Conquer Cancer Foundation: Global Reach, Personal Impact

Oct 30, 2012

New initiatives focus on drug development, early-career researchers,and rapid learning system

In 2012, the Conquer Cancer Foundationof ASCO (CCF) awarded more than$5 million to clinical investigators atevery career level in support of themost exciting oncology research inevery disease site. The Foundation alsowelcomed new members to its Boardof Directors and broke new ground infundraising efforts to further its missionof creating a world free from thefear of cancer.

The Foundation looks forward tofurther success in 2013 and offeringdonors exciting opportunities toimprove cancer care.

New areas of support

Drug Development Research Professorship
Supporting breakthrough research is one of the pillars of CCF’s mission to conquer cancer. In addition to the already-robust portfolio of grants and awards, the Foundation expanded its funding opportunities for clinical investigators in 2012 and hopes to continue these opportunities in 2013.

CCF launched a new research grant opportunity in 2012 to extend its line of distinguished professorships. The Drug Development Research Professorship (DDRP) is designed to support outstanding researchers who are exploring new and promising therapeutic compounds that will lead to improved treatments, who are dedicated to bringing advances into the clinical arena, and who are committed to mentoring young researchers in the scientific and regulatory aspects of drug development.

The first DDRP recipient, Alex A. Adjei, MD, PhD, of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, is Senior Vice President of Clinical Research, Chairman of the Department of Medicine, and a Professor of Oncology. His career has focused on preclinical and clinical experimental therapeutics and on evaluating mechanisms of drug activity and synergistic drug combinations in the laboratory, while performing phase I clinical trials in the clinic. He received the award in support of his research developing the toll-like receptor 5 agonist CBLB502 for cancer therapy.

Currently, Dr. Adjei mentors a phase I clinical trials group at Roswell Park, which includes four junior faculty members. He is also mentoring a fellow from the new Drug Development Fellowship Program at Roswell Park, and the DDRP will allow him to mentor more drug development fellows as the program expands. The 2012 DDRP was supported by Sanofi Oncology.

Breast Cancer Research Foundation-Endowed Young Investigator Awardin Memory of Evelyn H. Lauder

In 2013, CCF and The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) will present an endowed Young Investigator Award supported by the Evelyn H. Lauder Young Investigator Award Endowment Fund. This is the first Young Investigator Award supported by an endowment for the Foundation and one of the first that BCRF has endowed. The inaugural award will be presented at the 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting.

The BCRF-endowed YIA will be given in memory of the organization’s visionary founder, Evelyn H. Lauder, a passionate and tireless champion of breast cancer research until her passing in 2011. Mrs. Lauder founded BCRF in 1993 to provide crucial funds to breast cancer medical and scientific researchers around the world. BCRF ( has raised more than $350 million and supports 186 researchers globally.

“This endowed YIA represents the next link in the Conquer Cancer Foundation’s fruitful collaboration with BCRF,” said CCF Executive Director Nancy R. Daly, MS, MPH. “We are grateful to be the recipient of this generous endowment and honored to award it in the name and memory of Evelyn Lauder, a true friend in our shared mission to conquer cancer.”

“This endowment honors both the mission of CCF and ASCO, and Evelyn Lauder’s vision,” said Larry Norton, MD, Scientific Director of BCRF and Past President of ASCO.

The YIA will support a physician within the last two years of subspecialty training and planning an investigative career in clinical oncology. The recipient will be selected by the CCF Grants Selection Committee based on the merit of his or her proposed research in the field of breast cancer. The YIA provides $50,000 over one year to support salary and research expenses.

ASCO President-Elect Clifford A. Hudis, MD, who serves as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of BCRF, said, “With this endowment, the Conquer Cancer Foundation and ASCO will be able to offer sustained support to investigators who will pursue Evelyn Lauder’s shared dream of conquering cancer.”

Sharing cutting-edge knowledge is the second crucial component of the Foundation’s mission, and a major funding effort for 2013 will be in support of CancerLinQTM, ASCO’s rapid learning system. CancerLinQ is a technology-enabled platform which will mine the knowledge from millions of currently unconnected medical records, analyze it, and identify and disseminate opportunities to improve the care of every patient with cancer ( The Society is currently working with Sapient, a health care technology company, to develop a breast cancer-specific prototype to serve as a pilot and proof of concept. The prototype will use ASCO’s breast cancer clinical practice guidelines and measures of its Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) as the foundation for its quality measurement and clinical decision tools, along with information from de-identified breast cancer patient records and data imported from the electronic health records (EHRs) of academic centers and oncology practices.

“Foundation leaders were involved in discussions about the development of a rapid learning system from the beginning and now our role is primarily to engage philanthropists and find the resources to make this program a reality. CancerLinQ is a very ambitious project. ASCO has dedicated significant resources in terms of capital and personnel, but outside support will be required as well,” said W. Charles Penley, MD, current CCF Treasurer and incoming Chair. “The payoff for practicing physicians like myself will be seeing information turn around much more quickly than with the traditional linear research model. If we can gather data from the multitude of silos in which it currently exists, it will lead to new hypotheses in cancer treatment and a better evaluation of our current treatment strategies in real time.”

An Institute of Medicine report released in September 2012, Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America, describes a rapid learning system that will use real-time knowledge to improve outcomes, engage patients and family members, create a new culture of care, and form a continuous cycle of learning and improvement. The report makes 10 recommendations for developing the rapid learning system in health care. Through its work on CancerLinQ, ASCO and CCF are already working to address seven of theserecommendations.

“CancerLinQ is a necessary and critical initiative that will have a sweeping impact on clinical cancer research, disease management, and patient care. It has the potential to benefit every oncology professional and every patient with cancer, and the level of support it requires is significant. CancerLinQ could not exist without the ongoing, dedicated fundraising efforts of the Conquer Cancer Foundation, and the generosity of its supporters,” said ASCO and CCF CEO Allen S. Lichter, MD.

The CancerLinQ initiative achieved acritical milestone in September withthe receipt of the first corporate grantin support of the project. HelsinnTherapeutics, a Swiss company focusedon the development of therapeutics for patients with cancer, became the first corporate supporter of CancerLinQ with the gift of one million dollars.

Attendees of this month’s Quality Care Symposium will be the first to see the CancerLinQ prototype in action (November 30-December 1, 2012;

Comprehensive Campaign

The Conquer Cancer Foundation is embarking on its first philanthropic campaign. The campaign will support the following critically important initiatives:

  • Revolutionizing cancer care by supporting the development of CancerLinQ
  • Driving momentum and accelerating progress by expanding the Conquer Cancer Foundation’s Grants and Awards program, funding more promising research projects with the potential to yield more therapies for more types of cancer
  • Empowering and informing patients, families, caregivers, and cancer care professionals by providing easy access to new research findings, treatment protocols, and other information through expansion of Cancer.Net, ASCO’s patient information website, and ASCO University, an online continuing medical education portal
  • Speeding diagnosis and improving both quality of care and quality of life for all who are touched by cancer through meaningful and impactful international collaboration and exchange, greater diversity in the cancer care workforce, and enhanced cultural competency among cancer care professionals

We invite you to speak with Sarah Sasman Jacoby at the Foundation if you have an interest in learning how you can support these important programs and be involved in the campaign. She can be reached by phone at 571-483-1456 or by email at

Foundation leadership

The Conquer Cancer Foundation is led by a Board of Directors currently composed of 17 members. Over the past year, the composition of the Board has been greatly diversified, welcoming five new members with backgrounds in philanthropy, law, and business, as well as medicine. The Foundation’s mission to fund breakthrough research and share cutting-edge knowledge is supported by the depth and breadth of expertise represented in its leadership.

Martin J. Murphy, DMedSc, PhD—Chair
Dr. Murphy has served as Chair of the Conquer Cancer Foundation Board of Directors since 2010 and will become Immediate Past Chair in 2013. He has served on the Board since 2005. He is Founding Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AlphaMed Consulting, Inc., which provides strategic support for academic cancer centers and cancer drug development programs of global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. He is the Founding Executive Editor of The Oncologist and Stem Cells journals. A dual U.S./Irish citizen, he is a member of Queen’s University-Belfast School of Medicine International Review Board and a Founding Director of the All-Ireland Cancer Foundation. He is a charter member and Director of C-Change and Chief Executive Officer of the nonprofit CEO Roundtable.

Read an interview with Dr. Murphy about his work as Foundation Chair from the July 2012 issue of ASCO Connection.

W. Charles Penley, MD, FASCO—Treasurer, Incoming Chair
Dr. Penley has been a member of the Conquer Cancer Foundation Board of Directors since 2005 and has been serving as Treasurer since 2007. Beginning in 2013, he will serve as Chair. A native Tennessean and community oncologist, he has been treating patients with cancer in Nashville for over 25 years. He is a partner with Tennessee Oncology, PLLC. Dr. Penley has served two terms on ASCO’s Clinical Practice Committee, and served as its Chair in 2008-2009. He is the current Chair of the Government Relations Committee. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Association of Community Cancer Centers and is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (Read an interview with Dr. Penley.)

Dr. Penley enjoys whitewater canoeing and for over 10 years has volunteered as a swiftwater rescue instructor— read more about his outdoor adventures on

Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FASCO—Secretary
Dr. Schilsky is the Secretary of the Conquer Cancer Foundation Board of Directors. A Professor of Medicine at The University of Chicago Medical Center, he is an internationally recognized expert in gastrointestinal cancers and past Chair of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B. He has served on a number of peer review and advisory committees for the NCI, including as Chair of the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors and as a member of the Clinical and Translational Research Advisory Committee. Dr. Schilsky is a Past President of ASCO.
Allen S. Lichter, MD, FASCO—ASCO CEO and CCF CEO
Dr. Lichter is the Chief Executive Officer of ASCO and the Conquer Cancer Foundation. He previously held significant leadership roles at the University of Michigan, serving as Chair and Professor of Radiation Oncology and as Dean of the Medical School. Dr. Lichter was named the first Isadore Lampe Professor of Radiation Oncology, an endowed chair, and also was the Newman Family Professor of Radiation Oncology. He is a Past President of ASCO and was the first Chair of the Foundation in 1999.
Sandra M. Swain, MD
Dr. Swain is the 2012-2013 ASCO President and Medical Director of Washington Hospital Center’s Washington Cancer Institute, Professor in the Department of Medicine at Georgetown University, and Adjunct Professor of Medicine in the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. She is internationally known for her work in breast cancer and health disparities. Dr. Swain has been a member of the Conquer Cancer Foundation Board since 2007.

Read Dr. Swain’s Conversation with the President column of this issue and visit to read Dr. Swain’s commentary on such topics as developing the skill of observation, examining global health equity, and encouraging women to pursue careers in science and medicine.

Nancy R. Daly, MS, MPH—Executive Director
Ms. Daly launched her clinical nursing career at Johns Hopkins Oncology Center. Following graduate school at Columbia University, she stayed on as Director of Clinical Operations in the Radiation Oncology Department. She then became the Director of the Chemical-modifier Program at the Joint Center for Radiotherapy at Harvard Medical School. Ms. Daly joined ASCO as Director of Cancer Research Policy in 2004, later becoming Director of Grants for The ASCO Cancer Foundation, the precursor to the Conquer Cancer Foundation, then becoming Executive Director of the Foundation in July 2009.
Lawrence H. Einhorn, MD, FASCO
Dr. Einhorn is a Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Indiana University Medical Center and a Lance Armstrong Foundation Distinguished Professor of Medicine. His numerous accolades and honors include an NCI Outstanding Investigator Grant and Distinguished Alumnus Awards from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Iowa Medical School, and Indiana University. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2001 and received Mastership in the American College of Physicians in 2003. Dr. Einhorn is a Past President of ASCO.
Ira M. Elegant, Esq.—New Member, 2011
In 2011, Mr. Elegant became the first philanthropic non-ASCO member to join the Conquer Cancer Foundation Board of Directors. Mr. Elegant is a partner in Buchbinder & Elegant, P.A., a three-lawyer firm focused on civil litigation and established in 1977. Previously, he served as Assistant City Attorney for the City of Miami Beach and in-house counsel for a prominent U.S. businessman and philanthropist. Mr. Elegant is the author of “Jurisdiction, Venue and Service of Process,” Florida Family Law, Second Edition, 1972; and “Jurisdiction, Venue and Service of Process,” Dissolution of Marriage Manual Florida Bar, Continuing Legal Education, 1976, 1979, 1985, Supplement.
John H. Glick, MD, FASCO
Dr. Glick is the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Professor of Clinical Oncology and Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and serves as President of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to having an extremely active clinical practice, Dr. Glick is an acknowledged leader in designing clinical trials conducted at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Glick is a Past President of ASCO.
Michael L. Gordon, JD—New Member, 2012
Mr. Gordon is the cofounder, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Investment Officer of Angelo, Gordon & Co., an investment advisory firm specializing in alternative investments. He began his career at L.F. Rothschild in 1970 and became a Managing Director in 1985. Mr. Gordon is a Trustee of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Colby College, and is a Director of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.
Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, MD, FACP, FASCO
A member of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center faculty since 1976, Dr. Hortobagyi has been instrumental in developing combination chemotherapy for previously inoperable breast tumors and for improving multidisciplinary treatments for patients with all stages of breast cancer, including advanced disease. He was co-founder of the World Summit Against Cancer, an international group of scientists, health care professionals, patient advocates, economists, lawmakers, and celebrities who are campaigning to ensure all people worldwide receive the most advanced cancer treatment. He is a Past President of ASCO.
Nora A. Janjan, MD, MPSA, MBA, FASCO
Dr. Janjan is a Fellow in Health Care at the National Center for Policy Analysis after retiring as a Professor of Radiation Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. In Texas, Dr. Janjan was appointed to serve on the Texas Radiation Advisory Board and currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Medical Committee. Dr. Janjan is an active participant in numerous expert panels to develop health care guidelines. Her government service includes appointment to the Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee and consultant to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Beth Karlan, MD—New Member, 2012
Dr. Karlan is Director of the Women’s Cancer Program at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, and Director of the Gilda Radner Hereditary Cancer Program. In addition to her clinical duties, she is also Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is an active ASCO member and has served on its Government Relations, Cancer Communication, and Cancer Education Committees, as well as the Journal of Clinical Oncology Editorial Board.
Ann Lurie—New Member, 2012
Ms. Lurie, an internationally recognized philanthropist committed to medical research and child-related health issues, is Founder and President of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation, Lurie Investments, Inc., and Africa Infectious Disease Village Clinics, Inc., a comprehensive health care initiative in rural Kenya. A former pediatric intensive care nurse, Ms. Lurie gave the lead gift for the recently opened Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. She serves on the Board of Trustees of Northwestern University, where she is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Preventive Medicine and endowed the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. Among numerous other global and domestic philanthropic efforts and initiatives, Ms. Lurie is a member of the Board of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, where she endowed The Lurie Prize Program to recognize scientific achievements in biomedical research.
Thomas A. Marsland, MD, FASCO
Dr. Marsland currently serves as President of Integrated Community Oncology Network (ICON), a community practice that delivers integrated radiation, medical oncology, and imaging studies to patients in Northeast Florida. He has been actively involved with the ASCO State/Regional Affiliate Program, twice serving as President of the Florida Society of Clinical Oncology and once as Treasurer, and now serves as Chair of ASCO’s new State Affiliate Council.
Robert J. Mayer, MD, FASCO
Dr. Mayer is Faculty Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Senior Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Stephen B. Kay Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, where he is also Faculty Associate Dean for Admissions. He is presently the Director of the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program of Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care. Dr. Mayer is a Past President of ASCO.
Thomas G. Roberts, Jr., MD, MSocSc—New Member, 2012
Dr. Roberts is a Managing Member and portfolio manager at Farallon Capital Management, LLC. Prior to joining Farallon, Dr. Roberts was an attending oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, an Instructor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, and a Visiting Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Taking the Lead: Community Oncologist W. Charles Penley, MD, Announced as Incoming Chair of the Conquer Cancer Foundation

In September 2012, the Conquer Cancer Foundation announced that longtime ASCO and CCF volunteer and dedicated community practitioner W. Charles Penley, MD, of Tennessee Oncology, PLLC, would succeed Martin J. Murphy, DMedSc, PhD, as Chair of the Board of Directors beginning in January 2013. Dr. Penley discusses his high regard for the Foundation and his commitment to philanthropy with ASCO Connection.

AC: How do you feel about becoming Chair of the CCF Board of Directors?

Dr. Penley: It’s such an exciting opportunity, and it’s a great thrill to be in this position, where I have the opportunity to interact with colleagues that I admire very much in support of the work of the Foundation.

AC: You’ve been active in the CCF leadership since 2005.Why were you interested involunteering?

Dr. Penley: When I was asked to become involved, I really didn’t know much about what was then called The ASCO Foundation. The thing that really drew me in was the support of the research enterprise, especially of cancer researchers in the early phasesof their career.

AC: How has the Foundation evolved since 2005?

Dr. Penley: The changes have been extensive. We’ve spent a lot of time and energy working to develop a more diverse pool of donors and becoming more visible in the landscape of cancer-related philanthropy. We’ve expanded the knowledge base of our Board by bringing in people with expertise in business, accounting, law, investing, and philanthropy. These members were not all directly affiliated with ASCO, but do have ties to the cancer care community and each of them has a strong interest in supporting cancer research and the mission of CCF.

AC: You’re succeeding Dr.Murphy as Chair. What has it been like working with him?

Dr. Penley: Marty is a prince of a man, an amazing guy, and has tremendous energy. He knows the world of business and industry far better than most of us who are practicing physicians. He’s been a great mentor to me and instrumental in the changes that have occurred in the Foundation over the past three years.

AC: What are some of your goals for your term as Chair?

Dr. Penley: We have a number of exciting projects. We’ve recently hired a new Director of Development to provide dedicated, in-house expertise for our major fundraising efforts. We’re looking forward to working with the ASCO Board of Directors to support CancerLinQ as it takes form, and I’m very excited about the potential of that project. We’ll also be continuing the core work of the Foundation in supporting research and education, including patient education on Cancer.Net and the many physician education programs ASCO offers. We want to enhance those programs and continue to excel.

AC: You’re also a Foundation donor. What’s the philosophy behind your financial support?

Dr. Penley: My thought is that philanthropy is the place where passion intersects with need. My wife, Connally, and I are passionate about supporting education and research, and we saw a need for support of cancer researchers at the beginning of their careers, so we designate our personal donation for the Foundation’s Young Investigator Awards. Each year, when I attend the Grants and Awards Program at the ASCO Annual Meeting and meet the young investigators who are being honored for their research efforts, my enthusiasm for this program is reaffirmed.

—By Virginia Anderson Senior Writer/Editor

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