UAMS Names van Rhee First Scharlau Chair Recipient
Jan. 19, 2011 | Internationally known multiple myeloma researcher Frits van Rhee, M.D., Ph.D., was invested Jan. 17 as the inaugural recipient of the Charles & Clydene Scharlau Chair for Hematological Malignancies Research.
A $1 million gift from Charles and Clydene Scharlau of Fayetteville endowed the chair, which will support continued development of new treatments and therapies for blood cancers such as multiple myeloma.
Charles Scharlau is the retired chairman and chief executive officer of Southwestern Energy Company, a Houston-based oil and gas exploration company. Clydene Scharlau was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood’s plasma, in 2010 and has been a patient of the UAMS Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy.
“This wonderful gift from Charles and Clydene Scharlau will have a lasting impact in our efforts to understand and treat blood-based cancers,” said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D. “Charles has long shown his commitment to making Arkansas a better place through his support and involvement with higher education and economic development and we are grateful.”
van Rhee is a professor of medicine in the UAMS College of Medicine and director of Developmental and Translational Medicine in the Myeloma Institute. He joined the Myeloma Institute in 2001, establishing a laboratory for developing innovative medical treatments using the body’s immune system.
He is the leader of multiple National Cancer Institute-funded grant projects related to developmental therapeutics and anti-myeloma effects of so-called natural killer cells in the body’s immune system. His studies led to the first clinical trial utilizing expanded natural killer cells for relapsed myeloma.
In addition, van Rhee is a nationally recognized expert in Castleman’s Disease, He is the principal investigator of a worldwide clinical trial evaluating novel anti-Interleukin 6 antibody therapy for treating that cancer-like disease of the lymph nodes.
Through his career, he has been an investigator on more than 20 clinical trials and has secured more than $4 million in grant funding.
He earned his medical degree from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 1985 and is UK board certified in Internal Medicine and Hematology. van Rhee trained in Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation at the John Radcliffe University Hospital in Oxford and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in London and earned his doctorate degree from the Imperial College of Science, Medicine and Technology at the University of London. He came to the U.S. in 1996 as a Fogarty Fellow under John Barrett, M.D. with the Allotransplant Section of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health.
“Dr. van Rhee is a dedicated researcher, focused on developing new therapies that will help patients with multiple myeloma and related diseases,” said Bart Barlogie, M.D., Ph.D., the Myeloma Institute’s founder and director. “Dr. van Rhee has been an integral force behind the tremendous strides we have made in changing the outcomes for our patients.”
Charles E. Scharlau, J.D., served as president and CEO at Southwestern Energy Company for 26 of his nearly 50 years with the company. He has continued to serve the company as a member of its board of directors.
Scharlau has been active in civic and business affairs throughout his career. He has been on the board of directors of the American Gas Association, the Southern Gas Association and the National Association of Manufacturers. He has served as chairman of the Mineral Law Section of the Arkansas Bar Association, president of the State Chamber of Commerce, a member of the State Economic Expansion Study Commission, a member of the Energy Commission under then-Gov. Dale Bumpers and chairman under then-Gov. David Pryor and chairman of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. He now serves on the Northwest Arkansas Council.
A 1951 graduate of the University of Arkansas, Scharlau has served on the board of trustees and as chairman of the board. He has also served as president of the Alumni Association, chairman of the National Development Council, chairman of the first large fund raising campaign under then-Chancellor Dan Ferritor, vice chairman of the Campaign for the 21st Century, a member of the 2010 Commission and president of the University of Arkansas Foundation. He now serves as chair of the Foundation’s Audit Committee and is a longtime member of the Razorback Foundation.
A native of Mountain Home, Scharlau served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. He has been married to Clydene Sloop since 1959.
Clydene Sloop was born in Oregon and raised in Caldwell, Idaho, where she attended the College of Idaho. She was active in the American Red Cross lifesaving program and was a strong supporter of the Boys and Girls Club swim team. A lover of animals, she participated in dog therapy programs at local assisted-living homes and cared for horses on the family farm.
An endowed chair is the highest academic honor that can be bestowed by a university on its faculty. A chair can honor the memory of a loved one or honor a person’s accomplishments. It is supported with designated gifts of $1 million or more.