Ohio State Leukemia Researcher Receives National Schilsky Award

July 03, 2012
Ohio State Leukemia Researcher Receives National Schilsky Award Clara BloomField

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Dr. Clara Bloomfield (43015), an international authority on leukemia and lymphoma at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), received the 2012 Richard L. Schilsky Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) Achievement Award at the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Group Meeting in Chicago on June 30.

The award acknowledges the significant contributions of an individual to cooperative group research. It is presented each year during the Plenary Session of the Alliance Group Meeting, where Bloomfield presented a summary of her research done in collaboration with CALGB.

Bloomfield conducted seminal work showing that the type of chromosome changes (abnormal chromosomes are present in about 55 percent of AML patients) often predicted a patient's response to therapy.

"Dr. Bloomfield has devoted her career to cooperative group research, and using this mechanism she has conducted translational research that achieved tremendous advances in the care of acute leukemia patients," said Dr. Monica M. Bertagnolli, chief of surgical oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center and group chair of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology.

In the early 1990s, Bloomfield played a key role in the research that discovered the first gene mutation in AML patients with normal-looking chromosomes, a type of acute leukemia called cytogenetically normal AML (CN-AML). She has since led research showing that CN-AML harbors many gene mutations, gene-expression differences and microRNA-expression changes that influence how a patient's disease responds to therapy.

Her work, published in more than 600 research papers, has changed treatment standards and helped personalize the care of acute leukemia patients, in both younger people and those 60 and older.

Largely based on her work, the World Health Organization now incorporates chromosomal and molecular abnormalities in its classification of AML.

After serving as director of the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center from 1997 to July 2003, Bloomfield became senior advisor to Ohio State's cancer program and the charter member of the OSU Cancer Scholars Program, which is designed to help recruit and retain senior cancer investigators of international stature.

Bloomfield is a Distinguished University Professor, the highest faculty honor given at Ohio State, recognizing full professors who have truly exceptional records in teaching, research, scholarly work and service. The William G. Pace III Professor of Cancer Research, she is also a professor of internal medicine in the divisions of hematology and oncology.

"Her exceptional cancer research and passion for understanding leukemia have resulted in international recognition of the CALGB (now Alliance) Leukemia Correlative Science and Leukemia Committees. She has also trained and mentored a new generation of clinical and translational researchers who are fully able to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex research environment," adds Bertagnolli.

For the second time since it was established in 2010 to recognize the 15-year tenure of Dr. Schilsky as Group Chair CALGB, an Ohio State cancer researcher will receive this award. Dr. John Byrd, professor of medicine and medicinal chemistry, and director of the hematologic malignancies program at OSUCCC – James, received the inaugural award.

The Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, formerly known as CALGB, is a nationwide clinical research community sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute strives to create a cancer-free world by integrating scientific research with excellence in education and patient-centered care, a strategy that leads to better methods of prevention, detection and treatment. Ohio State is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and one of only seven centers funded by the NCI to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials. The NCI recently rated Ohio State's cancer program as "exceptional," the highest rating given by NCI survey teams. As the cancer program's 210-bed adult patient-care component, The James is a "Top Hospital" as named by the Leapfrog Group and one of the top 20 cancer hospitals in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

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Contact: Eileen Scahill, Wexner Medical Center Public Affairs and Media Relations, 614-293-3737, or Eileen.Scahill@osumc.edu

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