We are excited to announce the first members of our Brain Trust, a group of advisors and colleagues who will help PALTOWN and its communities thrive.
Meet our Brain Trust
Dr. Tom Marsilje
Dr. Tom Marsilje is a 20-year oncology drug discovery scientist, including being a co-inventor of the non-small cell lung cancer drug “ceritinib”. He is a co-author on 25 scientific publications and is co-inventor of 19 Issued US Patents.
He is also diagnosed with “currently incurable” stage IV colorectal cancer (CRC). First diagnosed with CRC in 2012, he quickly realized that he had a unique viewpoint as both a Stage IV patient and as an oncology drug discovery scientist. He recognized that this unique dichotomy could be a powerful tool for CRC patient advocacy. He can see and articulate both viewpoints of cancer: the patient viewpoint and the scientific viewpoint. His advocacy was kicked off by being a Colon Club featured survivor in their 2016 Colondar 2.0 annual magazine, bringing national-level awareness to early-onset CRC.
Since that advocacy start, highlights include helping to create and run as lead scientist the COLONTOWN CLINICS CRC Clinical Trial online communities recently featured on NBC Evening News with Lester Holt and MSNBC and the release of a MSS-CRC curated clinical trial finder as featured by STAT News.
As a prolific writer, he writes a personal blog on life at the intersection of being both a cancer patient and researcher with regular readership in 150 countries, “Adventures in Living Terminally Optimistic”, a science column for Fight Colorectal Cancer “The Currently Incurable Scientist“, and has written numerous columns on Stage IV cancer life and issues for the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper and website.
Dr. Scott Kopetz
Scott Kopetz, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, GI Medical Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Scott Kopetz graduated Summa Cum Laude from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering/Electrical and received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He obtained his residency training in Internal Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, followed by a medical oncology fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Kopetz joined MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2006 as an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology. He subsequently completed a Ph.D. at MD Anderson in cancer biology with thesis focus on mechanisms of chemotherapy resistance in colorectal cancer. Dr. Kopetz is board-certified in Internal Medicine and in Medical Oncology. He has authored over 100peer-reviewed articles in respected scientific journals such as Journal of Clinical Oncology, Lancet,Cancer Research, Cancer, Clinical Cancer Research, and JAMA, and is a senior editor for Clinical Cancer Research, and editorial board member on Journal of Clinical Oncology and JNCI. He is vice chair for colon cancer research in the NSABP/RTOG cooperative group, and member of the NIH Gastrointestinal Oncology Steering Committee. In addition, he was a recipient of peer-reviewed grants from American Society of Clinical Oncology and the National Institute of Health, among others. He is the principal investigator of several Phase I and II clinical trials, including the Assessment of Targeted Therapies Against Colorectal Cancer (ATTACC) study, a novel biomarker enrichment program for colorectal cancer. His research interests include the biology of refractory colorectal cancer and the development of novel therapeutics for molecularly distinct subsets of colorectal cancer patients.
Stephen Schoenberger, Ph.D.
Professor, Laboratory of Cellular Immunology
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
Director of Translational Science, San Diego Center for Cancer
Head of Cancer Vaccines, Human Longevity, Inc
Dr. Schoenberger is a Professor in the Laboratory of Cellular Immunology and Co-Director of the San Diego Center for Personalized Cancer Immunotherapy, as well as Adjunct Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center. He received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from UCLA in 1993 and completed postdoctoral training in Immunohematology and Tumor Immunology at the University of Leiden in The Netherlands. Dr. Schoenberger was appointed to LIAI’s faculty in 1998 as an Assistant Professor, was promoted to
Associate Professor in 2002, gained Tenure in 2005, and became a Professor in 2007. He is a recipient of Scholar Awards from both the American Cancer Society and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and is on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
Dr. Schoenberger is a leader in understanding the immunobiology of CD4 + and CD8 + Tcell responses with particular expertise on the generation and maintenance of immune memory by these subsets and in the key role of antigen-presenting cells (APC) in mediating antigen-specific tolerance versus immunity. His research has revealed a new mechanism for how CD4 + T cells provide the ‘help’ necessary for optimal CD8 + T cell responses via APC activation and his laboratory was the first to demonstrate the role of T cell programming in guiding the development of CD8 + T cells. More recently, he has
sought to translate his laboratory’s insights into T cell and APC biology for the personalized immunotherapy of cancer. He and his team have developed a range of novel tools and approaches for the identification of personalized tumor neoantigen targets for immunotherapeutic intervention in solid cancers including personalized cancer vaccines and adoptive cellular therapy. Clinical trials based on applying these discoveries are scheduled to begin at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center in 2018.
T.J. Sharpe is a Stage IV melanoma survivor, writer, advocate, and patient expert who began sharing his journey through cancer in the Patient #1 Blog on http://www.philly.com/
He attends research conferences, reporting on the latest melanoma and oncology research breakthroughs through his blog to help others avoid, detect, or educate themselves on cancer. He also partners with advocacy and patient organizations to bring awareness to cancer research and developments, and support those living with cancer and their families.
Now a speaker, writer, and patient expert consultant to the biopharma and clinical research industries, his efforts have been recognized by several organizations across the clinical and cancer research landscape; in December 2014, he shared his story on Capitol Hill in a special session promoting immunotherapy research to lawmakers. As a speaker and consultant, he has presented to or worked with many of the top pharmaceutical companies and industry trade organizations, and his story has influenced an initiative to bring clarity and common language to clinical trial contracts. As a writer, he contributes to www.NovartisOncology.com, his Patient #1 blog, and www.SkinCancer.net on a regular basis, along with ad-hoc online and printed contributions to multiple outlets. He also serves on the Board of Directors of A Prom to Remember, a 501(c)3 charity providing pediatric oncology teens with the ultimate Prom experience.
A South Jersey native, T.J. lives in Fort Lauderdale with his wife Jennifer and two children, Josie and Tommy. He is active in health initiatives, including melanoma/cancer awareness runs and cycling rides, and is an avid yoga participant – when not coaching his kids’ soccer and baseball teams or being Dance Dad. Throughout his journey, he has, and still does, consider himself the luckiest person on the planet with cancer.
Dr. Christopher Lieu
Director, Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, University of Colorado School of Medicine
Deputy Associate Director for Clinical Research, University of Colorado School of Medicine
Dr. Lieu joined the University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty as an Assistant Professor of Medicine in July 2011. He trained in internal medicine at the University of Colorado, where he also served as a Chief Medical Resident. He completed his fellowship training in medical oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and served as the Chief Medical Oncology Fellow in 2010. He currently serves as the Director of GI Medical Oncology at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, is a member of the National Cancer Institute Colon Cancer Task Force, and serves on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Panel for Neuroendocrine Cancers.
Dr. Lieu is a member of the Developmental Therapeutics (phase I clinical trials) and Gastrointestinal (GI) Medical Oncology Program. These comprehensive programs include multidisciplinary cancer clinics, tumor boards, and research endeavors. Dr. Lieu is interested in resistance mechanisms to targeted therapy in GI cancers, and he was awarded the Conquer Cancer Foundation Career Development Award and a NIH K23 grant to study targeted therapies in colorectal cancer. Dr. Lieu is also investigating novel therapeutic strategies to more effectively treat and prevent colorectal cancer in young adults.