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Daniel Ermann, MD, Hematology and Oncology Fellow at Huntsman Cancer Institute, has been selected as a scholar for the 2023 Lymphoma Scientific Research Mentoring Program (LSRMP) by the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF). As a scholar, Ermann will receive a $10,000 career development grant. This grant will not only help Ermann with his current clinical trial but set him up with skills to design and apply for grants for other studies in the future.
"I'm extremely honored to have received this award, and very grateful to my mentors Dr. Deborah Stephens and Dr. Boyu Hu who have provided me with the skills and knowledge to be a competitive applicant" says Ermann. "This type of program is a fantastic pathway for supporting the new generation of clinical lymphoma researchers, and certainly is in line with the LRF's mission of finding a cure for lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia."
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL, is a type of blood cancer that starts in the white blood cells in a person's bone marrow and lymph nodes and is generally classified as a lymphoma. It is the most common leukemic blood cancer in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Due to their weakened immune system, CLL patients are at a high risk of infections, especially pneumonia.
"Unfortunately, infections such as pneumonia are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with CLL," says Ermann.
Ermann's research will help determine whether a sequence of pneumonia vaccines creates a better immune response than the current CDC recommendation of one vaccine in a person's lifetime.
"The current recommended vaccine practices are all derived from studies that included only healthy patients without cancer. This will be the first clinical trial of its kind to investigate the effectiveness of these modern pneumonia vaccines in CLL patients," says Ermann.
Finding a way for CLL patients to live longer and healthier lives is something that hits close to home for Ermann.
"Pursuing a career in lymphoma has been a lifelong journey for me," says Ermann. "When I was six years old, my father, my greatest role model, was diagnosed with an aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma. My father was determined to do everything to survive for his young family."
This determination to survive led Ermann's family across the country, where his father sought treatment from some of the best.
"Unfortunately, after several years of the best treatments, I lost him much too soon," says Ermann. "It was his illness, and my early experience of it, that catalyzed my inspiration and passion to become a lymphoma physician with the goal of improving outcomes of future lymphoma patients for generations to come."
Ermann has received many awards for his work. Earlier this year, he received a prestigious Merit Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) for his research evaluating racial disparities in diffuse large b-cell lymphoma. He also won the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Achievement Award for his research evaluating disparities affecting people with HIV-associated lymphoma. Ermann will be joining the faculty at Huntsman Cancer Institute later in 2023 as an assistant professor in the Lymphoma Department of Hematology and Hematologic Malignancies.
Huntsman Cancer Institute
About Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah (the U) is the official cancer center of Utah and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West. The institute is leading the world in scientific discovery, and turning it into unsurpassed cancer care, transforming hope into a reality. Huntsman Cancer Institute focuses on delivering a cancer-free frontier to Utah, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming (The Area We Serve). Huntsman Cancer Institute is home to over 300 clinical trials, with over 237 research teams studying cancer at any given time and more genes for inherited cancers have been discovered at Huntsman Cancer Institute than at any other cancer center. Huntsman Cancer Institute’s scientists are world renown for understanding how cancer begins and using that knowledge to develop innovative approaches to treat each patient’s unique tumor. Huntsman Cancer Institute was founded by Jon M. and Karen Huntsman.