by Kathleen O’Neil
Karen L. Reckamp, M.D., has been named assistant professor in the divisions of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research and Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation.
Reckamp joins City of Hope’s Lung Cancer and Thoracic Oncology Program, where she will design and conduct clinical trials of much-needed investigative therapies to battle lung cancer, which takes the lives of more than 160,000 Americans each year.
Most recently, Reckamp served as assistant professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA.
“I look forward to advancing clinical research to find new therapies for lung cancer, which remains the leading cause of cancer mortality,” Reckamp said. “I’m very excited about the opportunity to build upon City of Hope’s tradition of accomplishment and to facilitate the translation of research discoveries into meaningful advances in lung cancer treatment and care.”
She has been principal investigator or co-principal investigator on several National Cancer Institute-funded research projects, including studies of novel therapeutics, and the Department of Veterans Affairs granted her a three-year Career Development Award.
“At a very early stage in her career, Dr. Reckamp is already an accomplished and respected translational researcher,” said Kemp Kernstine, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Department of Thoracic Surgery and the Lung Cancer and Thoracic Oncology Program. “She embraces the concept City of Hope upholds of caring for the whole patient with a multidisciplinary team approach, using clinical research to help improve outcomes for patients with cancer.”
During her time at UCLA, she co-directed the institution’s Lung Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence clinical trials core.
“Dr. Reckamp brings a fresh new approach to translational and clinical research that will enhance our comprehensive lung cancer program by increasing the number of translational clinical trials and treatments available to patients,” said Robert Figlin, M.D., the Arthur and Rosalie Kaplan Professor of Medical Oncology, chair of the Division of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research and associate director for clinical research at City of Hope.
In Reckamp’s recent studies, she has investigated the role of cyclooxygenase-2 — known as COX-2 for short — in lung cancer therapy. COX-2 appears to help tumors resist cancer-fighting, targeted therapies such as erlotinib (Tarceva). So Reckamp has explored the potential of pairing drugs that block COX-2 alongside targeted therapies to improve the therapies’ effectiveness. In a 2006 study that combined the COX-2 inhibitor Celebrex with erlotinib, about 33 percent of lung cancer patients responded to erlotinib — significantly higher than the 10 percent of patients who usually respond to the drug.
Reckamp earned an American Society of Clinical Oncology Foundation Young Investigator Award to support such studies. She also won an award in 2006 from the Phase One Foundation, a group that supports early stage clinical trials for patients with cancer.
At City of Hope, Reckamp will continue her investigations into how tumor cells resist anti-cancer drugs, as well as pursuit of new therapies, including the potential of altered dendritic cells — a powerful type of immune cell — to help fight malignancy.
A native of Chicago, Reckamp attended the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine and completed a residency at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.
She also earned a Master of Science in clinical investigation from UCLA through the institution’s Specialized Training in Advanced Research program, and she has significant experience in clinical trial design, execution and statistical analysis. She is the first faculty member at City of Hope to have a master’s degree in clinical research and will assist in developing a similar program planned at Beckman Research Institute.
Reckamp is board-certified in oncology, hematology and internal medicine. Her publications have appeared in Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, Clinical Lung Cancer, Journal of Immunology and Molecular Cancer, among others.