Stephen D. Nimer, M.D.

Sylvester Study Finds Potential New Approach to Treating Leukemia


A Miller School research study has found a potential new approach to halting the growth of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), a deadly blood-borne cancer in adults and children. “We found that blocking an enzyme called PRMT4 caused leukemia cells to die,” said Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Director of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Ramiro E. Verdun, Ph.D.

Study Identifies DNA Repair Mechanism that Could Lead to Tumor-Targeted Treatment Strategies


In a study led by Ramiro E. Verdun, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, researchers have uncovered a mechanism to repair different types of DNA double-strand breaks, highly toxic lesions that, if left unrepaired, can produce a permanent arrest of cell division or cell death. These findings open the door to establishing new tumor-targeted treatment strategies.

UM Trustee Stuart Miller, left, and Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., cross the finish line at the 2013 Dolphins Cycling Challenge.

DCC IV Draws Thousands of Cyclists in Support of Sylvester


Each cyclist rode for a different reason -- one to remember a brother who succumbed to prostate cancer, another for a spouse who’s been fighting breast cancer for years. But all of the 2,500-plus riders who participated in this year’s Dolphins Cycling Challenge (DCC), shared a common goal: raising funds for the lifesaving treatments and research programs at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

More than 100 University of Miami students and employees participated in the DCC Spin-a-Thon, taking turns on 37 stationary bikes that were temporarily relocated in the spacious atrium of UM’s Herbert Wellness Center.

Spinning for a Cure: DCC Spin-a-Thon Raises Funds for Cancer Research


Celia Schieffelin was one of more than 100 students and employees who donned workout clothes and sneakers last Wednesday to pedal, pant, and perspire at the Dolphins Cycling Challenge Spin-a-Thon, which is geared to raise funds for the lifesaving treatment and research programs at UM’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Keiko Konno, M.S., Glen N. Barber, Ph.D., and Hiroyasu Konno, Ph.D.

Researchers Identify Mechanism to Control Immune Signaling


A new Miller School study has identified a cellular pathway used to deactivate innate immune system signaling – a key discovery that could potentially lead to the development of novel vaccines or clinical treatments for chronic inflammatory diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Jerry W. Winters, CPA, left, and William “Bill” L. Devoney Jr., CPA, M.B.A.

Healthcare Veterans Named to Two New Miller School/UHealth CFO Positions


Two veteran Chief Financial Officers have joined the Miller School-UHealth team, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise in healthcare finance to the University of Miami Medical Group and the Hospital Division at a critical time, the new era of healthcare ushered in by the Affordable Care Act.

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

FAMRI Awards Grant to Support Breast Cancer Research at Sylvester


As the nation marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center has been awarded a grant by the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute, Inc. (FAMRI), to further its breast cancer research efforts. The grant of $150,000 is to support and encourage novel, early stage research into breast cancer, a disease associated with exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.

Bradley Matthews with his son Jeremy on Miami Beach.

Faculty and Staff Help Support the U: A Father's Gratitude


Many of the University of Miami’s faculty and staff members give generously to the U. This week we profile Bradley Matthews, a sales account executive in UM’s Department of Athletics, who is grateful for the care his young son has received at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute for a rare form of eye cancer.

Steven E. Lipshultz, M.D., James Wilkinson, M.D., M.P.H., and Tracie L. Miller, M.D.

With Major Statement by the American Heart Association, Pediatric Cardio-oncology Comes of Age


Led by the Miller School’s Steven E. Lipshultz, M.D., the American Heart Association has issued a major and unprecedented scientific statement on the life-threatening or quality-of-life reducing cardiovascular problems that the growing number of childhood cancer survivors are destined to face decades after their initial treatment. It was published online in advance of print in Circulation, the official journal of the AHA.

Amy Ferguson with her father, Jack, at Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

Faculty and Staff Help Support the U: A Daughter’s Story


Many of the University of Miami’s faculty and staff members give generously to the U. Starting with today’s issue of e-Update, we will profile some of the dynamic employee donors whose gifts to the institution help support a variety of University-related initiatives. This week we profile Amy Ferguson, Director of Major Gifts at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H., second from left, is surrounded by Col. Brodes H. Hartley Jr., President and CEO of Community Health Centers of South Florida, Jessie Trice’s daughter Valencia Batiste, Shelia McCann, Grants and Program Manager for Health Choice Network, and Kevin Kearns, President and CEO of Health Choice Network.

Community Health Leader Receives Prestigious Jessie Trice Hero Award


Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor of public health sciences and Director of the Jay Weiss Institute for Health Equity at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, is the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Jessie Trice Hero Award for her unwavering commitment to improving the lives of underserved and minority populations.

The UM/Jackson team helping Peru includes, from left, Silvia Willumsen, RN, BSN, Maria Cabello, RN, Julio C. Barredo, M.D., Martin Andreansky, M.D., Krishna Komanduri, M.D., Cara Benjamin, Ph.D., and Alexandra Amador, MT, CHS.

Sylvester/Jackson Team Launches Peru’s Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Unit


Extending Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s outreach to Peru, a University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospital team led by Julio C. Barredo, M.D., Director of Children’s Cancer Programs at Sylvester and the Toppel Family Chair in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, recently conducted the initial training workshop for specialists who will operate Peru’s first comprehensive pediatric bone marrow transplant referral center.

Participants in the Drive for Life benefit  can drive or ride in cars like this Lamborghini to support interventional oncology research.

Drive for Life to Support Cancer Research at Sylvester


The Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and UM Division of Interventional Oncology have teamed up to host an unforgettable event, “Drive for Life,” from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 12, and Sunday, October 13, at Palm Beach International Raceway, 17133 Bee Line Highway, in Jupiter.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz welcomes the crowd at the opening of Sylvester at its new Plantation location.

Congresswoman Celebrates Opening of Sylvester at Plantation


Joining Broward County officials and University of Miami leadership, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) last week celebrated the opening of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at its new Plantation location. UM President Donna E. Shalala noted that Sylvester at Plantation also will give Broward patients convenient access to the Miller School of Medicine's more than 100 current clinical trials.

Antonio C. Bianco, M.D., Ph.D.

First Guidelines for Standardizing Thyroid Studies Issued


Over the decades, thousands of basic science studies on the thyroid gland and thyroid hormone have been published, but they lacking a standard design, making it difficult to compare and apply their results to improving the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid diseases. The Miller School’s Antonio C. Bianco led the international task force charged with resolving that problem.

Have a Bite and Help Fight Cancer


Support the Dolphins Cycling Challenge and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center with your next catering order from Corporate Caterers. Now through October 31, the company will donate 10 percent of University catering orders to the DCC, benefiting Sylvester and its cancer research efforts.

Francisco Vega, M.D., Ph.D.

Lymphoma Expert Joins the Department of Pathology to Diagnose and Research Blood Cancers


Francisco Vega, M.D., Ph.D., an expert in the diagnosis and investigation of cancers arising from the blood and lymphatic system, has been appointed director of hematopathology in the Department of Pathology. Formerly head of the Lymphoma Section at MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Department of Hematopathology, Vega officially joined the Miller School and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center September 1.

Ricardo Komotar, M.D.

Miller School Offers Brain Cancer Vaccine to Recurrent Cases


A revolutionary brain cancer vaccine clinical trial once limited to patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme is now offered to UHealth patients with a recurrent brain tumor. As in the original study, the patient’s own tumor cells are used to develop the vaccine that is designed to target the immune system, offering hope to those with the most common and aggressive form of brain tumor.

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Sylvester Recognized for Outstanding Cancer Care


The Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine was given a perfect score from the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI) Certification Program of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). This program awards a three-year certification for outpatient hematology-oncology practices that meet their highest standards for quality cancer care.

Priyamvada Rai, Ph.D.

Young Researcher Awarded $1.5 Million NIH Grant to Study Novel Gene Associated with Lung Cancer


Hoping to uncover critical mechanisms needed to develop effective chemotherapeutic approaches for an aggressive form of lung cancer, Priyamvada Rai, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, will study a novel gene associated with non-small cell lung carcinoma with a $1.5 million, five-year grant she received from the NIH’s National Cancer Institute.

Ninel Z. Gregori, M.D., right, receives the Outstanding Young Ophthalmologist Leadership Award from Charles B. Slonim, M.D., President of the Florida Society of Ophthalmology.

Bascom Palmer Physicians Recognized for Excellence by Esteemed Florida Society


Two Bascom Palmer Eye Institute physicians were honored at the Florida Society of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting this past weekend, with Ninel Z. Gregori, M.D., associate professor of clinical ophthalmology, receiving the Michael R. Redmond, M.D., Outstanding Young Ophthalmologist Leadership Award, and J. William Harbour, M.D., professor of ophthalmology, receiving the Shaler Richardson, M.D., Service to Medicine Award.

Stephen D. Nimer, M.D.

New Strategy for Treating Leukemia Reported in Nature


A groundbreaking laboratory study indicates that blocking the formation of a cancer-causing protein complex in blood cells could treat a deadly type of leukemia in children and adults. "By shedding new light on the protein-to-protein interactions that lead to acute myeloid leukemia (AML), our study points to a potential therapeutic strategy," said Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Director of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Krishna V. Komanduri, M.D.

Research Uncovers Approach That May Decrease Complications of Stem Cell Transplants for Cancer


The preferred treatment of many high-risk or relapsed hematologic malignancies remains an allogeneic stem cell transplant. However, patients and physicians often face graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a frequent and life-threatening complication. Miller School and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have developed a method to decrease GVHD, while maintaining the benefits of T-cell virus-specific immunity.

Nominate a March of Dimes Nurse of the Year


The UHealth nursing staff at the Miller School is one of the most vital components of our healthcare team. The March of Dimes, a longtime supporter of the nursing profession, is asking for nominations of distinguished nurses in Miami-Dade or Monroe counties who deserve to be recognized as Nurse of the Year. Please take a moment to nominate a nurse or nursing student who has impacted lives by providing exceptional patient care.

State Senator Anitere Flores, center, accepts an award from Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., left, and Stephen D. Nimer, M.D.

Sylvester Leadership Presents Award to State Senator Anitere Flores


The quarterly Sylvester Board of Governors meeting held Wednesday, June 5, featured a special guest, State Senator Anitere Flores. The lawmaker was recognized for her critical leadership and support during the recent legislative session in Tallahassee, where $10.3 million in appropriations in the state budget was allocated to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Ronald Desrosiers, Ph.D.

Harvard Virologist Joins UM’s Fight Against HIV/AIDS and Cancer


Ronald Desrosiers, Ph.D., a virologist whose seminal discoveries at Harvard Medical School fueled scientific hopes of developing a vaccine for HIV/AIDS, has joined the Miller School’s Department of Pathology, where he will serve as Director of Research Faculty Development and continue his basic science research into viruses that cause AIDS and cancer.

Pasquale Benedetto, M.D., third from left, received a custom-made dollhouse from artist Arlene Santangelo, in gratitude for the care he provided her husband, Pat, far right. At the presentation were Joseph Rosenblatt, M.D., professor of medicine and chief of hematology/oncology at Sylvester, far left, and Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, second from right.

Dollhouse and Mayoral Proclamation Honor Sylvester Physician


Longtime South Floridian Pat Santangelo is accustomed to speaking in front of crowds, as spokesman for many years with the Florida Highway Patrol and now in Public Affairs for Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado. On Tuesday, May 21, he enlisted the help of his boss and used another method to say thank you to Pasquale Benedetto, M.D., the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center physician who helped him beat a rare cancer.

From left, Bal Lokeshwar, Ph.D., Shamaladevi Nagarajarao, Ph.D., and Lei Zhang turn allspice berries into a water extract with this high-pressure liquid chromotography machine.

Researchers Discover Prostate Cancer-Fighting Compound in Jamaican Allspice


Essential to jerk seasoning, allspice is known for flavoring Jamaican and other cuisines around the world with a blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper but, according to a new study by Miller School researchers, the aromatic spice could be known one day for impeding the growth of, or maybe even preventing, prostate cancer, the No. 2 cancer-killer of men in the U.S.

From left are Stan Scheff, Chief Financial Officer of the Pap, JoAnne Goldberg, Pap Corps President, Jayne Sylvester Malfitano, Vice Chair of the Sylvester Board of Governors, Bill Kingston, Executive Director of Sylvester Development, Joan Scheiner, Chair of the Sylvester Board of Governors, and Chief Medical Officer W. Jarrard Goodwin, M.D.

Pap Corps Annual Gift Reaches $3.6 Million


Motivated by its more than 21,000 volunteers, The Pap Corps: Champions for Cancer Research presented its annual gift – this time a check for $3.6 million – to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Miller School of Medicine. Presented at The Pap Corps May 9 President’s Meeting at the Boca West Country Club in Boca Raton, the check is part of the group’s $25 million commitment to Momentum2.

From left are Charnesha Byrdo, guest of patient Javaris Cox, Kenzy Dargrand and his sister, patient Kayla Dargrand, patient Zoila Garcia, patient Yarixa Montoya, her guest Caridad Jones, patient Kevin Aguilar, his sister Adriana Aguilar, and patient Eric Quinn.

alex’s place Patients Experience a Prom to Remember


Decked out in party dresses and tuxedos, nine patients from alex’s place, the pediatric oncology clinic, arrived at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center with fun on their minds on Friday, May 10. They gathered there for a limo ride to the Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale, to experience “A Prom to Remember.”

With Commissioner Javier Souto at his side, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez reads the county proclamation honoring UHealth nurses.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez Honors UHealth Nurses with a Proclamation


The celebration of National Nurses Week at UHealth’s three hospitals reached a crescendo May 10, when Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez presented a proclamation with Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto to “honor the folks that really make hospitals run." Drawing laughter at the festive ceremony at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Gimenez said, “I know doctors think they do, but we really know the truth."

Dipen J. Parekh, M.D., moderates a panel on nephron-sparing surgery at the annual meeting.

Dipen J. Parekh, M.D., Receives Urology's Prestigious Gold Cystoscope Award


Dipen J. Parekh, M.D., professor and Chair of Urology and the Dr. Victor Politano Endowed Chair in Clinical Urology, is the 2013 recipient of the American Urological Association’s prestigious Gold Cystoscope Award. Presented at the association’s annual meeting in San Diego May 8, the award recognizes urologists who have made outstanding contributions to the profession within 13 years of completing their residency training.

Stephen D. Nimer, M.D.

Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Inducted into Association of American Physicians


For the sixth year in a row, a University of Miami Miller School of Medicine faculty member has been inducted into the prestigious Association of American Physicians, whose members include Nobel laureates and world-renowned researchers and clinicians. This year’s Miller School honoree is Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Director of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and a visionary physician and scientist.

Andre Dawson, Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer, talks about his recent surgery while his doctor Dipen J. Parekh, M.D., center, and Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., listen.

Urology Chair Dipen Parekh, M.D., Treats Baseball Hall-of-Famer with Robotic Surgery


Long known for his courage on the baseball field, Andre Dawson recently faced an even bigger personal challenge. "When I found out I had prostate cancer, I was scared to death," said Dawson, 58, who was elected to the Hall of Fame after a stellar 21-year career. "But I tackled my cancer head on, and did what was necessary to get better. Now, I hope that sharing my story can save others' lives."

Jennifer J. Hu, Ph.D., left, and Evadnie Rampersaud, Ph.D.

Researchers Identify “Obesity Genes” Among People of African Ancestry


An international team of researchers, including three from the Miller School, has discovered new regions of the human genome that influence obesity in people of African ancestry, as well as others. Contributing to the study from the Miller School were Jennifer J. Hu, Ph.D., Evadnie Rampersaud, Ph.D., and Jorge L. Rodriguez Gil, B.S.

Performing in the UMH lobby are, from left, Esneider Valencia, Frank Capoferri, Lewis Jones and Joe D'Aleo.

Jazz Duo Performs Wednesday at Sylvester for “The Musicians Will See You Now” Concert Series


UHealth will present the second in a series of musical performances by students from the Frost School of Music on Wednesday, April 24, at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Freshman guitarist Jonah Udall from Rochester, New York, and upright bassist Daniel Montgomery, a sophomore from Berkeley, California, will perform in the Sylvester courtyard from 12:30 to 1 p.m., relocating to the second-floor lobby from 1 to 1:30 p.m.

Ricardo Komotar, M.D., demonstrates the laser device he used on patient Thomas Jambeck, center, as Anthony Addesa, M.D., looks on.

UM Neurosurgeon Uses Innovative Laser Technique to Eradicate Brain Tumor


When Thomas Jambeck was diagnosed with brain tumors caused by metastatic melanoma in 2011, the 64-year-old West Palm Beach resident underwent radiation and two surgeries. One tumor responded, but the second doubled in size. That’s when his physicians sent him to the Miller School for what would be a life-changing procedure.

Jennifer J. Hu, Ph.D.

UM Researchers Help Pinpoint Genetic Variants that Increase Risk for ER-Negative Breast Cancer


Two Miller School researchers are part of an international consortium that identified four genetic “spelling mistakes” that can increase the risk of one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer all too common in South Florida. The findings are reported in one of five studies produced by the Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study and published in a special issue of Nature Genetics.

James E. Hoffman, M.D.

Sylvester Welcomes James E. Hoffman, M.D., to Team of Cancer Specialists


James E. Hoffman, M.D., a specialist in plasma cell diseases, including multiple myeloma and amyloidosis, has joined the Miller School faculty and will provide multidisciplinary cancer specialty care at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Sylvester at Deerfield Beach.

From left are Rep. Erik Fresen, Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Governor Rick Scott, Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and UM President Donna E. Shalala

Gov. Rick Scott Visits Sylvester Cancer Center


Florida Governor Rick Scott took a whirlwind tour of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center while in Miami last week, stopping to shake hands with many surprised patients and employees before meeting with center Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., UM President Donna E. Shalala and Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., to stress his commitment to improving cancer care in the state.

Dedicating the new division are, from left, James Grichnik, M.D., Ph.D., Linda and David Frankel, their son Greg with grandson Vince, and daughter-in-law Alexandra, and Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and Lawrence A. Schachner, M.D.

Generous Gift Establishes Melanoma Division in Department of Dermatology


With the extraordinary generosity of David M. Frankel, M.D., and his family, the Miller School’s Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery has established The Frankel Family Division of Melanocytic Tumors, bringing researchers and physicians one step closer to conquering a formidable foe.

CaneSearch University-Wide Research Day to Address Community Concerns About Obesity


The Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) will hold its first major University-wide initiative, “CaneSearch,” on Wednesday, February 27, to help identify these goals through a poster session on topics related to obesity, including research, educational, clinical and community-based activities across disciplines.

From left are symposium directors Angelo Azzi, M.D., Ph.D., past president of the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Sylvia Daunert, Ph.D., and Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D.

2013 Miami Winter Symposium Focuses on Metabolism and Nutrition


More than 200 biochemists and molecular biologists from around the world, many of them luminaries in the growing field of metabolism and nutrition research, are gathered in Miami this week for the 46th annual Miami Winter Symposium to explore the interaction of nutrition, genetics, epigenetics and human health.

John Goldberg, M.D.

Grant Awarded to Sylvester for Pediatric Cancer Research


The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven and donor-centered charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research, is proud to award a one-year infrastructure grant of $50,000 to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

From left, Laurie Weiss Nuell, Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Jennie Weiss Block celebrate the merger.

Jay Weiss Center and Sylvester Merge to Tackle Health Disparities


In a match “truly made in heaven,” the Jay Weiss Center for Social Medicine and Health Equity is now affiliated with Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, a merger celebrated January 31 at an informal ceremony attended by family members and admirers of two humanitarian giants who championed quality health care for the underserved.

Stefan Glück, M.D., Ph.D.

Gift Supports Breast Cancer Research at Sylvester


The Karen Mullen Breast Cancer Foundation has awarded $35,000 to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Miller School to support the groundbreaking work of Stefan Glück, M.D., Ph.D., Sylvester Professor of Medicine. The grant specifically supports Glück’s research into estrogen receptors in breast cancer.

Richard J. Cote, M.D.

Smoking Intensity and Cancer Markers Predict Seriousness of Bladder Cancer


Smoking not only causes bladder cancer, it also affects its course, in that people who smoke more have greater likelihood of developing more aggressive and deadly disease. That is one of the conclusions of a study published January 14 in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

With support from wife Terry, Wayne Lobdell cuts the ceremonial ribbon to the Lobdell Mind-Body Wellness Program the couple established as Sylvester Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., and M. Beatriz Currier, M.D., look on.

Gift Expands Mind-Body Wellness Program to All Patients at Sylvester at Deerfield Beach


Michigan entrepreneur Wayne Lobdell is convinced that the mind-and-body wellness techniques his UHealth doctors introduced him to in South Florida are key to his recovered good health – so convinced that he and his wife Terry are ensuring all patients who visit UHealth’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at Deerfield Beach can access a broad range of holistic mind-body preventive and therapeutic interventions.