Oncofertility at Penn: Making fertility preservation a fixture of cancer treatment Fatherhood

Ab rams o n Ca nce r Ce nter
VOLUME 12 | ISSUE 3 | FALL 2014
Oncofertility at Penn: Making fertility
preservation a fixture of cancer treatment
A cancer diagnosis marks the
beginning of a difficult journey. For
many young men and women, cancer
therapy’s threat to future parenthood
can incite overwhelming anxiety. An
established leader in the specialized
field of fertility preservation, the
Abramson Cancer Center’s (ACC)
Oncofertility Program at Penn Fertility
Care supports and guides patients
through fertility preservation options
throughout their cancer journey.
Oncofertility is a new, interdisciplinary
field that bridges oncology and health
research. Led by Clarissa Gracia,
MD, MSCE, and Puneet Masson,
MD, the Oncofertility Program’s
strength draws from Penn’s long
history of excellence in coordinated
clinical care and team-based science.
The program is devoted to helping
men, women, and children with cancer
and other fertility threatening diseases
preserve quality of life—ensuring
they maintain the possibility to have
children in the future.
From Survivorship to
For David Leitman, PhD, and his wife Valerie,
the road to parenthood has been fraught with
both tragedy and jubilation. Months prior to a
diagnosis of seminoma, a germ cell tumor in
his abdomen, they suffered the harrowing loss
of a baby. But, because of the Oncofertility
Program at Penn Fertility Care, years after his
cancer diagnosis and treatment, they were able
to conceive and deliver a healthy baby boy,
Abraham Elijah.
Rapid assessment and access to fertility
preservation for cancer patients is the standard
of care at the Abramson Cancer Center, but
for patients who did not have the opportunity
to bank eggs, embryos, or sperm prior to
undergoing treatment, there is still hope to
become parents - thanks to cutting-edge work
being done at Penn Medicine.
This was the case for Dr. Leitman, who is a
Research Assistant Professor in the Department
of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Unfortunately,” said Dr. Leitman, “by the time
my tumor was diagnosed, I was in chronic pain.
continued on page 2
While we tried, we could not
bank any sperm. And because
“The Oncofertility Program sometimes provides the
it was unclear if I had sarcoma
only ‘good news’ our patients receive while going
—which has a much worse
through or coming out of an extremely difficult time.
prognosis in terms of survival—
By preserving fertility, we provide our patients with
I had to undergo abdominal
insurance and peace of mind. So that after surviving
surgery and begin chemotherapy
their cancer, they may still be able to have their own
straight away.”
family. To put it plainly: the Oncofertility Program at
Penn gives hope.”
– Puneet Masson, MD
Dr. Leitman was treated by
David J. Vaughn, MD, GU
Proud parents, David and Valerie Leitman,
with their son Abraham.
Medical Oncology Professor at the Abramson
Cancer Center. David had retroperitoneal lymph
node dissection a few months after completing
chemotherapy, when his tumor shrank enough
that it was safe for removal.
A year and a half later, the Leitmans endured a
needle biopsy that was unable to recover sperm,
and several failed attempts of insemination
with donor semen. They were unsure if having
biological children was possible.
That is until Puneet Masson, MD, joined
Penn Medicine as Director of the Male Fertility
Program for Penn Fertility Care. “I was one of
his first patients,” said Dr. Leitman. “Before
Dr. Masson took my case, my wife and I felt
like we had limited options.” After Dr. Leitman
underwent microsurgical testicular sperm
extraction and Valerie in-vitro fertilization by
Anuja Dokras, MD, PhD, Director of Penn’s
Reproductive Surgical Facility, the Leitmans
successfully welcomed their son.
“When you get a cancer diagnosis, your first
thoughts are to survive—fertility may often be
the last thing on your mind. There also isn’t a lot
of information out there in terms of male fertility,
so it’s hard for people to know what to do,” said
continued on page 2
Director’s Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P. 2
Young Friends Corner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P. 2
Basser Center: Revolutionizing
BRCA-related Research . . . . . . . . . . . . P. 3
Telemedicine: Improving Access
to Genetic Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P. 3
AFCRI Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P. 3
Collaborations: Penn VET
and ACC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pp. 4 & 5
Spotlight: ACC at
Pennsylvania Hospital . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Awards and Honors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
New Faculty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Calendar of Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
P. 6
P. 6
P. 7
P. 8
continued from previous page
Oncofertility at Penn: Making fertility preservation a fixture of cancer treatment
At the heart of the Abramson Cancer
Center lies a collaborative spirit that has
a profound impact on our ability to treat
our patients. Our physical integration with
renowned research centers and institutes
across the University of Pennsylvania allows
our health professionals and physicianscientists to better practice the art of
patient-focused healing and care—from
the bench to the bedside and back to the
The ACC’s core value of team-based science
facilitates an interchange of knowledge
and the exchange of ideas, enabling the
seamless transition for our patients’ cancer
journeys, from prevention and detection
through treatment and survivorship.
In this issue of Penn’s Abramson Report,
we share how Penn Fertility Care is helping
young cancer survivors protect and fulfill
their dreams of becoming parents through
collaborative oncofertility efforts.
You will also read about revolutionary
immunotherapeutic approaches to canine
cancer and the unique collaborative effort
underway to translate these findings into
treatments for humans.
It is with a great sense of pride that I
thank you for your support, as it provides the
most essential collaboration with our
mission of providing personalized, patientcentered care.
Thank you for being part of the ACC
Chi V. Dang, MD, PhD
Save the Date – Young Friends
Research Panel and Reception –
2 November 12, 2014, 5:30 P.M.
Doctors, nurses, and psychological counselors work with patients
and their oncologists to develop personalized fertility preservation
plans. From utilizing the largest ovarian tissue cryopreservation
program in the U.S. to performing trials that assess the impact of
cancer therapies on reproduction and exploring novel methods of
fertility treatment, the Penn Fertility Care team provides patients
with options and positive news in the wake of cancer diagnosis
and treatment.
“With a new cancer diagnosis, time is of the essence,” Dr. Gracia
explains. “Patients must see a variety of specialists in a short
amount of time. Penn Fertility Care delivers rapid, coordinated care
that maximizes positive reproductive outcomes. Our goal is to help
our patients fulfill their dreams of becoming parents.”
continued from previous page
Penn Fertility Care
offers patients
advanced options:
Embryo and egg freezing
Ovarian tissue
harvesting and
Sperm banking
Testicular tissue banking
in prepubertal boys
Learn more at
From Survivorship to Fatherhood
Dr. Leitman. “Dr. Masson is an exceptional doctor who is
dynamic and personable. It is hard to express the gratitude
and debt we owe to him.”
Dr. Leitman’s journey demonstrates the power of the
innovative, comprehensive services offered at the
Abramson Cancer Center. He not only survived cancer, but
also experienced his greatest joy—becoming a dad. “We
hope to go through the same procedure again to have
another child, but for now Valerie and I are focused on
being parents to a healthy and happy newborn,” he said.
“We are overjoyed… and exhausted.”
Dr. Puneet Masson meets Abraham.
Help support these critical programs by contacting [email protected] or (215) 746-2948.
3rd Annual Strike Out Cancer
Young Friends of the Abramson
Cancer Center gathered at North Bowl
to network, mingle, and bowl! Together,
we raised $10,000 to support the work of
young investigators and clinical fellows,
whose brilliant ideas often go unrealized
because of a lack in funding. This support
is vital to launching the careers of
tomorrow’s medical leaders and staying at
the forefront of cancer research and care.
THANK YOU to our leading sponsors –
Dilworth Paxson, Silo Custom Homes, and
Michael Murphy – Northwestern Mutual,
silent auction donors, and everyone who
came out to help ensure that cancer
ends with this generation!
For more information on the Young Friends of the
ACC or to join, visit PennMedicine.org/Abramson/
More photos at Facebook.com/ACCYoungFriends
Basser Center: Leading the Revolution
in BRCA-related Research
Reflecting the Basser Research Center
for BRCA’s mission to use cutting-edge
research in basic and clinical sciences
to advance the care of individuals living
with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations,
the Basser Center provides annual
funding opportunities in BRCA-related
studies ranging from basic science to
clinical and translational research to
education and outreach. Collaboration
is key to discovering innovative ways
to prevent and treat these cancers.
This vision for collaboration goes
beyond Penn, extending across the
nation and the globe through generous
research grants made possible through
Basser Innovation Awards
$100,000 grants for one-year to
external investigators interested in
high-risk idea projects.
Basser Team Science Award
$1 million, two-year grant to a multiinstitutional team of researchers.
Basser Breakthrough Science
Team Awards
Up to $750,000/year for 3 years to
interdisciplinary groups of University
of Pennsylvania investigators.
Basser Outreach and
Implementation Science Award
Up to $300,000/year for 3 years to a
team of University of Pennsylvania
2014 Basser Global Prize Winner
Congratulations to Mary-Claire
King, PhD, the geneticist who
discovered the BRCA1 gene in 1994,
for winning this year’s Global Prize, a
$200,000 unrestricted research award.
Dr. King, American Cancer Society
Research Professor of Medicine and
Genome Sciences at the University
of Washington in Seattle, shared her
gratitude, saying “Advances stemming
from the discovery of BRCA1 twenty
years ago have provided both the
possibility of prevention for women
with inherited mutations in BRCA1 or
BRCA2, and hope of new treatment
options for patients diagnosed with
inherited breast and ovarian cancer.
With support from organizations like
the Basser Center, we will continue
to see huge improvements in the
prevention and treatment of breast
and ovarian cancer.”
To learn more about the Basser
Center, visit www.Basser.org
Telemedicine to Improve
Access to Genetic Services
Angela R. Bradbury, MD,
Assistant Professor of
Hematology/Oncology, was
awarded an Innovations Grant
from Penn Medicine’s Center
for Health Care Innovation to
study the use of telemedicine,
Angela R. Bradbury, MD
which utilizes audio and visual
communication tools, as a way to increase access to
genetic testing and counseling services.
Genetic testing for cancer susceptibility is now an
essential component of oncology care, increasing
the need for genetic counseling specialists to assist
in care of patients and their families. Testing is
typically available only at large, academic facilities,
leaving many providers and patients without access
to genetic counseling locally. Genetic testing should
always be conducted in conjunction with proper preand post-test counseling to contextualize the test
and outline what the results may mean. As genomic
applications in oncology expand, the demand for
genetic expertise will increase and gaps in delivery
will worsen.
Through an NIH study, Bradbury and her team showed
that telemedicine can be an effective way to expand
genetic services to populations with limited or no
access to care. The new project seeks to transition
the team’s research-supported telemedicine program
to a sustainable clinical model.
To support these efforts, contact
[email protected] or (215) 746-2948.
Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute (AFCRI) Update
Genomic Alterations Drive Ovarian Cancer Growth
Lin Zhang, MD, studies the genetic underpinnings of ovarian
cancer to better understand how tumors progress and to develop
more effective treatment options. By studying the ovarian cancer
genome, scientists can discover what letter changes are causing
a cell to become cancerous. One of the best known examples is
the discovery of the HER2 protein amplification in patients with
both ovarian and breast cancer, which has led to the successful
development of the anti-cancer drug Herceptin, a monoclonal
antibody that interferes with the HER2 protein.
Dr. Zhang and his team are uniquely engaged in understanding
how long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA) are a new class of cancerdriving genes with translational potential in ovarian cancer. They
have successfully identified a potential oncogenic lncRNA, Focal
Amplified lncRNA1 (FAL1), that play a critical role in ovarian cancer
growth and may provide novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets
for patients with ovarian cancer.
The recent discovery of lncRNA genes may dramatically change our
understanding of ovarian cancer. Our studies have demonstrated
that lncRNAs are altered in ovarian cancer with high frequency
which strongly suggests that the functions of lncRNAs in cancer
will lead to a greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms
of this disease, and could lead to novel clinical applications
in oncology.
To support these efforts, contact
[email protected] or (215) 898-8625.
Collaborations Across Campus C
with our Partners at the Penn’s S
More than 10,000 dogs are diagnosed each year with osteosarcoma, a highly
aggressive and unrelenting bone cancer that most often affects the long bones
in the limbs of large canine breeds. By teaming up with the Abramson Cancer
Center, Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn VET) has begun to unlock
amazing novel immunotherapeutic approaches to canine cancer—and a
groundbreaking collaborative effort is underway to translate these findings
into treatments for humans.
Leading the charge is Nicola J. Mason, BVetMed, PhD, Assistant
Professor of Veterinary Medicine at Penn VET. Dr. Mason is a veterinarian,
boarded in internal medicine, and has studied cancer and immune therapy
for more than 10 years. Her research has unveiled common traits in tumors
between dogs and humans.
“Sequencing of the canine genome has revealed marked similarities in the
genetics of human and canine cancers, as well as similarities in their biology
and clinical behavior,” said Dr. Mason. “Advancements made in treating dogs with
osteosarcoma will have a direct translational relevance to children with this disease.”
“Sniffing Out
Janos Tanyi, MD, PhD, Assistant
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology,
is leading a collaboration with
Cynthia Otto, Executive Director of the
Penn Vet Working Dog Center, where
they are training dogs to recognize the
scents omitted by chemicals found in
ovarian cancer biomarkers. Blood and
tissue samples donated by patients are
used to train the dogs to sniff out the
various compounds. So far,
the 4 trained dogs have
accurately detected ovarian
cancer in 90% of cases.
Ultimately, the hope is
that a mechanical device
duplicating a dog’s incredible
sense of smell could
be developed for use in
clinics to aid with the early
detection of ovarian cancers.
A generous pilot grant
to pursue this innovative
research was provided
through Kaleidoscope of
Hope Foundation.
Given that clinical trials in dogs take less time and money to perform than comparable trials
in human patients, evaluating cancer therapies in their early stages of development in dogs
can fast-track the translation of the most promising treatments into the human clinic.
While identifying novel tumor-associated antigens in canine cancer that can be used as
targets for immunotherapy, Dr. Mason discovered that the tumors of some of her canine
patients with bone cancer over-express the growth factor receptor HER2/Neu.
This discovery led Dr. Mason across the health schools at Penn to form an extraordinary
partnership with Yvonne Paterson, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Director of the
Biomedical Postdoctoral Program. Dr. Paterson has worked extensively on developing Listeria
as a cancer immunotherapeutic to target different tumor molecules, including HER2/Neu. Her
approach has shown great promise in murine models, and Dr. Mason was keen to explore
the possibility of using the HER2 targeted vaccine approach in dogs with osteosarcoma.
Woman’s Best Friend and a Lynchpin to New
It was fate that
led Dollyheart or
“Dolly,” a mastiff-mix
from a kill shelter,
into Rachel Davey’s
life—and an injury
that led Dolly to
participate in a study
that will forever
change the course of
cancer research and
and quickly made an appointment at the
University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary
Orthopedic Department. Vets there quickly
assessed Dolly and within hours diagnosed
her with osteosarcoma—the most common
bone tumor found in dogs.
At first Dolly’s injury
was diagnosed as
minor, but Rachel
knew otherwise
Dogs are capable of a great many things:
they bring joy as companions, support as
service and therapy dogs, and visceral relief
as emotional support animals. But now it
Dolly’s hind leg was amputated at Penn
VET the next day, and then set her on a
treatment journey that not only gave Dolly
her life back, but also provides hope to so
many others, human and dog alike.
Create Exciting Opportunities
School of Veterinary Medicine
By evaluating the effects of the vaccine in dogs with aggressive bone cancer, they reasoned
that they could establish the vaccine’s safety in a relevant, spontaneous, large-animal
model. The canine studies could also allow them to determine whether the vaccine provides
clinically relevant therapeutic effects and prolong the dogs’ overall survival, which with
current standard-of-care treatment is only about one year.
Penn VET enrolled 23 canine patients with bone cancer for the pilot study of Lm-HuHER-2.
Only those dogs with a confirmed diagnosis of HER2+ osteosarcoma who had already
undergone standard-of-care treatment (limb amputation and chemotherapy) were eligible for
the study.
Drs. Mason and Paterson were able to show that the vaccine was safe, causing no signs
of systemic toxicity. Encouraging trial results have led to a conditional license application
for its use in veterinary medicine and on-going discussions to design a similar clinical trial
in children with osteosarcoma. Dr. Mason is conducting a second study that uses the LmHuHER2 vaccine to treat primary bone tumors and prevent metastatic disease in dogs that
cannot undergo limb amputation—this study is on-going and is yielding promising results.
In keeping with the unique, collaborative spirit that is at the core of the groundbreaking work
done at the Abramson Cancer Center, Dr. Mason has also begun to build on the successful,
cancer-fighting therapy developed by Carl H. June, MD, Director of Translational Research
at ACC. She is developing novel antigen and CAR T immunotherapy approaches for canine
osteosarcoma, and if successful, will be expanding this immunotherapy approach to canines
with lymphomas, melanoma, and soft tissue sarcomas.
Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine has been a beacon of hope for people in Philadelphia,
and around the world. Their innovative research and passion for providing their patients
with the best possible treatments reflects Penn’s vision and passion for making a marked
difference in the world—from canines to humans!
To support this collaborative research, contact
[email protected] or (215) 898-9931.
w Advancements in Cancer Care
seems that the connection between humans
and dogs also exists on a molecular level.
The compassionate team at Penn VET
suggested to Rachel that Dolly be tested to
qualify for a research study on Lm-HuHER-2
vaccine to treat canine osteosarcoma. When
Dolly qualified for the study, Rachel knew
she and her best friend were in the best
position possible to fight.
Miraculously Dolly breezed through her
chemotherapy treatments and responded
well to the vaccine. Dolly and Rachel were
able to visit their old stomping grounds at
Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Park and hike
through the woods—where Dolly was able
to run, leap,
and splash in the
water. It’s been over 2
years since Dolly’s diagnosis,
far surpassing the survival rates for this
disease—and she’s still going strong!
“Dr. Mason and Dolly’s entire team at Penn
have been a dream, and for that I am eternally
grateful,” said Rachel. “I don’t know where
we’d be without this study. The innovative
research has allowed Dolly to play a role
in something BIG, something that could
change the lives of everyone who has ever
been affected by cancer.“
Shining a Light
on Tumors
For centuries, the vast and starry night sky
has inspired great men and women to propel
scientific discovery. For Sunil Singhal, MD,
Assistant Professor of Thoracic Surgery, the
synthetic glow of his daughter’s ceiling star
decals illuminated a visionary surgical technique.
Surgically removing a tumor often gives
patients the best chance to beat cancer. But,
in many instances, surgeons may be unable to
identify the margins of a tumor and extract it
in its entirety—leading to a local recurrence.
In collaboration with David E. Holt, BVSc,
Professor of Surgery at Penn’s School of
Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Singhal developed a
new technique that increases the likelihood
of a positive outcome. Using a contrast dye
indocyanine green (ICG) and near-infrared
imaging (NIR), surgeons are able to make tumors
glow, allowing them to remove the entire
The team has successfully adapted the approach
from a mouse to a large animal model of
spontaneous disease, and all the way to human
clinical trials—the first group to ever do so.
Five patients with cancer in their lungs or chest
participated in a pilot study. In four of the
patients, the surgeon could easily tell tumor from
non-tumor by sight and feel. In a fifth patient,
however, though CT and PET scans indicated
that the tumor was a solitary mass, NIR imaging
revealed glowing areas in what were thought to
be healthy parts of the lung.
Without this innovative approach to surgery, the
patient would have otherwise been diagnosed
with Stage I, local disease, and the cancer would
have progressed. But because of the imaging and
subsequent biospy, he underwent chemotherapy
and survived.
To support these efforts, contact
[email protected] or (215) 746-3009.
The Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania
Hospital: Delivering the Best in Cancer Care
Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH) is now also
home to Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center
(ACC), the region’s number one cancer
program. Under the direction of
Arthur Staddon, MD, ACC PAH has
become a nationally recognized center
renowned for specializing in treating bone
and soft tissue sarcoma, gynecologic
cancers, breast cancer, and more.
Karnell Family: Continuing
a Legacy of Giving Back
“Being a part of the ACC gives our patients ACC at PAH Physicians and Staff
access to specialized modalities as only
a truly comprehensive cancer center can—such as additional clinical trials, personalized
treatment plans through the Center for Personalized Diagnostics, genetic testing, cutting-edge
vaccine therapies, and proton therapy at Penn’s Roberts Proton Therapy Center,” said
R. Michael Buckley, MD, Executive Director of PAH.
Patients, their families, and caregivers also have access to the excellent supportive care
services through the Joan Karnell Supportive Care Program (JKSCP), which offers
specialized, supplemental care to patients and their families to help cope with the physical
and emotional distress that a cancer diagnosis and treatment can bring—so they can focus
on healing and recovery. The JKSCP at ACC PAH is an integral part of ensuring that patients
receive the support they need from diagnosis through treatment and survivorship.
Through an interdisciplinary
team of experts, services
offered include:
Joan Karnell Supportive
Care Program Staff
Art Therapy
Mindfulness Based Stress
■■ Music Therapy
■■ Nutrition Counseling
■■ Psychological Counseling
■■ Spiritual Counseling
■■ Massage
■■ Support Groups
To learn more about services or programs, please call (215) 829-6466.
To make a gift, contact [email protected] or (215) 573-2480.
Nursing staff in the new Infusion
Department, fully equipped with the
latest technology and amenities to
address individual patient needs.
Joan Karnell was an
extraordinary person.
She was a devoted
wife, mother, and
friend. As a woman
with ovarian cancer,
she demonstrated
Kim Karnell
tremendous strength,
determination, and courage during
her eight-year struggle to overcome
the disease. Joan’s daughter, Kim
Karnell, also a member of the ACC
Leadership Council, recalled, “My
mother was diagnosed with ovarian
cancer in the early 1980s and told she
only had 6 months to live. My parents
ended up seeking a second opinion at
Pennsylvania Hospital—where they
found treatment options and hope. My
mother lived almost nine years.”
As a person with a deep sense of social
responsibility, Joan used her own
situation to increase awareness and
funding for PAH’s efforts to establish a
cohesive cancer facility that would help
ease the pain and suffering of other
cancer patients and their families. “My
mother’s legacy is kept alive through
the supportive care programs and
the differences they make in cancer
patients’ lives. Her fight wasn’t only for
her life, but for the quality of lives of all
cancer patients. She would be proud,”
said Kim.
Jonathan Katz, MD, received the 2014 Department of Cancer Biology
Teaching Award
Garret A. FitzGerald, MD, Carl H. June, MD, and M. Celeste
Daniel J. Powell, Jr., PhD, received the American Society of Gene &
Simon, PhD, elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Cell Therapy (ASGCT) 2014 Outstanding New Investigator Award
Christine Hill-Kayser, MD, named Editor-in-Chief of OncoLink
Yvonne Paterson, PhD, recognized in PharmaVOICE’s “100 of the
Carl H. June, MD, received the 2014 Taubman Prize for Excellence in Most Inspiring People”
Translational Medical Science
Lynn M. Schuchter, MD, elected Chair, Scientific Program Committee
Jeffrey A. Drebin, MD, PhD, FACS, elected 2014 President of the
for the American Society for Clinical Oncology
Philadelphia Academy of Surgery
Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, elected to the American Society
Sunita D. Nasta, MD, FACP, named Chair of Clinical Trials Scientific for Clinical Investigation Council
6 Research Monitoring Committee
Gary D. Wu, MD, named Ferdinand Weisbrod Professor of Medicine
The Abramson Cancer Center is pleased to welcome the following
individuals to Penn as new members. Each brings a wealth of
experience and genuine enthusiasm to the pursuit of cancer
research and patient care.
H. Isaac Chen, MD, joins as Assistant Professor of
Neurosurgery, focusing on the surgical management
of tumors in eloquent brain areas, post-traumatic
epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury. Dr. Chen’s
research focuses on developing novel strategies for
repairing brain damage using a combination of stem
cell biology, tissue engineering, and neural-electric interfaces. He is also
engaged in research efforts to improve intra-operative brain mapping
and to understand brain plasticity after brain injury. Dr. Chen received his
medical degree from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University
of Pennsylvania, where he also completed an internship in general
surgery and residency in neurosurgery.
Christine A. Ciunci, MD, MSCE, joins as Assistant
Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of
Hematology/Oncology, where she will focus on
treating patients with lung cancer and other thoracic
malignancies at Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Ciunci
received her medical degree from Temple University
School of Medicine and completed her residency and fellowship in
hematology/oncology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Richard J. Funnell, MHA, FACHE, CMPE, joins
as Chief Administrative Officer for the Cancer Service
Line. Mr. Funnell oversees clinical operations at the
Abramson Cancer Center, Cancer Network, Patient
& Family Services, integration of care across the
continuum, and advancement of strategic program
imperatives of the service line. Working closely with leadership at the
various hospitals, he will ensure coordination of the service line for
optimal patient experience and disease program development. Mr.
Funnell holds a bachelors degree in psychology from the University of
Oklahoma and a masters in health administration from the University of
Missouri. He is a fellow in the American College of Health Executives
and certified by the American College of Medical Practice Executives.
Robert Giuntoli, II, MD, joins as Associate
Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology,
specializing in the evaluation and treatment of
women with gynecologic cancer and complex benign
gynecologic conditions requiring surgery. He is an
experienced surgeon and skilled in minimally invasive
and robotic surgery. Dr. Giuntoli received his medical degree from the
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and
completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University
Medical Center. He completed a fellowship in breast health at Brown
University School of Medicine and a fellowship in gynecologic oncology
at the Mayo Clinic, and is currently a fellow of the American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American College of Surgeons.
Jesse Green, MD, joins as Professor of Clinical
Medicine with clinical and research interests that
focus on Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Dr.
Green received his medical degree from the Mount
Sinai School of Medicine, completed his residency
and internship in internal medicine at Mount Sinai
Hospital, and went on to complete a fellowship in gastroenterology
at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital and affiliated
hospitals and clinics.
New Abramson Faculty
Sarah Kim, MD, MSCE, joins as Assistant Professor
of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, specializing
in the surgical treatment of gynecologic cancers
and complex benign gynecologic conditions. Dr. Kim
received her medical degree from Upstate Medical
University, SUNY College of Medicine and a master’s
degree in clinical epidemiology from the Perelman School of Medicine at
the University of Pennsylvania. She completed a residency in obstetrics
and gynecology and a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the Hospital
of the University of Pennsylvania.
Jan-Michael Klapproth, MD, joins as
Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division
of Gastroenterology where his research will focus
on studying bacterial modification of the enteric
immune system and outcome investigations of
medical education. Dr. Klapproth received his medical
degree from the Albert-Ludwigs University, Freiburg, Germany, and
completed a post-doctoral fellowship, internal medicine residency, and
gastroenterology subspecialty training at the University of Maryland.
Daniel Landsberg, MD, joins as Assistant Professor
of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Hematology/
Oncology, specializing in the management of
hematologic malignancies, specifically non-Hodgkin
and Hodgkin lymphomas, as well as autologous stem
cell transplantation. Dr. Landsberg received his medical
degree from Temple University School of Medicine, and completed a
residency and fellowship in hematology/oncology at the Hospital of the
University of Pennsylvania, where he also served as Chief Fellow.
Ali K. Ozturk, MD, joins as Assistant Professor in
the Department of Neurosurgery, where he specializes
in the treatment of brain tumors, brain trauma,
and complex spinal conditions including tumors,
degenerative spine disease, trauma, and minimally
invasive spine surgery. Dr. Ozturk received his medical
degree from the Yale University School of Medicine,
completed a residency in neurosurgery at Yale-New Haven Hospital,
and went on to do a fellowship in complex spinal disorders at the Johns
Hopkins Hospital.
Samuel Swisher-McClure, MD, joins as Assistant
Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology,
treating cancer patients at the VA Medical Center
and Penn Cancer Network facilities. In addition to his
clinical role, he is also the Director of the Medical
Residency Program and has research interests that
focus on health services and the effects of health policy on radiation
oncology practices. Dr. Swisher-McClure received his medical degree from
West Virginia University School of Medicine and completed his residency
in radiation oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine, where he also
served as Chief Resident.
For more information, visit PennMedicine.org/Abramson
Calendar of Events
Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center is
proud to be the recipient of generous funding
from the citizens of Pennsylvania through the
Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition’s Refunds
for Research Program. Pictured from left: Leslie
Anne Miller, Lewis Chodosh, MD, PhD, Pat
Halprin-Murphy, and Caryn Lerman, PhD.
The 2014 Ride to Conquer Cancer
Saturday, October 11-Sunday, October 12, Philadelphia, PA
2 Days. 150 + Miles. 1 Epic Ride. The 2014 Ride to Conquer
Cancer benefiting Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center
is for anyone who wants to challenge themselves for a great
cause. Your participation with friends, family, and colleagues will
transform the prevention and treatment of cancer.
Friends and family joined David L. Porter, MD, as
he was named the inaugural Jodi Fisher Horowitz
Professor in Leukemia Care Excellence, and Anne
and Jerome Fisher, who endowed the chair in honor
of their late daughter. Jodi was the founder of Shoes
on Sale, an annual fundraiser which raises breast
cancer research support by partnering with QVC and
the Fashion Footwear Association of New York.
13th Annual Susan G. Komen Pink Thai Ball
Saturday, October 18, 6:30 p.m., Philadelphia, PA
An evening inspired by Thailand – cocktails, dinner, dancing, live
and silent auctions, and a live cooking demo with celebrity chefs.
Faculty, patients, staff, and family
celebrated Bruce L. Levine, PhD, as
the inaugural Barbara and Edward
Netter Associate Professor in Gene
Therapy. The Abramson Cancer
Center was overjoyed to have a
number of CAR T-cell patients join
the festivities and celebrate Bruce
Levine’s lifesaving research.
In honor of Tara Miller’s courageous battle
against melanoma, the Miller family and friends
came together to raise vital support through
their Make the Best of It Bash raising over
$335,000 for melanoma research and care at
the ACC. Tara Miller, pictured bottom left, with
her oncologist, Dr. Lynn Schuchter, and family.
For the latest information about cancer care and research, visit our award-winning
A b r a ms o n Cancer
resource, OncoLink, at oncolink.org.
Call (800) 789-PENN (7366) or visit our website at PennMedicine.org/Abramson
A b r a ms o n Cancer Center
Support the Abramson Cancer Center’s mission to advance research, education, and patient care, and
find the cure. Visit PennMedicine.org/Abramson/Donate or call (215) 898-0578.
800.789.PENN PennMedicine.org/abramson
ArtNUDE Philly: A Breast Cancer Awareness Show
Saturday, October 18 (Opening Reception) - Friday, October 31,
Philadelphia, PA
A contemporary art show at the James Oliver Gallery to support
patients and families in need at the ACC.
Living Beyond Breast Cancer 2014 Butterfly Ball Gala
Saturday, October 18, 6:30 p.m., Philadelphia, PA
Join LBBC at their annual black-tie gala to raise funds to fulfill
their mission of connecting people with trusted breast cancer
information and a community of support.
Congratulations to our Distinguished
Partner In Hope recipients, Emily and
Gregory Wolfson and the Living from the
Heart Volunteers, who were honored at
the Integrative Medicine and Wellness
Education Conference for helping to ensure
patients and families have access to all the
tools needed for healing throughout their
cancer journey.
Abra ms o n Cancer Center
12th Annual Saks Fifth Avenue KEY TO THE CURE
Wednesday, October 15, Bala Cynwyd, PA
A four-day shopping event from October 16-19 benefiting breast
and gynecologic cancer programs. Join us on Wednesday,
October 15 from 5:30-8:00 pm for a preview party. Guests
will enjoy cocktails and light bites, music, and a fashion show
featuring notable doctors and survivors.
Development Office
3535 Market Street, Suite 750
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3309
(215) 898-0578
Neiman Marcus Luncheon with Naeem Khan
Thursday, October 30, 12:00 p.m., King of Prussia, PA
Meet Naeem Khan during this fun-filled event of glamour,
fashion, and purpose to raise support for the Abramson
Cancer Center.
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s
PurpleStride Walk 2014
Saturday, November 1, 7:30 a.m., Philadelphia, PA
National Brain Tumor Society 5K Race for Hope
Sunday, November 2, 8:00 a.m., Philadelphia, PA
Free to Breathe Philadelphia: Lung Cancer 5K Run/Walk
Sunday, November 2, 8:00 a.m., Philadelphia, PA
The Free to Breathe Foundation is committed to raising
awareness and fund vital research programs for lung cancer.
Young Friends of ACC Research Panel & Reception
Wednesday, November 12, 5:30 p.m., Philadelphia, PA
Hear from a panel of early-career scientists about their promising
research, and have the opportunity to ask questions about the
future of cancer care. Join us to celebrate the 4th Annual Young
Friends Award recipient, socialize, and network with people
interested in ending cancer with this generation.
Patient and Family Education Conferences
Hilton Hotel, Philadelphia, PA – 7:30 a.m.
7th Focus on Lung Cancer Program
Friday, October 17
4th Focus on Neuroendocrine
Tumors Education Conference
Friday, October 24
8th Focus on Blood Cancers
Friday, November 21
For more information on any event,
visit PennMedicine.org/Abramson/Events