The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington Medicine in Seattle are pleased to announce the arrival soon of Dr. Eric Holland, a world-class brain cancer research scientist and neurosurgeon, who will head up the Human Biology Division at Hutch as well as the Alvord Brain Tumor Center at UW. The eminent MD/PhD is being lured away from Manhattan's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he directs the MSKCC brain tumor center and has his lab within the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, where his team studies the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of central nervous system tumors. In addition to being the recipient of many prestigious awards over years, Holland brings with him over $3M a year in NIH/NCI funding. It's unclear how many of his 13 lab members will follow him across the country to take on new challenges at Hutch and UW.
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Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center cell engineering researchers and their clinician colleagues have been in the news recently for a successful experimental cell therapy. Called targeted immunotherapy, a patient's T cells are genetically altered in the lab, then reintroduced with the directive to target and kill cancer cells. The treatment was carried out on a group of adults who all suffered from a rapidly progressing form of leukemia that had not responded to chemotherapy. All five went into remission after the novel cell treatment, and three have stayed that way for a number of months. Results of the ongoing clinical trial appeared in the March 20 online edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine, along with an article in the New York Times.
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Of the eleven scientists just announced as winners of the new Life Sciences Breakthrough Prize, four of them have their labs within a block or two of each other in Manhattan: two at Rockefeller University, one at Weill Cornell Medical College, and one at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The prize, given to recognize past achievement in research aimed at curing disease and extending human life, comes with $3M to allow each of those researchers the freedom and flexibility to pursue even more groundbreaking work in the future. The founding sponsors of the prize are tech entrepreneurs Sergey Brin (Google) and Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Priscilla Chan, Art Levinson (Apple), and Yuri Milner (venture capitalist). The 11 winners this year will serve on the board to choose 5 winners each in subsequent years.
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