Contact: Andrea Greif
White Plains, NY (September 2, 2015) – The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is proud to honor the memory of the late renowned hematologic oncologist Robert Arceci, M.D., Ph.D., by presenting a grant in his name to a young emerging scientist.
Dr. Arceci, a physician/scientist who served as a clinical advisor for LLS and researched novel therapeutics for leukemia patients, died in a tragic motorcycle accident on his way to work at Phoenix Children’s Hospital on June 8.
Arceci, director of the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders Hematology/Oncology at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, devoted much of his 30-year academic career to improving treatment options for children and adolescents with cancer.
Arceci had a long history with LLS, receiving a Translational Research Program grant in 1998 to pursue an immunotherapy technique to augment current treatments for leukemia. As a clinical advisor, he reviewed publications, presented at patient and professional telephone/web education programs, and spoke on behalf of LLS at professional events. He also authored many published scholarly works and served as a reviewer for several distinguished journals.
Lee Greenberger, Ph.D., LLS’s chief scientific officer, jointly published several papers with Arceci on resistance to cancer drugs.
“Dr. Arceci had a remarkable career,” Greenberger said. “He was highly regarded for his insight into childhood hematological malignancies and his unusual gift for helping young patients and their families through a most difficult period. He was an incredible human being, researcher, and physician. Through his research, and his involvement with LLS’s patient information and education programs, Bob’s impact was felt in many different ways by the patients we serve.”
The five-year $550,000 Robert Arceci Career Development Program (CDP) Award has been presented to Benjamin Garcia, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, to support his work seeking to use state-of-the-art techniques to understand the mechanisms by which abnormalities in the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene play a role in a very high-risk form of leukemia. The CDP award is intended to promote the careers of emerging investigators with great potential to contribute to the advancement of new therapies to treat hematological malignancies.
At the time of his death, Arceci was co-principal investigator of the NCI TARGET initiative in childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML) genetics and epigenetics.
“MLL is a frequently mutated gene in high-risk childhood cancers,” Greenberger said. “It is therefore most fitting and appropriate that LLS selected Dr. Garcia to receive this award.”
Dr. Arceci earned both his medical degree and his doctorate in molecular and developmental biology from the University of Rochester. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and his fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He remained at Harvard as an attending physician in pediatrics through 1994.
After his experience at Harvard, Dr. Arceci became a professor and director of pediatric hematology and oncology of the Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He joined Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2000 as director of pediatric oncology, and in 2013, relocated to Phoenix as a professor of pediatrics at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
He maintained an active research laboratory and clinical practice, and taught numerous students. He published over 140 papers, served as editor-in-chief of the journal Pediatric Blood & Cancer for the past nine years, and was co-editor of Cancer Genomics: From Bench to Personalized Medicine.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.
Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.