Mentor: Melinda Bachini
Melinda Bachini is a 12-year survivor of cholangiocarcinoma. In 2012 she was treated at the National Cancer Institute by Dr. Rosenberg with a clinical trial using Adoptive Cell Therapy with TIL. Due to her exceptional and breakthrough response to NIH treatment, her story was published in the New York Times and other media.
Melinda is married and the mother of six children, grandmother to one. She is passionate about patient advocacy. Her personal experience with previous and current treatments allows for great insight into patients participating in clinical trials. Her position as Director of Advocacy for the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation allows Melinda to interact, support and educates others touched by this cancer. She shares her story with as many cancer patients as possible in hopes of giving courage to those in need.
Melinda had previously volunteered for seven years with the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation and in August of 2017 came on as staff. She also worked for over 15 years in the Emergency Medical Field as an EMT Paramedic.
Melinda serves as a patient advocate for the NCI Hepatobiliary Task Force, the NCI Patient Advocate Steering Committee (PASC), ECOG-ACRIN GI Committee, ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Advocacy Committee, NCI Council of Research Advocates, and the NCCN Hepatobiliary Guideline Panel. Melinda attended 2016, 2017, and 2018 NCCS, CPAT Symposium, and advocated on Capitol Hill. She participated as a panelist in the Cancer Moonshot – Community Oncology Event at the White House, told her personal story, and was introduced by her state Senator for the Innovation and Access in Quality Cancer Care at the US Capitol. In June of 2017 she spoke with nine US Senators at NIH to share her personal story of how research has prolonged her life. Melinda has served as a Consumer Reviewer for the Department of Defense for several years.
Scientist: Midhun Malla, M.D.
Dr. Midhun Malla is an assistant professor in the section of hematology-oncology at West Virginia University (WVU). He completed his residency in internal medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. He then completed a fellowship in hematology-oncology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, where he simultaneously completed a Master of Science degree in Clinical and Translational Sciences (CTS).
He specializes in clinical and translational gastrointestinal (GI) oncology and his clinical areas of interest include colorectal cancers (CRC), pancreatic, hepatobiliary and neuroendocrine neoplasms. He is the lead physician in the GI medical oncology clinical trial program at WVU cancer institute. He is an active member of Alliance GI cooperative group; he represents this committee to the National Cancer Institute- Hepatobiliary committee as an early career investigator. He is an awardee of a research scholar grant by WV- CTS institute to pursue translational research in CRC wherein he aims to use precision medicine approaches to elucidate molecular biology and genetic architecture of CRC.