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News from the Association of American Cancer InstitutesJuly 2009
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.

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Headlines

AACI to Honor Janet D. Rowley

The Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) will present the AACI Distinguished Scientist Award to Janet D. Rowley, M.D., D.Sc., during the 2009 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting, October 18-20, in Washington, D.C.

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes Dr. Rowley’s leadership in the oncology and biomedical communities and her landmark research, particularly, her discoveries of chromosome abnormalities in human leukemia and lymphoma – including the identification of the first consistent chromosome translocation in any human cancer, the 9;22 translocation in chronic myelogenous leukemia – that has led to the development of today’s targeted therapies. more...

Hartwell to Retire as President and Director of Fred Hutchinson
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center board of trustees announced on June 26 that its president and director, Lee Hartwell, Ph.D., plans to retire in June 2010. Hartwell, a recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, has been president and director of the Hutchinson Center since 1997.

“It’s time,” Hartwell said. “I have been president and director of the Center for 12 years. It’s time for new leadership.” Hartwell, who will turn 70 in October, says he informed the board’s executive committee more than a year ago of his desire to retire and to begin the transition to new leadership. The exact timing of his departure was worked out over the last few months. The full board, faculty and staff were notified during the past two days. more...


AACI Expands Development Effort with New Hire

AACI welcomes Kate Burroughs to the role of Director of Development. A certified fundraising executive, Kate is charged with designing and executing short and long-term strategies for securing financial support for organizational growth and program development. Prior to joining AACI, Kate helped to expand the development program at The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh, leading them through a successful capital campaign raising almost $15 million for a state of the art freestanding facility now known as The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh and Lemieux Family Center. Additionally, Kate served as the Development Director at Canterbury Place, a senior living facility in Pittsburgh. more...

Registration Continues for 2009 AACI/CCAF Meeting

The 2009 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting will be held at The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, DC, October 18 –20. Information on the meeting, including the program and electronic registration is available at http://aaci-cancer.org/annual_meeting/index.asp. more...
News from the Centers
Awards & Honors
Roswell Park Receives Oncology Nursing 2009 Employer Recognition Award
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) was honored with the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC) 2009 Employer Recognition Award. ONCC recognizes one organization each year for its sustained support of oncology nursing certification. Oncology nursing certification validates that nurses have met stringent requirements for knowledge and experience and are qualified to provide competent oncology care. more...
Kimmel Scientist Honored for Genetic Research
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Bert Vogelstein, M.D., whose published studies of cancer genetics are the most highly cited works in the field, received this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology “Science of Oncology” Award at the group’s annual meeting in Orlando. Vogelstein was selected for his decades of research, uncovering the specific genes and mutations responsible for colorectal cancer and for establishing a genetic model for how all cancers form and progress. more...
Ridge Named President of the American Head and Neck Society
Fox Chase Cancer Center
John A. “Drew” Ridge, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.S, chief of head and neck surgery at Fox Chase Cancer Center, has been elected president of the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS). Ridge has been Fox Chase’s chief of head and neck surgery since 1991. He performed his fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and has held many positions within AHNS. more...
Sklar Receives Technology Excellence Award
University of New Mexico Cancer Center
The New Mexico Technology Council (NMTC) has selected University of New Mexico Cancer Center researcher Larry Sklar, Ph.D., as a recipient of a 2009 Technology Excellence Achievement Award. The award is in recognition of the innovative research efforts of the team led by Sklar in molecular discovery technology, which could lead to potential new cancer drugs and identify new ways to target cancer cells. more...
Smith Breast Center-Supported Program Recognized By Komen
The Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center
The Baylor College of Medicine breast center-supported program at the Harris County Hospital District’s Ben Taub General Hospital has been recognized by the Houston affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure for its outstanding ability to serve the community. The Smith Breast Center, located within the NCI-designated Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at BCM, provides staff and services for the Ben Taub Breast Clinic. more...
Researchers Win ASCO Career Development Awards
The Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center
Three Baylor College of Medicine post-doctoral fellows received Young Investigator Awards from the American Society of Clinical Oncology at the professional organization’s recent annual meeting in Orlando. Established in 1984, the one-year career development awards recognize researchers at the beginning of their careers, as they transition from a fellowship program to a faculty appointment. The BCM awardees received the $50,000 grants. more...
St. Jude Scientist Named Pew Scholar
Comprehensive Cancer Center St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital
Charles Mullighan, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant member in the Pathology Department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, has been named a 2009 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. Selected by The Pew Charitable Trusts as one of 17 of the country’s most promising early-career scientists, Mullighan will receive a $240,000 award over four years to support his research. more...
Foti Receives Honorary M.D. from the University of San Pablo CEU
American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
The University of San Pablo CEU, a major academic and research institution in Madrid, Spain, presented Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the American Association for Cancer Research, with an honorary doctorate in medicine that recognizes her exceptional contributions to cancer research and leadership of the AACR, which have done so much to help those suffering from cancer. more...
Mirkin Awarded Lemelson-MIT Prize
The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
Northwestern University researcher Chad Mirkin, one of the world’s leaders in nanotechnology research and its application, has been awarded the prestigious 2009 $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize. The Lemelson-MIT Program recognizes outstanding inventors. Mirkin’s innovations have the potential to transform the future of medical diagnostics and patient point-of-care and to ignite change across many industries, from semiconductors to health care. more...
NVCI and Siemens Foundation Announce Scholarship Winners
Nevada Cancer Institute
Nevada Cancer Institute (NVCI) and Siemens Foundation announced the Nevada nursing and healthcare students selected as winners of the 2009 Siemens Oncology Scholarship Program. In 2007, Siemens provided $100,000 to NVCI to fund a scholarship program that aims to increase the number of Nevada students focusing on oncology nursing, basic sciences, biotechnology or public health. The scholarship program also allows currently licensed registered nurses to complete graduate work focusing on oncology nursing. more...
Rosen Celebrates Father’s Day at the White House
The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
Dr. Steve Rosen, director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, joined President Barack Obama for a special Father’s Day event at the White House. The day-long event celebrated the importance of connecting male role models with young men to support young men’s ambitions as future leaders and fathers. more...
Pietenpol Named to Prestigious Johns Hopkins Society
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, has been named one of 15 new members of the Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars. The society — the first of its kind in the nation — inducts former postdoctoral fellows, postdoctoral degree recipients, house staff and junior or visiting faculty who have served at least a year at Johns Hopkins and thereafter gained marked distinction elsewhere in their fields of physical, biological, medical, social or engineering sciences or in the humanities and for whom at least five years have elapsed since their last Johns Hopkins affiliation. There are currently 536 members in the Hopkins Society of Scholars. more...
Grants & Gifts
UAB Wins $6.4 Million Nonprofit Grant to Fight Aggressive Breast Cancer
UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Comprehensive Cancer Center have been awarded a $6.4 million grant from two national nonprofit groups that are partnering in the fight against an aggressive and difficult-to-treat form of cancer called “triple negative” breast cancer. These breast tumors lack receptors for several hormones; this makes them resistant to several powerful cancer-fighting drugs. The grant is from Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation. more...
UAB Wins Grant for Advanced Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Center
UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center
UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) will establish a state-of-the-art 800 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center NMR Shared Facility with a grant of $2 million from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), part of the National Institutes of Health. N. Rama Krishna, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at UAB and senior scientist in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, is the principal investigator on the grant and will direct the facility. more...
Researchers Win Department of Defense Grant to Expand Study of African-American Women
University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Breast cancer researchers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have been awarded a prestigious Department of Defense Synergistic Idea Award, one of just 12 such grants in the United States. The $725,000 research grant over two years will allow Lisa Baumbach, Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the Miller School, and Mark Pegram, M.D., professor of medicine and associate director for clinical and translational research at the Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute at Sylvester, to expand their work examining the genetic differences found in African-American breast cancer patients. more...
Research Program Merits NIGMS MERIT Award
Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) has awarded a MERIT award to Ed Leof, Ph.D., Professor , Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Medicine, Mayo College of Medicine. A member of the MCCC Senior Leadership team, Dr. Leof is the Associate Director of Basic Science Research in the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. Dr. Leof’s research interest focuses on transforming growth factor-b and its downstream pathways that contribute to cellular processes in cancer, fibrotic disorders, immune modulation, and wound healing. more...
NCI Renews Mayo Support Grant, Extends Comprehensive Status
Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center (MCCC) received an additional five years of National Cancer Institute funding and re-designation as a comprehensive cancer center, Dr. Robert Diasio, Director, MCCC, announced. The NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) award to MCCC totals more than $28 million over five years to provide infrastructure and administrative support for MCCC researchers across the three sites. more...
Masonic’s NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center Designation Renewed
Masonic Cancer Center
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has renewed the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota’s designation as a comprehensive cancer center for another five years, the longest term possible. NCI awards the comprehensive designation only to institutions that make ongoing, significant advances in cancer research, treatment, and education. Masonic Cancer Center is one of 41 cancer centers in the United States to hold this highest-level designation and the only one in the greater Twin Cities region. more...
NCI Renews Arizona Cancer Center Core Grant
Arizona Cancer Center
The Arizona Cancer Center has received a five-year, $20.8 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to renew support for its cancer research programs through 2014. The grant renewal, which came with an “excellent” rating, also extends the Cancer Center’s designation as one of 40 comprehensive cancer centers in the United States, and the only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center headquartered in Arizona. more...
NCI Awards VCU Renewal Grant for Multiple Myeloma Treatment
Massey Cancer Center
Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center researcher Steven Grant, MD, a professor of medicine and Massey’s associate director for translational research, and his research team have received a National Cancer Institute renewal grant of $1.25 million to develop a more selective approach to the treatment of multiple myeloma, an incurable, malignant disorder of the bone marrow involving plasma cells. more...
KU Researcher’s $1 Million Grant to Boost Drive for National Designation
University of Kansas Cancer Center
The University of Kansas Cancer Center’s effort to achieve National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation was boosted when one of its prominent cancer drug researchers received a $1 million NCI grant renewal. The new four-year grant will allow Blake Peterson, PhD, Regents Distinguished Professor in Medicinal Chemistry at KU, to expand his work in cancer drug delivery. more...
Leadership Transitions
Muss Joins Lineberger To Lead New Geriatric Oncology Program
UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Hyman B. Muss, M.D., has joined the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Muss will be a professor of medicine and will develop and lead a new program in geriatric oncology. Muss joined UNC from the University of Vermont Cancer Center where he served as associate director of clinical research and division director of hematology/oncology. more...
Bjornsti Joins UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center
UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center
Mary-Ann Bjornsti, Ph.D., has joined the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Comprehensive Cancer Center senior leadership as Program Leader in Cancer Cell Biology and Chair of the UAB Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Prior to joining the UAB faculty, Bjornsti served on staff as a full member at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for the past 10 years. more...
Desmond-Hellmann Named UC San Francisco Chancellor
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Cancer Research Institute
Susan Desmond-Hellmann, a physician, pioneering cancer researcher and biotechnology industry executive who most recently served as president of product development for Genentech, was named chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco campus by the University of California Board of Regents. The appointment takes effect on Aug. 3. It was made on the recommendation of UC President Mark G. Yudof. more...
Nevada Cancer Institute Elects Chairman of the Board
Nevada Cancer Institute
Nevada Cancer Institute’s Board of Directors has elected Stephen J. Cloobeck as its next chairman, effective July 1. Cloobeck succeeds founding Chairman of the Board Heather Murren. NVCI has made remarkable strides since its inception. Since opening its doors in 2005, NVCI has treated more than 10,000 patients from Nevada, the nation and the world. The Institute has initiated more than 100 clinical trials representing cutting-edge treatment options not available anywhere else in the state. more...
Horwitz Elected President of American Brachytherapy Society
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Eric M. Horwitz, MD, acting chairman of the radiation oncology department at Fox Chase Cancer Center, has been elected president of the American Brachytherapy Society (ABS). Horwitz was elected as vice president of the ABS in 2008 and served a one year term. The ABS provides insight, rationale, and research into the use of brachytherapy in the treatment of both malignant and benign conditions. more...
Ma Named Vice Chairman of Radiation Oncology at Fox Chase
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Fox Chase Cancer Center has promoted C-M Charlie Ma, Ph.D., to vice chairman of the department of radiation oncology. Ma, a resident of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., joined the staff at Fox Chase in 2001 and is currently the director of radiation physics at Fox Chase. Ma is an internationally recognized expert in the physics of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT). Under his leadership, the medical physics division of the department of radiation oncology at Fox Chase has developed into one of the premier groups in North America. more...
Meropol Recruited as Associate Director for Clinical Research
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University
Neal Meropol, MD, has been recruited as Associate Director for Clinical Research at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Meropol has a national reputation for his contributions in GI malignancies including evaluation of new agents, predictors of response and outcome, and assessment of the economic impact of care. more...
Machtay Named Chairman of Radiation Oncology
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University
Mitchell Machtay, MD, has been named Chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Case Medical Center, following a national search. Dr. Machtay comes to Cleveland from the Bodine Center for Cancer Treatment at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, where he served as the Walter J. Curran Jr. Professor and Vice Chair of Radiation Oncology. more...
Research Highlights
Researcher: Consider Reconstructive Breast Surgery
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -
When some women learn they have breast cancer, they decide to have a mastectomy and reconstructive breast surgery at the same time. Studies have shown that reconstructive surgery is safe and does not interfere with treatment or increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence, says Dr. Michael J. Miller, a nationally recognized plastic surgeon specializing in cancer reconstruction at James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at Ohio State. However, surveys show a majority of surgeons do not discuss reconstruction with their patients. more...
Researchers Are First to Link Intestinal Inflammation to Systemic Chromosome Damage
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA
UCLA scientists have linked for the first time intestinal inflammation with systemic chromosome damage in mice, a finding that may lead to the early identification and treatment of human inflammatory disorders, some of which increase risk for several types of cancer. Researchers found that local intestinal inflammation induced DNA damage to lymphocytes of the peripheral blood circulating throughout the body. more...
Cottonseed-Based Drug Shows Promise Treating Severe Brain Cancer
UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center
An experimental drug derived from cottonseeds shows promise in treating the recurrence of glioblastoma multiforme, widely considered the most lethal brain cancer, said researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Comprehensive Cancer Center. The new results are from a Phase II clinical trial of AT-101, a pill manufactured from a potent compound in cottonseeds that overcomes the abnormal growth patterns of tumor cells. In clinical tests, AT-101 halted the cancer’s progression in many of the 56 patients. more...
Ovarian Cancer Screening Not Catching Early Disease
UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center
The only available screening tests for ovarian cancer fail to catch early signs of the disease and often result in unnecessary surgery, said researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Comprehensive Cancer Center. The new study looked at a screening regimen that combines ultrasound and a blood test for CA-125, a marker for women’s cancer. Results showed the combo screening caught 70 percent of the ovarian cancers in their late stages, when effective treatment options are limited. more...
Study Gives Clues to How Adrenal Cancer Forms
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
At the ends of chromosome are special pieces of DNA called telomeres; these are analogous to the little tips that cap off a shoelace. Over time, as cells reproduce, the telomeres become shorter and no longer function; these cells then have a higher risk of mutating into cancer. But, a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center finds that if the telomere becomes dysfunctional at any point - regardless of shortening - it can trigger a cancer event. more...
New Analysis Identifies Benefit of Donor Stem Cell Transplantation for Adults
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
A stem cell transplant (SCT) from a compatible donor early in the course of disease is the best approach for the majority of young and middle-aged adult patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), according to a new analysis of two dozen clinical studies. The findings of the study, published in the June 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and other institutions, provide new guidelines for treatment of the disease. more...
Researchers Find How A Common Genetic Mutation Makes Cancer Radiation Resistant
The Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center
Many cancerous tumors possess a genetic mutation that disables a tumor suppressor called PTEN. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown why inactivation of PTEN allows tumors to resist radiation therapy. Mutations in PTEN are frequently found in prostate cancer and endometrial cancer, melanoma and certain aggressive brain tumors and tumors with PTEN mutations are often resistant to radiation therapy. more...
Study Details Quality of Life for Prostate Cancer Patients Four Years After Treatment
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA
A long-term study by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center found that the three most common treatments for localized prostate cancer had significant impacts on patients’ quality of life, a finding that could help guide doctors and patients in making treatment decisions. The study appeared June 9 in the early online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. more...
Breakthrough Could Lead to New Antimicrobial Drugs
Nevada Cancer Institute
Scientists have discovered exactly how some bacteria act to protect themselves when they are threatened or under attack. Scientists have figured out the mechanics of ‘channels’ in bacteria which stay shut if all is normal and are triggered to open if they need to mount a defense. The breakthrough finding published in the journal Structure paves the way for the development of new methods for tackling E.coli, salmonella, and brucella infections, as well as the bacteria Pseudomonas, which often colonize the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients and also cause infection in those whose immune systems are compromised. more...
Researchers Identify New Mutant Genes That Could Benefit Children with Leukemia
University of New Mexico Cancer Center
University of New Mexico Cancer Center researchers have identified a genetic mutation underlying one of the most common childhood cancers, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The discovery could lead to more effective treatments for a subset of ALL patients who experience minimal benefit with current therapies by using drugs that are already in clinical trials for similar blood diseases in adults. The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. more...
Low-Fat Diet Helps Genetically Predisposed Animals Avoid Liver Cancer
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
In a study comparing two strains of mice, one susceptible to developing cancer and the other not, researchers found that a high-fat diet predisposed the cancer-susceptible strain to liver cancer. The same high-risk mice also avoided the malignancy by switching to a low-fat diet early in the experiment. The findings, from a joint University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Case Western Reserve University study, appeared online in the June edition of Human Molecular Genetics. more...
UPCI Joins Study Using Stem Cells for Leukemia and Lymphoma
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) and the Gamida Cell – Teva Joint Venture announced that the Institute has joined an elite group of cancer centers in Europe, the United States and Israel that are now enrolling patients to participate in the ExCell research study. The phase III study is assessing the safety and efficacy of StemEx®, an investigational product derived from stem cells, as an alternative treatment to bone marrow transplants for hematological malignancies, including leukemia and lymphoma. more...
New Radiotherapy Technique Proven Safe, Less Toxic for Cancer Patients
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
A new technique known as stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) is safe for patients with recurrent head and neck cancers and may improve their quality of life, according to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI). Results of the phase I study were reported in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics. more...
Gene Activity Reveals Dynamic Stroma Microenvironment in Prostate Cancer
The Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center
As stroma, the supportive framework of the prostate gland, reacts to prostate cancer, changes in the expression of genes occur that induce the formation of new structures such as blood vessels, nerves and parts of nerves, said researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in a report that appears in the current issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research. In this study, using special techniques and gene chips that allowed them to sample the entire genome, the researchers found changes in 1,141 genes. They were either upregulated – meaning that there was more of the protein with which they were associated than expected – or downregulated, which meant the opposite, said Dr. Michael Ittmann, professor of pathology at BCM and a senior author of the report. more...
Hormone from Fat Cells Could Fight Breast Cancer
Winship Cancer Institute
A “guardian angel” hormone produced by fat cells could become a tool to fight breast cancer. Scientists at Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute have discovered that adiponectin, which is produced by fat cells, can reduce breast cancer cells’ ability to migrate and invade other tissues. Their results were published online June 1 preceding print publication in the journal Oncogene. A future treatment strategy may be to use “adiponectin analogues” that can mimic adiponectin’s effects or maximize the effects of what the body already produces, says senior author Dipali Sharma, PhD, assistant professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory Winship. more...
Model May Help Identify Lung Cancer Stem Cells
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA
Researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, on a quest to find lung cancer stem cells, have developed a unique model to allow further investigation into the cells that many believe may be at the root of all lung cancers. If researchers could find a way to isolate and grow lung cancer stem cells, they could study their biologic mechanisms and perhaps identify targets for new therapies, said Raj Batra, an associate professor of medicine and a Jonsson Cancer Center scientist. The study appears in the June issue of PLoS One, a peer-reviewed journal of the Public Library of Science. more...
New Method Separates Cancer Cells from Normal Cells
The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
The vast majority of cancer deaths are due to metastasis, the spread of cancer cells from its primary site to other parts of the body. These metastatic cells tend to move more than their non-metastatic variants but this movement is poorly understood. Northwestern University researchers now have demonstrated a novel and simple method that can direct and separate cancer cells from normal cells. Based on this method, they have proposed that cancer cells possibly could be sequestered permanently in a sort of “cancer trap” made of implantable and biodegradable materials. more...
Waste Disposal Protein Identified as Cancer Tumor Suppression Mechanism
The Cancer Institute of New Jersey
“Taking out the trash” takes on a whole new meaning, as investigators at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, have discovered that a waste disposal protein is the key to cancer tumor suppression in a process known as autophagy. more...
Test Detects Molecular Marker of Aging in Humans
UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
In 2004, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center announced a crucial discovery in the understanding of cellular aging. They found that as cells and tissues age, the expression of a key protein, called p16INK4a, dramatically increases in most mammalian organs. Now the team has proven that the same biomarker is present in human blood and is strongly correlated both with chronological age and with certain behaviors such as tobacco use and physical inactivity, which are known to accelerate the aging process. more...
Targeting Tumor Behavior May Lead to New Liver Cancer Drugs
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -
Ohio State University cancer researchers have used computational and genomic methods to identify possible anti-cancer agents that may block a particular kind of tumor behavior. The agents target multiple genes associated with that behavior at one time. The researchers wanted to find agents that might reverse the gene changes associated with invasive liver cancer and perhaps stop liver tumors from spreading in the body. The findings are published online in the journal Cancer. “This is an exciting new way to find potentially useful anti-cancer agents,” says principal investigator Dr. Tushar Patel, director of hepatology and a researcher with Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center-James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. more...
Potency of Tumor-Killing Cells from Human Embryonic Stem Cells Shown
Masonic Cancer Center
University of Minnesota researcher Dan Kaufman, M.D., Ph.D., a pioneer in deriving natural killer (NK) cells from human embryonic stem cells, has shown that such cells are effective in killing human leukemia in a mouse model. In addition, these human embryonic stem cell-derived tumor-killing cells are highly effective in killing breast cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and brain tumor cells in the laboratory, according to Kaufman’s work. more...
Study Shows Promise for Prostate Testing for Patients
Nevada Cancer Institute
A group of Nevada Cancer Institute physicians and scientists have demonstrated in a recent published study that among 11 blood tests, the CellSearch Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) assay and the LDH test provide the most prognostic information for prostate cancer patients starting a new line of therapy, particularly as it relates to survival. The study, titled “Circulating Tumor Cells in Patients with Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer Baseline Values and Correlation with Prognostic Factors” was published in the June 2009 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. more...
Sperm Delivers More Complex Genetic Material than Previously Thought
Huntsman Cancer Institute
A new study from Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah reveals that the father’s sperm delivers much more complex genetic material than previously thought. The findings could lead to a diagnostic test to help couples deal with infertility. Researchers discovered particular genes packaged in a special way within the sperm, and that may promote the development of the fetus. more...
STAT3 Protein Found to Play a Key Role in Cancer
NYU Cancer Institute
A protein called STAT3 has been found to play a fundamental role in converting normal cells to cancerous cells, according to a new study led by David E. Levy, Ph.D., professor of pathology and microbiology at NYU Langone Medical Center. The study, published in the June 26 issue of the journal Science, found that STAT3, in addition to its role in the cell nucleus regulating gene expression, is also present in mitochondria and regulates the activity of the electron transport chain in tumors cells. more...
Researchers Develop Promising New Cancer Diagnostic Marker
Indiana University Simon Cancer Center
Researchers at Indiana University Melvin and Bren Cancer Center have developed a new breast cancer diagnostic marker that could enable physicians to determine which patients have a less aggressive form of the disease that may not require chemotherapy. Clarient Inc., a California-based diagnostics company plans to develop a commercial test based on the research by Harikrishna Nakshatri B.V.Sc., Ph.D., Marian J. Morrison, Professor of Breast Cancer Research at IU School of Medicine, and Sunil Badve, M.D., associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at IU School of Medicine. more...
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Is Curable Without Preventive Cranial Radiation
Comprehensive Cancer Center St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital
Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) can be successfully treated using a carefully personalized chemotherapy regimen without cranial radiation, investigators at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have found. Such radiation of the brain was once a standard ALL treatment to prevent recurrence of the leukemia in the central nervous system (CNS). The investigators reported their findings in the June 25 New England Journal of Medicine. more...
Study Challenges Routine Use of MRI Scans to Evaluate Breast Cancer
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Reviewing the records of 577 breast cancer patients, Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers found that women with newly diagnosed breast cancer who receive a breast MRI are more likely to receive a mastectomy after their diagnosis and may face delays in starting treatment. The study will appear in the August edition of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. more...
Selenium Intake May Worsen Prostate Cancer in Some Patients
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Higher selenium levels in the blood may worsen prostate cancer in some men who already have the disease, according to a study by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute the University of California, San Francisco. A higher risk of more-aggressive prostate cancer was seen in men with a certain genetic variant found in about 75 percent of the prostate cancer patients in the study. more...
Voice Box Can Be Preserved, Even With the Largest Cancers
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Some patients with large tumors on their larynx can preserve their speech by opting for chemotherapy and radiation over surgery to remove the voice box. A new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that a single round of chemotherapy could identify those patients most likely to benefit from this approach. more...
Study Pinpoints Novel Cancer Gene and Biomarker
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists’ discovery of a cancer-causing gene – the first in its family to be linked to cancer – demonstrates how the panoramic view of genomics and the close-up perspective of molecular biology are needed to determine which genes are involved in cancer and which are mere bystanders. The findings are reported in the June 25 issue of the journal Nature. more...
Test Detects Molecular Marker of Aging in Humans
UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
In 2004, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center announced a crucial discovery in the understanding of cellular aging. They found that as cells and tissues age, the expression of a key protein, called p16INK4a, dramatically increases in most mammalian organs. Because p16INK4a is a tumor suppressor protein, cancer researchers are interested in its role in cellular aging and cancer prevention. more...
Stromal Biomarker Predicts Advanced Prostate Cancer
Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson
The absence of a stromal protein called caveolin-1 appears to be a marker for advanced prostate cancer and metastasis, researchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson and Harvard Medical School reported in Cell Cycle. There was an abundance of stromal caveolin-1 in prostate tissue taken from patients with benign prostate hypertrophy. However, the level of stromal caveolin-1 was significantly decreased in the prostate tissue taken from patients with localized prostate cancer, the study found. more...
Topical Application of Chemotherapy Drug May Improve Appearance of Aging Skin
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
The chemotherapy medication fluorouracil appears to reduce potentially precancerous skin patches and improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin, according to a report by U-M associate professor of dermatology Dana L. Sachs, M.D., in the June issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the Journal of the American Medical Association/Archives journals. Fluorouracil stops the body from synthesizing thymine, a building block of DNA. This drug is used to treat cancers of the colon, head and neck, pancreas and other organs. more...
Key Found to How Tumor Cells Invade the Brain in Childhood Cancer
NYU Cancer Institute
The invasion of tumor cells into the brain and spinal cord occurs in about half of all patients with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) who relapse, making further treatment all but futile for this childhood cancer. Now, a new study in the June 18, 2009, issue of the journal Nature by scientists at NYU School of Medicine reveals the molecular agents behind this devastating infiltration of the central nervous system. The finding may lead to new drugs that block these agents and thus lower the risk of relapse. more...
Key Gene in Deadly Inflammatory Breast Cancer Identified
NYU Cancer Institute
Aggressive, deadly and often misdiagnosed, inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is the most lethal form of primary breast cancer, often striking women in their prime and causing death within 18 to 24 months. Now, scientists from The Cancer Institute at NYU Langone Medical Center have identified a key gene—eIF4G1—that is overexpressed in the majority of cases of IBC, allowing cells to form highly mobile clusters that are responsible for the rapid metastasis that makes IBC such an effective killer. more...
Wistar Team Finds Key Target of Aging Regulator
The Wistar Institute
Researchers at The Wistar Institute have defined a key target of an evolutionarily conserved protein that regulates the process of aging. The study, published June 11 in Nature, provides fundamental knowledge about key mechanisms of aging that could point toward new anti-aging strategies and cancer therapies. more...
Cancer Vaccine Efficacy Enhanced Using Anti-Diabetic Drug Metformin
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
After a vaccination or an infection, the human immune system remembers to keep protecting against invaders it has already encountered, with the aid of specialized B-cells and T-cells. Immunological memory has long been the subject of intense study, but the underlying cellular mechanisms regulating the generation and persistence of long-lived memory T cells remain largely undefined. Now, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researchers have found that a common anti-diabetic drug might enhance the effectiveness of vaccines. more...
Other News
UCSF Opens New Dedicated Cancer Research Building
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Cancer Research Institute
The UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center officially opened a new laboratory research building on June 2 at the university’s growing Mission Bay campus. Designed by renowned architect Rafael Viñoly, the 163,865 square-foot facility houses scientists investigating basic biological mechanisms, including brain tumors, urologic oncology, pediatric oncology, cancer population sciences, and computational biology. The building will more than double the UCSF laboratory space in buildings exclusively dedicated to cancer research. more...
Vanderbilt-Ingram Unveils Stereotactic Radiosurgery Suite
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center has opened a new radiation oncology treatment suite featuring stereotactic radiosurgery, technology that provides more precise targeting of tumors and faster delivery of the correct dose of radiation for cancer patients. Vanderbilt-Ingram’s new Novalis Tx radiosurgery unit is the first of its kind in Middle Tennessee. The new technology delivers an accelerated radiation dose much faster than before and reduces required beam-on time by half. more...
Devine Testifies in Favor of Umbilical Cord Banking Bill
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -
Dr. Steven Devine, Director of Blood & Marrow Transplant Program at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, testified in support of the Umbilical Cord Blood Donations legislation on June 24 before the Ohio state legislature. House Bill 102, sponsored by Rep. Todd Book (D-McDermott), is pending in the Senate Health Committee after passing in the House. The bill requires the Department of Health to make available on its Web site printable publications containing standardized, objective information about umbilical-cord-blood banking. more...