Two weeks ago, on April 8, 2013, our very own Komen Tissue Bank Big Three – Executive Director Dr. Anna Maria Storniolo, Consumer Advocate Connie Rufenbarger, and COO Jill Henry – traveled to Washington D.C. on a very special mission. After over a year of planning, the KTB Think Tank was actually happening. Like so many amazing ideas, this Think Tank sprouted from a “what if?” question. What if we asked well over thirty of the best research minds in the country to meet with us, with goals such as a) introducing key scientists to this unique resource, b) discussing ways to optimize its use, and c) discussing hypothesis-driven science?
We asked, and close to 100% of them came: a diverse group of scientists with lots of interest and some great ideas. We met in a lovely, unique dining room at the historic Morrison-Clark Inn, on a beautiful Spring day in D.C. with cherry blossoms in full bloom. A blog surely cannot capture the deep excitement of the ongoing, lively conversation or the riveting talks presented by Drs. Polyak, Tlsty, Radovich, and Sherman, all of whom have used our samples in research projects.
Many of the researchers who attended knew of us, but were unaware of the details that make us special. Through attending this Think Tank, they learned much more about us and became disciples ready to spread the word about the Komen Tissue Bank. The scientists also gave us valuable feedback about various ways we can enhance the value of the KTB and its samples.
Dr. Storniolo, Jill, and Connie were overwhelmed by the interest from the scientific community, and their support of what we are doing. Many of these researchers were already in Washington DC attending a major convention; they had multiple events which they could have attended but they chose ours. The scientists engaged in the discussions and contributed in a constructive way that could be as valuable as financial assistance to the Tissue Bank. We strongly believe that having held this Think Tank will move us into the next phase of development and growth.
The Komen Tissue Bank would like to thank Dr. Pat Loehrer and the IU Simon Cancer Center for helping to fund this pivotal event. We also want to extend our gratitude to all of the participants: Ben Anderson, Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Sunil Badve, IU Simon Cancer Center; Melissa Bondy, Baylor College of Medicine; Powel Brown, MD Anderson Cancer Center; Joan Brugge, Harvard medical School; Elizabeth Claus, Yale School of Public Health; Chad Creighton, Baylor College of Medicine; Connie Eaves, BC Cancer Agency; Joe Gray, Oregon Health and Sciences University; Sue Hankinson, UMass Amherst; Bella Kaufman, Chaim Sheba Medical Centre; Hari Nakshatri, IU Simon Cancer Center; Kornelia Polyak, Dana Farber Cancer Institute; Lajos Pusztai, Yale Cancer Center; Milan Radovich, IU Simon Cancer Center; Amelie Ramirez, University of Texas – San Antonio; Andrea Richardson, Dana Farber Cancer Institute; Kim Sabelko, Susan G. Komen for the Cure®; Bryan Schneider, IU Simon Cancer Center; Mark Sherman, National Cancer Institute; George Sledge, Stanford University; Christos Sotiriou, Institut Jules Bordet; Patty Spears, North Carolina State University; Pat Steeg, National Cancer Institute; Fraser Symmans, MD Anderson Cancer Center; Thea Tlsty, University of California – San Francisco; Melissa Troester, University of North Carolina; Laura Van’t Veer, University of California – San Francisco; Dan Von Hoff, Translational Genomics Research Institute; and Victoria Wolodzko, Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.