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Promise and Progress - Beyond the Vogelstein-Kinzler Lab

A Cancer Revolution

Beyond the Vogelstein-Kinzler Lab

Date: December 1, 2004

Each year, Vogelstein and Kinzler receive more than a thousand applications from the best and the brightest young researchers looking for postdoctoral training in this world-renowned laboratory. The list of graduates reads like the Who’s Who in Cancer Research. Among them are Drew Pardoll, cancer vaccine expert and director of the Center’s Immotherapy laboratory; David Sidransky, who has used cancer biomarkers to develop diagnostic screening tests for bladder, lung, and head and neck cancers; Scott Kern who heads the Center’s pancreatic cancer program; Victor Velculescu, recently named one of the “Brilliant 10” of science by Popular Science magazine for developing a computerized system of measuring gene expression; and Jonathan Simons, director of the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University Cancer Center. Recalls Simons, “One of the great things about working in the Vogelstein laboratory was the encouragement to pursue novel ideas. When I was a fellow in Bert’s lab, I became interested in studying genetically engineered vaccines to treat cancer. Bert was not a proponent of gene therapy, but he encouraged me to begin my own laboratory program.” Which is exactly what Simons did, developing cancer vaccine therapies for kidney and prostate cancers.