Expediting Progress in Cancer Immunotherapy

Marie Recine- Hamilton Square, NJ
Breast Cancer

Marie has been a freelance medical writer for more than 20 years. She was diagnosed with DCIS, Stage 0 breast cancer, in 2012 at age 53. As part of her treatment, she received a HER-2 dendritic cell vaccine in Dr. Brian Czerniecki’s clinical trial at the University of Pennsylvania. She now volunteers with Pennies in Action, a 501c3 organization funding his research. Marie has a BS degree in Medical Technology and an MS degree in Microbiology & Immunology, as well as both clinical and research laboratory experience. She attended the National Breast Cancer Coalition's Leadership, Education, and Advocacy Development (Project LEAD) program in 2013. In 2014, she served as a Consumer Reviewer for the DoD BCRPF and a patient advocate on several applications. This year will be her second TRCCC meeting and she will be attending the Scientist Survivor Program at the AACR Annual Meeting in Philadelphia in April.

Cynthia Chauhan- Wichita, KS
Renal and Breast Cancer

Following her first cancer diagnosis in 1998 of  clear cell renal cell carcinoma, Cynthia learned she had breast cancer in 2001. Her treatments included kidney-nephrectomy, breast-lumpectomy and radiation. New this year to TRCCC, Cynthia is an experienced advocate. She has participated on panels; spoken to several audiences; attended North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG), a national clinical research group sponsored by the NCI; and RAN symposia and has served as a research advocate on several protocols. She currently volunteers approximately 100 hours per month.

Jacqueline M. Simon- Pittsburgh, PA
Breast Cancer

Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994 and again in 2010, Jackie underwent chemotherapy, partial mastectomy in 1994 and total mastectomy with reconstruction in 2010. A trained and experienced research advocate, Jackie wants to see more women of all races survive and become ambassadors for better cancer outcomes. She and her husband of 48 years have two sons, a daughter and four grandchildren. Jackie is a research specialist for the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. She is committed to telling everyone about the importance of breast health and reducing racial disparities through the African American Women’s Speakers Bureau and partnering with organizations including Susan G. Komen and American Cancer Society. This is Jackie’s third time at this meeting.


Delaney Erickson- Farmington Hills, MI
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Two years ago at age 22 and in her senior year of college, Delaney was diagnosed with Stage IV Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma with chemotherapy and radiation. While undergoing treatment, she completed her degree with honors, majoring in art, French and psychology. She is now employed as a coordinator in the Phase 1 Clinical Trials Office at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. This is Delaney’s first time formally participating as a research advocate at a conference.

Ruth A. Modzelewski, Ph.D.- Pittsburgh, PA
Breast Cancer

Ruth was 36 when diagnosed with breast cancer followed by a second primary breast cancer diagnosis in 2004. Treatments included lumpectomy, chemo, and radiation; and for the second bout, double mastectomy, reconstruction, hormone ablation, tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors. A faculty member in University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Medicine from 1985 through 2009, Ruth received her BS degree in biology from Carlow College and her Ph.D. in human genetics from the University of Pittsburgh. Ruth is a trained advocate who has served on several applications. Now, Mission Coordinator for Susan G. Komen for the Cure Pittsburgh, Ruth embraces her survivorship, translating it into work that delivers on Komen’s promise to end breast cancer forever. This is the third year she has co-chaired the TRCCC advocacy session..

Maureen Keenan Meldrum- Lanthrup Village, MI
Breast Cancer

In 1991 at 44, Mo was diagnosed with DCIS with micro-invasive components. She received a mastectomy and chemotherapy. Her Komen responsibilities include public policy/advocacy, community education, patient/family navigation and fundraising. She chairs Detroit’s annual 40,000-person Komen Race for the Cure and appears frequently in local media addressing breast cancer issues. She is a non-scientist member of Wayne State University’s IRB and has served as a research advocate on several grants. This is Mo’s third year as TRCCC advocate co-chair.

Marina Posvar- Pittsburg, PA
Breast Cancer

Marina was diagnosed with Paget’s Disease in 1994 at 39 when she was a single mother of sons ages 3 and 5; then again in 1999. She underwent a partial mastectomy, axillary node dissection, chemotherapy, radiation, double mastectomy and reconstruction. She is a patient navigator at Hillman Cancer Center UPMC Cancer Center/ UPCI where she helps patients and families get what they need at the center and in the community. Marina volunteers with the American Cancer Society (ACS) Cancer Action Network to strengthen public policy, works on the ACS Board of Directors, its Survivors Conference and provides peer support.

Shelley Dodt- Palm City, FL
Breast Cancer

Shelley was a vaccine trial participant for a DC vaccine at The University of Pennsylvania for DCIS/ Her2+ in 2009. She is the Florida Director of Pennies in Action, a 501c3 organization funding the research of Brian Czerniecki MD/PhD. She has been a consumer reviewer for the DoD BCRPF (2012) and a patient advocate on proposals for Brian Czerniecki, Kunle Odunsi, Julia Tchou and others. She has attended training by Alliance Clinical Trials, National Breast Cancer Coalition LEADS Project and NBCC Advocacy/Lobby, she attends the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Shelley is a full time graduate student at Saint Leo University in a Masters in Social Work program and hopes to work in Oncological Social Work. She attended the University of Miami's Alfus Healthcare Advocacy program and helps patients find immunotherapy clinical trials.This is Shelley’s 4rd time at TRCCC.

Translational Research Cancer Centers Consortium

Peggy Tate, RN- Pittsburgh, PA
Breast Cancer

Peggy was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 52. She underwent clinical surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Peggy has worked for 45 years as a registered nurse, including work as a case manager with United Health Care and 3 years as Regional Manager, Healthy First Step. She has experience in research advocacy and was the research Subject Advocate for Phase I gene therapy transfer trials at OSU.  Peggy is Vice President of African American Speakers Bureau which provides outreach, education and support to women with cancer. She is also a nurse educator for her church. Peggy works with the Ministers Wives Organization.

Anna Gutkina- Jenkintown, PA
Peritoneal Cancer

Following her diagnosis in 2009 at age 45, Anna’s year of treatment included 8 cycles of  intravenous/intraperitoneal taxol/carboplatin in a twice monthly combination, plus immunotherapy with dendritic cells and an additional 4 cycles of chemotherapy with taxotere. Anna has written a book to be published soon about her cancer vaccine. Her interests include science and technology and startups. With an MS in biochemistry and MBA in finance, Anna is interested in advocating for research and business development to bring immunotherapy solutions to the market. Anna recently published a new book titled Defusing the Cancer Bomb: How Cancer Saved my Life.

Copyright Translational Research Cancer Centers Consortium

Hiam Hamade, RN, MPH- Dearborn, MI
Breast Cancer

Born in Lebanon, is the Chronic Disease Prevention Programs Supervisor at ACCESS (Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services). In 2004, Hiam was diagnosed with breast DCIS. After, Hiam learned more about the health challenges of the Arab community in the U.S. and now works every day to help her community understand that cancer need not be a death sentence. She is a frequent local speaker and has also presented at conferences in the Middle East. She now concentrates on educating the Arab American community about clinical trials and the hope that they offer. Hiam has research advocacy training and experience and wants to do more for this understudied community. Hiam spoke at the 2013 TRCCC Advocate Session.

Translational Research Cancer Centers Consortium

Laura Cleveland- Powell, OH
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Diagnosed with CLL at age 36, Laura participated in a clinical trial (FCR) that is now considered standard of care for young people with CLL. Laura got her start in research advocacy with the NCI's cooperative groups. She now participates in the Alliance, OSU's leukemia SPORE, and serves on the NCI's central IRB. She is an invited speaker and session planner for the IOM and serves on the DSMC for the CLL Research Consortium. She has been a "hand holder" for may newly diagnosed cancer patients. Laura was a teacher and administrator for 17 years but now focuses on making the clinical trials process as understandable for patients as possible.