The Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in Baltimore recently announced new appointments and awards given to faculty.
New Director of Thoracic Oncology
Julie Brahmer, MD, a medical oncologist with expertise in the use of immunotherapies to treat lung cancer, has been named Director of the Thoracic Oncology Program at The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Dr. Brahmer will lead a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, researchers, and fellows developing new treatments for lung and esophageal cancers and mesothelioma. She will also oversee a $35 million investment in the program and the opening of the new Thoracic Center of Excellence at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, as well as laboratory research and clinical trials.
“Dr. Brahmer has established herself as an international leader in the field of immunotherapy for lung cancer,” says William Nelson, MD, PhD, Director of the Kimmel Cancer Center. “She is poised to lead an impressive group of cancer care professionals dedicated to bringing the most innovative treatments to patients.”
Dr. Brahmer has been a faculty member at Johns Hopkins since 2001 and is the author of more than 90 scholarly articles and book chapters. The Thoracic Oncology Program at the Kimmel Cancer Center offers a comprehensive one-day clinic, where lung cancer patients receive a complete treatment plan at the time of their visits. The clinic is located at Johns Hopkins Bayview and is led by radiation oncologist Russell Hales, MD.
“The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center is a special place, with committed experts dedicated to bringing the best treatments to patients through research and clinical trials. I am honored to be part of this team and to help lead us into the next phase of cancer medicine,” says Dr. Brahmer.
Dr. Brahmer is an active leader in national efforts to drive and support better research and treatment for lung cancer. She is a member of ASCO and the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group’s Thoracic Committee and Cancer Prevention Steering Committee. A founding board member of the National Lung Cancer Partnership, now known as Free to Breathe, she currently serves as a member of its Scientific Executive Committee. Dr. Brahmer earned her medical degree from the University of Nebraska, completed her residency in internal medicine at the University of Utah, and finished her training with a fellowship in medical oncology at Johns Hopkins. She is board-certified in medical oncology.
Massachusetts General Hospital’s Warren Prize
Johns Hopkins oncologist Bert Vogelstein, MD, received the Warren Triennial Prize of Massachusetts General Hospital. The Warren Prize honors scientists who have made outstanding contributions in fields related to medicine and includes a cash award of $50,000. The award, created in 1871, is given every 3 years and is named for John Collins Warren, a co-founder of Massachusetts General Hospital who played a leading role in establishing The New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Vogelstein’s research focuses on determining the molecular basis of a common human cancer. He and his colleagues were the first to map cancer genomes and use genomewide sequencing to identify the basis of hereditary diseases. They also determined the genetic landscapes of more than a dozen tumor types and have provided the conceptual basis for what is now called personalized medicine.
Researcher Awarded Funding to Study Esophageal Cancer
The Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association has awarded Elizabeth Montgomery, MD, Professor of Pathology and Oncology and a member of The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, a research grant totaling $16,000 for her collaborative research with Robert Anders, MD, PhD, and Elizabeth Thompson, MD, PhD, titled “Evaluation of PD-L1 Expression in Esophageal Adenocarcinoma.” Her research examines the power of the immune system’s ability to fight cancer. A molecule on tumor cells, called PD-L1, controls a “stop” signal to immune cells, which might otherwise have the capacity to kill tumor cells. Blocking PD-L1 has shown promise in early clinical trials involving melanoma and lung cancer. Dr. Montgomery will be studying PD-L1 expression in esophageal cancers to determine whether PD-L1–blocking therapies could offer a new type of therapy for this disease. ■