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: Shishir K. Maithel, M.D., FACS
Dr. Maithel is a Surgical Oncologist and an expert in hepatopancreatobiliary surgery including the Whipple procedure, major hepatectomy and bile duct resections, and minimally invasive laparoscopic pancreatectomy. His clinical interests include surgical treatment of cancer of the liver (metastatic and primary) and bile ducts, and other gastrointestinal malignancies such as cancer of the pancreas, stomach, colon, and small intestine. He has worked in clinical investigation and outcomes analysis of patients treated for tumors of the liver, biliary tract, pancreas, and stomach. He served as Chair of the Gastrointestinal Surgery Working Group of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network Cancer Research Group, is a member of the NCI Hepatobiliary Task Force, and leads the US Extrahepatic Biliary Malignancy Consortium. Dr. Maithel is a strong advocate for trying to incorporate the advances that the field is making in treating patients with metastatic disease to patients with early stage disease. He is currently serving as the national Principal Investigator of three clinical trials for biliary cancers that are “forward thinking” and are trying to lay the foundation for optimizing the treatment strategy for patients with localized resectable disease.