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The AACI is dedicated to promoting the common interests of the nation’s leading academic cancer centers that are focused on the eradication of cancer through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary program of cancer research, treatment, patient care, prevention, education, and community outreach.
AACI Update is an e-newsletter for the cancer center directors and key contacts at AACI member institutions and individuals interested in the cancer center-related activities of AACI. AACI Update reports on the progress of AACI initiatives and other AACI endeavors that benefit the cancer community and highlights important news and events at AACI member institutions.
AACI encourages member institutions to submit cancer center highlights to AACI Update. News briefs are linked to complete stories posted on individual cancer center websites. Please e-mail materials to aaciupdate@aaci-cancer.org. AACI reserves the right to decide whether or not materials are appropriate for inclusion.

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Headlines
ASCO Joins Ranks of AACI Sustaining Members
AACI is pleased to welcome the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) as our newest sustaining member.

Founded in 1964, ASCO is dedicated to improving cancer care and prevention and ensuring that all patients with cancer receive care of the highest quality. More than 25,000 oncology practitioners belong to ASCO, representing all oncology disciplines (medical, radiological, and surgical oncology) and subspecialties. ASCO’s Board of Directors includes President Richard L. Schilsky, MD, Associate Dean for Clinical Research, University of Chicago Medical Center, and Chief Executive Officer Allen S. Lichter MD, former Dean of the Medical School at the University of Michigan. more...
The Ohio State University & Lance Armstrong Foundation
Host Town Hall with Sen. John McCain

Arizona Senator John McCain discussed cancer and related issues at a town hall meeting on July 24, in Columbus, Ohio, hosted by cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, The Ohio State University and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

The meeting and accompanying three-day conference, aimed at moving cancer to the forefront of the national agenda, focused on treatment, health insurance, funding, care, and eradication of the disease.

McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, pledged to increase funding to the National Cancer Institute as president, but did not commit to an exact amount. He also spoke of his long-term battle with melanoma, and his success at kicking a two-pack a day cigarette habit. more...
Six AACI Members Tapped to Lead NCI Knowledge Centers
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded contracts to six members of the Association of American Cancer Institutes to operate “Knowledge Centers” for the Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG™) initiative.

Overseen by NCI’s Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology, caBIG aims to advance basic and clinical research on cancer and improve clinical outcomes for patients. Information such as patient registries, tissue management data and study results can be uploaded to the grid-based system.

The initiative has launched key tools and infrastructure based on agreed-upon common standards and policy resources that enhance efficiency and innovation in the cancer community and related fields. more...
Beverly Mitchell Named Director of Stanford Cancer Center
Dr. Beverly Mitchell, George E. Becker Professor of Medicine and Deputy Director of the NCI-Designated Stanford Cancer Center, has been named the center’s new Director and Principal Investigator. Before joining Stanford, Mitchell led the Molecular Therapeutics Program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she also served as Associate Director for Translational Research and Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology.

She has served as President of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and is Chair of the Medical and Scientific Affairs Committee and Vice Chair for Medical and Scientific Affairs of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America. more...
AACI Annual Meeting
Online registration for the 2008 Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) annual meeting is available now. The meeting will be held October 5-7 in Chicago. For detailed information and to register for the meeting, visit: www.aaci-cancer.org/annual_meeting.

This year’s meeting will include sessions on adult survivorship, value based competition, cancer health care disparities, investments in new science, States’ funding of cancer research, and emerging centers.

AACI will present the AACI Distinguished Service Award to Joseph V. Simone, M.D. Dr. Simone is an internationally recognized leader in cancer care, research, and education. He was recently appointed director of the University of Florida Shands Cancer Center and Physician-in-Chief of Cancer Services for Shands at UF. Dr. Simone spent most of his medical career at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, where he played a leadership role in the development of curative treatments for childhood leukemia and lymphoma. more...
Legislative Update
Included in this Legislative Update:
  • Dramatic Kennedy Vote Guards Medicare Doctor Payments
  • Specter-Harkin Bill Seeks NIH Funding Boost
  • Conquer Childhood Cancer Act Becomes Law
  • Sen. Byrd Postpones Mark-up of Emergency Supplemental Bill
On July 9, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, returned to the Senate to cast a key vote on a Medicare bill.

Doctors announced on May 20 that Kennedy had cancer. He underwent successful brain surgery at Duke University Medical Center on June 2 and has been receiving cancer treatments in Massachusetts for the tumor. more...
AACI Welcomes New Communications Director
AACI’s new communications director, Chris Zurawsky, spent 2007 in Australia with his family, teaching journalism at the University of Newcastle. He has worked as a communications director at the University of Pittsburgh, editor of the Columbia School of Public Health magazine (Columbia University), and as a research associate for a Columbia health care policy center headed by economist Eli Ginzberg. He has also been a staff writer for medical magazines and daily newspapers and holds master’s degrees in public policy and management (Pitt) and journalism (Columbia). Chris can be reached at chris@aaci-cancer.org , or (412) 802-6775. more...
News from the Centers
Research Reveals That ‘Microrna’ May Be A New Biomarker For Early Cancer Detection
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have discovered that microRNAs – molecular workhorses that regulate gene expression – are released by cancer cells and circulate in the blood, which gives them the potential to become a new class of biomarkers to detect cancer at its earliest stages. Muneesh Tewari, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues describe their findings in the July 28 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. MicroRNAs, which act as brakes on different parts of a cell, keeping genes in check, have some advantages over protein-based early-detection systems, including that they can be detected potentially in smaller quantities and that the technology exists to rapidly develop microRNA-based early-detection tests, said Tewari, an assistant member in the Hutchinson Center’s Human Biology and Clinical Research divisions. His work is focused on understanding why the brakes fail – allowing unchecked cell growth – in prostate and ovarian cancer. more...
Moffitt Cancer Center’s Mole Patrol® hits Clearwater Beach Aug. 9
Moffitt Cancer Center
The Mole Patrol®, a team of skin cancer specialists from Moffitt Cancer Center, will provide free skin cancer screenings from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 9 at Pier 60 Pavilion on Clearwater Beach. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 1 million skin cancers are diagnosed annually. “People need to understand that the sun is not their friend. No matter your skin tone, everyone is at risk for developing skin cancer,” said Dr. Vernon Sondak, division chief of Cutaneous Oncology at Moffitt. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss sun-exposed areas of concern with oncologists and dermatologists. The team will be looking for the two major types of skin cancer: nonmelanoma and melanoma – both related to sun exposure. more...
CIRM Grants Awarded to Support Moores Cancer Center Research
Moores UCSD Cancer Center
Adding to the more than $19.8 million in funding that researchers at the University of California, San Diego have received to date from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, three grants were awarded today to Moores Cancer Center researchers to fund new approaches to generating stem cell lines from human skin, and to fighting leukemia and Alzheimer’s disease. CIRM’s governing board, the 29-member Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, announced that the Cancer Center’s Dr. Steven Dowdy, professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, will receive a three-year New Cell Lines grant for $1,387,800. The CIRM New Cell Lines Awards support the derivation and propagation of new lines of pluripotent human stem cells with important research and clinical application for understanding, diagnosing and treating serious injury and disease. more...
$10.9 Million NCI Grant For Studies Of Virus Cancer Models
The Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center
A team of researchers from Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center (OSUCCC) and the University’s College of Veterinary Medicine have received a $10.9 million, five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to further their studies of retrovirus-associated cancer. Principal investigator Michael Lairmore, DVM, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Veterinary Biosciences, associate director for basic research at the OSUCCC, and a member of the OSUCCC’s Viral Oncogenesis Program, leads the team. The new grant follows a previous five-year, $8.9 million NCI grant received in 2003 for studies investigating how some retroviruses cause white blood cells, called lymphocytes, to proliferate, leading to cancer. Retroviruses include the human T-lymphotropic virus type I and II (HTLV-1 and HTLV-2), which have been linked to adult T-cell leukemia and lymphoma, and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of AIDS. more...
University of Kansas Cancer Center Opens Ovarian Cancer Drug Clinical Trial
University of Kansas Cancer Center
Marking an important milestone in the development of new cancer treatments, officials from the University of Kansas Cancer Center announced the opening of a Phase I clinical trial using a new ovarian cancer drug developed by KU researchers. The drug, Nanotax, is the reformulation of a commonly used chemotherapy drug, Paclitaxel. Negative side effects associated with Paclitaxel are attributed to the solvent that it is mixed with in order to be administered to patients. Dr. Bala Subramaniam, distinguished professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, Dr. Valentino Stella, distinguished professor of pharmaceutical chemistry and co-leader of the KU Cancer Center’s Drug Discovery and Experimental Therapeutics Research Program, and Dr. Roger Rajewski, director of the Biotechnology, Innovation and Optimization Center at KU developed technology that broke Paclitaxel down into a nanoparticle form. This reformulation allows it to be mixed with water and then administered to patients in the abdomen; an innovative approach for delivery that KU researchers believe dramatically boosts survival rates, compared to the drug being delivered intravenously. more...
Roswell Park Surgeons Perform 100th Consecutive Bladder Cancer Robotic Surgery
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
The Minimally Invasive Surgical Center at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) has performed its 100th robot-assisted radical cystectomy for advanced bladder cancer using the da Vinci® Surgical Robotic System which distinguishes RPCI as one of the world’s premier academic institutions for the procedure. Khurshid A. Guru, MD, Director of Robotic Surgery, Department of Urologic Oncology at RPCI, said, “This pioneering technique offers patients with bladder cancer a less-invasive treatment option that has several potential advantages over traditional open and laparoscopic surgery.” More than 60 percent of patients with bladder cancer are over 65 years old. For many of those patients, co-morbidities preclude the possibility of open surgery, the standard treatment for advanced bladder cancer. Robot-assisted cystectomy provides a treatment option which has several benefits for patients, which include a shorter hospital stay, less pain, less blood loss, less risk of infection and a faster recovery. more...
Hutchinson Center Receives $7.6 Million Federal Grant To Study How Genetic Variations Influence Risk of Common Diseases
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have received a $7.6 million, four-year grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute to better understand the genetic and biological roots of common diseases. The Hutchinson Center is one of four U.S. research institutes to receive grants totaling about $31 million toward this effort. The Hutchinson Center project, led by biostatistician and principal investigator Charles Kooperberg, Ph.D., and epidemiologist and co-principal investigator Ulrike “Riki” Peters, Ph.D., both of the Center’s Public Health Sciences Division, will study how specific genetic variants influence the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other common conditions, from obesity to dementia. Mining more than a decade of data from the Women’s Health Initiative, an ethnically and socio-economically diverse study population involving nearly 162,000 postmenopausal women nationwide, Kooperberg and colleagues will look also at how previously identified genetic variants are related to biological and physical characteristics associated with disease risk, such as weight, cholesterol and blood-sugar levels, and bone density. more...
Karmanos Cancer Center Partners with Meadowbrook to Expand Outreach and Access for Cancer Services
Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center
The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center announced that it has signed an agreement with Meadowbrook C Management, LLC, to lease space and equipment at the Meadowbrook Medical Center, located in Novi, Michigan. The approximately 14,000 square foot space will allow Karmanos to expand its outreach to cancer patients in Novi and the surrounding communities, as well as provide access to radiation oncology, medical oncology and chemotherapy services. With this agreement, Karmanos expects to start seeing patients at this location in January 2009. “Creating partnerships and collaborations to bring exceptional state-of-the-art cancer care to patients is part of Karmanos’ regional, national and international strategy,” says John C. Ruckdeschel, M.D., president and chief executive officer, Karmanos Cancer Institute. more...
Clark County Board of County Commissioners Approves Nevada Cancer Institute to Provide Radiation Oncology Services for University Medical Center
Nevada Cancer Institute
The Clark County Board of County Commissioners today approved a non-exclusive contract with Nevada Cancer Institute (NVCI) to provide radiation oncology services for University Medical Center (UMC). The contract with Clark County is for NVCI to provide radiation oncology services for University Medical Center patients effective immediately. The non-exclusive contract is for three years. UMC does not have radiation oncology services available onsite. Radiation oncology services will be provided to UMC patients at NVCI’s facility. “Nevada Cancer Institute is pleased to have been approved by the Board of County Commissioners to provide radiation oncology services for University Medical Center,” said Sandy Murdock, NVCI president and chief executive officer. “The Institute already is a partner with UMC, providing oncology care at UMC, and has been proud to participate in the rigorous review process for the radiation oncology services.” more...
UAB Joins Elite Brain Cancer Research Group
UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center
Brain cancer experts at UAB have been selected for membership in the Ivy Genomics-Based Medicine Project, a national consortium of nine cutting-edge hospitals and academic centers working to improve treatment and survival for patients with a malignant brain tumor known as glioma. UAB is the only research site in the Southeast, and it is one of four members with its own National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and a Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in brain cancer. Gliomas are tumors that arise by transformation of the body’s glial cells, which make up 90 percent of the brain and spinal cord and normally work in concert with neurons. The consortium members strive to unravel how genetic differences between gliomas can lead to more effective and even personalized treatments for patients. more...
Vitamin A Pushes Breast Cancer to Form Blood Vessel Cells
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have discovered that vitamin A, when applied to breast cancer cells, turns on genes that can push stem cells embedded in a tumor to morph into endothelial cells. These cells can then build blood vessels to link up to the body’s blood supply, promoting further tumor growth. This is very different from the well-accepted role of tumor angiogenesis, when tumors send signals to blood vessels to grow toward the cancer. “Finding that vitamin A may cause some breast cancer cells to form blood vessels brings up the rather disturbing notion that treatment with these drugs may actually stimulate tumor growth,” says the study’s senior author, Stephen W. Byers, Ph.D., a professor of cell biology at Georgetown’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. The study is published in PLoS ONE. more...
New Cancer Vaccine is Licensed by Brown Cancer Center
James Graham Brown Cancer Center
University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center has licensed the technology for a second-generation vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV) to Advanced Cancer Therapeutics (ACT), a Louisville-based private company dedicated to bringing new anti-cancer therapies to market. The vaccine, to be produced in tobacco plants, targets the HPV L2 protein. Vaccines currently on the market have a different target, the L1 protein. Second generation vaccines, based on the L2 protein, may provide broader immune protection against a greater number of the more than 200 strains of HPV at a lower cost than current vaccines. The intellectual property, licensed to ACT through U of L’s Office of Technology Transfer, is based on research by associate professor Kenneth Palmer, professor A. Bennett Jenson and their colleagues. more...
Erie-Niagara Tobacco-Free Coalition Director Appointed
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Anthony G. Billoni has been appointed director of the Erie-Niagara Tobacco-Free Coalition, housed within the Department of Health Behavior, at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The Erie-Niagara Tobacco-Free Coalition represents dozens of health and human service agencies in the Western New York region and is responsible for sponsoring activities to reduce the harm that tobacco causes in our community.“The Coalition’s mission is simple. We are in business to create an environment where young people have the knowledge and tools to reject tobacco and anyone can quit,” said K. Michael Cummings, PhD, Chair of the Department of Health Behavior, RPCI, and a member of the Erie-Niagara Tobacco-Free Coalition. Mr. Billoni comes to RPCI from The Park School of Buffalo, where he held the position of Director of Admissions. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Empire State College in 1984 and a Master of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership from Buffalo State College in 2002. more...
Hepatitis C Virus May Need Help of Enzyme to Cause Liver Disease
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
A key enzyme may explain how hepatitis C infection causes fatty liver – a buildup of excess fat in the liver, which can lead to life-threatening diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and School of Medicine. The study, published in the July 9 online issue of Hepatology, shows that an enzyme known to play a major role in lipid production, fatty acid synthase, was highly elevated in human liver cells exposed to the hepatitis C virus. While preliminary, the research suggests that testing for elevated levels of FAS could help determine which patients with hepatitis C virus may go on to develop more serious, long-lasting health consequences brought on by fatty liver. “Our study has provided new insight into how hepatitis C causes fatty liver. This has important implications for future studies and efforts to understand how the virus causes an increase in fatty acid levels that can lead to serious liver conditions,” said Dr. Tianyi Wang, assistant professor, Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, and the study’s lead author. more...
“Smart Bomb” Nanoparticle Strategy Impacts Metastasis
Moores UCSD Cancer Center
A new treatment strategy using molecular “smart bombs” to target metastasis with anti-cancer drugs leads to good results using significantly lower doses of toxic chemotherapy, with less collateral damage to surrounding tissue, according to a collaborative team of researchers at the University of California, San Diego. By designing a “nanoparticle” drug delivery system, the UC San Diego team, led by Moores UCSD Cancer Center Director of Translational Research Dr. David Cheresh, has identified a way to target chemotherapy to achieve a profound impact on metastasis in pancreatic and kidney cancer in mice. Cheresh, professor and vice chair of pathology, and members of his team report that the nanoparticle carrying a payload of chemotherapy homes in on a protein marker called integrin ανβ3 – found on the surface of certain tumor blood vessels where it is associated with development of new blood vessels and malignant tumor growth. more...
Study Results Raise Important Issues Regarding HPV in Heterosexual Men
Arizona Cancer Center
In the United States, the incidence of anal cancer in men—caused primarily by human papillomavirus infection—has increased almost three-fold in three decades. Researchers from the Arizona Cancer Center recently completed a study on the prevalence and risk factors for anal HPV in heterosexual men. A great deal of research concerning HPV in women has been conducted during the past decade, and a vaccine for HPV in women has been developed. However, research about anal HPV in men has primarily focused only on homosexual men. In Tucson, Arizona and Tampa, Florida, behavioral data and anal biological specimens were collected from 253 men who said they had sexual intercourse with a woman during the preceding year. On the basis of DNA analysis, the overall prevalence of anal HPV infection was 24.8 percent in 222 men who said they had no prior sexual intercourse with other men. These results suggest that anal HPV infection may be common in heterosexual men. more...
Rockefeller Cancer Institute Expansion “Topping Out”
UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
Construction of the 12-story expansion to the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will reach its highest point Sept. 26 when the campus celebrates the building’s “topping out.” The 300,000-square-foot expansion is expected to open in 2010, with up to seven floors completed in the first phase. The expansion will greatly increase the research and clinic space available in the institute’s existing Walker Tower. “This expansion will make way for us to substantially increase our capacity for cancer research in several areas, including our highly regarded breast cancer program and a new leukemia/lymphoma program,” said Dr. Peter Emanuel, Cancer Institute director. “It also will provide our patients and their families with a warm and comfortable environment that we hope will aid in their healing process.” In April 2007, Gov. Mike Beebe signed a bill allowing the state to provide up to $46 million in matching funds to build the expansion. To date, $28.5 million of the $46 million has been raised and matched. more...
Stage-for-Stage Lung Cancer Survival Similar Among Races
UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center
Knowing that advances in genetics and social sciences have demonstrated that race usually is not a biologic factor in cancer survival, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) examined factors that might contribute to the racial disparity in lung cancer deaths and found that when given uniform staging, treatment and socio-economic status, the overall survival rates for African-American and Caucasian patients with non-small cell lung cancer were similar. The study is published in the July 2008 issues of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology. The study also found that differing external factors between the African-American patients and the Caucasian patients could have contributed to the higher mortality rate among African American patients. UAB researchers, led by study lead author Ayesha Bryant, M.D., M.S.P.H., looked at factors like annual income, insurance status and education level to see if they were influencing the poor survival rates of African-American patients. more...
Magazine Ranks Moffitt Number 16 of America’s Best Hospitals for Cancer
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
Moffitt Cancer Center came in at number 16 on U.S. News & World Report’s latest list of America’s Best Hospitals for cancer. This is the 10th year in a row that Moffitt has appeared on the newsmagazine’s cancer list. The list is accessible at www.usnews.com/besthospitals. “What an honor to be recognized on such a prestigious list with some of the most well-known cancer centers in the country,” said Dr. William S. Dalton, CEO and center director of Moffitt. “We could not have achieved this reputation without the help of our hard-working staff, doctors and researchers. This is truly a team effort.” Moffitt has achieved many successes over the past year including breaking ground on M2Gen, a wholly owned subsidiary of Moffitt charged with developing personalized cancer treatments for patients and partnering with Shands HealthCare and the University of Florida to improve cancer care. more...
Researchers Locate and Image Spread of Prostate Cancer to Lymph Nodes
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA
Using an engineered common cold virus, UCLA researchers delivered a genetic payload to prostate cancer cells that allowed them, using Positron Emission Tomography, to locate the diseased cells as they spread to the lymph nodes, the first place prostate cancer goes before invading other organs. The tiny cancer metastases in the pelvic lymph nodes are very difficult to find using conventional imaging tools such as CT scanning. This discovery could aid oncologists in finding the cancer’s spread earlier, when it’s more treatable, and before it invades distant organs, said Lily Wu, a researcher at UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center and the senior author of the study. The next step for Wu and her colleagues is linking the non-invasive imaging advance with a treatment component, activating a toxic agent in the genetic payload to kill the spreading cancer cells. Wu hopes one day to be able to find tiny prostate cancer metastases in patients and kill them at the same time, watching it all on a PET scanner. She currently is refining this image-guided therapy in her lab in mouse models. more...
Lurie Cancer Center Receives $1 Million from Avon Foundation
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
The sixth annual Avon Walk Chicago was an overwhelming success with 4,000 participants drawn from 40 states, including 289 breast cancer survivors, who joined together to raise lifesaving funds and awareness for breast cancer. At the event’s closing ceremony at Soldier Field, Carol Kurzig, executive director of the Avon Foundation, announced a total of $4,750,000 in initial grants awarded to local organizations, ensuring the funds raised immediately benefit the community. More grants are slated to be awarded throughout the year to breast cancer programs nationwide. The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University received $1,050,000 for research and access to care: To support access to breast care for medically underserved populations at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Erie Family Health Center as well as research at the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Research Laboratories focused on identifying markers for breast cancer prevention and treatment response, and characterizing molecular mechanisms of breast cancer growth, survival and metastasis. The grant was accepted by Seema Khan, MD, Co-Leader of the Breast Cancer Program. more...
Gene test may change treatment, extend life for lung cancer patients
University of Colorado Cancer Center
Researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center have shown that a readily available gene screening test can help doctors know which people with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer will benefit from adding a second cancer drug to standard chemotherapy. Patients who test positive for the EGFR gene may live twice as long as those who are EGFR- when given the a combination of chemotherapy and cetuximab—a drug that blocks a key pathway particular gene-driven tumors use to grow and spread—as their first-line treatment, the study shows. The results of this study could very well change the way lung cancer patients are treated in the future, similar to how screening for estrogen-driven breast cancer changed how patients with HER2+ breast tumors are treated,” said Dr. Fred Hirsch, professor of Medicine at University of Colorado Denver and the paper’s lead author. The paper was published in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. more...
New Faculty Member Joins Roswell Park Department of Radiation Medicine
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Dr. David Mattson, Jr., has been appointed Director of the Breast Radiation Oncology Program, Department of Radiation Medicine, at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI). Dr. Mattson will offer radiation services to breast cancer patients and facilitate translational research as a member of the Breast Cancer Group and Radiation Medicine team at Roswell Park. Dr. Mattson comes to RPCI from the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics where he completed a fellowship and residency training in the Department of Radiation Oncology. He earned his medical degree from the John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, and completed a research fellowship in the Radiation Oncology Sciences Program, Molecular Radiation Oncology Section at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Mattson is a recipient of the Research & Education Foundation Roentgen Resident Research Award from the Radiological Society of North America and earned a Holman Research Residency appointment through the American College of Radiology. more...
UTC Contributes $1 Million to Smilow Cancer Hospital
Yale Cancer Center
United Technologies Corporation today announced a $1 million contribution to the Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut. The Smilow Cancer Hospital will provide care to patients throughout the region by expanding clinical space for Yale-New Haven Hospital, Yale Cancer Center and Yale School of Medicine. "Smilow Cancer Hospital will provide world-class care to our community and play an important role in the search for a cure to this terrible disease," said Louis Chênevert, UTC president and chief executive officer. "Yale Cancer Center is one of only 39 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers, and the only one in southern New England. I’m proud that UTC can support this exceptional new cancer facility in our community." The 14-story, 497,000-square-foot Smilow Cancer Hospital, located in New Haven, Connecticut, will house 112 inpatient beds, outpatient treatment rooms, expanded operating rooms, diagnostic imaging services, therapeutic radiology and a specialized Women’s Cancer Center. more...
Jefferson Researchers Show Antibody to Breast Cancer-Secreted Protein Blocks Metastasis
Kimmel Cancer Center
Scientists at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia have made a key discovery about the mechanism of breast cancer metastasis, the process by which cancer spreads. Focusing on a gene dubbed “Dachshund,” or DACH1, they are beginning to pinpoint new therapeutic targets to halt the spread of cancer. Reporting their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers led by Richard Pestell, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson and professor and chair of Cancer Biology at Jefferson Medical College, showed that breast cancer cells secrete a common inflammatory protein, IL-8. When the scientists blocked the protein in mice with an antibody, they found that it completely halted the spread of breast cancer to the lungs. “This is a very important study by Dr. Pestell and his colleagues that demonstrates that the protein dachshund blocks metastasis in a mouse model and that this occurs through reduced production of the chemokine IL-8,” said Dr. Max Wicha, director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ann Arbor. more...
Medical Oncologist Receives $1.3 Million in Cancer Research Awards
The Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Dr. Vassiliki Karantza-Wadsworth a medical oncologist at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) and an assistant professor of medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, has been selected to receive a pair of cancer research awards, providing her with more than $1.3 million to study the role of a potential cell death process in breast cancer. One of the awards, the Howard Temin Pathway to Independence in Cancer Research Award, is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and is one of between 150 and 200 to be given each fiscal year. According to the NIH, the primary, long-term goal of this particular award program is to increase and maintain a strong cohort of new and talented NIH-supported investigators. It is designed to facilitate the transition of a mentored postdoctoral research position to a stable independent research position at a stage earlier than the current norm. more...
Avon Foundation Awards $500,000 to the GW Cancer Institute to Support Breast Cancer Education
George Washington Cancer Institute
Dr. Steven Patierno, George Washington Cancer Institute (GW) executive director, accepted a $500,000 grant on May 4, as part of the Avon Walk Washington, D.C. closing ceremony. The grant will support breast cancer services in the Washington, D.C. community, addressing the fact that the city has one of the highest breast cancer mortality rates in the country. The Avon grant will enable GW to deploy the GW Mammovan--a mobile mammography unit, equipped with state-of-the-art digital mammography technology--to the most medically underserved areas of the District. The grant will also support the creation of a network of business and faith-based community partnerships that will help culturally competent outreach specialists to work with members of the community to improve breast health education. The grant will also enable the establishment of an Avon Imaging Fellowship, which will provide training and experience for a Radiology/ Mammography Fellow in community-based medicine. Actress Reese Witherspoon, honorary chair of the Avon Foundation, presented the check to Dr. Patierno, along with awards to several other area organizations. more...
Lynn D. Wilson Honored at Yale
Yale Cancer Center
In two recent ceremonies at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Lynn D. Wilson, vice chair and professor of therapeutic radiology, was honored for his accomplishments in teaching and clinical leadership. Dr. Wilson joined the faculty of Yale School of Medicine in 1994 and is a member of Yale Cancer Center and the Yale Cancer Center Thoracic Oncology Program. In addition, he serves as the Clinical Director and Residency Training Program Director for the Department of Therapeutic Radiology. Dr. Wilson is the 2008 recipient of the Francis Gilman Blake Award, an award designated by the senior class and presented to a member of the Yale School of Medicine faculty for exceptional teaching of the medical sciences. The award was established in 1952 by Nu Sigma Nu in memory of Sterling Professor of Medicine, Dr. Francis Gilman. "Sharing his passion for patient care and innovative medicine, Dr. Wilson is an outstanding teacher and mentor to our students," said Dr. Peter Glazer, chairman of therapeutic radiology. more...
Smoke-Free Policies Very Effective in Reducing Health Hazards
Moores Cancer Center
Research reviewed by an international team of experts called together by the International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that smoke-free policies are “extremely effective” in reducing the health hazards of smoking. The findings, published in the July edition of The Lancet Oncology, are the latest in a series of reviews and evaluations from the IARC’s Tobacco and Cancer Team. This team was led by Dr. John Pierce, Director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego, and Dr. María León, Tobacco and Cancer Team, Lifestyle, Environment and Cancer Group, IARC, Lyon, France. Many states and countries have gone smoke-free in the past five years, in response to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention for Tobacco Control, which 168 nations have signed. Although the United States has not yet signed the treaty, California was the first state to go smoke-free and is the only place in which there has been more than 10 years experience with this effort. “The IARC report uses California’s experience extensively to evaluate the long term effectiveness of such policies,” said Pierce. more...
Karmanos Cancer Institute Receives $10,000 Grant
Karmanos Cancer Institute
The J.P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute recently received a $10,000 grant from Metro Health Foundation of Detroit to support a public umbilical cord blood education initiative. The main focus will be on minority women and their health care providers regarding the importance of cord blood donations. The J.P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank at Karmanos is a public, non-profit stem cell bank with over 1,200 umbilical cord blood units in its inventory. The bank was founded in 2001 with funding from The J.P. McCarthy Foundation and Carls Foundation and is one of only 21 internationally recognized cord stem cell banks affiliated with the National Marrow Donor Program. “Our goal is to educate the region so that cord blood banking becomes standard practice in our ethnically diverse community,” said Suanne Dorr, manager of the J.P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. “This effort will directly benefit people with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.” more...
‘Hibernation-On-Demand’ Drug Significantly Improves Survival after Extreme Blood Loss
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
For the first time, researchers have demonstrated that the administration of minute amounts of inhaled or intravenous hydrogen sulfide, or H2S – the molecule that gives rotten eggs their sulfurous stench – significantly improves survival from extreme blood loss in rats. Cell biologist Dr. Mark B. Roth, and colleagues in the Basic Sciences Division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in collaboration with surgeon Dr. Robert K. Winn, and colleagues at UW Medicine’s Harborview Medical Center, reported their findings in the July issue of The Journal of Trauma Injury, Infection, and Critical Care. The researchers successfully used H2S to induce a state of reversible metabolic hibernation as a way to reduce death from insufficient blood supply to organs and tissues in a rat model of lethal hemorrhage. “Our goal is to develop life-saving treatment for critically ill people suffering from acute, sustained blood loss, such as in a car accident or on the battlefield,” said senior author Roth. “These findings have obvious implications for the military, but they also have tremendous implications for the civilian population.” more...