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News from the Association of American Cancer InstitutesSeptember 2010
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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AACI Clinical Research Initiative Convenes Second Annual Meeting

A panel discussion on academic and industry relations
with (L-R): James P. Thomas, MD, PhD, Medical College
of Wisconsin; Edward E. Harlow, Jr., MD, Constellation
Pharmaceuticals; Jeffrey S. Humphrey, MD, Bristol‐Myers
Squibb; Frank McCormick, PhD, FRS, UCSF Helen Diller
Family Comprehensive Cancer Center; and,
Peter Marks, MD, PhD, Yale Cancer Center

AACI’s Clinical Research Initiative (AACI CRI) convened its second annual general membership meeting on July 15 and 16 in Chicago. The meeting attracted 33 percent more attendees compared to last year’s inaugural gathering, with participants discussing a variety of issues of vital concern to the clinical trials enterprise. more...

New Leaders at Four AACI Centers

Left to right: Dr. Dario C. Altieri; Dr. Lawrence Corey; Dr. Craig B. Thompson; Dr. Ming You

AACI members Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and The Wistar Insitute, have announced the appointment of new directors. more...

Simmons Earns NCI Designation

Dr. James K. V. Willson
The Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center, in Dallas, has attained National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation, distinguishing it as a top-tier cancer center.

As an NCI-designated center, Simmons will receive a $7.5 million support grant over the next five years, complementing the $24.4 million in NCI grants that are currently active at UT Southwestern. more...

AACI to Honor Sen. Brown at Annual Meeting
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will receive AACI’s Distinguished Public Service Award on Monday, October 4, at the 2010 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting. Brown led the effort to pass federal legislation requiring health insurance plans to provide coverage for routine costs associated with participation in clinical trials. The measure was signed into law as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The meeting will be held at The Westin Chicago River North, October 3–5. Information on the meeting, including the program and electronic registration is available at Regular registration ends September 15 (a higher-priced, late registration period starts on the 16th), and AACI’s special room rate ends September 17. more...

AACI Co-Hosts Project Cancer Education at NCI

AACI and the National Cancer Institute hosted an installment of AACI’s newest initiative--Project Cancer Education--for six Congressional staff members and representatives of cancer research advocacy organizations. The event, held July 30 on the National Institutes of Health main campus, provided participants with information about advances in cancer research, the need for strong federal support of such work, and the long-standing partnership between NCI and the nation’s cancer centers. more...
News from the Centers
Awards & Honors
UAB Wins ACOG Pitkin Award
UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center
The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, in partnership with the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, was awarded the 2009 Roy M. Pitkin Award from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The award recognizes outstanding research published during the preceding year. UAB’s honor is for the study “Results from Four Rounds of Ovarian Cancer Screening in a Randomized Trial” by lead author Edward Partridge, MD, Cancer Center director and president-elect of the American Cancer Society National Board of Directors. more...
Kim Named to NIH Advisory Committee
University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center
The National Institutes of Health Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health has appointed five new members, including Karen E. Kim, MD an associate professor of medicine in gastroenterology at the University of Chicago, and an associate member of the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Research Center. more...
Hutchinson Researchers Receive Runyon Awards
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Two Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center immunotherapy researchers have received awards from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. Brian Till, MD, a research associate in the Hutchinson Center’s Clinical Research Division, was awarded a three-year, $450,000 Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award to help fund his work on a new immunotherapy-based treatment for patients with lymphoma, the most common type of blood cancer. Colleen Delaney, MD, who leads the Hutchinson Center’s research and clinical program in cord blood stem cell transplantation, received a two-year, $300,000 continuation grant from Damon Runyon. Delaney, an assistant member of the Clinical Research Division, was named a Damon Runyon clinical investigator in 2007. more...
City of Hope Receives Recognition from National Marrow Donor Program
City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute
City of Hope was recognized by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) for achieving five consecutive years of outstanding survival outcomes in unrelated donor bone marrow transplants. Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) offers a second chance at life for thousands of patients across the country every year. Patients who underwent unrelated donor HCT at City of Hope have significantly better outcomes than expected under national standards, according to a recent report from NMDP. more...
Randall Earns ASTRO Fellow Designation
Lucille P. Markey Cancer Center
Dr. Marcus Randall, a radiation oncologist at the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Center, has been named a 2010 Fellow of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO). Randall, the Markey Cancer Foundation Endowed Chair in Radiation Medicine, is one of only 11 members of the society to receive the prestigious honor this year. more...
Kyprianou to Receive Chopin Award in Urology
Lucille P. Markey Cancer Center
Natasha Kyprianou, a prostate cancer investigator at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, has been named the 2010 recipient of the Dominique Chopin Distinguished Award in Urology by the European Association of Urology (EAU) and European Society for Urology Research (ESUR). more...
OSU Leukemia Researcher Receives National CALGB Award
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -
Dr. John Byrd, a nationally renowned leukemia specialist and researcher at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James), received the inaugural Richard L. Schilsky Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) Achievement Award. more...
American Board of Internal Medicine Elects Olopade to Board
University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center
Olufunmilayo F. Olopade, MBBS, the Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean of Global Health at the University of Chicago, has been elected to the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Board of Directors. Dr. Olopade, whose research focuses on the genetic causes of breast cancer, was instrumental in creating the Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics at the University of Chicago. more...
Physician Appointed to American Society of Clinical Oncology Committee
University of New Mexico Cancer Center
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has appointed Dr. Richard Lauer, executive medical director of the UNM Cancer Center, to its Clinical Practice Committee. The committee oversees the practice of oncology, creates cancer care practice guidelines, and oversees the treatment and care of cancer patients nationwide. more...
Grants & Gifts
$5.2 Million Grant Supports Research to Improve Survival After Blood/Marrow Transplant
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Patients who undergo a lifesaving transplant of blood or bone marrow from an unrelated donor face a one-in-three chance of transplant-related death within a year. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a four-year, $5.18 million Research Project Grant (R01) to investigators at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) to support research aimed at improving the survival rate of those patients and making transplant a possibility for more patients. Theresa Hahn, PhD, of the Department of Medicine at RPCI and Lara Sucheston, PhD, of the Department of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences will serve as Co-Principal Investigators of the project. more...
Keck Receives $24 Million Gift from Redstone
USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
The Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) has announced a $24 million charitable gift from media executive and philanthropist, Sumner M. Redstone. The multi-million dollar gift will support cancer research directed by renowned oncologist David Agus, MD, professor of medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and director of the USC Center for Applied Molecular Medicine and the USC Westside Prostate Cancer Center. more...
Department of Preventive Medicine Awarded $23.5 Million for Epidemiological Cancer Research
USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
Epidemiological cancer surveillance research at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) has won $23.5 million in federal funding as part of the ongoing National Cancer Institute (NCI) national cancer statistics program. The funding supports the USC Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance program, established in 1970 by Brian Henderson, MD, to conduct epidemiological research on cancer. more...
Four Grants Worth More Than $7.75 Million for Knight
Knight Cancer Institute
Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute was awarded more than $7.75 million in grants to fund breast cancer research and explore new approaches to treating patients with leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Brian J. Druker, MD, director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, received a $6.25 million grant from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), through its Marshall A. Lichtman Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) research initiative. more...
International Program Aimed at Identifying Prostate Cancer Risk
USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
Researchers at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center have received a $12 million National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant to lead a multi-institution international project aimed at identifying new biological pathways critical to the development and potential treatment of prostate cancer. The Elucidating Loci Involved in Prostate Cancer Susceptibility (ELLIPSE) is a four-year grant that will bring together researchers from 13 institutions across the United States and Europe to identify common gene variants involved in the developmental progression of prostate cancer. more...
Simmons Researcher Receives Federal Grant to Study Breast Cancer
SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute
A research scientist at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield has been awarded a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study ways to prevent or reduce metastasis in breast cancer. Principal investigator for the project is Sophia Ran., PhD, associate professor of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology and member of the Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU. more...
Tobin and Kestenbaum Families Endow Neuroscience Fellowship
The Wistar Institute
The Wistar Institute announced the establishment of the Tobin Kestenbaum Family Professorship in Neuroscience. The newly endowed chair was made possible by a gift from Sylvan and Fran Tobin, and their daughter and son-in-law, Sharon and Joseph Kestenbaum. Motivated by a keen interest in research to find cures for Alzheimer’s disease and brain tumors, the family endowed the chair to enable Wistar to enhance its research programs by recruiting a scientist who studies brain disorders. more...
University of Maryland Receives $7.9M Grant for ’Super’ Research Magnet
University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center
The University of Maryland School of Medicine has received a $7.9 million federal grant to acquire a superconducting 950 MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) magnet that will help researchers unravel the mysteries of molecules and develop new agents to treat cancer, AIDS and other diseases. The grant is among the largest of its kind ever awarded by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), which is part of the National Institutes of Health. The funds were made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. more...
Breast Cancer Researcher Receives Grant to Combat Major Clinical Problem
The Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center
Dr. Suzanne Fuqua, professor of medicine in the Lester and Smith Breast Center at the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, has received a grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure® to further study a protein that may cause breast cancer tumors to become resistant to hormone therapy – an important part of breast cancer treatment. more...
Komen Awards Case Western Nearly $500,000
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University
Cynthia Owusu, MD, associate professor at Case Western Reserve University and geriatric-oncologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, the School’s primary affiliate, has received nearly $500,000 from Susan G. Komen For the Cure® to fund a novel three-year study aimed at improving outcomes for older women with newly-diagnosed breast cancer. more...
$2.5 Million Gift Endows Dean’s Chair for City of Hope’s Graduate School
City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute
A $2.5 million gift from Morgan and Helen Chu will establish the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean’s Chair for the Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences at City of Hope. John Rossi, PhD, a highly regarded leader in the field of RNA technology and dean of the graduate school, will be the first holder of the chair. more...
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Investigator Receives Komen Grant
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Rebecca Cook, PhD, assistant professor of Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), has been awarded a $450,000 breast cancer research grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, one of the world’s largest breast cancer organizations. The grant will help fund Cook’s investigation of targeted therapies for breast cancer. more...
Are Dead Cancer Cells Feeding Cancer’s Spread?
UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center
Researchers with the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and the UAB Department of Chemistry won an $805,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. Katri Selander, a senior scientist at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, and her team of researchers will collaborate with the laboratory of David Graves, PhD, chair of the UAB Department of Chemistry to examine altered and inactive genetic material that is left over in the body after the cells are exposed to chemotherapy. more...
Leadership Transitions
Orthopaedic Oncologist Montgomery Joins UAMS
Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
Corey Montgomery, MD, has joined the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) as an assistant professor of orthopaedics. He will see patients with bone cancer, soft-tissue cancer and metastatic cancer to bone in the Orthopaedic Oncology Clinic at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. more...
Cassels Named Executive Administrator
Winship Cancer Institute
Diane Getchel Cassels has been named executive administrator for the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. Cassels also serves as administrator for the Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine, and she will retain those duties. Cassels has oversight for clinical programs in both areas along with responsibility for research administration, academics, finances and strategic planning within Winship. more...
Chu Heads UPCI Division of Hematology Oncology
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
Edward Chu, MD, has been appointed Chief of the Division of Hematology Oncology in the Department of Medicine and Deputy Director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Dr. Chu will begin this new role on September 1, 2010. Nancy E. Davidson, MD, Director, UPMC Cancer Centers & University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, announced the appointment in a letter to colleagues. more...
Carey and Sharpless Named Associate Directors
UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center has appointed two new associate directors to lead and develop strategic priorities as the center expands clinical programs in the new N.C. Cancer Hospital and research initiatives among its 300 faculty members. Lisa Carey, MD, has been named associate director for clinical science, and Ned Sharpless, MD, has been named associate director for translational research for the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. more...
University of Kansas Fills Key Leadership Positions
University of Kansas Cancer Center
The University of Kansas Cancer Center has filled two key leadership positions moving it closer to attaining National Cancer Institute designation. Kapil Bhalla, MD, a leader and physician-scientist in the field of drug development, will join the center as Deputy Director. He will also serve as Chief of the Personalized Cancer Initiative. Biologist Shrikant Anant, PhD, joins the Center as Associate Director of Cancer Prevention and Control. He will also serve as Associate Dean for Research at the University of Kansas Medical Center and as Kansas Mason Professor of Cancer Research in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology. more...
New Leader of Phase I Clinical Trials Program Named at CINJ
The Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Antoinette R. Tan, MD, MHSc, a medical oncologist at CINJ and associate professor of medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, was recently appointed to serve as Director of Phase I/Developmental Therapeutics by CINJ Director Robert S. DiPaola, MD. CINJ is a Center of Excellence of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. more...
Chagpar Named Director of Yale Breast Center
Yale Cancer Center
Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven have appointed Anees B. Chagpar, MD to the position of Director of the Yale Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital. Dr. Chagpar will also have an appointment in the section of surgical oncology in the Yale School of Medicine Department of Surgery. Dr. Chagpar joins Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. more...
Immunobiologist Chen Joins Yale
Yale Cancer Center
Lieping Chen, MD, PhD, has been appointed Director of Cancer Immunology at the Center. Dr. Chen is an internationally known expert in cancer immunobiology. His laboratory work is focused on the understanding of molecular, biochemical, and structural aspects of cell surface molecule pathways and their functions in the control of innate and adaptive immunity and subsequent development of cancer. more...
Nationally-Recognized Oncologist Joins Oschin
Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute
Robert Figlin, MD, FACP, a national leader in cancer research and treatment, has joined Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute as director of the Division of Hematology/Oncology and as associate director of the institute’s Academic Development Program. more...
New Chief Scientific Officer and New Executive Director of Institute for Personalized Medicine at Fox Chase
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Fox Chase Cancer Center has appointed Jonathan Chernoff, MD, PhD, as Chief Scientific Officer. In addition, the Center named Jeff Boyd, PhD, as the new Executive Director of the Institute for Personalized Medicine. Boyd will also become Chief of the Division of Molecular Pathology. more...
UPCI Appoints Director of Education in Newly Formed Women’s Cancer Research Center
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
Steffi Oesterreich, PhD, an expert in estrogen receptor biology and action, has been appointed director of education for the newly formed Women’s Cancer Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) and Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI). more...
Research Highlights
RPCI Team Estimates Annual Cost of Scientific Misconduct
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
The costs of investigating allegations of scientific misconduct in the United States could exceed $110 million annually, according to research by Arthur M. Michalek, PhD, FACE, and colleagues from Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI). The costs associated with a single investigation of scientific misconduct, Dr. Michalek’s team found, can be as high as $525,000. The authors argue that although scientific misconduct may never be eliminated, cases of misconduct that stem from a lack of scientific standards rather than from deliberate misdeeds can be prevented. more...
Winship Participates in National Lung Cancer Trial
Winship Cancer Institute
The Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University is one of 14 facilities to participate in the National Cancer Institute-endorsed Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium (LCMC). Winship joins 14 cancer facilities nationwide that will collaborate on research to catalogue the genetic changes in lung cancer. The lead institution is the University of Colorado. Additional participating centers include Johns Hopkins, Dana Farber, MD Anderson, Vanderbilt, and Moffitt. more...
Elderly Patients Fail to Receive New Cancer Therapy
University of New Mexico Cancer Center
Medical researchers from the University of New Mexico Cancer Center have discovered that elderly patients with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia did not receive an effective new therapy for that cancer nearly as much as younger patients. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Patterns of Care study showed that use of this newer and more effective treatment of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia decreased significantly as the age of the patient increased. The study found that the decreased use of imatinib in older patients resulted in a marked decrease in their survival. more...
Potential Prostate Cancer Marker Found
Purdue Center for Cancer Research
Studies by a Purdue University-led team have revealed a potential marker for prostate cancer that could be the starting point for less invasive testing and improved diagnosis of the disease. Using a new analysis technique to create a profile of the lipids, or fats, found in prostate tissue, the team discovered a molecular compound that appears to be useful in identifying cancerous and precancerous tissue. more...
Profile of Low-Risk Prostate Cancer Patients Shows Most Receive Aggressive Treatment
The Cancer Institute of New Jersey
A team of investigators at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) is exploring the risk profile of men who have a prostate specific antigen (PSA) level at or below what is considered ‘normal’. Their new findings show that most men with prostate cancer who tested below the normal PSA level and had low-risk disease nevertheless underwent aggressive treatment. more...
Dental Researchers Discover Human Beta Defensins-3 Ignite in Oral Cancer Growth
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University
Detecting oral cancer in its earliest stages can save the lives of the nearly 40,500 people diagnosed annually. But early detection has been difficult. Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine researchers discovered a biomarker, called human beta defensin-3 (hBD-3), which may serve as an early warning. The defensin is present in all oral cancers and associated with the early stages of oral cancer. more...
“New” Human Adenovirus May Not Make for Good Vaccines After All
The Wistar Institute
In recent years, scientists have studied the possibility of using engineered human adenoviruses as vaccines against diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria. In this approach, adenoviruses, which commonly cause respiratory-tract infections, are rendered relatively harmless before they are used as vectors to deliver genes from pathogens, which in turn stimulate the body to generate a protective immune response. In a new study of four adenovirus vectors, researchers from The Wistar Institute show that a reportedly rare human adenovirus, called AdHu26, is not so rare, after all, and would thus be unlikely to be optimal as a vaccine carrier for mass vaccination. more...
Anticancer Activity from Herbal Additives Found in Ancient Alcoholic Beverages
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
New biomolecular archaeological evidence backed up by increasingly sophisticated scientific testing techniques are uncovering medicinal remedies discovered, tested, and sometimes lost, throughout millennia of human history—herbs, tree resins, and other organic materials dispensed by ancient fermented beverages like wine and beer. Laboratory testing of some ancient "remedies" is being conducted by researchers at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory. more...
Reconstruction after Mastectomy Does Not Interfere with Breast Cancer Treatment
Huntsman Cancer Institute
For years, it was thought that reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy could delay or interfere with breast cancer treatment but a new study from researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah shows this is not the case. more...
Fructose Drives Pancreatic Cancer Growth
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA
Pancreatic cancers use the sugar fructose, very common in the Western diet, to activate a key cellular pathway that drives cell division, helping the cancer to grow more quickly, a study by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has found. Although it’s widely known that cancers use glucose, a simple sugar, to fuel their growth, this is the first time a link has been shown between fructose and cancer proliferation, said Dr. Anthony Heaney, an associate professor of medicine and neurosurgery, a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher and senior author of the study. more...
Adult Lung Stem Cells, Vital to Injury Repair, Associated With Poor Cancer Prognosis
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA
Adult stem cells that are vital for airway repair in the lung but that persist in areas where pre-cancerous lesions are found are associated with a poor prognosis in patients who develop cancer, even those with early-stage disease, researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have found. more...
New Drug Reduces Tumor Size in Women With Advanced Hereditary Ovarian or Breast Cancer
Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute
Understanding the underlying genetic weakness of certain types of cancer may lead to targeted therapy and provide the key to effective treatment, a new study suggests. An international consortium of researchers has shown that an investigational drug, Olaparib, can reduce the size of tumors in women with advanced hereditary ovarian cancer with BRCA gene mutations. more...
Knight Researchers Isolate Importance of Gene in Determining Breast Cancer Aggressiveness
Knight Cancer Institute
Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute researchers found that the GRB7 gene drives an aggressive form of breast cancer and acts independently of the HER-2 gene, known to be a stimulator of breast cancer growth. Isolating the role of this gene could ultimately help fine-tune a patient’s treatment and enable physicians to provide a more accurate prognosis. more...
Nanofibers Help Scientists Study Brain Cancer In The Lab
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -
Cancer and engineering scientists at The Ohio State University are collaborating to create molecule-sized nanofibers to mimic the structure of white matter in the brain. By combining nanotechnology with a medically-approved polymer, researchers are able to study the invasive behavior of tumor cells. Mariano Viapiano, a researcher at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James) is collaborating with John Lannutti, professor of materials science and engineering in Ohio State’s College of Engineering, and others, to develop biologically compatible nanofibers that mimic the neural topography used by migratory tumor cells. more...
Patient, Doctor, Hospital All Contribute to Worse Survival Among Blacks
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Black people with cancer are up to twice as likely as other races to die from their disease. While disparities exist for nearly every common cancer type, the largest differences occur among cancers that benefit most from treatment—suggesting that black patients are not getting needed lifesaving treatments, according to a review from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. more...
Scientists Develop Genomics-Based Approach to Understand the Origin of Cancer Subgroups
Comprehensive Cancer Center St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital
Scientists have long recognized that cancers may look the same under the microscope, but carry different mutations, respond differently to treatment and result in vastly different outcomes for patients. An international team led by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists has developed a new approach that uses genomic information from different species to understand the biology that drives the formation of these different cancer subtypes. more...
Test Could Predict Which Children With T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Are Best Candidates for Clinical Trials
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
A genetic clue uncovered by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists enables doctors to predict, for the first time, which children with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) are unlikely to benefit from standard chemotherapy for the disease and should therefore be among the first to receive new treatments in future clinical trials. more...
A Lethal Brain Tumor’s Strength May Be A Weakness Too
Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center
Even as doctors make steady progress treating other types of solid tumor cancers, from breast to prostate, the most aggressive form of malignant glioma, called a glioblastoma multiforme or GBM, has steadfastly defied advances in neurosurgery, radiation therapy and various conventional or novel drugs. But an international team of scientists, headed by researchers at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR) at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, reports that they have discovered a new signaling pathway between GBM cells – one that, if ultimately blocked or disrupted, could significantly slow or reduce tumor growth and malignancy. more...
More Similarities in Immune System Than First Thought, Study Finds
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
When it comes to the mechanics of the human immune system, we are all more alike than previously thought, according to a new study by scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. This finding has significant implications for developing new ways to detect, diagnose and treat cancer and diseases of the immune system, according to Harlan Robins, PhD, corresponding author of a paper detailing the research in the Sept. 1 issue of Science Translational Medicine. more...
Combined Technologies Offer Promise for Detecting Colon Cancer in Women
The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
A team led by a Northwestern University biomedical engineer has found that combining novel optical technologies with a common colon cancer screening test may allow doctors to more accurately detect the presence of colon cancer, particularly in women. The study, led by Vadim Backman, PhD, Applied Science Program Leader for the Cancer Biomedical Engineering, Nanotechnology & Chemistry Program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, combined a polarization-gating optical probe alongside traditional flexible sigmoidoscopy to measure the early increase in blood supply in rectal tissue as a marker for colon cancer. more...
Researchers Identify Gene Linked to Aggressive Progression of Liver Cancer
Massey Cancer Center
Virginia Commonwealth University and VCU Massey Cancer Center researchers have identified a gene that plays a key role in regulating liver cancer progression, a discovery that could one day lead to new targeted therapeutic strategies to fight the highly aggressive disease. more...
Study Links African Ancestry to High-Risk Breast Cancer
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
A new study finds that African ancestry is linked to triple-negative breast cancer, a more aggressive type of cancer that has fewer treatment options. Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that, among women with breast cancer, 82 percent of African women were triple negative, 26 percent of African-Americans were and 16 percent of white Americans were. more...
New Technology Targets Cancer Prevalent in Young Women
The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
Northwestern University researchers took a drug therapy proven for blood cancers but ineffective against solid tumors, packaged it with nanotechnology and got it to combat an aggressive type of breast cancer prevalent in young women, particularly young African-American women. more...
Researchers Will Test Potentially Cheaper, Less Invasive Breast Cancer Screening
USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
Researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) will test whether a set of blood-based biomarkers can assist mammography in the early detection of breast cancer with a $180,000 grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. Simeen Malik, PhD, post-doctoral research associate at the USC Epigenome Center and Peter W. Laird, PhD, director of the USC Epigenome Center, will lead the research in collaboration with investigators at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and City of Hope National Medical Center. more...
Help Is on the Phone: Reducing Pain and Depression of Cancer
Indiana University Simon Cancer Center
Pain and depression associated with cancer symptoms often unrecognized and undertreated can be significantly reduced through centralized telephone-based care management coupled with automated symptom monitoring, according to researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine. The Indiana Cancer Pain and Depression (INCPAD) study combined automated calls with follow-up calls from the nurse care manager to reduce pain and depression in cancer patients. more...
Research Finds New Link Between Inflammation and Cancer
Massey Cancer Center
Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center researchers have uncovered a new link between chronic inflammation and cancer. Although cancers don’t always cause inflammation, chronic inflammation is known to help tumor cells grow. In an article published in the recent June issue of Nature, VCU Massey scientists Sarah Spiegel, PhD, and Tomasz Kordula, PhD, and their co-authors examine how sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), a lipid mediator in the blood that influences immune cell circulation, also regulates inflammation and cancer. more...
Other News
New Cancer Institute at UAMS Opens
Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
Cancer survivors from across Arkansas and beyond were celebrated at the dedication ceremony of the 12-story expansion to the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). The 300,000-square-foot building will double the institute’s capacity for research, treatment and outreach. more...
Vanderbilt Unveils Personalized Medicine Program for Cancer Patients
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) has launched its new Personalized Cancer Medicine Initiative, joining a currently small group of cancer centers to offer patients routine “genotyping” of their tumors at the DNA level. This information will then be used to personalize treatment by matching the appropriate therapy to the genetic changes, or mutations, that are driving the cancer’s growth. Vanderbilt’s Personalized Cancer Medicine Program is led by William Pao, MD, PhD, Ingram Associate Professor of Cancer Research and an expert in lung cancer. more...