November 4, 2021
Westwood Village Rotary Club

Coming up on November 11th

Professor Elizabeth Breen

Emerita Professor Breen is a Member, Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, and an Adjunct Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, at UCLA. She will talk on the topic of Mind, Brain, and Immune System: It Isn't Just in Your Head.

Westwood Virtual Rotary Club Meeting for November 4, 2021

Our Co-Acting President Tom Barron opened our meeting at 12:30pm. He started off with a geography lesson with some beautiful photos of people and locations, displaying them online and asking for Rotarians to jump in and guess the locations. It included;

  • Bridge over River Tara in Northern Montenegro
  • Bald Mountain in Mont Ventoux in France, aka The Beast of Provence
  • Cove of Spires in Alaska
  • The Dogon People from Mali in their same inhabited location since 300 BCE

Mike Newman joined us after overcoming major battles with the technology gods, with a prayer from one loved one to their ill loved one. “If a river cuts through rock it’s not because of its power, but because of its perseverance.” And a thoughtful wish for the success of new member, David Stover.
Dr. David Stover – Guest Speaker

Introduction – David Stover is a Ph.D. in bio-chemistry from the University of Washington after attending Duke. He has over 25 years of experience in oncology, and currently serves as President and CEO of Nammi Therapeutics and also on the Board of Directors for several additional biotech companies. Prior to all of that, Dr. Stover was the head of oncology at Novartis, and earlier, as Director of biochemistry of Kinetix Pharmaceuticals and VP of MCS Proteomics. Above and beyond all of that, Dr. Stover is the author of 50 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals.

David was born in 1966 in Syracuse, New York. His father was a Ph.d. in particle physics and worked for Xercox. His mother has a BS in sociology and worked as a high school teacher, (very academic family). He has a daughter from a previous marriage. He had a self-proclaimed happy childhood “but nothing dramatic” and a love for animals, such as dogs, cats, horses, porpoises, etc.

His education included under-graduate at Duke University with a BS degree in zoology, Ph.d. in biochemistry at University of Washington, and post-doctoral study in Ciba-Geigy in Switzerland. There he met a woman from Egypt, married her but after 25 years, divorced. He has a daughter who is 18 years old now and in college.

Dr. Stover brought us into his world of science by showing some very technical slides on HIV inhibitors with explanations that the rest of us dummies could understand. This has been approved and now part of the HIV “cocktail” allowing infected patients to lead more productive lives and remain healthy. 
A second discovery from his labs was Gleevec, which is another inhibitor that is one of two targeted therapies designed to specifically treat tumor mutations. It was approved by the FDA in 2001 as the fastest drug approval on record at that time. 
Another drug David was involved in developing was PADCEV, targeting tumor cells. 
David’s company has labs at UCLA (sharing space) and has raised over $17M from local investors.

There was more information about nanoparticles, immune modulators, nammisomes, tumor antigen targeting and receptor inhibitors, all of which I think I dated in high school. But he did bring it all into focus on a local level by showing us a diagram of John O’Keefe’s brain cells before and after he puts on a bow tie. The same diagram can also be applied to Gordon Fell’s brain cells before and after a glass of wine. 
Needless to say, what David had to share with all of us as a new member was fascinating. We’ve never had a member who was so involved on the cutting edge of medical technology. He put it all into perspective with a chart on the progress of drug treatment on the war on cancers, explaining that unlike normal cells, cancerous cells are able to replicate indefinitely.

Once David opened up the floor to questions, he became our teacher, explaining some of the very basics of this war on the hundreds of different cancer cells, all in the name of science. 

“We are not going to get to a cure any time soon, but we are chipping away…”

This chart shows the progress being made on the war on cancer. 

Questions from Rotarians focused on early diagnosis, the defeat of pancreatic cancer, the effect of cancer on people over the age of 65 (responsible for over 50% of deaths over age of 65), and the importance of looking at the difference between “dying with cancer and dying because of cancer”.

David’s current plans are to complete the Round B funding and hopefully to launch an IPO in six months. (all of a sudden everyone became David’s new best friend!).

PP Tom Barron asked a very interesting question, asking David his opinion, as a scientist, of the current vaccines available for COVID-19. David feels that they are very effective against “death and serious illness”.

In David’s honor, a contribution was being made to the L.A. Branch Library in Westwood.
Next week’s meeting will be with Professor Elizabeth Breen, a professor at UCLA in psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, talking on the topic of mind, brain, and immune systems.

Our meeting was adjourned promptly at 1:32pm by PP Tom Barron, acting on behalf of PP Nancy McCready. And for all of his work on behalf of the Club, we remain humbled by Tom’s efforts and will always remember him as;  

WVRC 2020/2021 Leadership Team
President: Nancy McCready
Treasurer: Terry M. White
Youth/Vocational Service: Phil Gabriel
Director/Peace: PP Marsha Hunt
Foundation: PP Steve Day
Global Scholarships: PP Chris Bradford
Webmaster: PP Ron Lyster
Director/Merchant Minute: PP Mark Rogo
District Governor: Bette Hall
Immediate Past President: Diane Good
Secretary: PP Diane Good
Community Service: Aaron Donahue
International Service: Nevin Senkan
Program Chair: PP Tom Barron
Membership: PP Mike Newman
Director/Social Media: PP Aly Shoji
Windmill Editor: P Nancy McCready
Assistant District Governor: Michael Lushing