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2023 LACNETS + PPA + NCI
Patient Conference Speakers

SURGERY 101 FOR NETS

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JAMES HOWE, MD

Professor of Surgery
Director, Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery
Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver University of Iowa College of Medicine

Dr. Howe is Professor of Surgery at the University of Iowa. He trained in General Surgery at Barnes Hospital/Washington University, which included a T32 Surgical Oncology research fellowship where he was a member of the group that found the gene responsible for Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 2 by positional cloning. 

He completed a clinical fellowship in Surgical Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, then began his career at the University of Iowa in 1996. Here he has specialized in gastrointestinal cancer and endocrine surgery, and his research has concentrated on genetic studies of cancer. His laboratory discovered a gene that causes the inherited colorectal cancer syndrome Juvenile Polyposis in 1998, and in 2001 identified a second predisposition gene. 

 

Dr. Howe has written over 170 peer-reviewed papers, one book, and over 50 book chapters. He has directed the Division of Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery since 2002, and his clinical practice and research has focused on small bowel and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) and their metastases. 

 

Dr. Howe served as President of the North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society from 2018-20 and the Society of Surgical Oncology from 2020-21. Clinically he is known for his work on cytoreduction of NET liver metastases and guidelines for the surgical management of small bowel and pancreatic NETs. Dr. Howe has directed a funded laboratory over his career, been chair of an NIH Study Section, and his current research focuses on gene expression and drug sensitivity in NETs.

SURGERY: GI NETS

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ALEXANDRA GANGI, MD

Surgical Oncologist
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Dr. Alexandra Gangi is a board-certified surgical oncologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Gangi completed a general surgical residency at Cedars-Sinai and completed her surgical oncology fellowship at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.

She currently serves as the director of the Gastrointestinal Tumor and Cancer Regional Therapies Programs with specialization in Pancreatic and GI Neuroendocrine tumors, Metastatic colorectal cancer, and Peritoneal Surface Malignancies. Her research focuses on understanding GEPNET heterogeneity between and within tumors subtypes and mechanisms of chemotherapy induced liver injury.

SURGERY: PNETS

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CALLISIA CLARKE, MD

Chief of Surgical Oncology
Medical College of Wisconsin

Dr. Callisia Clarke completed her medical degree at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine where she was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Society. She completed a general surgery residency at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2013 and a fellowship in Complex General Surgical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2016. She joined the faculty at the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2016 and is an Associate Professor of Surgery, and Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology.

 

Her research efforts are centered on epigenetic regulation of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in academic surgery. She holds several leadership positions in national organizations. She was recently elected the President-Elect of the Association for Academic Surgery, the first Black Woman to hold this office. And serves in other leadership roles in the Society of Surgical Oncology and the American Board of Surgery.

SURGERY: LIVER NETS

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JONATHAN HERNANDEZ

Chief of Surgical Oncology 
National Cancer Institute

Dr. Hernandez graduated from medical school with honors from the University of Florida, and completed general surgery training at the University of South Florida. During his residency, Dr. Hernandez spent two years at the Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute interrogating molecular diagnostics for liver metastases and miRNA-mediated mechanisms of metastatic spread with the support of NIH funding. 

Following residency, Dr. Hernandez completed fellowship training in both surgical oncology and hepatopancreatobiliary surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. During his fellowships, Dr. Hernandez spent an additional two years in dedicated basic research studying metastatic colonization as a scholar in the Cell Biology Program of the Sloan Kettering Institute supported by NIH funding and a grant from America’s HepatoPancreatoBiliary Association. 

Dr. Hernandez was also a visiting investigator in the Cell and Developmental Biology Department of Weill Medical College of Cornell University studying metastatic niche evolution with funding support from the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Hernandez has authored over 150 peer-reviewed publications and has contributed book chapters in numerous authoritative surgical textbooks.

Dr. Jonathan Hernandez is a surgical oncologist/HPB surgeon, chief of the surgical oncology section (Surgical Oncology Program/NCI/NIH), an Associate Professor of Surgery (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences), and a Clinical Professor of Surgery (George Washington University). He specializes in the treatment of metastatic and primary tumors of the liver, bile ducts and pancreas, as well as in the surgical management of complex abdominal tumors. Dr. Hernandez’s research efforts focus on implementation of ex-vivo human tumor systems that allow his lab to fully characterize tumors from the operating room and evaluate new therapies in an unfettered platform. The Hernandez lab utilizes these human tumor systems to 1) develop combination therapies for recalcitrant tumors, 2) delineate and target uncharacterized signaling axes for therapeutic gain in patients with cholangiocarcinoma, and 3) elucidate the mechanisms through which tumor cells coopt the microenvironment of distant organs to form life-threatening metastases.

SURGERY: UNDERSTANDING CARCINOID CRISIS

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JULIE HALLET, MD, MSc, FRCSC, FSSO 

Associate Professor of Surgery
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center 

Dr. Hallet is an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto and a Surgical Oncologist with a clinical practice devoted to hepato-biliary, pancreatic and upper gastrointestinal malignancies at the Odette Cancer Centre - Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Her practice further focuses on neuroendocrine tumors as part of the Susan Leslie Multidisciplinary Clinic for Neuroendocrine Tumors, as well as minimally invasive therapies for cancer treatment. She completed general surgery residency and MSc in clinical epidemiology at Université Laval in Québec City, followed by a Surgical Oncology and hepato-pancreatico-biliary clinical fellowship at the University of Toronto, and additional training in advanced minimally invasive surgery at the Institut de recherche contre les cancers de l’appareil digestif (IRCAD) in Strasbourg, France.

Dr. Hallet holds leadership roles in National and International societies. Among those roles, she

serves as the Vice-Chair of the Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary Disease Site Group of the Society of

Surgical Oncology, the Chair of the Early Career Group the International Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary Association, and a member of the Guidelines Committee of the North American Neuroendocrine Tumors Society, as well as on the executive committees of the Canadian Society of Surgical Oncology and the Canadian Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association. She is a founding member of the Society of Surgical Ergonomics for which she also chairs the Research and Applied Ergonomics Committee. She also is Associate Section Editor for the Annals of Surgical Oncology, and is part of the Editorial Board of HPB, the World Journal of Surgery, and the British Journal of Surgery.

 

Dr. Hallet’s research focuses on health services research to examine processes of care and

outcomes in oncology, with a focus on patient-centred and patient-reported outcomes. To support her research, she has received over $10 millions in operating grants, including from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research. Dr. Hallet has over 200 peer-reviewed publications, including high-impact papers in JAMA Surgery, JAMA Oncology, the Journal of the NCCN, and Annals of Surgery.

THE ROLE OF NEOADJUVANT/ADJUVANT TREATMENT: 
DO I START SSA OR CHEMO BEFORE OR AFTER SURGERY?

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HELOISA SOARES, MD

Medical Oncologist
Associate Professor 
Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah

Dr. Heloisa Soares is a medical oncologist with a focus in GI and neuroendocrine cancers. She is an associate professor at the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at University of Utah. Dr. Soares received her medical degree at Faculdade de Medicine do ABC in Brazil, where she was born. She completed her residency training at the Mount Sinai Medical Center of Florida and her hematology-oncology fellowship training and PhD in molecular biology at UCLA. Dr. Soares has neuroendocrine tumors and gastrointestinal (GI) cancers as the major focus of her research and clinical activities. She serves as the Medical Director for the Clinical Trials Office as well as the co-physician leader in the GI Clinical Trials Research Group at HCI. In 2019, she was elected as a member of the board of directors for The North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (NANETS). Additionally, she is a member of the NCI NET taskforce and member of SWOG and NRG cooperative groups. She is also a panel member for the Neuroendocrine and Adrenal Tumors NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology.

MEDICAL 101 FOR NETS

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SANDY KOTIAH, MD

Director, The Neuroendocrine Tumor Center
Mercy Medical Center 

Sandy D. Kotiah, M.D., a Board Certified medical oncologist, serves as the Director of The Neuroendocrine Tumor Center at Mercy and is a member of Medical Oncology and Hematology at Mercy in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Kotiah leads a multidisciplinary team of specialty doctors focused on providing some of the best treatment options for rare neuroendocrine diseases. Dr. Kotiah’s compassionate and caring nature as well as her exceptional clinical knowledge and dedication to searching for answers to complicated cancer diagnoses makes her a sought-after Medical Oncologist and Hematologist in the Baltimore region. 

SYSTEMIC TREATMENTS - WHAT, WHEN & WHY OF MEDICAL THERAPIES (11:40 AM) 
WHAT'S NEW WITH PRRT: CLINICAL TRIALS (2:20 PM) 

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AMAN CHAUHAN, MD
Medical Oncologist
University of Miami

Aman Chauhan, MD, earned his medical degree from the Kasturba Medical College in Manipal, Karnataka, India, followed by a dual residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at Louisiana State University in New Orleans. Dr. Chauhan completed his fellowship in hematology and oncology at the University of Kentucky, especially focusing on neuroendocrine tumor (NETs). Additionally, Dr. Chauhan completed a Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) physician externship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that focused on designing clinical trials and clinical research projects.

His clinical interests include treating NETs, including carcinoid tumors, high-grade neuroendocrine carcinomas, and small and large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma. Dr Chauhan leads the University of Miami Neuroendocrine Cancer Program and co-leads Sylvester Theranostics Drug Development Program. He is national principal investigator on several investigator initiated neuroendocrine cancer clinical trials. He has authored over 70 scientific publications and book chapters and has received career development award from NCI CTEP. Dr Chauhan also serves on AJCC and ASCO NET guideline committees and is an active member of NANETS communication committee.

 

Dr. Chauhan is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology as well as the American Association of Cancer Research and the North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society.

NUTS & BOLTS OF CLINICAL TRIALS

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JAYDIRA DEL RIVERO, MD

Endocrinologist and Oncologist
National Cancer Institute 

Dr. Del Rivero earned her medical degree from the University of Veracruz in Veracruz, Mexico and completed her internal medicine residency at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center/NYU-Langone Medical Center. 

Dr. Del Rivero completed a fellowship in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at The Inter-Institute Endocrinology Training Program (IETP) at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) where she was part of a research team developing clinical trials for pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma. She then joined as Assistant Professor at the Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care (MECCC) where she specialized in endocrine oncology involving thyroid cancer, parathyroid and adrenal tumors, and clinical research for gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.

She subsequently completed a second fellowship in medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) with a research focus on endocrine malignancies.  Dr. Del Rivero is board certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and Medical Oncology.

Dr. Del Rivero is a Physician Scientist in the Developmental Therapeutics Branch. She is the Principal Investigator of the Natural History Study for Neuroendocrine Neoplasm and Adrenocortical Cancer to provide the basis of further development of therapeutic interventions, prevention/screening guidelines, endpoints for future clinical trials, and patient reported outcome measures. Dr. Del Rivero’s current efforts is the development of novel treatment approaches and targeted therapies for endocrine malignancies such as advanced gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, adrenocortical cancer and pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma.

PRRT: WHAT PATIENTS NEED TO KNOW 

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ERIK MITTRA, MD, PhD

Radiologist, Nuclear Medicine
Oregon Health & Science University 

Dr. Mittra is a Professor of Diagnostic Radiology at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) where he serves as Chief of the Molecular Imaging and Therapy Section and Director of the Targeted Radiopharmaceutical Therapy Program.

Dr. Mittra received his medical and graduate degrees through the MD/PhD program at Stony Brook University. His post-graduate training included an internship at Stony Brook University, followed by a residency and fellowship in Nuclear Medicine at Stanford University where he was faculty for many years before moving to OHSU.

 

Dr. Mittra is interested in all aspects of nuclear medicine with a focus on targeted radiopharmaceutical therapies. His research interests are focused on the translation of novel radioisotopes for imaging and therapy. He is involved with the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI), and the North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (NANETS), among others.

PRRT-RELATED TOXICITIES 

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THOR HALFDANARSON, MD

Professor of Oncology 
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science 

Thor Halfdanarson, MD Mayo Clinic Dr. Halfdanarson is a professor of Oncology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and a consultant in Medical Oncology at the Mayo Clinic. He specializes in GI oncology with a focus on NETs and cancers of unknown primary, serves as the Associate Medical Director of the Cancer Clinical Trials Office at the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center and is the co-chair of the Pancreatic/Neuroendocrine Tumor Board. Dr. Halfdanarson is a member of the NCCN guidelines panel for NETs, the Co-Chair of the NET Group at Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology and the current Vice President of NANETS.ar medicine and molecular imaging. He is the inaugural chair of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging’s (SNMMI) Patient Advocacy Advisory Board, Board Member and Treasure of the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation (NETRF), a member of The Education and Research Foundation for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (ERF) Board, and president of NorCal CarciNET Community, one of the largest NET patient communities in the United States. He is currently the sole patient rights advocate for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Committee for the Medical Use of Isotopes (ACMUI).

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