2014 Archived Content

Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s Inaugural
Combination Cancer Immunotherapy
Speaker Biographies

Omid Hamid, M.D., Director, Melanoma Center, Angeles Clinic and Research Institute

Omid Hamid, MD, is Chief of Translational Research and Immunotherapy, and the Director of Cutaneous Oncology Program at The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Hamid is also on faculty at the John Wayne Cancer Institute. He holds practice privileges at Saint John’s Health Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and UCLA/Santa Monica-Hospital and Medical Center. Dr. Hamid works to ensure that patients receive access to the most up-to-date therapeutics, based on molecular pathways of progression. After receiving his medical degree from the University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine, Dr. Hamid completed an internship and residency in internal medicine, and a fellowship in oncology, at USC. He began his medical career at the USC Norris Cancer Center and subsequently joined The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute. Dr. Hamid has contributed articles and abstracts to professional journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine and Clinical Cancer Research, and he is an active speaker at professional meetings and symposia. His current research has focused on the manipulation of a patient's immune system to attack cancer cells and maintain continuously elevated levels of immunity. Dr. Hamid is dedicated to the discovery of novel therapies for cancers that have spread to the central nervous system (brain and spine). He believes that fostering innovative therapies directly to the clinical trial format serves as the most effective and quickest way to ensure patients can benefit from treatment. Dr. Hamid is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, SWOG (Southwest Oncology Group), ECOG (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group), and the Medical Oncology Association of Southern California.

Peter P. Lee, M.D., Billy and Audrey L. Wilder Endowed Professor, Chair, Dept. of Cancer Immunotherapeutics & Tumor Immunology, City of Hope

The focus of my research is on understanding how breast cancer affects host immune responses in patients, with the goal of developing novel treatments to restore/enhance immune function in patients leading to integrated immunotherapy for breast cancer. My group utilizes state-of-the-art technologies - such as high-dimensional flow cytometry, quantitative spatial image analysis, and next-generation genomics – to dissect the complex interplay between immune/stromal cells and cancer cells within tumors, tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLNs), and blood. Through image analysis of breast tumors and TDLNs, we have found that immune cell populations as well as their spatial distributions and clustering patterns have strong correlation with clinical outcome. My group has also shown that lymphocytes from patients with breast cancer develop immune signaling defects that blunt their proliferation and function in vivo. We have extended these findings to other immune signaling pathways and found that there is an alteration in the global signaling network. In context of cancer vaccines, we have shown that avidity of vaccine-elicited, antigen-specific T cells is critical for their anti-tumor activity. We are developing vaccination strategies to preferentially elicit high avidity, tumor cytolytic T cells in vivo. We have also developed rapid methods to measure these cells ex vivo. Lastly, we utilize computational modeling and network analysis to compliment our experimental work in analyzing high dimensional data that are generated from our studies. As such, my group is highly interdisciplinary, combining immunology, pathology, genomics, bioinformatics, mathematical modeling, and computer science.

Ryan Teague, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine

Dr. Teague is an Assistant Professor in the Molecular Microbiology and Immunology Department at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. He received postdoctoral training from 2002-2008 at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. His research focuses on T cell immunology with an emphasis on understanding immune tolerance to cancer and the development of strategies to overcome tolerance for cancer immunotherapy. Research in the Teague lab is supported by grants from the NIH and the Cancer Research Institute.

Seamus Fernandez, Managing Director, Leerink Partners

Seamus Fernandez covers Major and Specialty Pharmaceuticals for Leerink Partners, with a significant focus on immuno-oncology. His stock picking ranks third among U.S. Pharmaceuticals analysts in 2012, according to FT Thomson Reuters StarMine. In the October 2008 and 2007 Institutional Investor poll, he was named “Best Up-and-Comer” covering the Pharmaceuticals/ Major sector.

 Prior to joining Leerink in 2006, Mr. Fernandez had been a member of the major pharmaceuticals team at Cowen and Company, LLC. Before Cowen, Mr. Fernandez was a senior associate at the consulting firm, Putnam Associates, Inc. He began his career as a research associate at the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Neurosurgery where he conducted independent research using gene therapy and transgenic technology. His work was published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, Experimental Neurology and the Journal of Neurotrama.

 Mr. Fernandez graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in Chemistry.

James W. Welsh, M.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Division of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

James W. Welsh, MD, specializes in the treatment of thoracic cancers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He began his career in oncology at the Department of Molecular Oncology at Genentech Inc., where some of the first biological target therapies were developed (e.g., rituiximab [Rituxan], trastuzumab [Herceptin], and bevacizumab [Avastin]). He later attended Dartmouth Medical School, where his laboratory work involved developing strategies to radiosensitize tumors by inhibiting AKT. He completed a residency in radiation oncology at the University of Arizona, where he also ran a laboratory focused on developing biologically targeted therapies as radiosensitizers and led several clinical trials combining biological therapies with ionizing radiation. He joined the clinical faculty at MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2008. His academic pursuits extend from the laboratory to the clinic, with a focus on translational research, developing novel therapeutics and immunotherapies to combine with radiation, with the goal of developing personalized therapy approaches for cancer.

Robert W. Wilkinson, Ph.D., Director of Oncology Research, MedImmune, United Kingdom

Robert Wilkinson is Director of Oncology Research at MedImmune, the biologics arm of AstraZeneca. Based in Cambridge, his group is charged with the generation and delivery of new candidate biotherapeutics. His research focuses on immunotherapies, as well as tumour targeted therapies using the latest antibody and protein based strategies. Robert has over fifteen years of experience in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, in both small and large molecule cancer drug discovery, and translational science. Previously he has held senior leadership roles with AstraZeneca and Cancer Research Technology and has a strong track record in progressing pipeline projects and harnessing novel scientific approaches, technologies and directing multidisciplinary teams. Robert received his PhD in Experimental Immunology from The University of Birmingham and has co-authored over 50 publications in the field of immunology and cancer.

Adam J. Adler, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Immunology, University of Connecticut

Dr. Adler received his Ph.D. in 1993 from Columbia University where he studied hormonal regulation of gene expression. His post-doctoral research at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine focused on studying T cell tolerance pathways, and how they impact tumor immunity. Since 1999 his laboratory at the University of Connecticut Health Center has continued to analyze the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which T cell tolerance to normal self and tumor antigens is programmed, and more recently how costimulatory pathways can be engaged to elicit tumor immunity.

Rebecca A. Miksad, M.D., MPH, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Miksad's research goal is to improve treatments and outcomes for patients with Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Cancer. She is engaged in translational clinical trial and health services/outcomes research as an Attending Physician in medical oncology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and as Senior Scientist at the Institute for Technology Assessment at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Miksad's research is currently supported by a K23 from the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Miksad's past research support includes the Young InvestigatorAward from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the DF/HCC Program in Cancer Outcomes Research (PCORT) fellowship, the Young Investigator’s Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Timely Special Opportunity Award from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the NIH Loan Repayment Program and the Clinical Research Feasibility Fund Award from BIDMC. Recent awards include the Lee Lusted Prize for outstanding research from the Society for Medical Decision Making and the Clinical Research Award from the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group. Dr. Miksad received a B.A in economics from Harvard, an MD with honors in research from Cornell University, and an MPH from Harvard. She completed her internal medicine residency at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and her Hematology/Oncology fellowship at BIDMC. She completed the NCI-funded post-doctoral fellowship in the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Program in Cancer Outcomes Research Training (PCORT). Rebecca’s research goals are to improve oncology treatment decision making through better characterization of cancer patient outcomes, improved accuracy of clinical endpoints, assessment of the economic implications of cancer therapy and application of decision analysis tools.

Madi R. Madiyalakan, Chief Executive Officer, Quest PharmaTech

Dr. Madiyalakan is the CEO of Quest PharmaTech, a Canadian biotechnology company developing antibodies as immune modulators to enhance tumor specific immunity and clinical outcome. Prior to joining Quest PharmaTech, he was one of the founders of SonoLight Pharmaceuticals Corp. (served as its CEO and Director), CanBiocin Inc. (served as President, CEO and Director) and AltaRex Corp. (served as Vice-President, Planning and Chief Scientific Officer). Between 1987 and 1995 Dr. Madiyalakan served in various senior positions at Biomira Inc. (now known Oncothyreon). Dr. Madiyalakan holds a Masters and Ph.D. (Biochemistry) and a Certificate in Management Development. In addition, he has over 35 years of academic and industrial research experience on an international basis. He has published extensively and been an inventor of a number of patents in the cancer immunotherapy field.

Jason J. Luke, M.D., Instructor, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Jason Luke, M.D., F.A.C.P. completed medical school at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago, internship and residency in internal medicine at Boston University Medical Center and medical oncology fellowship at Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Dr. Luke is an active investigator within the Melanoma Disease Center, Early Drug Development Center and Center for ImmunoOncology of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and is an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Luke’s research focuses on early drug development for malignant melanoma and advanced cancer. His work has been supported by the National Cancer Institute, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Samir Khleif, M.D., Director, GRU Cancer Center; Professor of Medicine, Medical College of Georgia

Dr. Khleif currently serves as the Director of the State of Georgia Cancer Center, Georgia Regents University Cancer Center and the Cancer Service Line. He is a Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Cancer Scientist and Clinician and holds a professorship in Medicine, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Graduate Studies at Georgia Regents University. Dr. Khleif’s research program focuses on the molecular mechanisms of the interaction between cancer and the immune system. He received his medical degree at the University of Jordan, Amman Jordan. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the Medical College of Ohio and his fellowship in Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland. His laboratory works on understanding the mechanisms of cancer-induced immune suppression, and utilizing this knowledge for the development of novel immune therapeutics and vaccines against cancer. His team designed and conducted some of the first cancer vaccine clinical trials directed against specific genetic changes in cancer cells. Currently, his research group works on strategies to target immune suppressive mechanisms of T regulatory cells and co-inhibitory molecules such as PD1 and CTLA4; developing novel strategies to manipulate such pathways to selectively block cancer immune suppression; and developing novel approaches in clinical trials for immune therapy in immune combination approaches to enhance anti-tumor effects. Dr. Khleif previously served as Chief of the Cancer Vaccine Section at NCI and Professor of Medicine at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He also served as a Special Assistant to the FDA Commissioner from 2006-2009, during which time he led the Critical Path for Oncology. During his tenure at the NCI, Dr. Khleif was asked by the US government to develop and lead the King Hussein Cancer Centre and served as its director from 2002-2006. He also served as Director of the King Hussein Cancer and Biotechnology Institute from 2006-2009. He led many national efforts and committees on the development of biomarkers and integration of biomarkers in clinical trials, including the AACR-NCI-FDA Cancer Biomarker Collaborative and the ASCO Alternative Clinical Trial Design. Dr. Khleif is the author of many book chapters and scientific articles on tumor immunology and biomarkers process development, and he is the editor for two textbooks on cancer therapeutics, tumor immunology, and cancer vaccines. Dr. Khleif was inducted into the American Society for Clinical Investigation, received the National Cancer Institute’s Director Golden Star Award, the National Institutes of Health Award for Merit, the Commendation Medal of the US Public Health Service, and he was recently appointed to the Institute of Medicine National Cancer Policy Forum.

Margaret K. Callahan, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

I am a board-certified medical oncologist who specializes in the use of novel immunotherapies to treat melanoma and other cancers. I work closely with a multidisciplinary team of medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, and research nurses in the Immunotherapeutics Clinical Core (a specialized center for Phase 1 studies of new immunotherapy agents) and on the Melanoma and Sarcoma Service. My research is focused on the development of new ways to use the immune system to treat cancer and new ways to combine existing therapies to maximize durable anti-cancer effects. As a laboratory member in the Ludwig Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering, I have been involved in developing innovative approaches to monitoring patients treated with immunotherapy. Our hope is to better understand how immunotherapy can be used to help patients with cancer and to expand this promising treatment modality into new areas. Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Immunotherapy Clinical Core Clinical Expertise: Melanoma; Immunotherapy Languages Spoken: English Education: MD, PhD, University of Connecticut School of Medicine Residencies: University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center Fellowships: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Board Certifications: Internal Medicine; Medical Oncology

Marc Mansour, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer, ImmunoVaccine

Marc Mansour holds a Ph.D. in biology and has completed a Master of Business Administration. He is an expert in vaccinology and cancer immunotherapy. Since he joined Immunovaccine, Dr. Mansour led the clinical development of the DepoVax™ platform and the Company’s lead therapeutic cancer vaccine DPX-Survivac, soon entering randomized Phase II trials in ovarian cancer and glioblastoma. He represents the company to the investor and scientific communities. He continues to lead the internal development of vaccines based on the DepoVax™ platform, and externally with collaborators and commercial partners.

Dirk Brockstedt, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Research & Development, Aduro Biotech, Inc.

Dirk G. Brockstedt, Ph.D. is Senior Vice President of Research and Development, and has more than 15 years of experience in the fields of immunology and oncology originating with his PhD from Stanford University. He was the third employee in the original Vaccine group at Cerus Corporation and later brought the technology to Aduro. He was instrumental in the development of both the live-attenuated and killed Listeria strains, and he led the development of the lead product, CRS-207. Prior to Cerus Corporation, Dr. Brockstedt spent 4 years at Aventis in the Immunotherapy and Anti-Angiogenesis group developing novel therapies against cancer. Dr. Brockstedt is the author of more than 30 peer-reviewed scientific articles and is a named inventor on 5 issued patents and several patent applications.