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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.
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Headlines
University of Chicago Economist Philipson to
Speak at AACI Annual Meeting

Tomas J. Philipson will explore the barriers to successful oncology drug development in a presentation at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Cancer Institutes, October 5-7, in Chicago.

Philipson is the Daniel Levin Professor of Public Policy Studies in the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies and is an associate faculty member in the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago. He has been the senior economic advisor to the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

The recipient of numerous international and national research awards, Philipson has twice earned his field’s highest honor, the Kenneth Arrow Award of the International Health Economics Association (for best paper in the field of health economics). more...
Dr. Francis Collins confirmed as NIH Director
The United States Senate unanimously confirmed Dr. Francis Collins as Director of the National Institutes of Health on August 7. The Association of American Cancer Institutes congratulates Dr. Collins on his confirmation. At this crucial juncture in the nation’s biomedical enterprise, the leadership that Dr. Collins will bring to the NIH will prove pivotal to advancing research and saving patient’s lives. more...
Dr. Francis Collins confirmed as NIH Director
The United States Senate unanimously confirmed Dr. Francis Collins as Director of the National Institutes of Health on August 7. The Association of American Cancer Institutes congratulates Dr. Collins on his confirmation. At this crucial juncture in the nation’s biomedical enterprise, the leadership that Dr. Collins will bring to the NIH will prove pivotal to advancing research and saving patient’s lives. more...
AACI Clinical Research Initiative Convenes Inaugural General Meeting
The first general meeting of the AACI Clinical Research Initiative (AACI CRI) was held in Chicago July 16 and 17. Seventy-five attendees discussed a variety of issues of vital concern to the clinical trials enterprise. AACI CRI was created to provide a focused forum for sharing information and examining best practices that promote the efficient operation of cancer center clinical research facilities, and will leverage the ability of the AACI cancer center network to advocate for improvement in the national clinical trials enterprise. more...
Deininger Named Tulane Cancer Center Director
Prescott Deininger, Ph.D., has been named director of the Tulane Cancer Center and the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation Regents Distinguished Chair in Molecular Cancer Pharmacology. Dr. Deininger, a professor of epidemiology in the Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine, had been serving as interim director of the Tulane Cancer Center and co-director of the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium, Tulane’s cancer research partnership with LSU and Xavier universities, since July 2007. more...
Greenebaum Cancer Center Receives Prestigious
National Cancer Institute Designation

The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center has been selected as a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center, a distinction shared by only 63 other centers across the country. The NCI bestows this special designation on the nation’s top cancer centers in recognition of their scientific excellence and outstanding patient care. NCI-designated centers are selected through a highly competitive, peer-reviewed process, made even more competitive in the wake of recent NCI funding cutbacks. more...
Stand Up To Cancer Makes Prime Time Appeal
On Friday, September 5, at 8 PM, more than 50 TV, film, sports and music personalities will come together to make history. In an unprecedented television event, NBC, ABC, and CBS will simultaneously devote 1 hour of commercial-free prime time to raise funds for the fight against cancer.

The star-studded line up is slated to include personal appearances from Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johansson, Meryl Streep, David Cook, Christina Applegate, Lance Armstrong, Jack Black, Kirsten Dunst, Charles Barkley, America Ferrera, Halle Berry, Hilary Swank, Forrest Whitaker, Jimmy Fallon, Keanu Reeves. They will be on hand to answer telephone calls in the celebrity phone bank. more...
AACI Annual Meeting to Convene October 5-7 in Chicago
The Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) will assemble leaders of the nation’s premier cancer research centers next month in Chicago. AACI and the Cancer Center Administrators Forum (CCAF) developed the program in tandem for the 2008 AACI Annual Meeting/CCAF Fall Meeting.

Join us at The Fairmont Chicago, October 5–7, to celebrate the accomplishments of our cancer centers and address challenges that impede our efforts to improve the health of patients and families in every community across the United States. Contributions to this national meeting guide AACI efforts to strengthen our cancer center network and the National Cancer Program. more...
LeBeau Tapped for AACI Board of Directors
Dr. Michelle Le Beau has been elected by AACI’s membership to fill a position on the association’s board of directors. Her three-year term begins in October.

Dr. LeBeau became director of The University of Chicago Cancer Research Center (UCCRC) in 2004 and is director of the Cancer Cytogenetics Laboratory. Earlier this year the National Cancer Institute designated UCCRC as a Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Much of Dr. LeBeau’s work has focused on therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia, and she is the PI of a NCI-sponsored Program Project grant (P01) grant examining the etiology of t-AML. Dr. Le Beau has a distinguished record of achievement in basic and translational research. Her entire career has focused on cancer research, and she has extensive experience in building interdisciplinary research programs, developing the careers and training young scientists, administration of large peer-reviewed grants, and administrative responsibility of large academic research programs. more...
News from the Centers
Black Raspberries Slow Cancer by Altering Hundreds of Genes
Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center
New research strongly suggests that a mix of preventative agents, such as those found in concentrated black raspberries, may more effectively inhibit cancer development than single agents aimed at shutting down a particular gene. Researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center examined the effect of freeze-dried black raspberries on genes altered by a chemical carcinogen in an animal model of esophageal cancer. The carcinogen affected the activity of some 2,200 genes in the animals’ esophagus in only one week, but 460 of those genes were restored to normal activity in animals that consumed freeze-dried black raspberry powder as part of their diet during the exposure. These findings, published in a recent issue of the journal Cancer Research, also helped identify 53 genes that may play a fundamental role in early cancer development and may therefore be important targets for chemoprevention agents. more...
Dr. Wayne Frederick Named Interim Director at Howard
Howard University Hospital Cancer Center
Dr. Wayne Alix Ian Frederick, chief of the Division of General Surgery at Howard University Hospital, has been appointed interim director of the Howard University Hospital Cancer Center. He will serve until a new director has been identified, according to Robert E. Taylor, M.D., Ph.D., Dean, Howard University College of Medicine. Dr. Fredrick replaces Dr. Lucille Adams-Campbell, who resigned from Howard University on August 31. She had served as a member of the College of Medicine faculty at Howard for 18 years, and Howard Cancer Center director since 1995. Dr. Frederick, 37, was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad. He joined the faculty of the Department of Surgery at Howard University as Associate Professor fulfilling a career aspiration of working with his mentor, Dr. LaSalle D Leffall, Jr. His research interest focuses upon the molecular biology of liver metastasis in colorectal cancer and the disparities seen pre menopausal breast cancer in African American women. more...
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Wins GI Cancer Clinical Trial Grant
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center has received a $125,000 research grant to support clinical trials in gastrointestinal (GI) cancer research. The two-year grant from the Aptium Oncology GI Consortium (AGIC) will be used to expand and supplement ongoing clinical translational programs in GI cancer. Jordan Berlin, M.D., associate professor of Medicine, is the Principal Investigator for the grant. “We are excited about this grant, as well as our membership in this new research consortium,” said Berlin. “The purpose of this consortium is to speed up the process of bringing new products into translational research protocols for patients with GI cancer. We have already made important discoveries about the molecular biology of many GI cancers, but we need to find new drugs that take advantage of that knowledge.” more...
Targeted radiation therapy can control limited cancer spread
University of Chicago Cancer Research Center
Precisely targeted radiation therapy can eradicate all evidence of disease in selected patients with cancer that has spread to only a few sites, suggests the first published report from an ongoing clinical trial. In the August 15, 2008, issue of Clinical Cancer Research, researchers from the University of Chicago Medical Center report that targeted radiation therapy had completely controlled all signs of cancer in 21 percent of patients who had five or fewer sites of metastatic disease. "This was proof of principle in patients who had failed the standard therapies and had few, if any, remaining options," said the study’s senior author, Ralph Weichselbaum, MD, professor and chairman of radiation and cellular oncology at the University of Chicago Medical Center. "We had encouraging results, including several long-term survivors, in patients with stage-IV cancers that had spread to distant sites." more...
University of Colorado Researchers Determine How Cells Know They Are Repaired
University of Colorado Cancer Center
Researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center have identified the key marker cells use to know when broken DNA has been repaired and it is safe for the cell to begin dividing again. Jessica Tyler, PhD, leader of the University of Colorado Cancer Center’s Molecular Oncology Program and assistant professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry at the University of Colorado Denver, and her group have an article in the July 25 edition of Cell that discusses a breakthrough in understanding the basic mechanisms of cell cycle regulation. In 2001, Lee Hartwell, PhD, won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his discovery of "checkpoint" genes that determine whether a cell is dividing normally. These checkpoints act as brakes that stop a cell with damaged DNA from dividing. The checkpoint is turned on, and normal cells mobilize mechanisms to fix that break on the DNA. When the DNA repair is finished, the checkpoint is turned off and the cell can divide again. Dr. Tyler’s group has identified how the cell knows to turn off the checkpoint. more...
Dr. David M. Mahvi Joins Northwestern as New Chief of Surgical Oncology
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
Dr. David M. Mahvi has joined Northwestern as Chief of Surgical Oncology and Professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology at the Feinberg School of Medicine, and as a member of the Robert H. Lure Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. Dr. Mahvi is on the medical staff of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. His clinical interests include the surgical treatment of upper gastrointestinal malignancies, the multidisciplinary treatment of breast cancer and the combinations of surgery and liver tumor ablation for colorectal cancers. “We are thrilled to have him join us at Northwestern - he is a distinguished figure in surgical oncology and brings impressive clinical and leadership skills to our institution,” said Dr. Steven Rosen, Director of the Lurie Cancer Center. Most recently, Dr. Mahvi was Chief of Surgical Oncology at the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center. His research interests include gene therapy for the treatment of cancer and the development of devices to treat liver cancer. more...
Breastfeeding, Other Factors May Affect Risk Of Breast Cancer Type
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Factors such as age at menopause as well as a woman’s breastfeeding practices can influence her risk of developing certain types of breast cancer. That was the conclusion of a new study published in the October 1, 2008 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. The study’s results suggest that there are distinct and separate hormonal risk factors associated with different subtypes of breast cancer. Clinical differences among breast cancer subtypes have been well-described, but researchers have limited data on how the various subtypes arise and which individuals are at greatest risk. Having this information could help physicians identify which women are more likely to develop certain subtypes of breast cancer, which respond differently to different anti-cancer therapies and have very different survival rates. Amanda Phipps, a predoctoral research associate at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and her colleagues conducted the study. more...
Expansion of Urology Team Marks New Era at the James
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-
James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

Three surgical oncology specialists in urology have joined the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University. Their diverse and innovative surgical skills bring a whole new dimension to Ohio State’s expanding capabilities in treating urologic cancers and other urologic disorders. Drs. Ronney Abaza, Ahmad Shabsigh and David Sharp bring with them skills and experience that will contribute greatly to the growing urologic oncology program at The James, according to Dr. Michael Caligiuri, CEO of The James and director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. “In addition, their expertise in urologic robotic procedures will help us expand our robotics program and answer a growing consumer demand for less invasive surgical treatments,” says Caligiuri. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer, and the second most fatal cancer, in men. Nearly one in seven men risk developing prostate cancer in their lifetime, however, the five-year survival rate has increased from 69 percent in the 1970s to nearly 98 percent today. more...
Karmanos Physician Receives Award For Advancements In Health Care
Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
Patricia LoRusso, D.O., was named as one of Crain’s Detroit Business 2008 Health Care Heroes for advancements in health care. Dr. LoRusso, director of the Phase I Clinical Trials Program at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and professor of internal medicine at Wayne State University, works tirelessly to bring promising new anti-cancer treatments to patients. She developed the Phase I program at Karmanos, one of only 14 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded Phase I programs in the country, and the only such program in Michigan. more...
Vanderbilt-Ingram Patient Advocate Coordinator Joins NCI Consumer Group
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Jane Condon, manager of Patient Advocacy for Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, has been invited to join the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Directors Consumer Liaison Group, Advocates in Research Working Group (ARWG). Patient advocates are increasingly playing an important role by participating in the design and oversight of cancer research. The mission of the ARWG is to provide recommendations on how NCI can consistently integrate advocate involvement across the programs of the institute to ensure that the patient advocate perspective is appropriately represented. “I am excited about the opportunity to represent patient advocates in this national forum,” said Condon. “It is crucial for patients and family members to have a voice in the design and implementation of cancer research projects. This working group will help ensure that the patient perspective is incorporated in the scientific process in a meaningful and effective manner.” more...
New Research From Vanderbilt-Ingram May Explain Breast Cancer Aggressiveness
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Breast cancer cells grown in dense, rigid surroundings, step up their invasive activities, Vanderbilt-Ingram investigators report in the Sept. 9 issue of Current Biology. The findings suggest a cellular mechanism for the correlation between human breast tissue density and tumor aggressiveness. Women with increased breast density on mammograms have an increased risk for both developing breast cancer and having breast cancers with invasive characteristics. This connection between breast density and cancer aggressiveness has begged the question of which comes first. Is the tissue denser because the tumor is more aggressive (and recruits cells that “lay down” more matrix), or is the tumor more aggressive because the tissue is denser? more...
University of Chicago Medical Center, Cancer Research Center and Gilda’s Club Chicago form partnership
The University of Chicago Cancer Research Center
The University of Chicago Medical Center, the University’s distinguished Cancer Research Center, and Gilda’s Club Chicago have announced a new partnership to provide the Medical Center’s oncology patients on-site access to the wide array of activities available at Gilda’s Club. Gilda’s Club Chicago is a support community for men, women and children living with cancer, as well as for their families and friends. It is a free meeting place where people living with cancer join together to build social and emotional support. Gilda’s Club staff members come every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m to the 4th floor atrium of the Medical Center’s Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine. Here they offer three activities each week for patients and family members. These include:
• Support/Networking groups, facilitated by a licensed mental health professional;
• Healing arts and movement workshops such as yoga, tai chi and a art classes; and
• Various educational programs, lectures, workshops and social events. more...
Scientists Discover Major Genetic Cause of Colorectal Cancer
The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
About one-third of colorectal cancers are inherited, but the genetic cause of most of these cancers is unknown. The genes linked to colorectal cancer account for less than 5 percent of all cases. Scientists at Northwestern University’s Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center and Feinberg School of Medicine and colleagues have discovered a genetic trait that is present in 10 to 20 percent of patients with colorectal cancer. The findings strongly suggest that the trait is a major contributor to colorectal cancer risk and likely the most common cause of colorectal cancer to date. If a person inherits this trait -- which is dominant and clusters in families -- the study found the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is 50 percent, compared to 6 percent for the general population. The study will be published August 14 in an advanced on-line report in the journal Science. "This probably accounts for more colorectal cancers than all other gene mutations discovered thus far," said Boris Pasche, M.D., a lead author of the paper. more...
Lurie Cancer Center Team Honored for Contributions to caBIG
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
A team from the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University was honored for significant accomplishments and contributions at the cancer Biomedical Informations Grid (caBIG) Annual Meeting 2008 Recognition Awards ceremony in Washington D.C. Pan Du, Gilbert Feng, Dong Fu, Warren Kibbe, Simon Lin, Eric Odulio, Rhett Sutphin, Renee Webb, and Sean Whitaker were presented with the caBIG Delivering Results Award in recognition of superior use of caBIG applications and the use of shared data from caGrid to address specific research questions. Additionally, Rhett Sutphin and Sean Whitaker received the caBIG™ Teamwork Award for their work with the caBIG™ Clinical Trials Suite Team. Dong Fu, Warren Kibbe and Andrew Winter were also presented with the caBIG™ Teamwork Award for their efforts with the Prostate SPORE Informatics Team. more...
UAMS Recognized by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield for Excellence in Treating Rare and Complex Cancers
Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has been named Arkansas’ only Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. All cancer-related research and treatment at UAMS are conducted by the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. Blue Distinction is a designation awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to medical facilities that have demonstrated evidence in delivering quality medical care. The Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers were launched in March 2008 following the earlier launch of programs focused on cardiac care, bariatric surgery and transplants. “We are proud to have our team of doctors, nurses and other health care providers recognized with such a distinguished group of cancer centers from throughout the country,” said Dr. Peter Emanuel, director of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. “It is an honor to be acknowledged as Arkansas’ only facility to provide these unique services for our patients.” more...
Moffitt Cancer Center Awarded $2 Million Grant For HPV Vaccination Study
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health has awarded a $2 million grant to Moffitt Cancer Center to study the influences of physician, patient and policy factors on recommendations of HPV vaccination in the years following licensure of the vaccine. Principal investigator Susan Vadaparampil, Ph.D., M.P.H., will focus on physician recommendations of GARDASIL, an HPV vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in females ages 9 to 26. GARDASIL protects against HPV types 16 and 18, which cause approximately 70 percent of cervical cancers, as well as HPV types 6 and 11, which cause approximately 90 percent of genital warts. more...
Mutations Predict Quick Recurrence of Acute Leukemia
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center
The presence of mutations in a particular gene may forecast the quick return of acute leukemia in some people with the disease, a new study shows. Researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center examined the prognostic importance of mutations in a gene called Wilms tumor 1 (WT1). The study involved 196 patients under age 60 with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) whose leukemic cells had normal-looking chromosomes, a characteristic present in nearly half of adult AML cases. The study suggests that cases of normal-chromosome AML with mutations in WT1 are likely to recur an average of nine months following treatment, that the recurrent disease will respond poorly to therapy, and that this influence is not altered by other molecular markers. more...
UAMS’ Ronda Henry-Tillman Receives $2.5 Million Grant to Examine Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates in Two Counties
University of Arkansas Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
The Cancer Control Program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute has been awarded a $2.5 million grant to provide colorectal cancer education and screenings in St. Francis and Mississippi counties. The five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities will fund the Colorectal Cancer Education and Screening Program, a community-based research program combining the efforts of the Cancer Institute’s Cancer Control Program with that of local residents in the two rural Arkansas counties. “Arkansas has one of the highest deaths rates from colorectal cancer in the country,” said Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman, principal investigator of the Colorectal Cancer Education and Screening Program and professor of surgery in the UAMS College of Medicine. “This is largely due to a lack of education about the importance of preventive health screenings and a lack of resources in rural areas. This grant will give us the opportunity to work with communities to address low colorectal screening rates.” more...
Expansion of Urology Team Marks New Era at the James
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-
James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

Three surgical oncology specialists in urology have joined the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University. Their diverse and innovative surgical skills bring a whole new dimension to Ohio State’s expanding capabilities in treating urologic cancers and other urologic disorders. Drs. Ronney Abaza, Ahmad Shabsigh, and David Sharp bring with them skills and experience that will contribute greatly to the growing urologic oncology program at The James, according to Dr. Michael Caligiuri, CEO of The James and director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. “In addition, their expertise in urologic robotic procedures will help us expand our robotics program and answer a growing consumer demand for less invasive surgical treatments,” says Caligiuri. By expanding its surgical staff, The James can offer patients a wide variety of treatment options and the highest level of expertise. more...
U Of M Researcher Finds Higher Cancer Rates Among American Indians Living In Minnesota, Northern Plains
Masonic Cancer Center
The first large-scale national study of cancer rates among American Indians and Alaska Natives shows that American Indians living in Minnesota and the surrounding Northern Plains have a 39 percent higher rate of colorectal cancer than non-Hispanic whites. Related studies indicate that American Indians in this region also have a 197 percent higher rate of liver cancer, 135 percent higher rate of stomach cancer, and 148 percent higher rate of gallbladder cancer than non-Hispanic whites. David Perdue, M.D., physician-researcher with the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, is the lead author of the research study on the incidence rates of colorectal cancer and co-author of the studies on the rates of stomach, liver, and gallbladder cancer among American Indians and Alaska Natives. The findings of the four studies were published online by the journal Cancer and as a special supplement in the print edition of the journal on Sept. 1, 2008. more...
Childhood Brain Tumor Traced to Normal Stem Cells Gone Bad
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
An aggressive childhood brain tumor known as medulloblastoma originates in normal brain "stem" cells that turn malignant when acted on by a known mutant, cancer-causing oncogene, say researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Reporting in the Aug. 12 issue of Cancer Cell, the scientists say they have uncovered new origins for these tumors from early stem cells as well as more mature cells. Previously, scientists had assumed the tumors might only come from a single source: more mature cells which become neurons and do not have "stem" cell properties. The findings hint at potential new treatment approaches for medulloblastoma by targeting the origins of the tumors, and further suggest that not all patients’ tumors may be born from the same cells. "We now have a better idea of where these brain tumors come from and their relationship to normal stem cells in the brain," said Keith Ligon, MD, PhD, co-senior author of the report and an investigator at the Center for Molecular Oncologic Pathology at Dana-Farber and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. more...
Masonic Cancer Center researcher receives $720,000 grant for NK cell research
Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota
Michael Verneris, M.D., member of the Transplant Biology and Therapy Research Program at the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, has received a $720,000 grant from the American Cancer Society to investigate new strategies that reduce the chances of leukemia recurrence after bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Verneris is an assistant professor of pediatrics, University of Minnesota Medical School, Division of Hematology, Oncology, Blood and Marrow Transplantation. He specializes in umbilical cord blood and bone marrow transplantation for patients diagnosed with acute leukemias. His laboratory research at the Masonic Cancer Center focuses on studying the development and functions of natural killer (NK) cells. About 25 percent of patients relapse after receiving a BMT. While the reasons for relapse after BMT are not well understood, researchers think that alloreactive NK cells can help prevent leukemia relapse. NK cells are part of the body’s immune system and serve to defend the body against infection and possibly some types of cancer, particularly leukemia. Alloreactive NK cells are one of multiple subsets of NK cells found the blood after BMT. more...
Wilmot Scientist Honored For Innovative Cancer Stem Cell Research
Wilmot Cancer Center
Leading cancer stem cell scientist Craig Jordan, Ph.D., of the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, was recently named a Stohlman Scholar by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for his outstanding leukemia research. The Stohlman Scholars are named in memory of Frederick Stohlman Jr., M.D., a major figure in stem cell physiology and blood cell cancer research. Jordan is one of five scientists across the country to receive the prestigious designation and will be recognized during the Society’s Stohlman Scholar Scientific Symposium in November. Jordan is director of Wilmot’s Translational Research for Hematologic Malignancies and associate professor of Biomedical Genetics at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He is also a leader of the Medical Center’s Cancer Stem Cell Research Program. more...
Experts Assemble for Roswell Park “Lung Cancer Symposium 2008”
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) will host “Lung Cancer Symposium 2008” from September 5 - 7, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. The symposium will provide an opportunity for governmental, pharmaceutical, academic, community, medical and scientific leaders involved in lung cancer diagnosis, prevention, treatment and research to come together and share ideas and strategize on the future of improving survival of lung cancer patients. The symposium aims to educate and foster transdisciplinary collaborations and for future research and treatment in lung cancer. The program will offer insights into the etiology and mechanisms of lung carcinogenesis; describe the strengths and weaknesses of current lung cancer screening techniques; discuss new approaches in the treatment of lung cancer; identify prevention techniques and intervention programs; and explain the clinical trial and regulatory issues in lung cancer research. more...
Inflammation and Immunologic Symposium Explores New Research in Chronic Diseases
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
For the first time in the United States, more than 200 scientists from around the world gathered to explore research challenging conventional theories about immunology, inflammation and their link to acute and chronic diseases. The Damage Associated Molecular Pattern Molecules (DAMPs) and Alarmins Symposium was held at the Hillman Cancer Center, 5115 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, Aug. 30 through Sept. 2. DAMPs and alarmins are the molecules in the body that promote healing after events such as heart attacks, strokes and car accidents. According to Michael Lotze, M.D., director of Strategic Partnerships for the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and co-director of the symposium, they promote a sterile inflammation that comes from inside cells. more...
Sylvester Researcher Discovers Key Molecule That Triggers Immune Response
University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Scientists have long been working to uncover the mystery of what sparks the body’s immune system. Researchers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have discovered a key component in that puzzle: a new molecule that recognizes a virus infection and initiates the signal to generate an immune system response. Glen N. Barber, Ph.D., professor of medicine and Eugenia J. Dodson Chair in Cancer Research, and Hiroki Ishikawa, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow, have published their findings in the September issue of the prestigious journal Nature. Barber and Ishikawa have identified a molecule, STING (STimulator of INterferon Genes), which activates the body’s innate immune system by triggering the production of interferon. In turn, interferon generates antiviral genes, producing an immune response that kills the virus. “STING plays a very fundamentally important role in the recognition of virus infection,” explains Barber, who was the principal investigator of the two-year study. more...
Making "Good" Fat From Muscle and Vice Versa
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
A surprise discovery -- that calorie-burning brown fat can be produced experimentally from muscle precursor cells in mice -- raises the prospect of new ways to fight obesity and overweight, say scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Reporting in the Aug. 21 issue of the journal Nature, the researchers demonstrated that brown fat, which is known as the "good" form of fat -- so called because it burns calories and releases energy, unlike "bad" white fat that simply stores extra calories -- can be generated from unspecialized precursors that routinely spawn skeletal muscle. The team led by Dana-Farber’s Bruce Spiegelman, PhD, showed that a previously known molecular switch, PRDM16, regulates the creation of brown fat from immature muscle cells. They also determined that the process is a two-way street: Knocking out PRDM16 in brown fat cells can convert them into muscle cells. However, Spiegelman called the latter an “experimental lab trick” for which he currently envisions no practical applications. more...
Holden Appoints Deputy Director of Clinical Care
Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center
John Buatti, M.D., professor and head of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, has been appointed deputy director of clinical cancer care for Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UI, effective Aug. 1. In this new role, Buatti oversees and coordinates all clinical activities in Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. He also will work with medical center and cancer center leadership to develop a plan to provide excellent care to cancer patients while growing volume in the cancer service line. more...
Colon Cancer Linked to Unequal Gene Activity
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center
Researchers here have discovered that a subtle difference in the activity of a pair of genes may be responsible for one of every 10 colon-cancer cases. The work, led by researchers with the Human Cancer Genetics Program at Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, is the first to link this particular gene conclusively as a cause of colon cancer, and it may provide clinicians with a new way to identify people who are at high risk for disease. The study was published in the journal Science. An estimated 1 million cases of colon cancer arise each year worldwide, making it the second to fourth most common cancer in industrialized nations. It is the third-most-common cancer and cancer killer in the United States, with 149,000 new cases and 50,000 deaths from the disease expected this year. more...
Gene panel predicts lung cancer survival, U-M-led study finds
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Researchers from four leading cancer centers have confirmed that an analysis involving a panel of genes can be used to predict which lung cancer patients will have the worst survival. The finding could one day lead to a test that would help determine who needs more aggressive treatment. The study, the largest of its kind, appears online in Nature Medicine. The researchers looked at 442 lung cancer tissue samples collected from six cancer hospitals in North America. They tested the cancer samples to look at the expression of hundreds of genes, and factored in clinical predictors such as tumor stage and the patients’ gender and age. The results showed that the lung cancers could be divided into groups with better and worse survival rates. more...
Karmanos Lands More Than $4.6 Million for Cancer Research From U.S. Army Medical Research And Materiel Command
Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute’s National Oncogenomics and Molecular Imaging Center (NOMIC) is being awarded $4,672,000 in federal appropriations from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. The federal funding, which will be allocated over the next two years, was spearheaded and supported by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Congressman Joe Knollenberg (R- Oakland County, MI). “This is spectacular news for the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and those battling cancer,” said Karmanos President and Chief Executive Officer John C. Ruckdeschel, M.D. “This recognition helps validate the innovative, cutting-edge research being done here at the Karmanos Cancer Institute that will help us bring even the deadliest forms of cancer under greater control.” more...
UAMS Begins Landmark Myeloma Clinical Trials with Treatment Driven by Tumor Genetics
Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
Armed with a method for identifying patients with a more aggressive or less aggressive form of multiple myeloma based on tumor cell gene activity, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) researchers are beginning clinical trials with treatment plans for this cancer of the bone marrow tailored for each group. The UAMS Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy is starting two clinical trials with treatment plans that identify patients as having low-risk myeloma (Total Therapy 4) or a high-risk form of the disease (Total Therapy 5). They are believed to be the first clinical trials for multiple myeloma or any other cancer to involve risk-specific treatment plans based on the genetic makeup of the tumor. more...
Masonic Cancer Center Researcher Helps Develop Therapy for Dog with Brain Cancer
Masonic Cancer Center
Researchers with the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Medical School, and Masonic Cancer Center have successfully performed the first step of an experimental procedure to treat a dog with brain cancer. The team’s two-fold goal: cure or extend the life of the patient and gain information that will advance scientific knowledge about brain tumors for treatment of animals and humans with this disease. The patient, a 10-year-old shepherd-mix dog named Batman (for his black, pointed ears that resemble the superhero) was diagnosed last week with a cancerous brain tumor which, left untreated, would have been fatal. The August 5th three-hour procedure involved removal of as much of the brain tumor as possible, followed by the injection of a gene therapy around the perimeter of the tumor area. The injection serves to prime the remaining cancer cells for receiving a vaccine, which will be developed in the research laboratory using tumor tissue removed during surgery. The procedure team included Elizabeth Pluhar, D.V.M, Ph.D., Stephen Haines, M.D., and John Ohlfest, Ph.D., who provided the gene therapy and will create the vaccine. Ohlfest directs the University’s translational neurosurgery gene therapy program and conducts brain cancer research through the Masonic Cancer Center. more...
$7.5 Million NCI Grant Launches Clinical Trials for Colon Cancer Screening
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University member Dr. Vadim Backman, has developed optical technology shown to be effective for the early detection of colon cancer. Dr. Backman has received a $7.5 million grant over five years from the National Cancer Institute to further study an instrument that potentially could become a routine colon cancer screening test and to launch large-scale clinical trials. Colon cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, can be easily treated if detected early. Since no existing population-wide screening test can accurately predict the presence of the disease with adequate sensitivity. Backman, principal investigator for the grant and professor of biomedical engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, believes the technology he has developed could lead to the first such test. A major part of the NCI grant is to validate the technology being developed for an inexpensive, non-invasive test for routine colon cancer screening, and have it ready for use. more...
Indiana University and Clarian Health Dedicate Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center Patient Care Facility
Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center
The Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center patient care building was formally dedicated during an August 21 ceremony in the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Campus Center. The $150 million building combines the latest in cancer therapies in one location and provides resources designed to make cancer care less stressful for the patient and their loved ones. The IU Simon Cancer Center facility was made possible through the generosity of many, including Indianapolis philanthropists Melvin and Bren Simon, who donated $25 million to the building project. They also contributed $25 million to the research efforts at the center in memory of their son Joshua Max Simon. more...
Price Named CEO for Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Beth A. Price, M.B.A., has been named to the newly created position of Chief Executive Officer for Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, Tenn. Price has served as Oncology Operations Strategist for Vanderbilt-Ingram and Vanderbilt Medical Group since June 2007 where she has assisted in the development and implementation of the regional market oncology strategy and served as interim Business Officer for the Cancer Center. As CEO Price will be responsible for expanding quality cancer services in the Middle Tennessee market and the Southeastern region, enhancing Vanderbilt-Ingram’s status as a top 15 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and providing administrative and business leadership. She will report to Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., director of Vanderbilt-Ingram and to David Posch, CEO, The Vanderbilt Clinic. more...
Georgetown University Medical Center Collaborates with Indivumed to Develop Cancer Research Database
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Georgetown University Medical Center has entered into an agreement with Indivumed GmbH, based in Hamburg, Germany, which provides the foundation for the analysis of complex clinical molecular signatures from cancer patients, enabling researchers and physicians to better diagnose and tailor cancer treatments for individual patients. This arrangement builds upon a one-year agreement currently in place at Georgetown that established a high-quality tumor biobank and clinical database for pancreatic cancer and which now also includes cancer of the breast and colon. The expanded collaboration will grow to include a clinical database of prostate, glioblastoma and renal cancer. Together, the institutions will work to establish a robust portfolio of research collaborations, supported by a state-of-the-art biobanking infrastructure and protocol, using Indivumed’s established scientific approach, and a multidimensional, integrated clinical and molecular database of cancer. The agreement will expand upon the Indivumed biobank protocol already begun at Georgetown University Hospital, expanding the collection, storage, analysis and utilization of biospecimens. more...
UAB Cancer Center Names New Director of Hematology-Oncology
University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center
Boris Pasche, M.D., is the new director of the division of hematology/oncology and associate director for translational research in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. Edward Abraham, M.D., chairman of the UAB Department of Medicine, and Edward Partridge, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, made the announcement. Pasche joined UAB on Sept. 1. Dr. Pasche is an associate professor of medicine and director of the cancer genetics program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center and Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. He also is the leader of the Cancer Genes and Molecular Targeting Program at Northwestern’s Cancer Center. Dr. Pasche received medical degrees from both the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. He also earned a Ph.D. from the Karolinska Institute. His internship and medical residency were at The New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center and his fellowship in hematology/oncology was at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the New York Hospital, Cornell University Medical College. After completing his fellowship, Dr. Pasche remained at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for three years and then moved to Northwestern University. more...
J.P. McCarthy Fund Grants $250,000 to Karmanos Cancer Institute
Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute announced that it received a $250,000 multi-year grant from the J.P. McCarthy Fund of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan to benefit its J.P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank. The grant, which will be given in $50,000 increments over five years, will help enhance the collection area and expand the capacity to help people in need of cord stem cell transplants – non-embryonic stem cells that are extracted from the umbilical cord and placenta following the birth of a child. The J.P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank at the Karmanos Cancer Institute is one of two public cord blood banks in Michigan and the only center in the state with the National Marrow Donor program registry designation that requires compliance with the highest standards in cord blood banking. According to the National Marrow Donor program, on any given day, there are more than 6,000 men, women and children in search of a life-saving donor match. Diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, sickle-cell and other life-threatening diseases can be treated by bone marrow or cord blood transplant. Although many try to find a match through their siblings, 70 percent of the time there isn’t a match. more...
Fox Chase Appoints International Expert as Chief Scientific Officer
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Jeff Boyd, Ph.D., of the Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute and Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia, has been appointed chief scientific officer at Fox Chase Cancer Center. As chief scientific officer, Boyd will coordinate and chart the future course of research at Fox Chase. Boyd is an international expert in translational research and has particular expertise in the genetics of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer. He has helped define the role of tumor suppressors and oncogenes in these malignancies, most notably the p53, BRCA1 and BRCA2 tumor suppressor genes and their role in the development of breast and ovarian cancer. Boyd’s most recent position was director of the Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute and vice president of oncology and research at the Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia. He also served as the professor of medicine, surgery, obstetric and gynecology at the Mercer University School of Medicine. At Mercer University, he served as the assistant dean of research. He also holds the title of Distinguished Cancer Scholar from the State of Georgia. more...
CU Cancer Center Awards $178,990 in grant funding
University of Colorado Cancer Center
The University of Colorado Cancer Center has awarded $178,990 to nine researchers for promising new research projects. The funding comes from UCCC’s American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grants, internal seed grant funding and special funding from its Cancer and Aging program. Please click on “more …” for a list of the awardees. more...
Arizona Cancer Center Researcher Receives Major Appointment
Arizona Cancer Center
Arizona Cancer Center researcher, Anne Cress, PhD, has recently been appointed as Chairperson of the Tumor Progression and Metastasis Study Section by the Center for Scientific Review. She will serve in this prestigious position for the term beginning immediately and ending June 30, 2010. The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) is the portal for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant applications and their review for scientific merit. Study sections evaluate the majority of the research grant applications sent to NIH, which is responsible for 28% of the total biomedical research funding spent annually in the U.S. Membership on a study section represents a major commitment of professional time and energy as well as a unique opportunity to contribute to the national biomedical research effort. Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific achievements and honors. The skill and leadership offered by the chairperson determine to a significant extent the effectiveness and efficiency of the review group. more...