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May 2016

Two Pathology Faculty Named ASCP 40 Under Forty Honorees


We are pleased to announce that two Pathology faculty from URMC have been named to the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) 2016 40 Under Forty List.

Drs. Jennifer Findeis-Hosey and Raul Gonzalez have been chosen from a pool of national candidates.

“I think it’s outstanding that two of our faculty are paving the way for others in the field of pathology,” said Dr. Bruce Smoller, Pathology Department Chair.

About the award:

Each year, the ASCP chooses 40 members under the age of 40 whose achievements and leadership qualities are making a significant impact on the fields of pathology and laboratory medicine. This year’s number of applicants was the largest and most competitive yet.

About the honorees:

FHDr. Jennifer Findeis-Hosey, 36, joined the University as an assistant professor in 2012. She is a gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary pathologist with a research focus on Lynch syndrome.

Her research at URMC extends from immunohistochemical markers of Lynch syndrome to the development of a multidisciplinary high risk colorectal carcinoma program. She serves as the director of pathology curriculum for the UR School of Medicine and oversees high school and undergraduate students in the Pathology Information Technology program.

She earned her B.S. from Bucknell University and M.D. from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. She completed her residency at URMC and Surgical Pathology fellowship at the University of Michigan. A native of State College, Pa., she and her husband Dan live in Pittsford with their children, Emily, 7, and William, 2.

RGDr. Raul Gonzalez, 34, joined the University in 2014 as an assistant professor. He specializes in gastrointestinal (GI) pathology. He has done much collaborative research in the field, with a focus on subtypes of colorectal carcinoma; he has published findings on adenoma-like adenocarcinoma and micropapillary carcinoma.

He trained at Emory University for residency, where he also earned his B.S. He completed fellowships in surgical and GI pathology at Vanderbilt University, where he was also an instructor. His M.D. is from the Medical College of Georgia, in his home state.

This year, he co-authored a textbook on non-neoplastic liver disease scheduled to be released in June. He was recently named the co-director of the GI pathology fellowship and teaches pathology residents and graduate students. He and his wife Lindsey live in Rochester.


Labs Play Critical Role in Lymphoma Immunotherapy Trial


pbmcUR Medicine Central Labs and UR Medicine Labs have been providing essential, behind-the-scenes services for sites across the U.S. participating in a clinical trial for cancer immunotherapy.

An Elmira man was featured in the local news because he was the first person enrolled at the Wilmot Cancer Institute to participate in the national clinical study of CAR T-cell therapy, which uses a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. The trial is limited to people with certain types of lymphoma who have not responded to conventional treatment, and who meet strict eligibility criteria.

UR Medicine labs first partnered with a pharmaceutical company in 2015 to adapt and validate as assay for the presence and quantity of CAR19 T-cells in a patient’s blood, based on an a model developed by the National Cancer Institute. Since then the UR labs team has worked to refine and validate the assay for large-scale implementation.

The immunotherapy trial is designed to manipulate the body’s built-in defense mechanisms to fight cancer. Regular antibodies can be effective in fighting infection but are not so useful in killing tumor cells. Research has shown that a certain type of lymphocytes (a disease-fighting category of white blood cells) called T lymphocytes can target and kill lymphoma cells.

ryanThese "T-cells" must first receive permission from the body to fight, however. The patient's T-cells are introduced to DNA that first incorporates itself into their genome to produce a new protein – a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) – that activates each cell, giving it the ability to detect and bind to a lymphoma cell. 

"You're bypassing a lot of the regulatory checks and balances that have prevented previous attempts to generate tumor-killing T-cells," said Dr. Dan Ryan, director of Central Labs. "If (the cells) don't become activated, they die off." 

Bill Crowe and Paul Rothberg from the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory are leaders of the group that expanded the NCI test. Central Labs closely monitors test results from participating patient treatment sites across the U.S., and a vast network of lab professionals completes a series of time-sensitive steps. 

kitbuildingStaff at Ridgeland Road assembles and sends out testing kits to each treatment site. The blood samples are then received via mail by Specimen Logistics staff six days a week. Technologists at the Tissue Typing Lab at Strong Memorial Hospital, Lymphoma/Leukemia Tissue Bank (SMH), Hematology Lab and Microarray Lab (Ridgeland) are responsible for processing and freezing all of the peripheral blood mononuclear cell blood tubes (PBMCs) for storage.  

Phil Rock is a lab technician at SMH whose duties include tracking frozen samples for the CAR T-cell trial. He says the number of samples has skyrocketed since the trial began, which is a positive sign for immunotherapy.

"I think this trial, and the fact that (Central Labs) is growing is great for the department," said Rock. "I enjoy it immensely because having a hand in it allows me to use things that I went to school for and I've been trained to do that previously had no application."  

In photos:

Top: Clinical tech specialist, Jonathan Hoffmann, treats PBMC samples in the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) Laboratory at URMC. Middle: Dr. Dan Ryan, director of UR Medicine Central Labs, which coordinates participation in clinical trials. Bottom: UR Medicine Central Labs kit production coordinator Deidra Davis, left, and Morgan Devaney.

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