Participating Institutions & Investigators
Academic GI Cancer Consortium (AGICC)
Explore Oncology Consortia
Dr. Messersmith trained in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School and did his Medical Oncology / Drug Development Fellowship at Johns Hopkins, where he was on the faculty from 2004-2007 as Assistant Professor in the GI Oncology and Drug Development programs. He joined the University of Colorado Cancer Center in August 2007 as the Director of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology. He was appointed co-Leader of Developmental Therapeutics in 2010, and in 2014 became Division Head of Medical Oncology, which has >50 faculty.
His focus is on clinical and translational cancer research in gastrointestinal cancers. The comprehensive GI cancer program at Colorado includes multi-disciplinary GI cancer clinics, tumor boards, and research endeavors. He has held NIH and DOD grants, and has served as the principal investigator on >60 national and local therapeutic trials. As an active investigator in the developmental therapeutics laboratory, he is working on novel targeted agents and immunotherapies as well as correlative studies for use on human tissue samples.
Dr. Messersmith is a member of multiple national committees, including the NCI Colon Cancer Task Force, National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Committee on Colon/Rectal/Anal Cancers (which sets treatment guidelines used internationally), NCCN Investigator Steering Committee, Medical Oncology Committee of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), and others.
The University of Colorado Cancer Center is the Rocky Mountain region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. NCI has given only 40 cancer centers this designation, deeming membership as “the best of the best.” Headquartered on the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, UCCC is a consortium of three state universities (Colorado State University, University of Colorado at Boulder and University of Colorado Denver) and six institutions (AMC Cancer Research Center, The Children’s Hospital, Denver Health, Denver VA Medical Center, National Jewish Health and University of Colorado Hospital). Together, our 400+ members are working to ease the cancer burden through cancer care, research, education and prevention and control. Learn more at http://www.ucdenver.edu
Participating Institutions and Investigators
Jordan D. Berlin, M.D. and Kristen Ciombor, M.D., MSCI
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Dr. Berlin is Associate Professor and Clinical Director of GI Oncology at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. He earned his medical degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago, and completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati Hospital, followed by a medical oncology fellowship at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin.
Dr. Berlin is a past recipient of the ECOG Young Investigator Award. He is a member of the American College of Physicians/, the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the European Society of Medical Oncology, among other professional organizations. He is author or co-author of over 50 journal articles, several book chapters, and over 100 scientific abstracts. He is the Chair of the Intergroup Task Force on Pancreas Cancer and was Program Chair of the AGA/ASCO/ASTRO/SSO combined GI Cancer Symposium in 2008. He serves on several other committees including the NCCN Guidelines Steering Committee and the Program Committee for the World Congress on GI Cancers.
Dr. Ciombor is Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology. Dr. Ciombor received her Bachelor’s degree in biochemical sciences from Harvard College in 2001 and received her medical degree from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in 2005. She went on to complete an internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital/Veterans Administration in Miami, FL. Dr. Ciombor then moved to Vanderbilt University for fellowship training in Hematology and Oncology. In addition to her clinical and research fellowship, she completed a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation from Vanderbilt University in 2013. She joined the faculty at The Ohio State University in the Division of Medical Oncology in 2013. Dr. Ciombor is interested in developing new therapeutics in gastrointestinal malignancies through clinical trials, as well as translational research for the development of prognostic and predictive biomarkers in colorectal cancer. She is Board Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialties in Hematology and Medicine Oncology.
The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of two centers in Tennessee and 41 in the country to earn this highest distinction. Its nearly 300 faculty members generate more than $140 million in annual federal research funding, ranking it among the top 10 centers in the country in competitive grant support, and its clinical program sees approximately 4,000 new cancer patients each year. Vanderbilt-Ingram, based in Nashville, Tenn., recently joined with 21 of the world’s leading centers in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a non-profit alliance dedicated to improving cancer care for patients everywhere. For more information, visit http://www.vicc.org.
Dr. Boman is the Director, Cancer Genetics and Stem Cell Biology, Helen F. Graham Cancer Center (NCI-selected) at Christiana Health Care System; a professor of Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University; an adjunct associate professor at the Department of Biologic Sciences, University of Delaware; Professor of Medical Oncology, Thomas Jefferson University, and Member, GI Cancer Program, Kimmel Cancer Center, among others. In addition to his various positions and assignments, Dr. Boman is a highly regarded author and researcher.
After getting his B.A. in Biochemistry from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, Dr. Boman received his M.S. from University of Minnesota School of Public Health before getting his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School. Finally, Dr. Boman received his Ph.D. from the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. He is also a board-certified medical oncologist.
With the advent of recent and exciting new opportunities in the study of regulatory pathways, mutations, and colon carcinogenesis, Dr. Boman is interested in the signaling pathways, including molecular and cellular mechanisms of crypt homeostasis in the large intestine as well as the investigation of the stem cell origin of colorectal cancer (CRC). He is particularly interested in small genetic elements, called microRNAs, with the goal of identifying new therapeutic targets.
Christiana Care Health System is one of the largest health care providers in the northeast US, serving Delaware and neighboring areas in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A not-for-profit teaching hospital, Christiana Care is recognized as a regional center for excellence in cancer, cardiology and women’s health services, as well as for its Level-I trauma care and Level-3 neonatal intensive care (both highest capability). With more than 10,000 employees, Christiana Care is the largest private employer in Delaware and the 10th largest employer in the Philadelphia region. In 2007 Christiana Care had more than $1.5 billion in total patient revenue and provided the community with $35.7 million of free care and medicine. Find more information at www.christianacare.org.
The Helen F. Graham Cancer Center is a free-standing center on the Christiana Hospital campus, centralizing a vast array of outpatient services under one roof and featuring unique multi-disciplinary medical services including surgery, medical oncology, and radiation oncology. The HFGCC was designated an NCI-selected community cancer center in 2007. As a CCOP, it has been participating in clinical trial research for the past 20 years, and is one of the top institutions nationally in terms of trial accrual. In addition, the center has a full complement of associated support services as well as genetic counseling and cancer prevention.
Translational research has been a central focus of the Center, with establishment of its Center for Translational Cancer Research (CTCR) in 2004 and a new, four-story, 124,000-square-foot pavilion opening in 2009. The CTCR is a formal collaborative program among the HFGCC, the University of Delaware, AI DuPont Children’s Hospital, and the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. It also has a Familial Cancer Registry and tissue procurement program that focuses on high-risk patients. This tissue procurement enhances the resources available for translational research studies that involve the application of basic science toward potential therapies. The HFGCC was recently awarded a 4.6 million dollar NCI grant for The Genome Atlas Project (TGAP) for collection of human tissue samples. Other research programs focus on cancer stem cells and cancer biomarkers.
Read more about how oncologists at the HFGCC are collaborating with researchers to bring the latest advances in cancer treatment from the laboratory to the bedside at www.udel.edu/ctcr
Dr. Steven J. Cohen is Director, Rosenfeld Cancer Center and Cancer Service Line and Chief of Medical Oncology and Hematology Division, Abington Hospital, and Professor of Medical Oncology and Vice-Chair, Department of Medical Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson.
Dr. Cohen earned his B.A. at Cornell University and his M.D. at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Temple University Hospital and his fellowship in hematology/oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center.
He was most recently at Fox Chase Cancer Center where he served as Director of the GI Medical Oncology Program and the Hematology/Oncology fellowship program. He was also Chief Medical Officer for the Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners program.
Dr. Cohen conducts clinical research and devotes his clinical practice to patients with gastrointestinal malignancies. He is Vice-Chair of the NCI Pancreatic Cancer task force and Chair of the Colorectal Cancer subcommittee of the ECOG/ACRIN GI Cancer Committee. He is also an active member of the NRG Colorectal and non-Colorectal Cancer committees.
Jefferson University Hospitals and Thomas Jefferson University are partners in providing excellent clinical and compassionate care for our patients in the Philadelphia region, educating the health professionals of tomorrow in a variety of disciplines and discovering new knowledge that will define the future of clinical care. Jefferson has topped the list of hospitals in Pennsylvania (3rd) and the Philadelphia metro area (2nd) in U.S.News & World Report’s annual listing of the best hospitals and specialties. Learn more at: Jefferson University – Abington Hospital
Dr. Mike Cusnir is an Attending Physician at Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center and Mount Sinai Medical Center; Miami Beach, Florida. He holds an Academic appointment as Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami and Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Cusnir is actively involved in a number of ongoing Phase I & II trials for Colorectal and Pancreatic Cancer. He has presented his clinical research on gastrointestinal cancers at invited institutional lectures, as well as national and international Gastrointestinal Oncology conferences.
Dr. Cusnir earned his Medical Degree from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogota, Colombia). He completed his postgraduate Internship and Residency in Medicine at Maimonides Medical Center and Fellowship in Oncology at the University of Maryland, Greenebaum Cancer Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
The Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center is a nationally recognized, award-winning facility that utilizes a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to diagnosing and treating cancer. We provide quality care, leading innovation and personalized treatment plans for each patient to treat a broad range of cancers. Our patient-centered focus ensures access to convenient, timely appointments, clinical trials and a host of support services all aimed at helping patients heal. Mount Sinai is the first hospital in Florida, and one of only 36 in the U.S., to receive its third consecutive Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC).The CoC created this award to recognize programs that strive for excellence in providing quality cancer care. The Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center offers one of the most integrated cancer research programs in the state. The Mount Sinai Cancer Research Program gives patients the opportunity to participate in innovative clinical trials that offer new cancer treatment options before they become available to the general public. Our program is currently engaged in more than 65 active clinical trials, placing Mount Sinai at the forefront among the nation’s cancer research institutions. Many of our protocols have resulted in cutting-edge cancer treatments. Learn more at: http://www.msccc.com/
Dr. Denlinger is Chief, Division of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Associate Professor, Department of Hematology/Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center; Director of the Survivorship Program, Fox Chase Cancer Center; Deputy Director, Phase 1 Program, Fox Chase Cancer Center; and Clinical Associate Professor (Adjunct), Department of Medicine-Oncology, Lewis Katz School of Medicine.
Dr. Denlinger’s educational background includes: Fellow, Hematology/Oncology Fox Chase Cancer Center/Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA; Resident, Internal Medicine Categorical Residency, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY and MD, New Jersey Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, NJ
Her certifications include: Diplomate, Medical Oncology, American Board of Internal Medicine, 2007, and Diplomate, Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine, 2004, 2014. Her honors & awards include: National Comprehensive Cancer Center Foundation Young Investigator Award, 2012-2014; Special Contributor Award, Fox Chase Cancer Center, 2014; CHASE Award, Fox Chase Cancer Center Annual Cancer Survivors Celebration, 2011; Participant, ASCO/AACR Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Workshop, Vail, CO, 2008; ASCO Foundation Merit Award, ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, Orlando, FL, 2007.
Dr. Denlinger’s clinical and research interests encompass gastrointestinal malignancies and cancer survivorship. Dr. Denlinger was the recipient of a 2012 NCCN Young Investigator Award to study receipt of survivorship care in colorectal and non-small cell lung cancer survivors and currently serves as the chair of the NCCN Survivorship Guideline Panel and a member of the NCCN Esophagus and Gastric Guideline Panels.
Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of the leading cancer research and treatments centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as the nation’s first cancer hospital, Fox Chase became one of the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and community outreach. For more information, visit Fox Chase’s web site at www.fccc.edu or call 1-888-FOX-CHASE or 1-888-369-2427.
Dr. Gold is Director of Clinical Research and the Program Leader for the Gastrointestinal (GI) Oncology Program at the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle, Washington. Additionally, he is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Oncology at the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine in Seattle.
In 1991, Dr. Gold obtained his degree in medicine with a distinction in research at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Florida. After that, he completed an internal medicine internship and residency, and then received the Amgen Oncology Fellowship Award while he was training in medical oncology at the UW School of Medicine and the FH Cancer Research Center. Presently, he is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology.
Dr. Gold’s clinical investigations on GI tumors, and particularly colorectal cancer treatment, can be found in peer-reviewed publications like the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Seminars in Oncology, and Cancer Investigation. Furthermore, he currently serves on a number of advisory boards, and is active in the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Southwest Oncology Group, where he serves as the subcommittee co-chair for colorectal cancer.
The Swedish Cancer Institute opened in 1932 as the first dedicated cancer-care center west of the Mississippi. Today, SCI has a presence on all three of Swedish’s Seattle-area hospital campuses – First Hill, Cherry Hill and Ballard – as well as in East King County through a new medical oncology clinic in Bellevue. A true multidisciplinary program, SCI offers a wide range of advanced cancer-treatment options in chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery – backed by extensive diagnostic capabilities, patient education and support-group services. SCI-managed radiation-therapy services are also offered at Stevens Hospital in Edmonds, Highline Community Hospital in Burien, and Northwest Hospital in North Seattle. The SCI clinical-research arm encompasses industry-sponsored and cooperative group therapeutic trials, cancer screening and prevention trials, and investigator-initiated trials. Breast-cancer screening and diagnostics are available through the Swedish Breast Care Centers and mobile mammography units. SCI patients benefit from an integrated approach to care which takes into account a person’s physical well-being and emotional/spiritual needs, too. From prevention and early detection, to state-of-the-art treatments and complementary therapies, to supportive and palliative care, SCI meets the individual needs of each patient. For more information, visit www.swedish.org.
Dr. Howard Hochster is an internationally known expert in Cancer Clinical Trials and early cancer drug development, particularly in gastrointestinal cancer as well as a recognized leader in the development of cancer clinical trials, gastrointestinal oncology and early phase cancer drugs.
Hochster, now at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, was most recently on the faculty at the Yale Cancer Center and the Yale School of Medicine, where he served as a professor of medicine, associate director for clinical sciences and the disease aligned research team leader for the Gastrointestinal Cancers Program. He also served as a clinical program leader for the Gastrointestinal Cancers Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital. Prior to his time at Yale, Hochster spent more than two decades at the former New York University Cancer Institute, where he led the Office of Clinical Trials and Developmental Therapeutics and held other leadership roles. After receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees at Yale University and his medical degree from Yale School of Medicine, Hochster completed an internship and residency at Bellevue Hospital/New York University School of Medicine followed by fellowships at the New York University School of Medicine and the Institut Jules Bordet in Belgium.
Hochster, whose most recent clinical trials work involves the investigation of a class of immunotherapy drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors in gastrointestinal cancers, has decades of clinical trial experience and has collaborated with national cooperative groups, as well as the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He is chair of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Committee of SWOG, one of the four NCI-funded national clinical trials cooperative groups in the National Clinical Trials Network. His work has long been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other funders. He has provided peer review expertise to the NIH Clinical Oncology Study Section for a number of years, as well as to other areas of the NIH and other organizations such as Cancer Research UK and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). He is a medical director of the Chemotherapy Foundation and was president of the New York Cancer Society from 2004 to 2006. Hochster is also a member of numerous oncology professional societies.
He has published widely on treatment of colon, pancreatic and gastric cancer and has been in the forefront of developing newer chemotherapy and targeted agents for these diseases. Hochster is an associate editor of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, an editorial board member of Gastrointestinal Oncology and Current Colorectal Cancer Reports, and also serves as an ad hoc reviewer to numerous other journals, including the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cancer and the British Medical Journal. He has published more than 150 articles in peer-reviewed journals and presents regularly at national and international professional meetings.
Dr. Hochster directed the Office of Clinical Trials and Developmental Therapeutics at the NYU Cancer Institute during his tenure there (1987-2010) among several other leadership positions. He was President of the New York Cancer Society in 2004 through 2006 and is a Medical Director of the Chemotherapy Foundation, as well as advisor to the Israel Cancer Research Foundation. He has served on several NIH study sections and ASCO committee. In 2009-2010 he chaired the colorectal track for the ASCO Annual meeting.
RWJBarnabas Health is the largest, most comprehensive health care system in New Jersey, with a service area covering nine counties with five million people. The system includes eleven acute care hospitals – Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, Community Medical Center in Toms River, Jersey City Medical Center in Jersey City, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, RWJUH in New Brunswick, RWJUH Somerset in Somerville, RWJUH Hamilton, RWJUH Rahway and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston; three acute care children’s hospitals and a leading pediatric rehabilitation hospital with a network of outpatient centers (Children’s Specialized Hospital) with its multiple outpatient centers, a freestanding 100-bed behavioral health center, two trauma centers, a satellite emergency department, ambulatory care centers, geriatric centers, the state’s largest behavioral health network, comprehensive home care and hospice programs, fitness and wellness centers, retail pharmacy services, a medical group, multi-site imaging centers and two accountable care organizations. Learn more at: https://cinj.org/about-cinj/about-rutgers-cancer-institute-new-jersey
Dr. Klempner is an Assistant Professor at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and leads the gastric and esophageal program. His clinical and translational research is centered on cancer genomics, acquired resistance to targeted therapies and the intersection of genomics and immune mediated therapies to identify novel therapeutic approaches and biomarkers in gastroesophageal cancers. He serves on the NRG non-colorectal committee, NCCN guideline committees for gastric and esophageal cancers, and his works is supported by Stand Up 2 Cancer, NCI/NIH, AACR, and he currently serves as the AGA Research Foundation’s Gastric Cancer Foundation Ben Feinstein Memorial Research Scholar Award in Gastric Cancer.
Dr. Klempner completed his residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, followed by a combined hematology-oncology fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School. While at Harvard Dr. Klempner studied the mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies in tumor cells in the lab of Dr. Lewis Cantley, PhD. He has published over 100 original manuscripts, review articles, editorials and book chapters and his work has been published in multiple journals including Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO), Cancer Discovery, Lancet Oncology, JAMA Oncology, Annals of Oncology and others. A complete list of publications can be found here.
As a member of the gastrointestinal cancer group at MGH Dr. Klempner works in a multidisciplinary team to optimize and individualize treatment using molecular characterization across all stages of GI cancers. He conducts clinical trials and translational research with new targeted agents and immune therapies and is active in gastroesophageal cancer advocacy.
Heinz-Josef Lenz, M.D., FACP
Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Dr. Lenz is Professor of Medicine and Professor of Preventive Medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology at Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC) and the Associate Director of Clinical Research at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center (USC/NCCC). He is Co-Director of both the Colorectal Center and the GI Oncology Program, as well as Scientific Director of the Cancer Genetic Unit at USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles, California. He has been the recipient of the ASCO Career Development Award and the NIH/NCI Midcareer Development Award, reflecting his expertise in translational research. He is the Chair of Correlative Science at SWOG and the Co-Chair of the SWOG GI Committee. He serves on the NCI/CTEP GI Steering Committee.
Dr. Lenz received his medical degree from Johannes-Gutenberg Universität in Mainz, Germany, in 1985. He completed a residency in Hematology and Oncology at the University Hospital Tübingen in Germany, a clerkship in Oncology at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and a clerkship in Hematology at Beth Israel Hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. He served subsequent fellowships in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of California/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
An active researcher, Dr. Lenz is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications and invited papers, reviews, and editorials, and has been listed in the Best Doctors’ database since 2003.
The Keck School of Medicine of USC is a place of dynamic activity in patient care, scientific discovery, medical and bioscience education, and community service. Our faculty, staff, students, residents, alumni, donors and friends are committed to excellence. Together we are poised to lead medicine in the 21st Century for the benefit of humankind. This is an exciting time of great transformation as we endeavor to create a truly stellar academic medical center at USC. Located on USC’s Health Sciences Campus, just east of downtown Los Angeles, the Keck School of Medicine is home to the Keck Medical Center of USC – a state-of-the-art academic medical center comprised of the Keck Hospital of USC (formerly USC University Hospital) and the USC Norris Cancer Hospital. The two world-class, USC-owned hospitals are staffed by more than 500 physicians who are faculty at the renowned Keck School of Medicine of USC. University-owned USC Verdugo Hills Hospital further expands the academic medical enterprise into the Foothill communities of Los Angeles. USC also partners with the nearby Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The Keck School of Medicine also is home to several research institutes, including the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine at USC, the USC Cardiovascular Thoracic Institute and the USC Institute for Global Health. Established in 1885, the Keck School is the oldest medical school in Southern California. Learn more at keck.usc.edu
Dr. Lieu joined the University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty as an Assistant Professor 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.
His primary areas of focus are in Gastrointestinal Cancers (Colorectal, Pancreatic, Gastric, Esophageal, Hepatocellular, Gallbladder, Bile Duct, Anal, Carcinoma of Unknown Primary), Drug Development (Experimental Therapeutics) and Translational Research.
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 focused on using a personalized approach in developing new anticancer drugs for GI cancers, particularly interested in anti-angiogenic therapy for colorectal cancers, novel drugs for KRAS mutant colorectal cancers, as well as developing personalized therapeutics for young adults with colorectal cancer. He is interested in resistance mechanisms to targeted therapy in GI cancers, and he was awarded the 2013 Conquer Cancer Foundation Career Development Award to study targeted therapies in colorectal cancer.
The University of Colorado Cancer Center is the Rocky Mountain region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. NCI has given only 40 cancer centers this designation, deeming membership as “the best of the best.” Headquartered on the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, UCCC is a consortium of three state universities (Colorado State University, University of Colorado at Boulder and University of Colorado Denver) and six institutions (AMC Cancer Research Center, The Children’s Hospital, Denver Health, Denver VA Medical Center, National Jewish Health and University of Colorado Hospital). Together, our 400+ members are working to ease the cancer burden through cancer care, research, education and prevention and control. Learn more at http://www.ucdenver.edu.
Autumn McRee, M.D. and Michael S. Lee, M.D.
UNC Lineberger Cancer Center at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Dr. Autumn McRee, MD is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Research, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology at UNC Lineberger Cancer Center at University of North Carolina. Dr. McRee earned her BS at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 2001 and her M.D. at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX, 2005. She completed her residency at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, in 2008 and followed with a Fellowship at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, in 2011.
As a member of the GI oncology team, Dr. McRee’s clinical interests are in the multi-disciplinary care of patients with gastrointestinal malignancies and in patients with colorectal and pancreatic cancer, with a focus on clinical trials designed to investigate new promising treatments for these patients. In collaboration with her basic science colleagues, she has an interest in devising novel treatments for patients with GI malignancies based on the biology of their tumors. Specifically, the aim is to further delineate the molecular pathways that lead to cancer formation, which will lead to the development of more effective targeted therapies. By incorporating correlative translational science into our standard clinical trials, she believes we can take advantage of known mutations within a patient’s tumor to both improve treatment outcomes and to determine predictive biomarkers of response to prevent undue toxicity.
Her recent Recent Accomplishments and Honors include: 2001 Phi Beta Kappa, Vanderbilt University; 2001 Magna Cum Laude, Vanderbilt University; 2010 Chief Fellow of Hematology/Oncology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; 2011 UNC Lineberger Clinical Fellow Award of Excellence.
Dr. Lee is Assistant Professor in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Lee received his M.D. at Duke University School of Medicine, completed his residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and completed his oncology fellowship at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Dr. Lee is a clinical and translational investigator in gastrointestinal cancers, particularly colorectal cancers, focusing on drug development and design of early phase clinical trials of novel targeted therapies. He is particularly interested in developing molecularly targeted phase I and II clinical trials for patients with gastrointestinal cancers and developing correlative studies to determine biomarkers of susceptibility or resistance. In addition, he is involved in the preclinical research necessary for drug development and identifying novel pathobiologic discoveries in gastrointestinal cancers.
One of the leading cancer centers in the nation, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center is located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. As one of only 41 National Cancer Institutes, UNC Lineberger was rated as exceptional – the highest category – by the National Cancer Institute. The center brings together some of the most exceptional physicians and scientists in the country to investigate and improve the prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer. With research that spans the spectrum from the laboratory to the bedside to the community, UNC Lineberger faculty work to understand the causes of cancer at the genetic and environmental levels, to conduct groundbreaking laboratory research, and to translate findings into pioneering and innovative clinical trials. Learn more at http://unclineberger.org
At the NYU Langone Medical Center, our mission is the relief of human suffering caused by disease and disability through education, research and patient care. Pursuant of our mission, the Medical Center is committed to the highest standards in all areas of health care delivery, training and information. Learn more at: http://www.med.nyu.edu/research/about-us
Dr. Reid is Director, Early Phase Clinical Research at UC San Diego Health, La Jolla, California and Professor, Hematology/Oncology. He received his Medical Degree from Stanford University, School of Medicine, in Stanford, CA with a Fellowship at Stanford University, School of Medicine, and did his Residency at Stanford University, School of Medicine, as well. He has Board Certifications in Medical Oncology
As a physician, Dr. Reid strongly believes that we need better and more advanced therapies to treat cancer, but also feels it is very important to carefully tailor the treatment to the individual patient. There is an increasing array of options for treatment for cancer including chemotherapy, targeted therapies, surgery and radiation and many patients need a combined and coordinated strategy that may include several of these options to achieve the optimal results.
Professor Tony Reid’s main goals are to develop novel therapeutic approaches to diagnose, prevent, and treat tumors with gene therapy vectors. He has focused on elucidating the underlying molecular mechanism that causes cancer, focusing primarily in gastrointestinal tumors including colorectal, pancreatic, esophageal and hepatobillary cancers. His research group conducts basic science research to study disease at the molecular level and then facilitates the translation of novel scientific discoveries into practical therapeutic applications to the clinical to benefit patients. His contributions embody the scientific approach of “bench-to-bedside” medicine, promoting greater understanding of cancer and personalized disease therapies.
He has a wide range of publications on the uses of new agents for the treatment of tumors and conducts a variety of clinical trials focusing on early phase therapeutics and he also uses gene therapy strategies to enhance the immune response to these tumors. He is the lead investigator and has pioneered the use of adenoviral and vaccine vectors to the treatments of cancer and is always thinking on how he can be instrumental in developing new therapies in the laboratory and how to export them to help those suffering from cancer. His speculative nature has led him to explore the scientific underpinnings of cancer and to make new therapeutic options available to patients by developing new clinical trials.
As San Diego’s only academic medical center, UC San Diego Health maintains a strong national reputation for specialty and common care. UC San Diego Health is one of five academic medical centers within the 10-campus University of California system. Collectively known as UC Health, these medical centers comprise the fourth largest health care delivery system in California and train nearly 50 percent of the state’s medical students and medical residents. UC San Diego Health was ranked among the nation’s best in eight adult medical and surgical specialties in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-18 “Best Hospitals” guidebook, including oncology. Learn more: https://health.ucsd.edu/about/Pages/default.aspx
Dr. Saeed is Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, at the University of Kansas Cancer Center (KUCC). She is an active member of the Gastrointestinal (GI) Oncology program and the early phase developmental therapeutics program at the KUCC. Her clinical research is focused on developmental therapeutics and immune modulatory approaches in patients with advanced gastric, esophageal, and colon cancer as well as chemoprevention in the high-risk GI population. She is leading the clinical research initiatives of novel therapeutics in these areas at the KUCC. Driven by her interest in precision medicine, she has contributed and now leading several ongoing translational projects evaluating various potential prognostic/predictive molecular markers in gastric, esophageal and colorectal cancer. She is a prolific clinical researcher and multiple award winner. Since joining KUCC in late 2016, she has been successful in securing multiple external and internal research grants to support several novel investigator-initiated clinical trials. Some of those trials are currently ongoing and enrolling patients.
She received her medical degree from the Arabian Gulf University-College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Manama, Bahrain. She then completed an Internal Medicine residency at University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO followed by a hematology/oncology fellowship and GI oncology fellowship at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS. Prior to joining the University of Kansas Cancer Center, she was an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center in Madison, Wisconsin from 2014-2016. She is American Board certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology, and Medical Oncology.
The University of Kansas Cancer Center is transforming cancer research and clinical care by linking an innovative approach to drug discovery, delivery and development to a nationally-accredited patient care program. The partnership includes cancer research and healthcare professionals associated with the University of Kansas Medical Center and The University of Kansas Health System; the University of Kansas, Lawrence; The Stowers Institute for Medical Research; Children’s Mercy Hospital; and in partnership with members of the Midwest Cancer Alliance. Learn more at: https://www.kucancercenter.org/
Dr. Scott is Key Clinical Faculty and Assistant Professor of Medicine, GI Oncology Program, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Banner-University of Arizona Cancer Center; Member of the High-Risk Genetics Program, Banner-University of Arizona Cancer Center. He received his medical degree from The University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, Arizona. He completed both his Internal Medicine residency and Hematology/Oncology fellowship at the University of Colorado in Denver, Colorado. He served as the Chief Medical Oncology Fellow in 2015. He specializes in cancers of the GI tract, which include colon cancer, rectal cancer, anal cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer, and pancreatic cancer. His passions are in clinical trial development and laboratory research investigating new agents to improve outcomes in patients with GI cancers. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Internal Medicine and board eligible for Medical Oncology.
Dr. Scott is a member of the Gastrointestinal (GI) Oncology Multidisciplinary Program at The University of Arizona Cancer Center. This comprehensive program includes weekly multidisciplinary tumor board meetings, bi-monthly research meetings, and research collaborations with the Developmental Therapeutics/Phase 1 Program. In addition, he is involved in developing research projects across specialties including Radiation Oncology, Surgical Oncology, Radiology, and Pathology. Dr. Scott is also the site Principal Investigator of the Academic GI Cancer Consortium (AGICC), which is a nationwide collaborative research group dedicated to finding better treatment options for patients with GI cancer. Dr. Scott is interested in the development of novel therapeutic strategies to treat and prevent colorectal cancer in young adults. His research interests include investigation of targeted therapy and immunotherapy in the treatment of colorectal and pancreatic cancers. In addition, he is a member of the high-risk genetics clinic caring for patients with genetic predisposition to developing GI malignancies. He also serves as a Key Clinical Faculty involved in medical student, resident, and fellowship teaching and mentorship.
Rachna T. Shroff, MD, MS, joined the faculty of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson as an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Chief of the Section of GI Medical Oncology. Previously, she was an Assistant and then Associate Professor at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX where she specialized in pancreatic and biliary cancers. While on faculty, she helped build one of the largest clinical and research programs in biliary tract malignancies in the country. Dr. Shroff also served as the Quality Officer for the GI Medical Oncology Department where she developed an interest in patient safety and quality.
Dr. Shroff has been a member of the ASCO Scientific Committee, Noncolorectal Track as well as the ASCO Gastrointestinal Guidelines Advisory Group. She participates in the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) GI Committee, and the NCI Hepatobiliary Taskforce being the national Principal Investigator on SWOG 1815. She is also involved in the International Cholangiocarcinoma Research Network (ICRN) where she participates in the Novel Targets Working Group. Dr. Shroff completed her fellowship in medical oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She simultaneously obtained a Master’s Degree at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. She did her residency in internal medicine at Washington University in St. Louis where she also served as Chief Resident at the VA Hospital. Dr. Shroff earned her medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry and graduated with honors from Brown University.
Dr. Shroff has focused her career on clinical and translational research in GI malignancies. She has been the Principal Investigator on a number of trials in pancreatic and biliary cancers. She has established herself a leading expert in biliary cancer and is the national P.I. on a pivotal, phase III study through SWOG in this disease. Dr. Shroff has authored many peer-reviewed publications in these areas and she has been invited to give multiple platform presentations on pancreatic and biliary cancers across the world. In addition, Dr. Shroff is the leader of the Gastrointestinal (GI) Oncology Disease Oriented Team at The University of Arizona Cancer Center (UACC). This comprehensive program includes weekly multidisciplinary tumor board meetings, bi-monthly research meetings, and research collaborations with the Developmental Therapeutics/Phase 1 Program. She also serves as the Chair of the UACC Data Safety and Monitoring Board given her experience with trial design and safety.
Banner-University of Arizona Cancer Center (UACC) is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the state of Arizona. The clinician scientists of Banner-UACC are engaged in more than 200 clinical trials, investigating a broad spectrum of new diagnostic, prevention, and treatment strategies. The GI Oncology Program at Banner-UACC is nationally recognized and has been awarded the title, “Pancreatic Center of Excellence” through the National Pancreatic Foundation starting in 2015. Banner-UACC is also a translational center that has developed a range of new cancer treatment and preventive agents that has given rise to more than 17 companies. The Center’s translational/clinical, and cancer prevention research is carried out in four scientific programs; cancer prevention and control, cancer biology, cancer imaging, and therapeutic development. Learn more at: http://uacc.arizona.edu/
Heloisa Prado Soares, M.D., Ph.D.
Huntsman Cancer Institute at University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Dr. Heloisa Soares is a medical oncologist with a focus in GI cancers and neuroendocrine tumors. She is an assistant 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 hepato-pancreato-biliary (HPB) cancers as the major focus of her research and clinical activities. She serves 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), where she is also a member of the guidelines and communications committees. Additionally, she is a member of the NCI NET taskforce and member of SWOG and NRG cooperative groups. In 2018, Dr. Soares was named one of 40 Under 40 in Cancer, an awards program identifying and recognizing the contributions being made across the field of oncology by individuals under the age of 40 years old by the he Lynx Groupô and McGivney Global Advisors.
Dr. Soares is a passionate advocate to patients and has, along many other patient-centered activities, volunteered at the ASCO Advocacy Summit on Capital Hill and had the opportunity to meet members of congress and advocate to improve patient care. You can follow her on Twitter at @helops79.
About the Huntsman Cancer Center
Huntsman Cancer Instituteís mission is to understand cancer from its beginnings, to use that knowledge in the creation and improvement of cancer treatments, to relieve the suffering of cancer patients, and to provide education about cancer risk, prevention, and care. Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah is a nationally recognized research center and treatment hospital in Salt Lake City. We serve patients with all types of cancer, who come from throughout the Mountain West, including Utah and parts of Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming. Our doctors and scientists include world-renowned experts dedicated to the highest quality standards and driven by the commitment to improve the lives of people affected by cancer. Learn more at: https://healthcare.utah.edu/huntsmancancerinstitute/
Dr. Stacey Stein is Assistant Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology) and an expert in Cancer Clinical Trials in GI oncology. She joined the Yale faculty in October 2010 as an Assistant Professor of Medicine. She has focused her clinical expertise in hepatobiliary cancers. She is a member of the NCCN panel for hepatobiliary cancers and the NCI Hepatobiliary Task Force. Her Education & Training include an MD from University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (2004); an MMS from University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (2000). She did her Residency at Montefiore Medical Center and a Fellowship at New York University Medical Center. She is Board Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Internal Medicine & Medical Oncology (2010).
Yale Medical Group (YMG) is one of the largest academic multispecialty group practices in the United States. Our physicians are the clinical faculty for the Yale School of Medicine (YSM). We have over 1,000 practicing physicians, more than 100 specialties and subspecialties, 24/7 on-site and on-call coverage for numerous services, a reputation as a major referral center for Greater New Haven, Connecticut, and New England. We provide compassionate, individualized care to both adult and pediatric patients in a comfortable, professional environment. We listen carefully and provide explanations and answers while encouraging patients to participate in all medical decisions. We work in teams with specially trained nurses, social workers, technologists and other caregivers to support patients and family members before, during and after their visits. Learn more at: http://yalemedicalgroup.org
Dr. Weekes is Director of Medical Oncology Research for Pancreatic Cancer at MGH. He initially trained at the University of Nebraska Medical Center where he completed a combined M.D., Ph.D program. His graduate training was in cell biology and focused on lymphoma cell chemotherapy resistance. Following completion of medical school, he matriculated through an internal medicine residency at the University of Alabama Birmingham. Dr. Weekes focused on the translational research in the development of novel therapies for pancreatic cancer during his medical oncology fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Dr. Weekes has an active clinic focused on the management of all gastrointestinal malignancies with a focus on pancreas cancer patients and early phase clinical studies as part of the developmental therapeutics clinic. He currently, directs the pancreas cancer clinical trial program. Dr Weekes is an active member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).
Dr. Parikh is faculty at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in the Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancer and the Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies since 2016. After completion of her clinical oncology fellowship at UCSF she worked at Genentech briefly and became involved in drug development while retaining clinical and teaching responsibilities at UCSF. She was then recruited back to MGH, where she did her Internal Medicine residency. She leads the clinical research in non-hepatobiliary malignancies and is also the immunotherapy expert in the GI group and sits on the Severe Immunotherapy Toxicity Service Steering Committee. She leads the clinical efforts of the liquid biopsy program within Gastrointestinal Cancer Center that is a cornerstone of the GI program. The team is using liquid biopsies as a platform for understanding heterogeneous resistance mechanisms to targeted therapy and immunotherapy, tracking response to chemotherapy, targeted therapies and immunotherapy and in minimal residual disease after surgery. At MGH, she has focus on gastrointestinal cancers and developmental therapeutics and her research interests focus on colorectal and pancreatic cancer with the goal of identifying patient segments that will benefit most from targeted therapy and immunotherapy.
Massachusetts General Hospital has been ranked among the top five hospitals in the United States by U.S. News & World Report ever since the rankings began. In 2017, Mass General is recognized as #4 out of nearly 5,000 hospitals considered in the ranking; Mass General is the only hospital ranked in all 16 specialties considered by U.S. News & World Report, a testament to the breadth and depth of our expertise. Mass General patients rate their experiences with us very highly, with nearly all indicating they would be very likely to recommend us to others1. We also consistently achieve high ratings from professional organizations. They have been recognized by:
- The American Nurses Credentialing Center for our excellence in nursing as a Magnet hospital
- The Society of Thoracic Surgeons for our excellence in cardiothoracic surgery
- The Joint Commission for our excellence in stroke care with a Comprehensive Stroke Certification
- The Leapfrog Group for our quality and safety with an “A” grade in 2017
In addition, the clinicians and researchers are recognized at home and internationally for their contributions to the field. Learn more at: https://www.massgeneral.org/research/
Lei Zheng, M.D., Ph.D. and Nilofer Azad, M.D.
Johns Hopkins University Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD
Dr. Lei Zheng, MD, PhD is Associate Professor of Oncology at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center Dr. Zheng is one of the lead researchers on a project to use immunized sera from vaccinated patients to identify candidate pancreatic cancer associated proteins against which the immune system has been activated. Through this project, he has identified a molecular pathway that underlies the tumor-stroma interaction in the tumor’s microenvironment of pancreatic cancer. His current research interest is to further explore the roles of the pancreatic tumor’s microenvironment in developing immune tolerance and in supporting tumor growth, invasion and metastasis. His long-term goal is to develop novel therapeutics for pancreatic cancer by targeting tumor’s microenvironment and to conduct innovative “first in human” clinical trials. He is also the lead investigator on the development of vaccines and immune based therapies as pre-operative, post-operative, and long-term maintenance treatments for patients with pancreatic cancer. His clinical research interest is focused on developing multidisciplinary therapeutics in the pre-operative/neoadjuvant setting for patients with pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Nilofer S. Azad, MD is an Assistant Professor of Oncology at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Azad is board certified in medical oncology at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She received her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine and has been in practice for 14 years. She continued her education at Baylor, completing a residency in internal medicine. Dr. Azad then went on to the National Cancer Institute of National Institutes of Health to complete a fellowship in oncology and hematology. Dr. Azad joined the faculty at the Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2008. Her clinical expertise is in cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, with a particular concentration in colorectal and pancreatobiliary cancer. Her research efforts are dedicated to developing new drugs for patients with advanced cancer, with a focus on using epigenetic agents in combination with immunotherapy and other agents to improve survival for patients. She runs many clinical trials for patients with GI cancers, with particular emphasis on trials for advanced disease. She has led clinical trials for GI cancer patients as a member of the AACR Stand Up 2 Cancer Epigenetics Dream team as well as a Principal on the newly announced Colorectal Cancer SU2C Dream Team.
The Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM), headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is a $7 billion integrated global health enterprise and one of the leading health care systems in the United States. Johns Hopkins Medicine unites physicians and scientists of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with the organizations, health professionals and facilities of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System. Johns Hopkins Medicine’s vision, “Together, we will deliver the promise of medicine,” is supported by its mission to improve the health of the community and the world by setting the standard of excellence in medical education, research and clinical care. Diverse and inclusive, Johns Hopkins Medicine educates medical students, scientists, health care professionals and the public; conducts biomedical research; and provides patient-centered medicine to prevent, diagnose and treat human illness. Johns Hopkins Medicine operates six academic and community hospitals, four suburban health care and surgery centers, and 39 primary and specialty care outpatient sites. The Johns Hopkins Hospital, opened in 1889, has been ranked number one in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 22 years of the survey’s 25-year history, most recently in 2013. For more information, visit www.hopkinsmedicine.org/about/
The Johns Hopkins Colon Cancer Center is one of the world’s leading treatment and research centers for colon cancer. Johns Hopkins scientists were the first to discover its genetic culprits and revealed the first map of the colon cancer genome. No other medical center in the world treats as many patients for pancreatic cancer as the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. The Whipple procedure, the most aggressive and effective form of treatment, is a complicated surgical procedure performed more commonly here than in any other hospital in the world. We have taken the lead in the study and treatment of pancreatic cancer with the new discovery of the pancreatic cancer genes, the ongoing development of a cancer vaccine, studies of early, precancerous lesions and research into the best methods of performing pancreatic surgery.
Physicians at the Kimmel Cancer Center have remained at the forefront of the diagnosis and treatment of liver, bile duct, and gall bladder cancers through extensive research. New studies track the role environmental factors play in the development of bile duct and gallbladder cancers. Other studies continue to examine the role that estrogen plays in the development of these tumors. Physicians research the cause and prevention of gallstones, a major risk factor for gallbladder cancer and the reason this tumor occurs more often in women. New robotic methods of delivering treatments and biologic therapies are on the horizon.
Experts with the Esophageal Cancer Program at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center treat more esophageal cancer patients than any other local medical center. Our researchers are covering new ground in the treatment of all types of cancer, including esophageal cancer. The staff at Johns Hopkins are experts, in many cases nationally and internationally known, in esophageal cancer and how to treat it. The Johns Hopkins Cancer Surgery Second Opinion Program offers people recently diagnosed with esophageal or gastric cancer the ability to consult with some of the leading experts in cancer surgery.