Congratulations to the NRG Oncology Members Assigned to NCI Gastrointestinal Task Forces

November 11 2021

The following NRG Oncology Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer Committee members have recently been appointed or had their appointments renewed to serve on the National Cancer Institute (NCI) GI Task Force for pancreatic cancers. Members involved in this task force will meet to discuss concepts and make recommendations for clinical trial planning within their disease subtype.

Joseph M. Herman, MD

Dr. Herman is a Radiation Oncologist and a professor at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra for Northwell Health. He is also the Vice Chair of Clinical Informatics for Radiation Medicine and the Director of Clinical Research Integration for the Northwell Health Cancer Institute. Dr. Herman is also affiliated with the Long Island Jewish Medical Center and the North Shore University Hospital.

Dr. Herman specializes in the treatment of pancreatic and hepatobiliary malignances with a focus on bile duct and biliary tract cancers, colorectal cancers, sarcoma, rectal cancer, and malignant neoplasm of the liver, pancreas, and anus. His educational background is in epidemiology, preventive medicine, and healthcare management and his residency was in radiation oncology.

In addition to his involvement in the NRG Oncology Gastrointestinal Cancer Committee, Dr. Herman previously co-Directed the Pancreatic Multidisciplinary Clinic at Johns Hopkins University and is currently the Principal Investigator on several gastrointestinal protocols. He has published over 250 peer-reviewed research articles.

Parag J. Parikh, MD

Dr. Parikh is the Director of MR Guided Radiation Therapy and Gastrointestinal Radiation Oncology at the Henry Ford Cancer Institute. He leads the longest-running clinical MRI linear accelerator program worldwide. He currently is leading a multi-institutional trial of MR-guided adaptive radiation for inoperable pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Parikh specializes in treating gastrointestinal cancers including a focus on prevention, over-irradiation of the stomach or intestines, and methods to decrease the duration of radiation therapy for both pancreatic and rectal cancer. Additionally, Dr. Parikh has the experience of being a patient himself, which has helped him in his ability to develop strong physician-patient relationships. His education and residency were at Washington University in St. Louis.

In addition to his service on the NRG Oncology Gastrointestinal Cancer Committee, Dr. Parikh is also involved with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Gastrointestinal Faculty Committee, the American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology and Biology, and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.

“Though it’s been 30 years since I was a patient myself; I never have forgotten a day of that experience. It’s exciting to move the field forward and work with so many leaders through the NCI Pancreatic Task Force, ” stated Dr. Parikh.

Nina Sanford, MD

Dr. Sanford is the Chief of Gastrointestinal Radiation Oncology Services and an Assistant Professor at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center as well as the Dedman Family Scholar in Clinical Care.

She specializes in gastrointestinal cancers and her interests include health disparities, optimizing and individualizing radiation therapy in the non-operative management of rectal cancer, the epidemiology and biology of young onset colorectal cancer, and the microbiome response to radiotherapy across gastrointestinal cancer sites. She is actively involved in several clinical trials of adaptive radiation therapy and in combining radiation therapy and immunotherapy. She completed her medical training at Harvard, followed by a residency in radiation oncology at Massachusetts General - Brigham.

In addition to her involvement with the NRG Oncology Gastrointestinal Cancer Committee, Dr. Sanford is a member of the NRG Health Disparities Committee and the NRG Early Career New Investigator Committee. Dr. Sanford is also affiliated with ASCO and the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO). She is also avidly passionate about mentoring young women involved in science and medicine careers.

“It’s such a huge honor to serve as an Early Career Investigator for the NCI Pancreatic Task Force and I thank my mentors for nominating me for this role. In this position, I get to witness firsthand how potentially practice-changing trials in pancreatic cancer are conceived and developed. I get to hear the thought processes of leaders in the field across disciplines – these are folks I have looked up to since I was a PGY-1 resident! I’ve already learned so much from attending the monthly meetings,” remarked Dr. Sanford.

Richard Tuli, MD, PhD

Dr. Tuli is Professor and Chair of the Dept. of Radiation Oncology at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. He is also the Director of Radiation Oncology and Deputy Director of the Cancer Institute at Tampa General Hospital.

Dr. Tuli has a long-standing interest in the research and treatment of gastrointestinal cancers. He has developed and served as PI of several clinical trials related to pancreatic and rectal cancers, is an active member of NRG GI Cancer and Developmental Therapeutics Committees, the NCI Pancreas Task Force, the NCI-CIRB and others. His research is focused on integrating novel molecular and targeted therapies with state-of-the-art radiation technologies for the treatment of pancreatic and other GI cancers.

His education, residency, and training have spanned various institutions, including the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, the National Institutes of Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where he served as Chief Resident, Radiation Oncology. Dr. Tuli remains extensively involved in mentoring students, trainees and junior faculty.

"Improving the lives of our pancreas cancer patients remains of utmost importance and a formidable challenge. Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month reaffirms our commitment to bringing the most clinically relevant and practice changing advances forward. The NCTN, and particularly the 1900 plus NRG member and affiliate sites, allows us to engage our pancreatic cancer patients in a meaningful way and accelerates these scientific discoveries,” mentioned Dr. Tuli.

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