Plenary Sessions

The Local Organizing Committee is excited to announce the list of confirmed plenary speakers.

Plenary Session I: Origins of Mesothelioma

David-WallerDavid Waller
Glenfield Hospital – Leicester, United Kingdom

Mr. Waller trained in cardiothoracic surgery in Leeds, Newcastle and Birmingham and has been a Consultant Thoracic Surgeon at Glenfield Hospital since 1997, covering Burton-On-Trent, Kettering and Northampton within his NHS practice. Mr. Waller provides a supra regional service for emphysema surgery and a national service for mesothelioma surgery and is also an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Leicester Warwick Medical School, member of the National Cancer Research Institute Lung Studies Group and a Nice Specialist Advisor.

Dean-FennellDean Fennell
University of Leicester – Leicester, United Kingdom

Professor Fennell’s clinical specialisation is in thoracic medical oncology and early clinical trials, particularly mesothelioma, with a particular interest in therapeutic targeting of the core apoptosis pathways. Prof Fennell leads a Cancer Research UK funded group with a laboratory focusing on apoptosis, drug resistance, and signature-based therapeutics using the connectivity map for accelerated, targeted drug discovery. He is currently leading UK and international clinical trials of novel targeted therapies in Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma.

Julian-PetoJulian Peto
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – London, United Kingdom

Julian Peto DSc FMedSci (Cancer Research UK Chair of Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) studied maths at Oxford and statistics at Imperial College, London. He worked as a medical statistician in Edinburgh and London from 1969 until 1974, when he joined Richard Doll’s cancer epidemiology group in Oxford, and was Chairman of the Section of Epidemiology at the Institute of Cancer Research in London from 1983 to 2005. He proposed the dose and latency models for the effects of asbestos on lung cancer and mesothelioma risk that are still the basis for risk assessment and regulation worldwide and showed that the UK occupational limit (then 2 fibre/ml) was dangerously high (Lancet 1(8062):484 1978). He was a co-author of reports on asbestos hazards for many governments and organisations including the UK (Health and Safety Commission 1985), the US Congress (Health Effects Institute 1991) and WHO (IPCS 1998). He was the first to predict the scale of the mesothelioma epidemic (Lancet 345(8949):535 1995), his mesothelioma case-control study showed the extraordinary risk to British carpenters (Br J Cancer 100:1175 2009), and he initiated the MARS (Mesothelioma and Radical Surgery) Trial (Lancet Oncology 12:763 2011). The linear relationship between amphibole lung burden and mesothelioma risk (Occ Envir Med online Dec 29 2015) implies that future risks caused by current occupational and environmental asbestos exposure levels can be predicted from lung burdens in young people. His other current interests include the genetic basis of breast cancer risk and the natural history of HPV in relation to cervical screening. He leads the VIDAL (Vitamin D and Longevity) Trial which began recruitment in 2013.

David-EgilmanDavid Egilman
Brown University – Providence, USA

Dr. David Egilman is married to a great wife Helene and has two children Sam who teaches kindergarten and Alex who is studying worker run economic models. He received his Bachelors of Science in Molecular Biology and as well as his MD from Brown University. He is board certified in internal medicine and preventive-occupational medicine and graduated from the NIH Epidemiology Training program. He received his Masters in Public Health from Harvard. Dr. Egilman currently teaches in the Department of Family Medicine at Brown and does research on the influence of corporations on science and health policy and medical epistemology. Dr. Egilman is also the founder and President of the Board of Directors of Global Health through Education, Training and Service (GHETS), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health in developing countries through innovations in education and service. GHETS wroks with the Network-TUFH which is a global association of individuals, groups, institutions and organizations committed to improving and maintaining health in the communities they have a mandate to serve. GHETS promotes strategies for change that address the health related challenges of poor and underserved communities, and works to overcome health disparities, fragmentation of services and destructive competition by facilitating collaboration between academic institutions, communities, health services, health professionals, policy makers and other sectors of society. In addition to his work with GHETS, Dr. Egilman is a founding member of the 15by2015 campaign, which asks that donor organizations allocate 15% of their vertical funding towards sustainable comprehensive primary health care that is accessible and affordable in all regions of the world. He has served as an expert witness in tort litigation at the request of persons injured by asbestos and at the request of asbestos mining and manufacturing companies. He consulted for T&N in the past. He has also testified at the request of people who have been injured by various pharmaceutical products and medical devices.

YangHaining Yang
University of Hawaii Cancer Center – Honolulu, USA

Haining Yang, MD PhD, is a Tenured Associate Professor at the University of Hawai’i Cancer Center. She has been studying mesothelioma pathogenesis since 2003, and she has discovered some key mechanisms of asbestos-induced carcinogenesis. She found that asbestos induces cell necrosis, causing the release of High Mobility Group Box 1 protein (HMGB1). HMGB1 functions as the “master switch” of asbestos pathogenesis. When HMGB1 is released into the extracellular space, it kick starts a series of inflammatory responses that over time may lead to malignant transformation of mesothelial cells and mesothelioma development. Moreover, mesothelioma cells, which emerge from an HMGB1-rich environment, are “addicted” to HMGB1 and require HMGB1 to grow and invade nearby tissues. Therefore, targeting HMGB1 may be a novel strategy for mesothelioma prevention and therapy. Dr. Yang found that both mesothelioma patients and asbestos-exposed individuals have significantly higher serum HMGB1 levels compared to heavy smokers or healthy people. Moreover, different HMGB1 isoforms were detected in the sera of mesothelioma patients vs. asbestos-exposure individuals. Following that study, Dr. Yang proposed that HMGB1 could serve as a biomarker for asbestos exposure and mesothelioma detection. Besides the studies on HMGB1, Dr. Yang, together with Dr. Michele Carbone, also conduct studies on “BAP1 cancer syndrome”, which is caused by germline BAP1 mutations that predispose individuals to malignant mesothelioma, uveal melanoma, cutaneous melanoma and probably also other cancer types. Dr. Yang’s research is funded by the National Cancer Institute, the V-Foundation and the Department of Defense. The results of her work have been published in high-ranked journals, including PNAS, Clinical Cancer Research, Nature Genetics, Oncogene etc. Dr. Yang received EU Marie Curie Scholarship from the European Commission Marie Curie Actions Program in 2005, and she is one of the recipients of the Landon Award from American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in 2008.

TarpeyPatrick Tarpey
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute – Cambridge, United Kingdom

I am a senior Scientist at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, employing next-generation sequencing to investigate somatically acquired mutation in cancer genomes. We employ whole genome, exome and bespoke gene panels to harvest these variants, and search for known or novel causal mutations and signatures of exposure. I will give insight into progress on screening >80 mesothelioma exomes and the landscape of cancer genes underpinning this disease.

BuenoRaphael Bueno
Brigham and Women’s Hospital – Boston, USA

Raphael Bueno, MD is the Chief of Thoracic Surgery, the co-Director of the Lung Center and the Lung Research Center and the Vice Chair of Surgery for Translational Research at BWH as well as a Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Bueno has focused his clinical practice on the care of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma and his research for the last 15 years on mesothelioma, specifically on 1. Developing prognostic and predictive biomarkers 2. Sequencing and profiling to identify therapeutic targets 3. Clinical trials with new agents.

Plenary Session II: Predicting the Outcome

CoussensLisa Coussens
Oregon Health & Science University – Portland, USA

Dr. Coussens is the Chair of the Department of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology, and Associate Director for Basic Research in the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) and holds the Hildegard Lamfrom Chair in Basic Science. She received her Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from UCLA in 1993, and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Cancer Biology at UCSF in Douglas Hanahans’ laboratory. Dr. Coussens research focus is on elucidating the roles of immune cells and their mediators as critical regulators of solid tumor development. Her lab reported that lymphocytes selectively regulate myeloid cell functions in mouse models of squamous and mammary carcinoma, mesothelioma, and pancreatic adenocarcinoma, and that selective inhibition of key factors regulating either myeloid recruitment or function significantly enhances efficacy of chemo- and radiation therapy, and thereby extend long term survival of tumor-bearing mice. These discoveries are currently being translated into the clinical realm; Dr. Coussens is Lead PI on a KOMEN Promise grant conducting an investigator-initiated multi-center Phase Ib/II clinical trial evaluating a novel macrophage-antagonist in combination with chemotherapy in women with metastatic triple negative breast cancer. More recently, Dr. Coussens was awarded a Stand Up To Cancer – Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Dream Team Translational Research grant focussed on clinical evaluation of immune-based therapies in pancreas cancer. Her contributions to this international team are based on her laboratories identification of B cells and humoral immune-mediated factors regulating T cells and immune suppression in squamous and pancreas cancer. Specifically, her studies are supporting evaluation of a Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor plus chemotherapy in Phase Ib/II clinical trials of pancreatic cancer and Head and Neck cancer patients. Dr. Coussens has received the prestigious Gertrude B. Elion Award from the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), the Mallinckrodt Award for Medical Science, a V Foundation Scholar Award, and two sequential Era of Hope Scholar Awards from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. In 2012, she was the recipient of the AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship, and the 2015 recipient of the 13th Rosalind E. Franklin Award from the National Cancer Institute.

RuschValerie Rusch
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – New York, USA

Valerie W. Rusch, M.D. is Vice Chair of Clinical Research for the Department of Surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where she also holds the Miner Family Chair in Intrathoracic Cancers. She served as Chief of the Thoracic Service from 2000-2013. After completing residencies in general and cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Washington, she was a Faculty Associate at the MD Anderson Cancer Center from 1982-83, and was a faculty member at the University of Washington before moving to MSKCC in 1989. Dr. Rusch’s career has been devoted to thoracic surgical oncology and clinical and translational research. She has been PI for trials performed by NCI-sponsored Cooperative Groups, including LCSG, SWOG, RTOG, and ACOSOG, where she also held co- and vice-chair positions. She has chaired the NCI Cancer Clinical Investigations Review Committee and was a member of the NCI Lung Cancer Concept Evaluation Panel. Dr. Rusch is active with the American Board of Thoracic Surgery (ABTS), the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), and the American College of Surgeons (ACS), where she now serves as Chair of its Board of Regents. She is currently Chair of the Mesothelioma Domain of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) International Staging Committee (ISC). She served as Chair of the Thoracic Committee for the American Joint Commission on Cancer 6th and 7th editions of the Cancer Staging Handbook, and serves as Chair of the Thoracic Expert Panel for the forthcoming 8th edition.

PassHarvey Pass
NYU Langone Medical Center – New York, USA

Dr. Pass is the Stephen E. Banner Professor of Thoracic Oncology, Division Chief of General Thoracic Surgery, and Vice Chair for Research for the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery for the NYU Langone Medical Center. Dr. Pass is a surgeon scientist whose work focuses on the early detection, surgical management, and adjuvant therapy of thoracic malignancies. From 1986-1996, Dr. Pass was Senior Investigator and Chief of the Division of Thoracic Oncology in the Surgery Branch of the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland. He joined NYU Langone Medical Center in October 2005 from Wayne State University in Detroit where he was Professor of Surgery and Chief of Thoracic Oncology for 9 years. Dr. Pass has been continuously funded by the DOD, NCI, and the CDC among others since 1998 for the discovery and validation of blood-based biomarkers including osteopontin, soluble mesothelin related protein, and fibulin3. He has designed and published 9 physician-initiated trials of novel therapies for lung cancer and mesothelioma among his 450 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Pass has published 11 books including 4 editions of Lung Cancer: Principles and Practice, Malignant Mesothelioma: Advances in Pathogenesis, Diagnosis and Translational Therapies, two editions of 100 Questions and Answers about Mesothelioma, and most recently The IASLC Multidisciplinary Approach to Thoracic Oncology. He is Editor of Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and on the Editorial Board of Clinical Lung Cancer, Clinical Cancer Research, Current Treatment Options in Oncology, and Cancer Biomarkers. Dr. Pass has been the recipient of the NIH Directors Award, the Wagner Medallion for contributions to the study of mesothelioma, the Pioneer Award from the Mesothelioma Foundation, the Landon Award for Team Science from the American Association for Cancer Research, and the Merit Award from the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

Plenary Session III: The Knife or the Needle?

FriedbergJoseph Friedberg
University of Maryland – College Park, USA

Dr. Joseph Friedberg is the Charles Reid Edwards Professor of Surgery and Thoracic Surgeon-in-Chief for the University of Maryland Health System. He is also the Director of the University of Maryland School of Medicine Mesothelioma and Thoracic Oncology Center. Dr. Friedberg recently came to Maryland after many years at the University of Pennsylvania where he founded, and was Director of, the Penn Mesothelioma and Pleural Program. Dr. Friedberg did his undergraduate studies in bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania College of Engineering and Applied Science and received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He completed his general surgery training at the Massachusetts General Hospital and his cardiothoracic training at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Friedberg’s primary clinical interest is the treatment of mesothelioma and other pleural malignancies. He has multiple patents, publications and has lectured nationally and internationally.

van-MeerbeeckJan P van Meerbeeck
University Hospital Antwerp – Antwerp, Belgium

As of March 1, 2013 Professor van Meerbeeck is appointed as director of the Thoracic Oncology Program in the Multidisciplinary Oncological Center of Antwerp University Hospital (MOCA). After obtaining his medical degree magna cum laude from the University of Antwerp in 1980, he completed training to become a board certified specialist in internal medicine and pulmonology. He is a skilled interventional pulmonologist and obtained his PhD in 1997 with a dissertation on the presentation of lung cancer in Flanders, Belgium. He is professor of Thoracic Oncology at both Ghent and Antwerp University and practiced as thoracic oncologist from 1986-1996 at Antwerp University Hospital, Belgium and from 1996-2003 at Erasmus MC-Daniel den Hoed Kliniek, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. From 2003 to 2013 he was Chair of the Thoracic Oncology Program at Ghent University Hospital, where he became also Divisional Head and CMO. His translational scientific interests include the molecular diagnosis of mesothelioma and lung cancer and the evaluation of biomarkers of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma. He is or has been the study coordinator or Principal Investigator for numerous international phase II and III studies in thoracic oncology and respiratory medicine. He is promoter of several master thesis and PhD students, of which 5 successfully obtained their PhD. Professor van Meerbeeck has served the Lung Cancer Group of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) as secretary, chairman and currently as board member. He is a full member of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), currently as part of its Staging and Ethical Committees and previously as a member of its Scientific Advisory Committee. He is external expert at the Belgian Knowledge Center KCE, where he coordinates the working party on the organization of care of mesothelioma. Professor van Meerbeeck has an extensive presentation and publication track, with more than 200 peer-reviewed articles in oncology and pulmonology journals and textbooks. He also serves on the review and editorial boards of several international journals, and has organized several national and international meetings.

OpitzIsabelle Opitz
University Hospital Zurich – Zurich, Switzerland

Professor Isabelle Opitz is an academic thoracic surgeon and a staff member at the Division of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. She holds the prestigious Professorship of the Swiss National Science foundation for research with the focus on malignant pleural mesothelioma. She was awarded with several national and international prizes and has acquired more than 4 million Euro grant for her own research. She is an author of over 40 original publications, multiple reviews and book chapters. Beside her general thoracic surgery activity, other interests are lung transplantation and pulmonary endarterectomy for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. She is a member of numerous societies and is currently a councilor of the European Society of Thoracic Surgery where she has a leading function in the Learning Affairs Committee. Furthermore she is member of the editorial board of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

RiceDavid C. Rice
MD Anderson Cancer Center – Houston, USA

Dr. Rice was born in Dublin, Ireland. He received his medical degree (M.B., B.Ch.) from the School of Medicine, Trinity College, the University of Dublin in 1991. He left Ireland in 1992 and completed general surgery residency training at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN in 1999, subsequently completing his residency in Thoracic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX in 2001. Following residency Dr. Rice joined the faculty of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in 2001 where he is currently Professor in Surgery. Since joining MD Anderson, Dr. Rice has actively pursued his goal of applying minimally invasive surgery to thoracic malignancies. Early on in his tenure he was instrumental in advancing thoracoscopic resection of lung and esophageal cancers within the department, and more recently established the robotic thoracic surgery program. Dr. Rice is also a surgical leader in diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures, and has helped establish the use of endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) among surgeons in the United States. He currently leads the enhanced recovery program in thoracic surgery. Dr. Rice is also acknowledged for his work in the field of mesothelioma. His research in intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) has been influential in making this a preferred modality for adjuvant radiation in this disease. He has published extensively on staging and surgical management of mesothelioma and is currently actively involved in the IASLC mesothelioma staging project.

FloresRaja Flores
Mount Sinai Health System – New York, USA

Dr. Flores is a prominent surgeon in the treatment of mesothelioma, lung cancer, esophageal cancer and non-malignant thoracic diseases. He is the Chairman of the Department of Thoracic Surgery, Ames Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Mount Sinai Health System, Icahn School of Medicine. Previously he was an Attending Surgeon at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He is known for his technical skill as well as studies comparing outcomes of traditional surgeries with newer, less invasive surgeries. He published a sentinel study that changed the surgical management of pleural mesothelioma cancer with a landmark study comparing extrapleural pneumonectomy and pleurectomy/decortication. He has established VATS lobectomy, a minimally invasive approach using three small incisions, as the gold standard in the surgical treatment of lung cancer. He also published two sentinel studies validating its oncological effectiveness by demonstrating equivalent survival and recurrence rates with fewer complications and shorter hospital stays when compared to standard thoracotomy. After earning an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from New York University, Dr. Flores attended the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, receiving his Medical Degree in 1992. He then spent five years at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center pursuing his General Surgery Internship and General Surgery Residency. He then completed a Thoracic Oncology Clinical Research Fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Dana Farber Cancer Institute/CALGB in Boston, and his Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He also received a Masters in Biostatistics from Columbia University.

SzlosarekPeter Szlosarek
Barts Cancer Institute & St. Bartholomew’s Hospital- London, United Kingdom

Dr Peter Szlosarek is a Clinical Senior Lecturer at the Barts Cancer Institute, and Consultant in Medical Oncology at Barts Health. He studied Medicine and Pharmacology at King’s College, London (1994) and trained in Internal Medicine (1995-1997), specializing in Medical Oncology (1997-2007) in London. He completed a PhD in translational cancer biology at Queen Mary University of London (2000-2004). He was appointed as NHS Consultant in Medical Oncology in thoracic cancers and melanoma in South Essex and Barts Health (2007) and was awarded a prestigious Cancer Research UK Clinician Scientist Fellowship (2008-2012) leading to his current laboratory and clinical research programme in cancer metabolism. He is a Clinical Lead for Thoracic Cancers for London Cancer/North Thames CRN and Skin Cancer/Melanoma Lead for Barts Health. He is a chief and principal investigator of clinical trials of novel anticancer drugs, focused especially on targeted agents in arginine metabolism. In particular, he led the CTAAC-funded multi-centre ADAM trial, which was the first biomarker-driven trial of arginine deprivation to show an improved progression-free survival in patients with mesothelioma leading to the current TRAP programme in mesothelioma and related arginine-dependent cancers. Dr Szlosarek is also involved in undergraduate and postgraduate education and research with publications in Cancer Research, Journal of Clinical Oncology, PNAS and Lancet Oncology. He is invited regularly to present at national and international meetings on thoracic cancers, melanoma and translational research and is Chair of the NCRI Mesothelioma Subgroup, and a member of the Royal College of Physicians, Association of Cancer Physicians, EORTC, AACR and ASCO. His interests outside medicine and science, include spending time with his family, cycling, volleyball, mountain climbing, and fungi forays.

StahelRolf Stahel
University Hospital Zurich- Zurich, Switzerland

Rolf A. Stahel, M.D. is head of the Center for Lung and Thoracic Oncology and Senior Staff Physician at the Clinic of Oncology, University Hospital of Zürich as well as Titular Professor of Medicine at the University of Zürich, Switzerland. He is certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology by both the American and Swiss Board. His major interest is thoracic oncology, including multidisciplinary treatment approaches, translational research and targeted therapy. He was a founding member and the first president of the Swiss Society for Medical Oncology. He served as president of the Swiss Institute for Applied Cancer Research from 1999 to 2005. He is member of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), where he served as chair of the fellowship committee and from 2009 to 2012 was a member of the board of directors. In the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) he served as National Representative from 1998 to 2004 and chaired ESMO Task Force on Guidelines from 1999 to 2005. Since 2003 he is member of the ESMO board of directors and member of the ESMO Executive Committee. From 2006 to 2011 he was the chair of the ESMO Educational Committee, and from 2012 to 2013 he was president-elect of ESMO. Currently he is president of ESMO (2014/2015). Since 2008 he is president of the foundation council of the International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG). Since 2009 he is president of the European Thoracic Oncology Platform (ETOP), a foundation with the aim to bring together European collaborative groups and institutions focusing on research on thoracic malignancies. He is editor in-chief of Lung Cancer and editor of Cancer Treatment Reviews.

ScherpereelArnaud Scherpereel
Hospital of the University of Lille – Lille, France

Arnaud Scherpereel is Professor of Respiratory Medicine. He is the Head of the Pulmonary and Thoracic Oncology Department in the Hospital of the University (CHU) of Lille, France. He graduated in Medicine from the University of Lille in 1999, and got his PhD (Immunology) in 2002. Then he got further training in Medical Oncology, and in Palliative Care. He is the assistant of the Dean of the Medical School of Lille for 5 years. Pr Scherpereel is Research Senior in the INSERM U1019 research lab of the Pasteur Institute of Lille for more than 10 years. He is the past elected head of the pleural malignancies group and the Secretary of the Thoracic Oncology Assembly of the European Respiratory Society (ERS). He belongs to the Scientific Boards of the French Intergroup of Thoracic Oncology (IFCT), the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (IMIG) and the European Lung Cancer Working Party (ELCWP). He is also a member of IASLC since 2006. He coordinates the French National network of expert centers for the management of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM), called “Mesoclin”, he created 3 years ago. He has been the Principal Investigator in many academic and pharmaceutical companies clinical trials in Thoracic Oncology since 2003. He was the chair of the 2009 European Taskforce that proposed guidelines for the management of MPM, and he is currently chairing the new European Taskforce to update these guidelines. Pr Scherpereel is (co)author of more than 100 original publications in peer-reviewed journals, a majority in leading internationally-known publications, and 9 book chapters. He has presented more than 70 communications in international meetings and be co-author of 80 others.

Plenary Session IV: From Genetics to Therapy

McDermottUltan McDermott
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute – Cambridge, United Kingdom

Ultan McDermott is a clinician scientist with an interest in cancer genomes and how they impact on drug response in the clinic. He is a Group Leader at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute as well as a practicing Oncologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge ( His research focuses on understanding how genetic variation in cancer affects drug response, both sensitivity and resistance. He has a particular interest in the use of high-throughput cancer cell line drug screens to provide answers to these questions, and more recently the use of genome-wide mutagenesis screens to systematically model drug resistance in cancer. He trained as a medical oncologist and obtained a PhD in cancer biology at Queen’s University, Belfast. He was accepted for a post-doctoral research position at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in 2005, where he established a high-throughput cancer cell line drug screen to identify genomic alterations that could be used in the clinic to stratify patients for treatment. He joined the Sanger Institute in 2009 as a clinical research fellow and was appointed to the Faculty in 2010 with the award of a Cancer Research UK fellowship. He was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 2011.

LaFaveLindsay LaFave
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – New York, USA

Dr. Lindsay M. LaFave is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY, USA. Dr. LaFave earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, USA. She completed her Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School at Memorial Sloan Kettering, conducting research in the laboratory of Dr. Ross Levine. Dr. LaFave’s research examines the mechanisms by which deregulated epigenetic modifiers cause disease transformation in hematopoietic malignancies and solid tumors. She has expertise in the development of novel genetic murine models and in epigenetic biology. Her current work aims to develop novel preclinical models that can be utilized for investigating epigenetic targets that may be therapeutically tractable in malignant mesothelioma. She has previously published several important manuscripts on mechanisms of epigenetic transformation, including a recent study that detailed the dependency of BAP1-mutant mesothelioma on EZH2. She continues to investigate the utility of EZH2 inhibition for treatment of malignant mesothelioma.

KnuutilaSakari Knuutila
Haartman Institute – Helsinki, Finland

Prof. Sakari Knuutila is the leader of the Laboratory of Cytomolecular Genetics (CMG) group. The polestar in the research by CMG group is to mine clinically relevant cancer biomarkers by various microarray techniques and next generation sequencing, and adapt the markers found for targeted patient diagnostics and personalized treatment. Characteristic of CMG group: • Systems biology research approaches: from base pairs to chromosomes, from chromatin structure to gene function and gene regulation, from stem cells to differentiated ones, from individual to population and from environmental exposures to diseases • International research and diagnostics: ongoing EU projects: The European LeukemiaNet, the EuroBoNeT, the EuGESMA COST Action • Multidisciplinary research: oncology, pathology, microbiology, cytogenetics, molecular genetics, bioinformatics, data base information • R&D • Translational research • Research and diagnostics training: post doctoral, doctoral, undergraduate students • Researcher and student exchanges • Equality in ethnic groups and sexual subgroups • Support of research career of young researchers • No age discrimination What does CMG group offer to you? • Research collaboration • Facilities for research visits • Consultation of cancer cytogenetics and molecular genetics.

Plenary Session V: What is in the Locker Now?

RimnerAndreas Rimner
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, USA

Andreas Rimner, M.D., is an assistant attending in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), New York. He earned his medical degree at the Eberhard Karls University of Tuebingen, Germany. In 2003, he did a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory for radiation biology of Dr. Zvi Fuks, after which he went on to complete his residency and chief residency in radiation oncology at MSKCC. In 2010, Dr. Rimner joined the faculty as the primary thoracic radiation oncologist in the Department of Radiation Oncology at MSKCC. Given his interest in rare malignancies of the thorax, including malignant pleural mesothelioma, he has been an active expert member of the MSKCC mesothelioma group and has recently completed a phase II study on the role of hemithoracic pleural IMRT. He has authored multiple peer-reviewed original articles and reviews about the role of radiation therapy in this rare disease and is currently the Principal Investigator of a prospective phase II trial to investigate the safety of hemithoracic pleural IMRT after lung-sparing surgery in a multi-center setting.

ScherpereelArnaud Scherpereel
Hospital of the University of Lille – Lille, France

Arnaud Scherpereel is Professor of Respiratory Medicine. He is the Head of the Pulmonary and Thoracic Oncology Department in the Hospital of the University (CHU) of Lille, France. He graduated in Medicine from the University of Lille in 1999, and got his PhD (Immunology) in 2002. Then he got further training in Medical Oncology, and in Palliative Care. He is the assistant of the Dean of the Medical School of Lille for 5 years. Pr Scherpereel is Research Senior in the INSERM U1019 research lab of the Pasteur Institute of Lille for more than 10 years. He is the past elected head of the pleural malignancies group and the Secretary of the Thoracic Oncology Assembly of the European Respiratory Society (ERS). He belongs to the Scientific Boards of the French Intergroup of Thoracic Oncology (IFCT), the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (IMIG) and the European Lung Cancer Working Party (ELCWP). He is also a member of IASLC since 2006. He coordinates the French National network of expert centers for the management of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM), called “Mesoclin”, he created 3 years ago. He has been the Principal Investigator in many academic and pharmaceutical companies clinical trials in Thoracic Oncology since 2003. He was the chair of the 2009 European Taskforce that proposed guidelines for the management of MPM, and he is currently chairing the new European Taskforce to update these guidelines. Pr Scherpereel is (co)author of more than 100 original publications in peer-reviewed journals, a majority in leading internationally-known publications, and 9 book chapters. He has presented more than 70 communications in international meetings and be co-author of 80 others.

iMig2016_teamNick Maskell
University of Bristol – Bristol, United Kingdom


Plenary Session VI: The “Immune War” on Mesothelioma

HassanRaffit Hassan
National Cancer Institute – Bethesda, USA

Dr. Raffit Hassan is a Senior Investigator and Co-Chief of the Thoracic and GI Oncology Branch at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Hassan’s research interest is focused on developing mesothelin-targeted immunotherapy for cancer. Work done by his laboratory as well as his collaborator Dr. Ira Pastan over last two decades has validated mesothelin as an attractive tumor antigen for cancer therapy. Since treating the first patient with an anti-mesothelin agent in 2001, Dr. Hassan has played a key role in bringing mesothelin directed therapies to the clinic. These include an anti-mesothelin immunotoxin (SS1P), a chimeric monoclonal antibody to mesothelin (amatuximab), an anti-mesothelin antibody drug conjugate (anetumab ravtansine) and a mesothelin vaccine (CRS-207). More recently, Dr. Hassan has shown that mesothelin is highly expressed in lung adenocarcinoma and is strongly associated with mutant KRAS and wild-type EGFR status and is an attractive target for lung cancer immunotherapy. Dr. Hassan is a recipient of several national and international awards for his work on mesothelin including the ASCO Career Development Award, the NIH Patient Oriented Research Career Development Award, and the Pioneer Award from the Mesothelioma Foundation and in 2014 received the Wagner Medal from the International Mesothelioma Interest Group.

Joachim Aerts
Erasmus MC Cancer Institute – Rotterdam, Netherlands

Prof Joachim Aerts is professor of pulmonary oncology at the Erasmus MC Rotterdam and Amphia Breda the Netherlands. His areas of clinical and scientific interest are lungcancer and mesothelioma, with emphasis on translational research, mainly on onco-immunology. He has also supervised a number of multicentre clinical trials. Prof Aerts is member of numerous scientific societies including the IASLC,ASCO, AACR, . ATS and ERS. He is a member of the education committee of ATS and IASLC. Prof Aerts has published over 100 peer reviewed papers and has participated in major national and international conferences. Prof Aerts serves as reviewer for a number of high impact oncology journals.

RobinsonBruce Robinson
University of Western Australia – Perth, Australia

Professor Bruce Robinson AM is a respiratory physician at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, Western Australia, and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Western Australia. He is the Director of Australia’s National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases, a National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funded Centre for Excellence, acknowledged as a world leader in asbestos research. Professor Robinson’s team published the world’s first blood test for diagnosis, monitoring and early detection of mesothelioma, has initiated many other world-first therapies and made major discoveries about how the body’s immune system fights cancer. In 2008 he was invited to speak to the UK House of Parliament about asbestos disease research. Professor Robinson’s numerous awards include the Wagner Medal, the Western Australian Premier’s Science Award, and The University of Western Australia’s prestigious Eric G Saint Award for his research work into mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases and his significant achievements and leadership in science. In 2010 the Australian Medical Association (WA) honoured Professor Robinson for his outstanding contribution to medicine and humanity, while in 2011 he won The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for establishing the International Skills and Training Institute in Health (ISTIH). In 2013, Robinson was made a Member of the Order of Australia, and named West Australian of the Year. In 2014 he was the WA Australian of the Year, and received the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) 75th Anniversary Award. Professor Robinson has published two medical books, contributed to nearly 40 book chapters and more than 180 peer-reviewed papers on asbestos cancer research. He has written articles in journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet and Nature Reviews.

iMig2016_teamHedy Lee Kindler
University of Chicago – Chicago, USA


NowakAnna Nowak
University of Western Australia and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital – Perth, Australia

Professor Anna Nowak is an academic Medical Oncologist at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and the University of Western Australia, and a Chief Investigator and Clinical Trials Lead in the Australian National Research Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases (NCARD). She has participated actively in mesothelioma research over the past 15 years. Her clinical research on unidimensional measurement of response in mesothelioma was first presented at ASCO in 1999, and culminated in the development of the Modified RECIST Criteria for tumour response which have been widely accepted for use in clinical trials in this disease. She has subsequently extended this interest, investigating the use of CT and PET imaging and novel tracers in mesothelioma. She is a member of the IASLC staging committee, mesothelioma domain, and is currently actively involved in the staging criteria revision. Dr Nowak has been active in pre-clinical research in this disease, with her laboratory work in mesothelioma including a PhD thesis on combination chemo-immunotherapy in a murine model, and she continues involvement in a preclinical program, including collaborations with laboratory investigators in both murine models and human tumour immunology. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical trials research. She has an active investigator-initiated and cooperative group clinical trials program and is principal investigator for a number of single-centre and multicentre Australian phase Ib and II clinical trials in mesothelioma using chemotherapy, targeted agents, and chemo-immunotherapy. She sees the majority of patients diagnosed with mesothelioma in Western Australia from a systemic therapy perspective.