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Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute Announces New Leaders

Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute promotes a new leadership team as long-time leaders transition into advisory roles.

Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute has a history of recruiting, training and mentoring top talent. As the Institute’s long-time leaders, Edward Copelan, MD, and Belinda Avalos, MD, transition into advisory roles, several seasoned LCI physicians will assume new leadership positions.

Recognizing Levine Cancer Institute’s long-time leaders

Over the past decade, Drs. Copelan and Avalos have developed one of the nation’s strongest hematologic oncology, bone marrow transplant and blood disorders programs. In 2022, they decided it was the right time to entrust their roles to the next generation of leaders.

Drs. Copelan and Avalos will remain on the faculty as senior advisors to Levine Cancer Institute’s president, supporting the leadership transition and Wake Forest Comprehensive Cancer Center merger. They will also continue to mentor faculty and fellows and guide the transplant and cellular therapy program.

Additionally, Drs. Copelan and Avalos will retain their leadership roles in the American Society of Hematology, the American Society of Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, and the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplantation. They will also maintain their editorial roles with Blood, the Journal of Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, and Bone Marrow Transplantation.

“We are incredibly thankful to Drs. Avalos and Copelan for all their leadership, support and vision over the years,” says Dr. Derek Raghavan, president of Levine Cancer Institute. “We are so pleased that they will continue to serve LCI as advisors.”

Welcoming new Levine Cancer Institute leadership

After a formal search process, Levine Cancer Institute has named Antoinette Tan, MD, chair of the department of solid oncology, and Nilanjan Ghosh, MD, chair of the department of hematologic oncology. Both Dr. Tan and Dr. Ghosh have been part of the LCI team for many years.

Dr. Antoinette Tan and Dr. Nilanjan Ghosh

Dr. Tan previously served as the interim chair of the department of solid tumor oncology and investigational therapeutics. During this time, she supervised the growth and reputation of the department. Dr. Tan also served as chief of the breast medical oncology division and will maintain that role.

Dr. Tan specializes in treating rare, difficult tumors, including triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). She and her team recently participated in groundbreaking research showing the impact of immunotherapy drugs on TNBC patient survival, particularly when combined with chemotherapy. The team is building on this research by investigating new drug combination regimens, including multiple immunomodulatory agents. Dr. Tan has also participated in research that led to the FDA approval of the combination of pembrolizumab and chemotherapy as a first-line treatment of PD-L1-positive metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, which is improving patient survival.  

Dr. Ghosh previously served as Levine Cancer Institute’s chief of the lymphoma division. An international leader in hematology, Dr. Ghosh presented at the European Hematology Association’s Annual Meeting in Vienna, Austria, in June. He discussed his research in CAR T-cell therapy in a second-line setting for patients who are ineligible for transplant. This research was a multicenter study in North America and Europe. The results are groundbreaking as the study shows that transplant-ineligible patients can safely receive CAR T-cell therapy. In addition to his role as chair of the department of hematologic oncology, Dr. Ghosh will assume responsibilities for the Kerry Vickar Chair that supports the department’s research.  

Dr. Ghosh will be aided by Steven Park, MD, vice chair of the department for research, and Peter Voorhees, MD, vice chair for administration and clinical care. Drs. Voorhees and Park have substantially contributed to LCI over the years, focusing on multiple myeloma research and clinical trials, respectively.

Dr. Voorhees will continue his role as the chief of the plasma cell disorder division. Under his leadership, Levine Cancer Institute played a significant role in the multiple myeloma treatment paradigm shift over the past several years. LCI played a pivotal role in the Phase I study of the BCMA-targeted CAR T-cell trial CARTITUDE-1. The therapy recently received FDA approval and will transform how oncologists treat multiple myeloma.

Dr. Park conducts clinical and translational research and his main research focus is targeted therapy in lymphoma. He serves as a principal investigator on a number of clinical trials and collaborates with other institutions on clinical trials.

“Levine Cancer Institute’s new leadership team is a powerhouse of brilliant minds who bring cutting edge therapies and compassionate care to all Levine Cancer Institute patients,” says Dr. Raghavan. “All of the newly appointed leaders have developed international and national reputations in cancer research and treatment over the past decade and are highly experienced leaders who know the traditions and culture of LCI. We know they will continue to advance patient care for years to come.”

Learn more about Levine Cancer Institute.