Journal of Clinical Oncology taps Charles Blanke, M.D.
“Many patients and physicians in our region know first hand that Charles Blanke is an extraordinarily gifted clinician and expert in gastrointestinal malignancies,” said Grover Bagby Jr., M.D., director of the OHSU Cancer Institute. “His appointment to the editorial board of the leading clinical oncology journal in the world emphasizes that his reputation is international in scope and also stands as a tribute to his academic balance and fairness in reviewing the work of other scientists.”
With a membership of more than 20,000, ASCO is the leading professional organization for physicians who treat cancer patients. ASCO also has named Blanke chairman of its 2005 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, one of the largest meetings of its kind in the world.
Co-led by Blanke and Molly Kulesz-Martin, Ph.D., professor and associate chairman of dermatology in the OHSU School of Medicine, the Solid Tumor Program comprises about three dozen basic scientists and clinical researchers. Together, they integrate cancer biology, translational, clinical, and populational research of head and neck cancer; breast cancer; lung cancer; colon cancer; prostate cancer; germ cell tumors; sarcomas; bladder cancer; and many other solid tumor malignancies. Using modern molecular methods to identify and validate new molecular targets for prognosis, treatment and prevention, they are developing newer, less toxic forms of therapy and new strategies for cancer prevention.
“Our multidisciplinary team is developing phase II clinical trials and moving those with promise to multi-institutional phase III trials to speed the translation of basic science into new therapies,” said Blanke.
A 1988 graduate of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Blanke specializes in gastrointestinal oncology patient care and focuses his research on colorectal cancer, gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) and chemoprevention. Blanke contributed to the groundbreaking science that led to Gleevec becoming the standard of care for KIT-positive GIST. Before Gleevec, early surgical removal was the only hope for a GIST patient to survive more than a few months. Working to disable the KIT protein driving tumor growth, Gleevec was shown to melt these tumors away.
Blanke also serves as the chairman of the Gastrointestinal Committee of the Southwest Oncology Group, one of the largest National Cancer Institute-supported cancer clinical trials cooperative groups in the United States. SWOG is dedicated to clinical research in the prevention and cure of cancer in adults.
The OHSU Cancer Institute was designated a Clinical Cancer Center by the NCI in 1997. The only NCI-designated cancer center between Sacramento and Seattle, the OHSU Cancer Institute comprises some 120 researchers and physicians who are specialists in fields ranging from specific types of cancer - such as leukemia, prostate cancer and pediatric cancers - to epidemiology and bioinformatics.
Charles Blanke, M.D., is leader of the Solid Tumors Program at the OHSU Cancer Institute and associate professor of medicine (hematology and medical oncology) in the OHSU School of Medicine. Grover Bagby Jr., M.D., is director of the OHSU Cancer Institute; professor of medicine (hematology and medical oncology), and molecular and medical genetics, OHSU School of Medicine; and a member of the Association of American Physicians.