Soham Puvvada, MD, awarded prestigious Coltman Fellowship

Soham Puvvada, MD
Soham Puvvada, MD

A University of Arizona Cancer Center physician/scientist has been awarded a major fellowship to conduct research on a potential new drug combination to improve outcomes for lymphoma patients.

SWOG (formerly the Southwest Oncology Group) and The Hope Foundation have named Soham Puvvada, MD, as a 2013 Charles A. Coltman Jr., Fellowship awardee.

The award will support Dr. Puvvada’s clinical trial of the addition of the drug Ibrutinib to an established maintenance chemotherapy regimen to determine if the combination will change the clinical outcomes of patients newly diagnosed with Follicular Lymphoma.

“Ibrutinib is a very promising novel targeted inhibitor of the Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase Pathway that has shown striking efficacy in poor-prognosis Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Non Hodgkin Lymphoma with a minimal toxicity profile,” Dr. Puvvada said. “This will be a phase III, multi-institutional national study designed through SWOG.”

Dr. Puvvada is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona Cancer Center where she is a member of the lymphoma multispecialty team. She joined the UA in 2012.

SWOG is a cancer research cooperative group that designs and conducts clinical trials to prevent and treat cancer in adults, and to improve the quality of life for cancer survivors. Primary support for SWOG comes from the National Cancer Institute.

The more than 4,000 researchers in the group's network practice at more than 500 institutions, including at 24 of the NCI-designated cancer centers as well as cancer centers in almost a dozen other countries. The UA Cancer Center has been an NCI-funded SWOG member for 39 years. Dr. Puvvada’s mentor is Thomas P. Miller, MD, a world-renowned authority on lymphoma and longtime SWOG leader.

Dr. Puvvada received her medical degree at the University of South Florida College of Medicine and completed her internal medicine residency at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology and hematology.

She completed a fellowship at Duke University Medical Center. Her primary focus is lymphoid malignancies and translational research. Her prior research has been in translational genomics, pathway analysis and preclinical drug discovery and development. She was a recipient of the competitive American Society of Hematology CRTI Career Development Award as well as the Duke University Silber Memorial Research Award.

The Charles A. Coltman Jr., Fellowship is a competitive program that funds outstanding young investigators from current SWOG member institutions. The program places strong emphasis on mentorship by noted SWOG leaders, and helps fellows develop expertise in clinical trials methodology, protocol activation and management. Two fellows are selected annually by an independent panel and are awarded $100,000 intended primarily for salary support for two years.

Previous UACC Coltman Fellows are Drs. Joanne Jeter and Daniel Persky, both selected in 2010. The Hope Foundation’s SWOG Development Awards have supported physician/scientists Robert Krouse, MD, and Daruka Mahadevan, MD, PhD.

- Aug. 5, 2013