed Medicine" in a Fortune magazine cover story highlighting his three decades of work to accelerate medical research. In 1982, he formalized his previous philanthropy by co-founding the Milken Family Foundation, which has been a leader in support of worldwide research on various forms of cancer, pediatric neurological disorders and other diseases. He heads FasterCures, a Washington-based think tank dedicated to accelerating progress against all life-threatening diseases.
He also chairs the Milken Institute, a major economic think tank. As a financier, he is often said to have revolutionized modern capital markets, making them more democratic by innovating a wide range of financing techniques previously unavailable to most companies. Starting in 1969, he financed thousands of companies that created millions of jobs. He is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. Details are at www.mikemilken.com.
Hala Moddelmog is President and Chief Executive Officer of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which she joined in September 2006. As CEO, she is responsible for all aspects of the organization's management and works closely with Komen for the Cure volunteers, staff and the board of directors. A five-year breast cancer survivor, she previously served as Founder and CEO of Catalytic Ventures, a private equity firm that consulted and invested in the food service industry.
She was the first woman in corporate America to lead an international QSR brand (quick service restaurant) in 1995 when she was named president of Church's Chicken, a division of Atlanta-based AFC Enterprises. She subsequently led Church's to record sales and profit performance. She also held executive management and marketing positions at Church's Chicken, Arby's Franchise Association and BellSouth. Ms. Moddelmog holds a master's degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of Georgia.
John E. Niederhuber is Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). A nationally renowned surgeon and researcher, Dr. Niederhuber has dedicated his career to the treatment and study of cancer - as a professor, cancer center director, National Cancer Advisory Board chair, external advisor to the NCI, grant reviewer, and laboratory investigator.
In addition, under his leadership, the Laboratory of Tumor and Stem Cell Biology is studying tissue stem cells as the cell-of-origin for cancer and is studying the complex relationship between tumor cells and their microenvironment. Dr. Niederhuber also holds a clinical appointment on the NIH Clinical Center medical staff. As a surgeon, his emphasis is on gastrointestinal cancer, hepatobiliary (liver, bile duct, and gallbladder) cancer, and breast cancer. He is recognized for his pioneering work in hepatic artery infusion chemotherapy and was the first to demonstrate the feasibility of totally implantable vascular access devices.
Steven A. Rosenberg is Chief of Surgery at the National Cancer Institute and Professor of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences and the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Rosenberg has pioneered the development of immunotherapy that has resulted in the first effective immunotherapies for selected patients with advanced cancer.
He also has pioneered the development of gene therapy and was the first to successfully insert foreign genes into humans and to conduct clinical studies of the gene therapy of cancer. He received his MD at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and his PhD in biophysics at Harvard University. After completing his residency in surgery in 1974 at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, he became the NCI Chief of Surgery. In addition to that position, which he continues to hold, he is Head of the NCI Tumor Immunology Section.
As someone with a personal interest in these discussions I was pleased to hear about the drive toward targeted therapies and sequencing individual cancers to apply to a patient. As it is now some of these cytotoxic potions we are infused with can have very serious side effects on the whole body while taking care of the cancer.