New Scientific Advisory Board Will Help RefleXion Advance Multidisciplinary Cancer Care and Metastatic Cancer Treatment
December 13, 2021
In October, RefleXion Medical introduced its new scientific advisory board (SAB), comprising 10 medical experts from radiation oncology, medical oncology and nuclear medicine. The SAB will provide guidance on how to develop unique treatment approaches for patients with all stages of cancer.
“Our goal is to provide a pan-cancer platform that has the potential to address any malignancy at any stage,” said Sean Shirvani, M.D., RefleXion’s chief medical officer. “Since cancer care is multidisciplinary, it made sense to establish a scientific advisory board with deep and broad knowledge across multiple specialties to support our thinking and decision-making around clinical applications and clinical investigations.”
Creating a diverse team of experts dedicated to treating cancer patients and improving survivorship outcomes makes sense for the company. Dr. Shirvani explained that the new SAB “mirrors the clinical versatility of the X1 system and the multidisciplinary teamwork that characterizes modern cancer treatment.” The experts can also offer insights as RefleXion pioneers biology-guided radiotherapy* (BgRT) as a new modality that may one day treat all stages of cancer.
“We are fortunate to have on our SAB some of the foremost clinical trialists in metastatic cancer—including investigators who have conducted seminal, practice-defining trials in metastatic lung, breast, and prostate cancer,” said Dr. Shirvani.
Being able to provide treatment to patients with metastatic cancer has been one of RefleXion’s overarching goals since its inception. Each SAB member can draw from their clinical research and technical knowledge to help the company achieve that objective. “We are fortunate to have on our SAB some of the foremost clinical trialists in metastatic cancer—including investigators who have conducted seminal, practice-defining trials in metastatic lung, breast, and prostate cancer,” said Dr. Shirvani. “This practical experience and track record, along with the fact that these individuals come from different medical specialties, will be critical in informing optimal clinical trial designs that use the RefleXion system to combine systemic therapy and radiotherapy in advanced cancer.”
The SAB members are highly respected and distinguished clinicians and researchers with impeccable credentials. In particular, their knowledge about the biology and treatment of advanced cancer across many disease categories will prove invaluable. The SAB’s 10 members include:
Dwight E. Heron, M.D., M.B.A., system medical director for Oncology Services for Bon Secours Mercy Health System and director of the Radiosurgery Institute at Mercy St. Elizabeth-Youngstown. His research centers on PET/CT for staging and managing cancer, and stereotactic radiosurgery for brain, head and neck, lung, pancreas and liver tumors. He is president-elect of the American College of Radiation Oncology.
Kristin Higgins, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, where she specializes in the treatment of thoracic malignancies. Her research work includes clinical trial development including novel radiation therapy and drug combinations. She leads clinical trials within NRG Oncology and is an international expert in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer.
Robert D. Timmerman, M.D., professor of Radiation Oncology and Neurosurgery, and interim chair of Radiation Oncology and Effie Marie Cain Distinguished Chair in Cancer Therapy Research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. After treating thousands of patients with brain tumors using highly potent and focused stereotactic radiotherapy, he helped pioneer translation of this approach to lung, liver, spine, breast, and prostate tumors as principal or co-investigator on prospective trials evaluating efficacy and toxicity of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy.
Phuoc T. Tran, M.D., Ph.D., professor and Vice Chair for Research of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland Medical System. Dr. Tran’s research focuses on the improvement of clinical radiotherapy for the treatment of primarily prostate, as well as adrenal, bladder, penile, testicular and urethral cancer. His laboratory focus their studies on tumor cell epithelial plasticity – the transitions between epithelial and mesenchymal cellular states and the implications of these transitions for tumorigenesis, cancer treatment resistance and radiation-induced fibrosis.
James Welsh, M.D., a tenured professor and physician scientist at MD Anderson Cancer Center and director of the Immune Radiation program. His research centers on using radiation to turn the tumor into an “in-situ” vaccine to prime T cells, thus turning radiation into a systemic therapy. He specializes in checkpoint inhibitor resistance and has developed a novel way of using “low” dose radiation to overcome barriers of the tumor stroma to pull immune cells into solid tumors.
John Heymach, M.D., Ph.D., department chair of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. His laboratory focuses on the mechanisms of therapeutic resistance to targeted agents, the regulation of angiogenesis in lung cancer, and developing biomarkers to select patients likely to benefit from targeted agents and immunotherapy.
Jason Luke, M.D., director of the Cancer Immunotherapeutics Center at University of Pittsburgh Hillman Cancer Center and associate professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. He is an internationally recognized clinical and translational investigator in cancer drug development, particularly immunotherapy, and has been at the forefront of studying multi-site irradiation in combination with immuno-oncology combination therapies.
Melinda Telli, M.D., associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology at Stanford University School of Medicine and director of the Breast Cancer Program at the Stanford Cancer Institute. Her research focuses on developing novel therapies for the treatment of triple-negative and hereditary breast cancer.
Chaitanya Divgi, M.D., a nuclear oncologist with over 30 years of academic experience, including tenures at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. He is a leader in the assessment of imaging (multi-modality and modality-agnostic) for developing cancer therapeutics and an expert in radiopharmaceutical production.
Martin Pomper, M.D., Ph.D., a Henry N. Wagner, Jr. M.D. professor, director of the Division of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging and associate dean for Entrepreneurship and Technology Development at Johns Hopkins Medical School. He is internationally known for developing new radiopharmaceuticals, including imaging and therapeutic agents targeting the prostate-specific membrane antigen. His research also includes developing new imaging agents for central nervous system disease and other disorders.
RefleXion is honored to have these esteemed professionals as members of its SAB and looks forward to their guidance and contributions to improving multidisciplinary cancer care and developing biology-guided radiotherapy as an option for all stages of cancer.