2019 Research Workshop Attendees - Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation

2019 Research Workshop Attendees

Benjamin Alman, MD, Professor & Chair, Orthopaedic Surgery, Duke University Health System

Dr. Alman is an orthopaedic clinician-scientist, whose research focuses on understanding role of developmentally important processes in pathologic and reparative process involving the musculoskeletal system. The long-term goal of his work is to use this knowledge to identify improved therapeutic approaches to orthopaedic disorders. He makes extensive use of genetically modified mice to model human disease, and has used this approach to identify new drug therapies for musculoskeletal tumors and to improve the repair process in cartilage, skin, and bone. He also works on cellular heterogeneity in sarcomas, and has identified a subpopulation of tumor initiating cells in musculoskeletal tumors. In this work, he also has identified specific cell populations that are responsible for joint and bone development. He has was recently recruited from the University of Toronto to Duke University to chair the department of orthopaedics, which was established in 2010, and includes a large musculoskeletal research component. He has half his time protected for his research work.  Dr. Alman is the Principal Investigator in the DTRF-funded collaborative project, “Collaboration for a Cure: Identifying new therapeutic targets for desmoid tumors.” Profile here.

Steven Attia, DO, Assistant Professor of Oncology, Mayo Clinic

Dr. Steven Attia is a medical oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. He is fellowship trained at the University of Wisconsin. His sole clinical and research focus is patients with desmoid tumor, sarcomas of soft tissue and bone including gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), as well as chordoma, epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (EHE) and other locally aggressive or malignant tumors of soft tissue and bone. He is the research chair for the Mayo Clinic Sarcoma Disease Oriented Group. Aside from clinical trials and patient care, Dr. Attia has an interest in optimizing the way patients with rare tumors are discussed. He chairs a first-in-kind, CME accredited, weekly international sarcoma tumor board which he founded in 2010 that connects 10 sarcoma centers in the United States and Europe by videoconference to review challenging cases seen at these centers. Profile here.

Jesse Boehm, PhD, Scientific Director, The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Jesse is the Associate Director of the Broad Institute’s Cancer Program and an Institute Scientist at the Broad. He leads a research laboratory focused on developing patient models from rare tumor types and genotypes (Cancer Cell Line Factory; CCLF) to support the Broad’s Dependency Map Initiative and assessing the function of novel cancer mutations as part of the Variant to Function (V2F) initiative. The Boehm Lab has an ultimate goal of making “precision functional genomics” a reality for cancer patients. Jesse received his B.S. in biology from MIT and his Ph.D. from Harvard University, Division of Medical Sciences. Profile here.

Audrey Helaine, Vice President of SOS Desmoide France

Bernd Kasper, MD, PhD, Professor, Mannheim University Medical Center, Interdisciplinary Tumor Center, Sarcoma Unit

Prof. Bernd Kasper studied Medicine at the University of Heidelberg. In 2001, he finalised his thesis at the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) dealing with new treatment strategies for chronic myelogenous leukaemia patients using the tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib. To deepen his training, he stayed in London (Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, Department of Haematology) and Brussels (Jules Bordet Institute, Medical Oncology Clinic). In 2007 and 2008, he specialized in Internal Medicine and Medical Haematology/Oncology at the Department of Internal Medicine V at the University of Heidelberg. Currently, he works together with Prof. Peter Hohenberger at the Sarcoma Unit at the Interdisciplinary Tumor Center Mannheim (ITM) at the Mannheim University Medical Center, University of Heidelberg. Since 2011, he is leading the ITM. His special interest lies in the treatment of patients with bone and soft tissue sarcomas including GIST and desmoids. He is head of the study center of the German Interdisciplinary Sarcoma Group (GISG) and Secretary of the Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group (STBSG) of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC). Bernd Kasper is actively involved in patient advocacy work on the national as well as international level as a board member of Sarcoma Patients EuroNet (SPAEN). Profile here.

Raphael Pollock, MD, PhD, FACS, Director, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Raphael Pollock is Professor and Director of the Division of Surgical Oncology at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and holds the Kathleen Wellenreiter Klotz Chair in Cancer Research. He also serves at Surgeon in Chief for the James Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Ohio State University Health System. Dr. Pollock’s work focuses on soft tissue sarcoma. His laboratory research activities are examining multiple facets of the molecular drivers underlying soft tissue sarcoma inception focus on soft tissue sarcoma, a rare cancer in adults but rather prevalent in children. He has published widely on sarcoma surgery and treatment, and his funded research includes sarcoma molecular biology and the development of novel therapeutics for this group of diseases. His laboratory work involves the discovery of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes in soft tissue sarcoma. He is principal investigator of an $11.5 million National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant to support collaborative sarcoma translational research. The NCI Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant, awarded to the Sarcoma Alliance for Research for Collaboration, represents the largest award ever to study sarcoma. Profile here.

Brad Tumminello, PharmD, Senior Director, US MSL Lead, SpringWorks Therapeutics


Hilly van der Zande, Co-Founder, Contactgroup Desmoid 

Representative of Contactgroup Desmoid for Dutch patients.

Kim van der Zande, Co-Founder, Contactgroup Desmoid 

Representative of Contactgroup Desmoid for Dutch patients.

Aaron Weiss, DO, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Maine Medical Center

Dr. Weiss graduated from the University of Rochester in 1994 and subsequently earned his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1999. He completed a pediatric emphasis internship at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine/Albert Einstein Medical Center in 2000 followed by a pediatric residency at the AI duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE in 2003. He then went on to complete a pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN in 2006. He subsequently spent six years as an attending pediatric hematologist-oncologist at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey/University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Jersey Shore University Medical Center. In 2012, Dr. Weiss joined the Maine Children’s Cancer Program at Maine Medical Center in Portland, ME. Dr. Weiss has particular interest in pediatric sarcomas. He has co-authored a number of publications on this subject and is currently involved in conducting pediatric clinical trials both locally and nationally in the fields of desmoid tumor and non-rhabdomyosarcoma soft tissue sarcoma. He is the Principal Investigator of the DTFR-funded project: Deregulated mTOR in Desmoid-type Fibromatosis: Identification and Validation of a New Therapeutic Target. Profile here.