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News from the Association of American Cancer InstitutesMay 2013
The AACI is dedicated to promoting the common interests of the nation's leading academic cancer centers that are focused on the eradication of cancer through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary program of cancer research, treatment, patient care, prevention, education, and community outreach.
AACI Update is an e-newsletter for the cancer center directors and key contacts at AACI member institutions and individuals interested in the cancer center-related activities of AACI. AACI Update reports on the progress of AACI initiatives and other AACI endeavors that benefit the cancer community and highlights important news and events at AACI member institutions.

AACI encourages member institutions to submit cancer center highlights to AACI Update. News briefs are linked to complete stories posted on individual cancer center websites. Please e-mail materials to AACI reserves the right to decide whether or not materials are appropriate for inclusion.

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Shelby, DeLauro to be Hill Day Honorees
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) will be honored for their support of cancer research at an evening reception on May 15, the night before AACI's annual Capitol Hill Day, in Washington, DC. This event marks the legislators' tireless work on behalf of the cancer community and will bring together many key members of the cancer advocacy community and esteemed scientists from across the nation.

AACI is co-hosting Hill Day on Thursday, May 16, with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and Friends of Cancer Research (Friends). Advocacy efforts will showcase the nation's cancer centers and how the federal investment in research sustains progress in the fight against cancer and provides economic benefits for the nation.

It is not too late to join your colleagues for this important day of advocacy. To register for Hill Day, please visit: If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Pegher at the AACI office at 412-647-0557 or more...

CRI Meeting Features Special Programming for Medical Directors
AACI welcomes cancer center clinical trials office medical directors to the Fifth Annual AACI Clinical Research Initiative (CRI) meeting, to be held at the InterContinental Chicago O'Hare on Thursday, July 11 and Friday, July 12. This year's meeting program has been expanded to include sessions geared to cancer center clinical trials medical directors and associate directors for clinical research who are responsible for providing leadership of centers' clinical research efforts.

More information about the meeting program and online registration can be found at more...

Online Registration Now Open for 2013 AACI/CCAF Meeting
Online registration for the 2013 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting in Washington, DC is now available on the AACI website. The meeting will be held at The Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Hotel from Sunday, September 29 through mid-day Tuesday, October 1. Please find the meeting registration, hotel information, preliminary program and speakers list on the AACI website:

For more information, please contact Jaime Anderson at We look forward to seeing you in Washington, DC this September! more...

First Ever Rally for Medical Research a Success
The Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) participated along with 55 other cancer centers in the Rally for Medical Research in Washington D.C. on April 8, urging lawmakers to stop funding cuts to medical research. Spearheaded by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), advocates of public health from all aspects of research across the country joined forces to advocate against funding cuts which threaten progress in research as well as countless lives. more...

Genentech Joins AACI Corporate Roundtable

Genentech joins Amgen, Astellas, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Gilead, and Lilly as a member of the AACI Corporate Roundtable. Instituted in 2012, this membership category provides a forum for AACI cancer centers to address topics of mutual interest with their industry colleagues.

For additional information about corporate roundtable membership, please contact Kate Burroughs, Director of Development, at or at 412-647-3844. more...
News from the Centers
Awards & Honors
Moses Receives AACR's Lifetime Achievement in Research Award
Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center
Harold L. (Hal) Moses, MD, professor of Medicine and Pathology, acting chair of Cancer Biology and director emeritus of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), has received the 10th annual American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research. more...
Siteman Director Elected President of Surgical Association
Siteman Cancer Center, Barnes Jewish Hospital at Washington University School of Medicine
Timothy Eberlein, MD, director of the Siteman Cancer Center and chairman of the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been elected president of the Southern Surgical Association. more...
Administrator Named President-Elect of Association of Community Cancer Centers
Feist-Weiller Cancer Center
Becky L. DeKay, MBA, Director of Oncology Services at Feist-Weiller Cancer, was elected president-elect of the Association of Community Cancer Centers at its 39th Annual National Meeting. DeKay has been active in ACCC since joining the staff of LSU Health Shreveport in 2003. more...
Rowley to Share Albany Prize with Nowell, Druker
University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center
Janet Davison Rowley, MD, Blum-Riese Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine, Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago, will receive the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research, a prestigious award for medicine and scientific discoveries. Dr. Rowley will share the prize with Peter C. Nowell, MD, and Brian J. Druker, MD, Director of the Knight Cancer Institute. They are being honored for their groundbreaking research that led to the development of a new generation of targeted cancer drugs, starting with imatinib (Gleevec). more...
Croce Honored With the 2013 AACR Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center
James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute

The American Association for Cancer Research honored Carlo M. Croce, MD, professor and chair of the department of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics and director of the Institute of Genetics at The Ohio State University School of Medicine in Columbus, with the seventh annual Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship at the AACR Annual Meeting 2013, in Washington, DC. more...
Duke Breast Oncologist Among TIME's 100 Most Influential People
Duke Cancer Institute
Kimberly Blackwell, MD, a clinical oncologist at Duke Cancer Institute and one of the country's leading breast cancer researchers, is included in this year's roster of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people. more...
Cancer Researcher to be Inducted into International Hall of Fame
Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center
Victoria Champion, PhD, RN, FAAN, Distinguished Professor at the Indiana University School of Nursing and a researcher at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, is one of 19 nurse researchers to be inducted into the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International's International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. The induction will take place during the 24th International Nursing Research Congress in Prague, Czech Republic, in July. more...
Grants & Gifts
Leadership Transitions
Brain Cancer Researcher to Join Fred Hutchinson
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Eric Holland, MD, PhD, an internationally recognized neurosurgeon and brain cancer researcher, has been recruited to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington to establish research programs on brain and other solid-tumor cancers in Seattle. He will arrive this summer. more...
Khan Named Chief of Hematology/Oncology
Simmons Cancer Institute
Aziz Khan, MD, has been named chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology and chief medical officer at Simmons Cancer Institute (SCI) at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield. Dr. Khan has been at Simmons since 2007. more...
Bioinformatics Expert Joins Cedars-Sinai to Develop Personalized Treatments Based on DNA
Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute
Medical statistics expert Zhenqiu Liu, PhD, has joined Cedars-Sinai as the director of Bioinformatics in the Department of Medicine's Hematology/Oncology Division. Bioinformatics helps tailor discoveries and treatment plans for patients by uncovering the way individual genes and gene sequences respond to specific therapies. The goal of bioinformatics is to prescribe treatments that are likely to be optimally effective, based on a patient's genetic makeup. more...
Cancer Stem Cell Immunologist Joins Hollings
Hollings Cancer Center
A leading researcher in hematopoietic stem cell therapy, Xue-Zhong Yu, MD, has joined the faculty of the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Yu will hold the Robert K. Stuart, MD, Distinguished Endowed Chair in Hematology/Oncology, the second chair within the SmartState Cancer Stem Cell Biology and Therapy Center of Economic Excellence. more...
Paulson Named Chairman of Radiology
Duke Cancer Institute
Erik Paulson, MD, will return to the Duke University School of Medicine as chairman of the Department of Radiology, after serving as professor and chairman of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. more...
Research Highlights
New Center for Personalized Diagnostics Aims to Unlock Cancer's Secrets
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Penn Medicine's new Center for Personalized Diagnostics, a joint initiative of the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Abramson Cancer Center, is diving deeper into each patient's tumor with next generation DNA sequencing. more...
Liver Cancers Armed with Many Strategies for Evading Immune Response
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), led by Yasmin Thanavala, PhD, have published findings that help explain how a common and particularly resilient form of liver cancer evades the body's natural antitumor responses. more...
Delays in Diagnosis Worsen Outlook for Minority, Uninsured Pediatric Retinoblastoma patients
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
When the eye cancer retinoblastoma is diagnosed in racial and ethnic minority children whose families don't have private health insurance, it often takes a more invasive, potentially life-threatening course than in other children, probably because of delays in diagnosis, researchers at Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center in Boston reported at the 26th annual meeting of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology Oncology in Miami. Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, MD, was senior author on the study. more...
Scientists ID New Kidney Cancer Subtypes, Clearing Way for Personalized Treatment
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA
Researchers with UCLA’s Institute of Urologic Oncology and department of urology have classified kidney cancer into several unique subtypes, a breakthrough that will help physicians tailor treatment to individual kidney cancer patients, moving cancer care one step closer to personalized medicine. Allan Pantuck, MD, was lead author on the study published in the journal, Cancer more...
On-and-Off Approach to Prostate Cancer Treatment may Compromise Survival
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Taking a break from hormone-blocking prostate cancer treatments once the cancer seems to be stabilized is not equivalent to continuing therapy, a new large-scale international study finds. Maha Hussain, MD, FACP, a prostate cancer expert at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, was lead study author. more...
Researchers Say One Specific MicroRNA Promotes Tumor Growth and Cancer Spread
Moffitt Cancer Center
Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center have determined that the overexpression of microRNA-155 (miR-155), a short, single strand of ribonucleic acid encoded by the miR-155 host gene, promotes the growth of blood vessels in tumors, tumor inflammation, and metastasis. As a therapeutic target, miR-155 could potentially provide a new avenue of treatment when targeted with drugs to suppress its activity. more...
Powerful, More Accurate, Genetic Analysis Tool Opens New Gene-Regulation Realms
Huntsman Cancer Institute
Researchers from Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah have developed a novel and powerful technique to identify the targets for a group of enzymes called RNA cytosine methyltransferases (RMTs) in human RNA. They applied their technique to a particular RMT, NSUN2, which has been implicated in mental retardation and cancers in humans, finding and validating many previously unknown RMT targets, an indication of the technique's power. The research results were published online in the journal Nature Biotechnology on April 21. more...
Scientists Use Abnormal DNA Repair to Selectively Target Cancer Cells
University of New Mexico Cancer Center
UNM Cancer Center researcher Alan Tomkinson, PhD, is a member of a cross-institutional team that has developed a technique to target cancer cell's abnormal DNA repair machinery. The team recently published a pair of papers describing their work with chronic myeloid leukemia cells and with breast cancer cells. Cancer cells use a DNA ligase III-dependent repair pathway; the team used this dependence to tailor a PARP and ligase inhibitor combination to selectively kill them. more...
Viagra Drug Trio Improves Cancer Treatment Effectiveness While Protecting Heart
Massey Cancer Center
A new drug combination featuring the widely-known impotence drug Viagra has been found to improve the effectiveness of cancer treatment while protecting the heart from harm caused by a popular form of chemotherapy. With nearly half of all cancer survivors dying from other conditions than cancer, most notably cardiovascular disease, this new treatment is not only innovative but necessary. The study was co-authored by Rakesh Kukreja, MS, PhD. more...
Light Smokers Benefit from Nicotine-Replacement Medications
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Light daily smokers, those who smoke fewer than 10 cigarettes per day, have greater success quitting when provided stop-smoking medications and assisted by counselors. Those are the key conclusions of research conducted by scientists at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the Medical University of South Carolina and published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research. more...
Genetic Biomarker May Help Identify Neuroblastomas Vulnerable to Novel Class of Drugs
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
An irregularity within many neuroblastoma cells may indicate whether a neuroblastoma tumor, a difficult-to-treat, early childhood cancer, is vulnerable to a new class of anti-cancer drugs known as BET bromodomain inhibitors, according to research presented by Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center researcher and clinician Kimberly Stegmaier, MD. more...
Rising Melanoma Rates Among Adolescents, Children are Subject of New Study
Siteman Cancer Center, Barnes Jewish Hospital at Washington University School of Medicine
A new study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis looks at the increase of melanoma, a form of skin cancer, in children and adolescents and what those trends might be telling us. Kimberly J. Johnson, PhD, is senior author of the study. more...
Small Molecule Unlocks Key Prostate Cancer Survival Tactic
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
The most recent in a series of studies from a team at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center has shown that a single molecule is at the heart of one of the most basic survival tactics of prostate cancer cells. The team is led by Ralph W. deVere White, MB, BCh, BAO, director of the cancer center. more...
English-Speaking U.S. Hispanics Engage in Fewer Skin Cancer Protections, More Risk than Spanish-Speaking Hispanics
The Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Research from The Cancer Institute of New Jersey shows that U.S. Hispanics who speak English are less likely to engage in skin cancer prevention practices and more likely to put themselves at risk for skin cancer as compared to Spanish-speaking Hispanics who live in this country. Investigators led by Elliot J. Coups, PhD, say their findings show a need to consider linguistic acculturation, the way one adapts to the multiple languages to which he or she is exposed, in developing interventions for this population. more...
New Surgical Program Benefits Throat Cancer Patients
University of New Mexico Cancer Center
Andrew Cowan, MD, PhD, started the new trans-oral robotic surgery program at the UNM Cancer Center to help patients reduce radiation and chemotherapy exposure and to keep swallowing. The new program, pioneered at University of Pennsylvania, is less invasive than traditional surgery and can remove most or all of the tumor in about 30 minutes. Dr. Cowan is the first to offer this surgery in the predominately rural state of New Mexico. more...
New Minimally Invasive, MRI-Guided Laser Treatment for Brain Tumor Found Promising
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University
The first-in-human study of the NeuroBlate™ Thermal Therapy System finds that it appears to provide a new, safe and minimally invasive procedure for treating recurrent glioblastoma (GBM), a malignant type of brain tumor. Andrew Sloan, MD, Director of Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center, UH Seidman Cancer Center and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, was lead author on the study. more...
Drug-Resistant Leukemia Cells Can Be Eradicated by Cleaving Sugar Modifications from the Cell Surface
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
Investigators from the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the Institute for Glycomics at Griffith University, Australia, have demonstrated that leukemia cells can be eradicated by removing a modification of a carbohydrate called sialic acid on the cell's surface. more...
UF Researchers to Study Ethnic Differences in Prostate Cancer Experiences
University of Florida Shands Cancer Center
Black men have the highest incidence of prostate cancer and die more often of the disease than any other group of American men, yet there are significant differences among black men in terms of quality of life and outcomes. Now, University of Florida researchers are exploring these differences among groups of culturally diverse black men with prostate cancer, seeking to understand why. more...
New Agent Might Control Breast-Cancer Growth and Spread
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute
A new study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute suggests that an unusual experimental drug can reduce breast-cancer aggressiveness, reverse resistance to the drug fulvestrant and perhaps improve the effectiveness of other breast-cancer drugs. more...
Some Minorities Believe They Are Less Likely to Get Cancer Compared to Whites
Moffitt Cancer Center
Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center and colleagues analyzed national data to investigate the differences in cancer prevention beliefs by race and ethnicity. They found that minorities, including blacks, Asians and Hispanics, have differing beliefs about cancer prevention and feel they are less likely to get cancer than did whites. The researchers concluded that more culturally relevant information about cancer prevention and risk needs to reach minority populations. more...
Study Shows Potential New Way to Detect Colorectal and Other Cancers
Markey Cancer Center
A new study led by University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center researchers reveals a novel mechanism explaining the previously unknown root cause of some forms of colorectal cancers. The study, published in Cell, found that an abnormal histone protein modification impairs a DNA repair machinery that controls cancer development, yielding a potential new way of detecting these types of colorectal cancers. more...
Key Bone Marrow Protein Identified as Potential New Leukemia Treatment Target
University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center
A new study on how the progression of acute lymphocytic leukemia is influenced by the bone marrow environment has demonstrated for the first time that targeting a specialized protein known as osteopontin may be an effective strategy to increase the efficacy of chemotherapy in patients with this type of blood cancer. Study data were published online in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology. more...
University of Michigan Health System Creates Cardio-Oncology Program
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
The University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center, working with specialists at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, has launched Michigan's first cardio-oncology clinic, a program designed to prevent or minimize heart damage caused by chemotherapy and radiation. Only a handful of hospitals around the world have dedicated programs of scientists and physicians working to address cancer treatment's impact on the heart. more...
Scientific Basis Found for Cognitive Complaints in Post-Treatment Breast Cancer Patients
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA
UCLA researchers led by Patricia Ganz, MD, director of cancer prevention and control research at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, have published a study showing a statistically significant association between neuropsychological test performance and memory complaints in post-treatment, early stage breast cancer patients. more...
Few Breast Cancer Survivors Maintain Adequate Physical Activity Despite Benefits
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Breast cancer survivors are among the women who could most benefit from regular physical activity, yet few meet national exercise recommendations during the 10 years after being diagnosed, according to a study by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Prior studies and available evidence show a strong association between physical activity and reduced mortality, extended survival and higher quality of life among breast cancer survivors. more...
New Cancer "Vaccine" Shows Future Promise in Treating and Preventing Metastatic Cancers
Massey Cancer Center
Preclinical, laboratory studies suggest a novel immunotherapy could potentially treat metastatic cancers and be used in combination with current cancer therapies, according to scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center. Recently published in the journal Cancer Research, the study detailed the effects of a molecule engineered by lead author Xiang-Yang Wang, PhD, on animal and cell models of melanoma, prostate and colon tumors. more...
Other News
Research Funds for NCI Provocative Questions Now Available
National Cancer Institute
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is looking for bold new approaches to answer 24 perplexing scientific questions identified by the community. Think you can help find the answer to one of those questions? Submit a Letter of Intent by May 20, 2013. Applications are due June 20, 2013.

View the list of Provocative Questions and current funding opportunity announcements at more...
Death of Cancer Research Pioneer John Kersey Marked
Masonic Cancer Center
The Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota lost one of its most prominent and influential scientists and physicians with the sudden death of John Kersey, MD, at the age of 74. Dr. Kersey dedicated his life to the development of new treatments for childhood cancer. He was the founder of the University's Blood and Marrow Transplant program, serving as director from 1974 to 1995. He was also the founding director of the Masonic Cancer Center, which became a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in 1998. more...
"Inflammation, Microbiota, and Cancer" Symposium Announced
National Cancer Institute
The Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute is hosting a two-day national symposium entitled "Inflammation, Microbiota, and Cancer." The program includes recent advances in the field and should be an exciting forum for discussion and debate on the current understanding of cancer and inflammation. more...
Impact of Genomics on Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment: Open Drug Policy Forum
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University
The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center will convene a public forum on the emerging revolution in genetic testing known as precision or personalized medicine on Monday, June 10. Titled, "Impact of Genomics on Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment: Open Drug Policy Forum", the discussion will focus on the myriad of challenges facing the healthcare, insurance and pharmaceutical industry as this emerging technology rapidly becomes mainstream. more...
Job Opportunities
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
University of California San Francisco


Compliance Core Coordinator  
Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center


TH Staff Associate  
Stony Brook-University Hospital


Senior Deputy Director /Chief, Section of Hematology Oncology within the Department of Medicine  
Stephenson Cancer Center
University of Oklahoma College of Medicine


Director of Affiliations   
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center


Meeting Announcements

Capitol Hill Day

May 16, 2013

AACI will co-host its annual Capitol Hill Day with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Friends of Cancer Research (FOCR). Attendees will highlight how cancer research creates both health and economic benefits for the nation.

To register for Hill Day, please visit:

AACI Clinical Research Initiative (CRI) 5th Annual Meeting

July 11-12, 2013

Meeting registration, hotel information, abstract submissions guidelines and the meeting program are available on the AACI website at:

2013 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting

September 29 - October 1, 2013
Washington, DC

Please find the meeting registration, hotel information, preliminary program and speakers list on the AACI website: