The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) recently announced the appointment of Dr. Guenther Koehne, chief of Hematologic Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation at Miami Cancer Institute, as chair of its 2018 Light the Night Campaign.
Light the Night, a nation-wide fundraising event, will take place in Miami on Nov. 3, at Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami. More than 5,000 people, including corporate and family teams who have been touched by cancer, will gather to walk in an emotional and uplifting evening that aims to shine light on one of life’s darkest moments. Together they join a massive cancer community of approximately 1 million people at 150 inspirational evening walks across the U.S. and Canada to end cancer.
Survivors celebrate by carrying white lanterns and taking part in an inspiring survivor ceremony within the survivor circle as a white beam of hope reaches up to the sky, illuminating the darkness. A Remembrance Pavilion honors those who have passed and allows a quiet place where family, friends and co-workers can leave tributes to their loved ones.
“Some of the darkest words one could ever hear are ‘you have cancer.’ said Dr. Koehne, an internationally recognized physician/scientist who spent 23 years at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center prior to his position at Miami Cancer Institute. “As oncologists, we witness firsthand the physical and emotional toll that our patients and their families endure. I am honored to serve as chairman and remain personally grateful to LLS for having been selected to receive a generous translational research grant in 2000-2003, supporting my work on novel approaches to effect treatment for patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.”
A 501 charitable organization, LLS was founded in 1949 and serves as the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting blood cancer. For more than 68 years, LLS has invested more than $1.2 billion to advance cancer therapies and save lives.
LLS brings hope instead of despair by working to ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients. The nonprofit brings communities together to celebrate those who are fighting the disease and to honor those who have been lost. LLS identifies and funds the most promising blood cancer research projects and forges partnerships with academic institutions, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate the development of new therapies.
“This is our most important fundraiser of the year. We are thrilled to have Dr. Koehne carry our torch as chairman,” said DeAnn Hazey,
CFRE, executive director, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Southern Florida Chapter. “With no means of preventing or no early screening available for most blood cancers, events like Light the Night play a critical role by raising funds and awareness that allow us to continue to drive research in areas of unmet medical needs, and help bridge the gap between academic discovery and drug development.”
An internationally renowned expert in the treatment of leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, multiple myeloma and other lymphoproliferative diseases, both with autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplantations, Dr. Koehne is especially known for his work in adoptive immunotherapeutic approaches with antigen-specific, donor-derived T lymphocytes in the treatment of viral complications following allogeneic transplants, and developed new approaches to the treatment of patients with high-risk multiple myeloma, minimal residual disease of leukemia and relapsed disease post-allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.
Dr. Koehne received his medical degree and PhD from Medical University of Hamburg, Germany, where he also completed a residency in internal medicine. He completed an additional internal medicine residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He conducted his medical oncology/hematology fellowship at MSKCC, and an additional research fellowship in the Immunology Program at the Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplantation Service, where he also served as a research associate. He has served as the principal investigator or principal co-investigator of numerous clinical trials involving bone marrow transplantation, particularly in the area of leukemia and multiple myeloma.