Movers in Medicine

Physician-researcher who promoted industry collaboration dies unexpectedly


Thomas Peter Stossel, MD, a physician-researcher known for his discovery of cellular proteins and advocacy for academic-industry relationships, died unexpectedly on Sept. 29 at the age of 78.

Dr. Thomas Peter Stossel, who died Sept. 29, 2019, was chief scientific officer of BioAegis Therapeutics.

Dr. Thomas Peter Stossel

Dr. Stossel’s research was largely focused on cell motility. He is known for discovering the cellular proteins filamin and gelsolin, which regulate the assembly of actin. Dr. Stossel is also known for promoting relationships between physicians and industry. He believed these relationships accelerate medical innovation.

Dr. Stossel graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Medical School. He served as chief of the hematology-oncology unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, head of experimental medicine and codirector of the hematology and translational medicine units at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a professor at Harvard Medical School. When he died, Dr. Stossel was chief scientific officer of BioAegis Therapeutics, a company he cofounded.

Dr. Stossel also cofounded Options for Children in Zambia, a charity that works with Zambian partners to provide preventive dental and medical care. And he helped establish a sickle cell disease clinical and research center at University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka.

In happier news, Jeff Vacirca, MD, recently won the 2019 American Red Cross Greater New York Region’s Humanitarian Award. Dr. Vacirca received the award at the 2019 Heroes Among Us Gala on Oct. 16.

Dr. Jeff Vacirca, chief executive officer, New York Cancer & Blood Specialists

Dr. Jeff Vacirca

Dr. Vacirca is chief executive officer of New York Cancer & Blood Specialists. He is also a consulting physician for the Long Island Association for AIDS Care, medical director for AmerisourceBergen specialty group, a scientific advisory board member for Caris Life Sciences, director at OneOncology, director at Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, a medical board adviser for Flatiron Health, and vice-chairman of the board for Odonate Therapeutics, a company he cofounded in 2016. In 2014, Dr. Vacirca founded the New York Cancer Foundation, which provides financial assistance to patients undergoing cancer treatment.

Another award winner is Richard J. Bleicher, MD, who has won the 2020 Jamie Brooke Lieberman Remembrance Award from Susan G. Komen Philadelphia for his work related to breast cancer. Dr. Bleicher is scheduled to receive his award at the Susan G. Komen Philadelphia MORE THAN PINK Walk Kickoff event on March 18, 2020.

Dr. Richard J. Bleicher of Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia

Dr. Richard J. Bleicher

Dr. Bleicher is a professor, breast cancer surgeon, and clinical researcher at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. He is director of the breast fellowship and leader of the breast cancer program at Fox Chase. He sits on the board of the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers and the Quality Improvement Committee, sits on the Commission for Cancer’s Operative Standards Committee, and is the vice-chair for the Society of Surgical Oncology’s breast fellowship programs for the United States and Canada.

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