Dr. Renier Brentjens '85 named Roswell Park deputy director, chair of medicine

Keith McShea

Dr. Renier Brentjens '85 has come back to Buffalo for "the opportunity of a lifetime." 

Brentjens has been named the Deputy Director and Chair of Medicine at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Roswell Park describes Brentjens as "one of the most influential and accomplished figures in the field of cancer immunotherapy."

Brentjens, a native of the Netherlands who was raised in Buffalo and earned a master’s degree and dual MD/PhD in microbiology at the University at Buffalo after attending Canisius, will join Roswell Park in September. 

Roswell Park President and CEO Candace S. Johnson called Brentjens "both an amazing physician and a research star."

"We couldn’t be more excited to welcome him back to Buffalo," Johnson said. "His achievements in cellular therapy have helped drive major shifts in how we treat many cancers today, and make an outstanding pairing with our own innovations in immunotherapy and cell-based therapy."

"Coming to Roswell Park in these roles is the opportunity of a lifetime," said Brentjens, who is a passionate Buffalo sports fan and classic car enthusiast.

"What has impressed me most are the totally original concepts for vaccines and cellular therapies coming from Roswell Park that no one else has come up with yet," Brentjens said. "Our goal is to achieve cures, long-term remissions and excellent quality of life for a lot more patients, and the teams at Roswell Park are going to be an incredible crew to move that vision forward."

Brentjens comes to Roswell Park from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, where he served as Director of Cellular Therapeutics and Associate Chair for Junior Faculty Development in the Department of Medicine.

"This is a time of tremendous hope and promise," said Brentjens, one of a small group of researchers who helped to develop the first FDA-approved cellular therapies to incorporate adoptive cell transfer — an approach known as CAR T (chimeric antigen receptor T-cell) therapy. 

Brentjens' work both in the lab and in clinical trials helped establish CAR T as a cancer treatment option. With CAR T, a patient’s immune cells are removed, re-engineered to fight cancer more effectively and reinfused to bolster the immune system’s response to cancer.

"Cellular therapy is in its infancy, but it’s already dramatically reshaping what we can achieve through cancer therapy," he said.

"We’re starting to master our ability to help the immune system, our own cells, help itself. I’m incredibly excited about the work this Roswell Park team is going to do in the next few years — the time we are going to be able to give back to patients with even advanced cancers, the cures that are within our reach today."

At Roswell Park, Brentjens will serve as Deputy Director, The Katherine Anne Gioia Endowed Chair in Cancer Medicine, Chair of the Department of Medicine and Professor of Oncology in the Departments of Medicine and Immunology.

From left: Canisius High School Board of Trustees member Anne Gioia, Dr. Renier Brentjens, Dr. Candace Johnson and Donna Gioia at the announcement welcoming Dr. Brentjens to Roswell Park. 

Anne Gioia, a member of Canisius High School Board of Trustees, and Donna Gioia created the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation 25 years ago after Anne’s daughter Katherine, the namesake of Dr. Brentjens’ endowment, passed away at 5 years old after a battle with a very rare cancer.

"Their goal was to make sure that families affected by cancer have hope – have options and compassion and support as they battle something so difficult," said Johnson. "Their generosity and their example of how to work hard to create a resource that will keep giving back to our community has been incredible, and continues through their support of the important work that Dr. Brentjens now leads at Roswell Park. Anne and Donna, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your passionate fight on behalf of families affected by cancer."

Support Canisius for the holidays via the CHSPA Poinsettia & Wreath Sale

Beautify your home this holiday season and support Canisius High School programs at the same time. 

The Canisius High School Parents Association's annual Holiday Poinsettia & Wreath Sale continues through Monday.

Locally grown poinsettia plants and hand-made holiday wreaths are available for purchase, with all proceeds going to CHS Campus Ministry programs. 

A Power Play for Others: Three CHS grads skating in marathon hockey game

On Sunday, 40 people will attempt to play hockey in downtown Buffalo for 11 straight days, raising money to fight cancer as part of the fifth edition of the 11-Day Power Play. 

Not surprisingly, three of those literally living in the rink will be “Men for Others.” 

Three Canisius High School graduates will be on the ice for up to 10 hours a day, around the clock, from start to finish: Peter Merlo ’88 and Michael Meade ’87 will play while Mark Paradowski ’99 will be one of three officials skating regular shifts, just like the players. When they’re not part of the game, they’ll be sleeping on temporary beds a few steps from the rink at Buffalo Riverworks.

Eight CHS student-athletes commit to colleges, and say thanks

Eight Canisius High School seniors formally announced their college choices Wednesday in the Canisius High School Brady Conference Room. Each student-athlete also paid tribute to those who helped them throughout their career.

The group included four lacrosse players, three baseball players and a swimmer.

For the 2020-21 school year, 10% of the Canisius High senior class committed to play collegiate athletics; the national average is less than 2%. More signings will be announced throughout the school year. 

Drive-thru food drive at Canisius on Saturday morning  

Western New Yorkers will be lining up at a different kind of drive-thru Saturday as Canisius High School collects donations of food for those in need this holiday season.

The public is encouraged to donate non-perishable food items from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6 at the school at 1180 Delaware Ave.

All donations will benefit St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy, which cares for the poor and abandoned in Western New York. Soon after food is donated on Delaware Ave. on Saturday morning, Canisius student and staff volunteers will transport the items to St. Luke’s on Walden Ave.

Great Ignatian Challenge food drive kicks off at Canisius on Tuesday

A food drive which aims to collect tons of provisions for Buffalonians in need will kick off Tuesday at Canisius.

The Great Ignatian Challenge, in which Canisius participates in a friendly – but spirited – competition with other Jesuit high schools across the Northeast to provide food to the needy for the holiday season, will be held from Tuesday, Oct. 26 to Friday, Nov. 19. 

Food collected by Canisius during the drive will go to St. Luke's Mission of Mercy. Non-perishable food can be donated at CHS on school days (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.). 

Canisius will also be hosting a drive-thru food drop-off event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6. 

Tyrpak-Endres to conclude her tenure as Canisius principal 

Andrea Tyrpak-Endres, who is in her eighth year as principal and executive vice president for academics at Canisius High School, has decided to conclude her tenure as principal at the end of the 2021-22 academic year, Canisius President Fr. David S. Ciancimino, S.J., announced Friday morning. 

Tyrpak-Endres, the first female principal in the 151-year history of Canisius, will continue to teach religion at the school.

Tyrpak-Endres has taught for more than 35 years at Canisius, including throughout her tenure as principal.

"I am grateful for Andrea, her dedication to our mission and her care for our Canisius High School community," said Ciancimino. 

Luke LoTempio '22 named National Merit Scholarship semifinalist

Luke LoTempio '22 has been named a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist. 

The semifinalists were announced Wednesday by the National Merit Scholarship Company, and the 16,000 who are being honored represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors.  

"Being selected as a semi-finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program is a reflection of the effort I have put into my work," said LoTempio. "It reminds me to continue to do my best."

Dr. Renier Brentjens '85 named Roswell Park deputy director, chair of medicine

Dr. Renier Brentjens '85 has come back to Buffalo for "the opportunity of a lifetime." 

Brentjens has been named the Deputy Director and Chair of Medicine at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Roswell Park describes Brentjens as "one of the most influential and accomplished figures in the field of cancer immunotherapy."

Matthew Cady named Canisius cross country/track coach

Matthew Cady is joining Canisius High School as the new head coach for cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.

Cady brings a wealth of academic and athletic experience to Canisius, where he will also be a physical education and health teacher.

Cady, who has a doctorate from Penn State, competed at Syracuse University in both cross country and track for four years before going on to coach both sports at the University of Pittsburgh for two years.

Two Jesuit novices who worked at CHS profess first vows

Two Jesuit novices who spent a year at Canisius High School prior to their novitiate pronounced their first vows this past weekend. 

Christian Zombek, SJ, and Mario Verde, SJ, professed vows of poverty, chastity and obedience Saturday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse. They were two of five men in the USA East Province of the Society of Jesus to end their time as novices and officially become Jesuit scholastics. 

At Canisius, Zombek and Verde worked with teachers, helped with service projects and traveled to retreats during the 2019-20 academic year.

First page of the PDF file: longestbasketball

Nine different Canisius High School alumni representing five different graduating classes were part of a basketball world record set this week in Buffalo.

The former Crusaders were part of teams that played round-the-clock basketball across six days at Nardin Academy, setting a world record in an event titled “The World’s Longest Basketball Game.”

The game, which included a mix of men and women among its 23 players, was held from August 6-11, setting a new record of 120 hours, 2 minutes.
 

Canisius principal Tyrpak-Endres again a Power 200 Women pick

For the third straight year, Canisius High School principal and executive vice president Andrea Tyrpak-Endres has been named one of Western New York’s most talented and influential women.

Tyrpak-Endres, who is entering her seventh year as principal at Canisius, was named this week to Buffalo Business First’s 2021 list of Power 200 Women.

She is No. 119 on the list, in which reporters and editors at Buffalo Business First rank “a group whose talent and influence fuel economic, social and cultural growth.”