Sunday, June 2nd , 2019

Dr. Sewa S. Legha: IACA Life Time Achievement Award

Dr. Legha graduated from the Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, India before completing his Internship in Internal medicine at the St. Francis General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA and Residency in Internal Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee County General Hospital, Milwaukee, WI. Following a two year Fellowship in Cancer Therapy at the National Institute of Health, Bethesda, M.D., Dr. Legha began his long association with the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas, Houston, TX, first as a Clinical Fellow in the Department of Developmental Therapeutics and thereafter as a Faculty Associate, Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medical Oncology and Chief of Melanoma/Sarcoma.

Since 1999, he has served as Clinical Professor of Medicine, Hematology-Oncology at Baylor College of Medicine and St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Houston. TX and since 2007, he has also served as Senior Director of Field Medical Relations, Medical Affairs-Oncology at Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals.



Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

  1. Dr. Sattva S. Neelapu: IACA Outstanding Achievement Award


Dr. Sattva S. Neelapu is a tenured Professor, Deputy Chair and Director of Translational Research Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA. He is internationally recognized for his research in tumor immunology and immunotherapy in lymphoid malignancies. After graduating from medical school at the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Pondicherry, India, he moved to the United States for internal medicine residency at the Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, where he also served as a Chief Medical Resident. He completed his clinical fellowship in Medical Oncology and postdoctoral fellowship in tumor immunology and immunotherapy at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. As a physician scientist at MD Anderson, he is focused on clinical and translational development of novel immunotherapies for B-cell malignancies. His laboratory characterized some of the major immunosuppressive mechanisms in the tumor microenvironment of B-cell malignancies, identified TCL1 as a novel shared tumor associated antigen for B-cell lymphomas, and investigated novel targets for CAR T-cell therapy in lymphoma and myeloma. His clinical research initially focused on the development of therapeutic vaccines for lymphoid malignancies and he conducted some of the first immune checkpoint inhibitor trials in lymphoma. Most recently, his work on the pivotal trial of axicabtagene ciloleucel CD 19 CAR T-cell therapy in aggressive B-cell lymphomas led to its FDA approval as the first CAR T therapy for lymphoma. His laboratory research is supported by multiple peer-reviewed grants from the National Cancer Institute, Department of Defense, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas. Dr. Neelapu has authored or co-authored over 150 publications. 


2. Dr. Manoj Mahajan: IACA Rising Star Award

Dr. Manoj U. Mahajan is a Consultant at the Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology at GBH Memorial Cancer Hospital and Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at AIIMS Udaipur, Rajasthan University, India. He completed his Oncology- Hematology training at the Army Hospital, Research and Referral in New Delhi. Prior to this, he received his internal medicine residency at the Kamalnayan Bajaj Hospital in Aurangabad, Maharashtra where he worked extensively in the department of Nephrology. He has also worked in N.M. Wadia institute of Cardiology in Pune. Dr. Mahajan has worked in the field of cancer screening and treatment since his tenure in Udaipur. In last 3 years he has dedicated his time towards improving the skills of paramedical professionals, ensuring standard of care for all cancer patients and creating awareness about cancer survivorship among his peers as well as the general population. 

He also successfully implemented Project Life, a collaborative project between the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the Indo- American Cancer Association (IACA) and AIIMS Udaipur. He was invited by IARC to Lyon in France for the critical analysis of the project, which used five pronged approach for screening of non communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes and cervical, breast and oral cancer. He is also involved in implementation of the breast cancer screening project by using innovative noninvasive technique by using breastlight in collaboration with IARC, WHO. His role has been pivotal in a CANCER OUT campaign with TATA been pivotal in a CANCER OUT campaign with TATA TRUST for awareness of cancer screening in southern part of Rajasthan. He has received the Mewar Healthcare Achievers Award 2018 for his contribution in the field of Oncology.



Sunday, December 2nd, 2018

  1. Dr. Navneet Majhail: IACA Life Time Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to hematooncology.

Dr. Navneet Majhail is the Director of the Blood & Marrow Transplant Program at the Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland Clinic and Professor of Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. He has received medical training at the Government Medical College in Chandigarh (India), the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi (India), the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. After completing his fellowship training in Hematology Oncology, Dr Majhail joined the faculty of University of Minnesota's Blood and Marrow Transplant Program. Subsequently, and prior to joining the Cleveland Clinic, he was Medical Director, Health Services Research with the National Marrow Donor Program and Scientific Director with the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research. Dr Majhail specializes in the care of adult patients receiving blood and marrow transplantation. His research focuses on health services and health policy issues, outcomes, and quality of life and survivorship in patients receiving blood and marrow transplantation and cell therapy. He presently serves as the President-Elect of the American Society for Blood
and Marrow Transplantation.

2. Dr. Preetesh Jain: IACA Rising Star Award in hematology oncology.


Dr. Jain is a 2nd year Clinical Fellow in Medical
Oncology at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in  Houston, TX. He completed his residency in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas, McGovern Medical School (Houston, Texas). He is deeply involved in pursuing clinical and translational research activities in the field of hematologic malignancies and will continue the rest of his career as a clinical investigator and translational researcher in particular in lymphoid malignancies. Dr. Jain is committed to working in malignant hematology in an academic cancer center. Overall, his goal is to pursue clinical and translational research activities in the field of lymphoma and develop his career as a clinical investigator in mantle cell lymphoma, CLL/SLL and low grade lymphoma with a focus on transformed lymphomas and pathogenic relevance of lymphoid tissue microenvironment in disease progression and treatment resistance. 

In the next 10 years, he is dedicated to pursue his clinical career primarily focusing on developing clinical trials and pursue clinico-pathologic projects involving prognostic biomarkers for predicting lymphoma transformation (such as NSD2 gene), role of mutation dynamics in transformed lymphoma, evaluate clonal evolution, resistance from newer treatments, understanding of the microenvironmental heterogeneity, cytokine/chemokine milieu in lymphoid malignancies (mantle cell, CLL and low grade lymphomas).


Saturday, June 3rd 2017

  1. Dr. Ravi Salgia: IACA Outstanding Award for Contribution to Oncology

Dr. Ravi Salgia has over 25 years of experience in
translational research and the development of targeted therapies to improve the quality of life and survival of cancer patients, especially as related to small cell lung cancer.  Dr.Salgia was the first to clone the focal adhesion protein paxillin and also localize the gene to 12q24. His laboratory also identified the gain-of-function mutations of paxillin in lung cancer. He went on to define receptor tyrosine kinases and have identified unique targets in lung cancer such as MET/RON and EPHB4 receptor tyrosine kinases. In fact his laboratory elucidated the exon 14 skipping of MET in small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer that has treatment implications in EGFR mutation lung cancer. He and his group have also developed a large bioinformatics database for thoracic oncology. He is internationally known for his scientific accomplishments, and serves as a chartered member of NIH/NCI's Clinical Oncology Study Section, was elected as the Translational Science Representative on the Thoracic Malignancy Steering Committee of the NCI, and previously served on the NIH Tumor Progression and Metastasis Study Section. At the City of Hope he has developed a large informatics database in thoracic malignancies that is available on the iBridge network.

2. Dr. Rachna Shroff: IACA Rising Star Award for Contribution to Oncology

Dr. Rachna Shroff is an Assistant Professor in Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center and she has been part of faculty since completing her fellowship in 2010. Since then, she has developed a niche as a clinical researcher who specializes in treating pancreatic and biliary tract cancers. In her short tenure on faculty, Dr. Shroff has established herself as an expert in the field of biliary cancers and has been the Principal Investigator on a number of national trials in this area.
Dr. Shroff has played a pivotal role in designing studies for novel therapies in this orphan disease, including an ongoing phase II trial of nab-paclitaxel with gemcitabine and cisplatin for newly diagnosed biliary cancers. This study has demonstrated impressive early results and she is currently leading the next phase of the study through SWOG. Dr. Shroff is also leading studies investigating the potential role for immunotherapy in biliary cancers. She is working with collaborators in MD Anderson's Department of Translational and Molecular Pathology to immunoprofile over 100 resected surgical specimens of cholangiocarcinoma to characterize the immune milieu of these cancers. This will dovetail well into a study that she is leading which combines pembrolizumab and T-VEC in cholangiocarcinoma.



Saturday, December 9 th , 2017

  1. Dr. Sagar Lonial : IACA Outstanding Achievement Awards in Hematology

1. Dr. Sagar Lonial is the Chair of the Department of Hematology & Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine and Chief Medical Officer at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. He is internationally recognized as a leading authority in multiple myeloma treatment and research. He completed his Hematology-Oncology training at Emory University, and prior to that received his internal medicine residency at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. There he spent an additional year as a Chief Medical Resident at the Ben Taub General Hospital as well as the Texas Heart Institute and St. Luke’s Hospital. Dr. Lonial has worked in the field of immunotherapy and cancer since his arrival at Emory, and in the previous 3 years has spent time developing the B-cell malignancy program with respect to novel targeted agents in laboratory models as well as early clinical trials. Dr. Lonial’s previous laboratory work has focused on evaluating the impact of purified dendritic cell subsets on the nature of immune responses against antigen, and he has completed several trials evaluating the impact of cytokines on dendritic cell content and post transplant immune recovery. Most recently, Dr. Lonial has focused on combinations of novel agents as therapy for myeloma and lymphoma, particularly evaluating combinations that may result in synergistic inhibition of the PI3-K/Akt pathway. His lab has recently received funding from the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, the Lymphoma Research Foundation, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Dr. Lonial has authored or coauthored over 200 peer-reviewed publications.


2. Dr. Vikram Mathews: IACA Outstanding Achievement Awards in Hematology

Dr. Vikram Mathews is the Head of the Department of Hematology at Christian Medical College, Vellore. He is internationally recognized as a leading authority in leukemia treatment and research. Following completion of his specialty training in Clinical Hematology under the guidance of Dr. Mammen Chandy, he spent three years in Washington University in St. Louis as a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Timothy Graubert and Dr. John DiPersio. During this period, Dr. Mathews was trained in stem cell and leukemia biology and was involved in establishing mouse models of some of these conditions and in evaluating stem cell plasticity. He has since worked and published on various aspects of diagnosis, prognostication, and treatment of acute leukemia in India. An innovative therapeutic strategy and novel protocol of using arsenic trioxide as frontline therapy in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) was reported by Dr. Mathews’ team. Dr. Mathews has conducted both single and multi-center clinical trials with this agent in India. The cost effective therapy has been widely cited and was instrumental in moving this drug to frontline therapy worldwide in the treatment of APL. He is currently involved in evaluation of mechanisms of resistance in leukemia with a focus on the role of microenvironment on drug resistance leukemia. Dr. Mathews has published their work on the mechanism of resistance to arsenic mediated by the environment and strategies that can overcome it in Leukemia 30(11), 2169-2178. Dr. Mathews and his team have translated this work into an ongoing clinical trial and reported on promising data from that study in Blood 128(22), 446-446.

3. Dr. Naval Daver: IACA Rising Star Award

 Dr. Naval Daver completed his fellowship and joined the UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s Leukemia Department in 2011 as an Assistant Professor. His primary areas of interest are AML and MPNs. He is currently PI on 12 ongoing clinical trials (7 of these are investigator initiated studies) and Co-PI on >15 trials in the Department of Leukemia. These trials focus on developing a personalized therapy approach by targeting specific mutations or antigens expressed by patients with AML and myelofibrosis, identifying novel combinations of these targeted and novel cytotoxic agents, and overcoming mechanism of resistance. On a translational level, Dr. Daver’s research focuses on the resistance mechanisms that are at work in various therapies with the objective that they can tailor therapy for the individual patient and develop combination therapies to improve efficacy of single agents. Dr. Daver has published 97 peer-reviewed manuscripts, including 30 first author publications in the last 4.5 years mainly focusing on molecular and combination therapy strategies in AML and MPNs. The role of immune therapies including checkpoint therapies, vaccines, CAR-T cell therapies in AML remain poorly defined. Dr. Daver and his colleagues have developed one of the largest immunotherapy for hematologic malignancies programs in the country with 12 checkpoint inhibitor trials, DC vaccine trials, and is leading this program with Dr. Kantarjian in the Department of Leukemia at MDACC.