ProfNet Experts Available on Cancer Care, Parkinson's and Brain Disorders

Also in This Edition: Jobs for Writers and Media Industry Blog Posts

Apr 08, 2013, 10:32 ET from ProfNet

NEW YORK, April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Below are experts from the ProfNet network that are available to discuss timely issues in your coverage area. If you are interested in interviewing any of the experts, please contact them via the contact information at the end of the listing. To receive updates by email, drop us a note at with the industries you cover, and we'll add you to the appropriate edition.

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  • Big Data and Cancer Care
  • Treatment Algorithms and Cancer Care
  • Top Indian Court Rejects Novartis Patent
  • Working Towards a Cure for Parkinson's and Brain Disorders


  • Food/Health Writer – (CA)
  • Sports Producer – NBC Sports (CT)
  • Copy Editor – Augusta Chronicle (GA)


  • How to Become a Freelancer and Ghostwriter
  • Social Media in the Newsroom
  • Where Did Your Experts Pop Up in March?



Big Data and Cancer Care
John Frenzel, M.D., M.S.
Chief Medical Information Officer
MD Anderson
"With the technological facility to marry genomic and other patient data, we now have the potential to generate scientifically based information on the best treatment option for a patient in mere minutes. The rules of cancer are in the genome. Big data provides cancer researchers and oncologists a key to unlock the rulebook."
Frenzel is the first-ever chief medical information officer of MD Anderson, appointed to the newly created position this past June. As CMIO, he oversees the clinical information technology areas, including EHR development, implementation, and support; clinical applications and support; and clinical analytics and informatics. Frenzel is a professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine at MD Anderson and an adjunct professor of biomedical information, spending one day each week in the operating room. He is a co-leader on the effort to merge clinical, pharmacy and genomics databases onto a big data platform at MD Anderson as part of the institution's Moonshot Program. He is available discuss the emerging field of big data in relation to its use in cancer care.
Media Contact: Lauren Whisenant,

Treatment Algorithms and Cancer Care
Andy Futreal, Ph.D.
Cancer Geneticist, Professor of Genomic Medicine
MD Anderson
"One of the biggest challenges big data presents, but also an area we're eagerly anticipating, is the ability to distill this data down to its essence, draw out the key relationships and begin to form treatment algorithms. Once tested, such algorithms can help direct the standard of care in the community."
As a co-leader on the Moonshots Program, Futreal is charged with directing the design and implementation of MD Anderson's big data platform. Prior to joining MD Anderson, Futreal was the joint director of the Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. A true left brain-right brain prodigy who records acoustic guitar compilations in his free time, Futreal brings the ability to visualize large-scale data systems, making them accessible, intuitive, and valuable to cancer researchers and clinicians. His research has explored the human cancer genome, focusing on BRCA1 and BRCA2 in breast cancer and BRAF in melanoma. He is available discuss the emerging field of big data in relation to its use in cancer care.
Media Contact: Lauren Whisenant,

Top Indian Court Rejects Novartis Patent
Dr. Philip Alcabes
Professor, School of Nursing; Director, Public Health Program
Adelphi University, Garden City, N.Y.
"The decision in the Indian courts challenges the capacity of wealthy pharmaceutical companies to deny to poor people medicines needed to relieve suffering or prolong life. In that sense, it's an advance in the pursuit of human rights. But it's also complicated, and invites a host of further questions about access to medicine and human rights. In the case in question, the Swiss drug maker Novartis, one of the wealthiest companies in the world, lost in its attempt to prevent Indian drug companies from selling the drug Glivec, on which Novartis was trying to hold a monopoly. Glivec (also Gleevec) is essentially the only treatment for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia. It can make the difference between rapid death and a few years of life. The court ruling doesn't change the fundamental inequities in access to medicines worldwide.  It doesn't directly improve the life of any individual cancer patient. It doesn't affect lack of health care in wealthy countries like ours. And the main beneficiaries will be Indian drug companies -- not people who can't afford any medicine at all. But it alters what one Novartis official unabashedly referred to as the 'intellectual property ecosystem' in India. In doing that, it questions the reach of corporations. Now there are new questions to answer in regard to pharmaceuticals and the widely recognized human right to a decent chance in life."
Dr. Alcabes is author of "Dread:  How Fear and Fantasy Have Fueled Epidemics from the Black Death to Avian Flu," and has studied the history, ethics, and policy of public health. He is a founding member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the World Trade Center Health Registry, and has consulted on public health policy and AIDS-prevention projects in Eastern Europe for the Open Society Institute's International Harm Reduction Development Program, World AIDS Foundation, and Fogarty International Foundation of the National Institutes of Health. He is known for his critical eye on public health policy, frequently quoted by news media such as WNYC radio, C-SPAN TV and "The Daily Show." His op-ed pieces have appeared in the Washington Post, The Nation, New Scientist, and other publications. He holds a Ph.D. in infectious-disease epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.
Media Contact: Kali Chan,

Working Towards a Cure for Parkinson's and Brain Disorders
Robin Anthony Elliott
Executive Director
Parkinson's Disease Foundation
"President Obama's BRAIN Initiative, a historic moment I was fortunate to witness, has set a moonshot challenge for the country: improving our understanding of the human brain and then using this understanding to chase the cure for Parkinson's and other brain diseases. At the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, in our role of serving the nearly 1 million people in the United States living with the disease, we believe the overall picture for the Parkinson's disease community is encouraging -- even exciting. The Parkinson's Disease Foundation looks forward to working with the National Institutes of Health and other key partners, as well as patient advocates from our community, to learn more about how the brain works and find solutions to Parkinson's and other brain disorders."
ProfNet Profile:
Media Contact: Melissa Barry,



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Following are links to other news and resources we think you might find useful. If you have an item you think other reporters would be interested in and would like us to include in a future alert, please drop us a line at

  • HOW TO BECOME A FREELANCER AND GHOSTWRITER: On April 1, we hosted a Twitter-based Q&A featuring Christine Cube, media relations manager, blogger, freelancer and ghostwriter. Cube shared with us the story of how she became a writer and explained the challenges of breaking into freelancing and ghostwriting. She also provided some great tips for others interested in doing the same:
  • NOT YESTERDAY'S NEWS: SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE NEWSROOM. In a recent panel at SXSW, Andy Carvin, senior strategist at NPR's social media desk, discussed how media organizations are approaching news gathering in a real-time world. Carvin was joined by Jim Frederick, editor, Time International; Meredith Artley, managing editor, CNN Digital; and Ayman Mohyeldin, foreign correspondent for NBC News based in Egypt. You can read a recap of it here: 
  • WHERE DID PROFNET EXPERTS POP UP IN MARCH? ProfNet has been helping journalists and experts connect for more than 20 years. In that time, we have seen queries from just about every type of outlet imaginable, from newspapers and magazines to radio shows and blogs. And while the media times are a-changin', there are still a great many stories being written, and writers still need experts. Take a look at some of the more than 300 outlets that used ProfNet in March – and how you can use ProfNet to find experts at no charge:


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