Spotlight on Collaborations: Marcel R. M. van den Brink, MD, PhD

Spotlight on Collaborations: Marcel R. M. van den Brink, MD, PhD

The 2015 Delete Blood Cancer Award Recipient
 

Marcel R. M. van den Brink, MD, PhD

Head, Division of Hematologic Oncology

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

In recognition of his extraordinary research and advancements in bone marrow transplantation, the Delete Blood Cancer Award will be presented to Dr. Van Den Brink at the ninth annual Delete Blood Cancer Gala.  The gala will take place in New York City On April 16, and will be hosted by record producer and TV personality, Randy Jackson, co-hosted by Delete Blood Cancer Co-Founder Katharina Harf, and co-chaired by COTY.

Dr. van den Brink is Head of the Division of Hematologic Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York.  As a physician-scientist, it is Marcel’s goal to translate the findings from his laboratory into new therapies that can be evaluated in clinical trials, which could improve the outcome for transplant patients.

Dr. van den Brink earned his MD and Ph.D. from the University of Leiden (The Netherlands). He trained in Internal Medicine at Duke University Medical Center (Durham, NC), followed by fellowship training in Hematology and Oncology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston, MA). He is a Member of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer and the Sloan Kettering Institute and holds the Alan N. Houghton Chair in Immunology.  He is also a Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University.

Delete Blood Cancer works every day to inspire as many people as possible to register as bone marrow donors, so more patients are given a second chance at life. By celebrating how donors can save lives, Delete Blood Cancer dispels the myths about the donation process. Dr. van den Brink has been a paladin for the cause since the organization came to the U.S. and serves on Delete Blood Cancer’s U.S. Advisory Board.

It continues to amaze me that people are willing to donate stem cells to save the life of somebody they have never met and may never meet. To me, this represents the ultimate kindness of strangers and the ultimate act of altruism.

  1. How did you connect with Delete Blood Cancer / DKMS and its mission?  
    I was asked to assist in the organization of one of the first DKMS galas held in New York when I was Chief of the Adult Bone Marrow Transplantation Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
  2. If there’s one thing you want people to know about the process of donating bone marrow, what would it be?
    It continues to amaze me that people are willing to donate stem cells to save the life of somebody they have never met and may never meet. To me, this represents the ultimate kindness of strangers and the ultimate act of altruism. 
  3. Is there a certain demographic/ age group that especially needs help?
    Our biggest problem continues to be finding donors for minorities, especially African Americans.
  4.  What does creativity mean to you? How do you define it?
    Creativity means hard work. It is not the prototypic lightning bolt; it is the end result of continuing and persistent maximal effort.
  5. What inspires you to be creative?
    Cancer remains one of the major causes of mortality and we need novel approaches to battle this protean enemy that has always found a way to evade each strategy we have used so far.
  6. A brand you admire: 
    Apple
  7. What was your first job ever?
    Peeling tulip bulbs during the summer in Holland
  8. Fill in the blank: Always ,Always, Always:
    Strive for excellence
  9. Fill in the blank: Never, Never, Never
    Give up
  10. My rule of thumb for:
    Meetings: The shorter, the better and on a more positive note, provide clear action items and tasks for all involved.
    Travel: Sufficient leg room 
  11. Energy of choice:
    Coffee and marathons
  12. Guilty Pleasure:
    Licorice and European soccer highlights
  13. Fav local restaurant:
    Glasserie in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
  14. One golden piece of advice:
    Develop a programmatic vision and don’t get lost in the details.
  15. Greatest lesson learned:
    Never trust anyone to get anything right. Double-check and triple-check everything you do.
  16. Fav mantra/motto:
    There isn’t a day that I walk into my office and don’t feel blessed, honored and lucky to do this work.
  17. One item you can’t live without?
    My running shoes
  18. Favorite movie:
    Lost in Translation
  19. Favorite app:
    Google Maps
  20. If you visit only one website a day, what is it?
    The New York Times