The evening of Nov. 23 saw friends and family gather at Leonard’s Palazzo for a glamorous night of fundraising for Katie Oppo Research Fund to find a cure for ovarian cancer.
The event, though bittersweet for Oppo’s mother Liz, was developed with the assistance of many helpers and the sage wisdom and advice of Dorothy Forte, who helped Liz make the great outpouring of love and affection and donations to help find a cure for those battling the rare carcinoma that claimed her daughter’s life. This year’s honoree is Manhasset resident Dr. Ramon Parsons, Recipient of the grant of the grants were Dr. Douglas Levine of NYU Langone and Dr. Mikala Egeblad of Cold Spring Harbor Labs.
Parsons attended Columbia College in New York. After earning his MD and PhD degrees from SUNY Stony Brook, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he and his colleagues discovered the genes responsible for hyper-mutated hereditary colorectal cancer. As a professor at Columbia University Medical Center beginning in 1995, his lab identified the PTEN tumor suppressor gene, which he showed is inactivated in a wide variety of cancers and cancer predisposition syndromes.
He also discovered that the gene PBRM1, which encodes the chromatin remodeling factor BAF180, is a tumor suppressor in triple negative breast cancer. PBRM1 was the second tumor suppressor gene identified in the twelve subunit BRG1 chromatin remodeling complex, which is now known to be responsible for driving many types of cancer growth including small cell ovarian cancer, hyper calcemic type. In 2013, Parsons joined the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Last year he was appointed Director of the NCI-designated Mount Sinai Tisch Cancer Institute and Director of Mount Sinai Cancer for the Mount Sinai Health System, which has over 300,000 cancer-related visits per year and over 170 clinical trials. Parsons is the recipient of the 2011 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research and served as Chair of the Special Conferences Committee at the AACR from 2011 to 2017 where he established an annual meeting dedicated to ovarian cancer research. In 2017, he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine and received an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute to fund his lab research.
The crowd heard the latest on the clinical trial results from grant recipients Dr. Douglas Levine of NYU Langone and Dr. Mikala Egeblad of Cold Spring Harbor Labs. Afterwards, the guests were entertained by the artistry of dance by the Fred Astaire dancers and then proceeded to dance the night away.