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News from the Association of American Cancer InstitutesJune 2014
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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Hill Day Attendees Request Increased Cancer Research Funding for FY 2015
Seventy-five cancer center directors, physicians, researchers, and advocates visited Capitol Hill on May 8 to urge legislators to increase financial support for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The annual event, which included more than 110 meetings scheduled with members of Congress or their staff, was co-hosted by AACI, the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and Friends of Cancer Research. more...

(Top Row, L-R) Cancer survivor Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) talks with constituent and breast cancer survivor Kim Hagerich along with ASCO President Dr. Clifford Hudis; AACI Executive Director Barbara Duffy Stewart, along with Drs. Roy Jensen, Clifford Hudis, Bill Dalton, Shelton Earp, and Steven Grossman, meet with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's senior health policy advisor, Cheryl Jaeger; (Middle Row, L-R) Barbara Duffy Stewart presents 2014 Hill Day Award to Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA); Dr. Sandra Swain with Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); Staff director of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education, Adrienne Hallett, accepts the 2014 Hill Day Award from Dr. George Weiner, on behalf of Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). (Bottom) Dr. Bill Dalton delivers remarks during breakfast on Hill Day.

Varmus, Sellers Highlight Cancer Challenges for Senate Committee
Harold Varmus, MD, director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and Thomas A. Sellers, PhD, MPH, director of the Moffitt Cancer Center, participated in a panel of distinguished scientists, advocates, and cancer survivors at a Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing on May 7, 2014. Also testifying were Chip Kennett, cancer survivor and former Capitol Hill aide, Mary Dempsey, assistant director and co-founder of the The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing, and cancer survivor and television actress Valerie Harper. more...

To watch the hearing please visit:

(L-R) Dr. Sellers, Ms. Harper and Dr. Varmus

Ohio State, Moffitt Form "Big Data" Collaboration

Two AACI cancer centers, Moffitt Cancer Center and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, have announced a large collaboration to accelerate discoveries in cancer research.

Named the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN), the new partnership will launch with over 100,000 consented patients who have agreed to donate their tissue and clinical data for research to understand cancer at the molecular level. ORIEN will utilize a single protocol, Total Cancer Care®, to create a collaborative, "rapid learning" environment that will share de-identified data to accelerate the development of targeted treatments, allowing researchers and clinicians to more quickly match eligible patients to clinical trials and conduct larger and richer analysis. more...

Duke, Siteman, UNC Lineberger Team to Speed Drug Development
A partnership formed by UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Duke Cancer Institute and the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University in St. Louis will become part of a national network working to accelerate the pace of cancer drug development. more...

Cancer Research Month Recognized by Senators Feinstein and Isakson

In recognition of National Cancer Research Month, AACI once again collaborated with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) on a community letter to Congress. The letter focused on the importance of National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) funding to health, the economy and the progress that has been made in cancer research.

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) introduced a resolution, S. Res. 445, designating May as National Cancer Research Month. Cancer centers used their advocacy skills in order to garner cosponsors in the Senate. The Senate unanimously adopted the resolution on May 21. more...

CRI Annual Meeting Registration Continues

A little more than a month remains to register for the 6th Annual Meeting of AACI's Clinical Research Initiative. The meeting will be held July 9-11, in Chicago, at The Westin O'Hare. New this year, the meeting will begin on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.--an extra half day to accommodate an expanded program.

Register now! Please contact Amy Charley at 412-802-6774 or with questions. Potential sponsors should contact Kate Burroughs at or at 412-647-3844 regarding commercial support opportunities. more...

AACI/CCAF Meeting Registration Reminder
Online registration continues for the 2014 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting, to be held in Chicago, October 26-28. The early registration rate will remain in effect through June 8. Information on the meeting, including the program and electronic registration is available on the AACI website. more...
News from the Centers
Awards & Honors
Meropol Honored as ASCO Fellow for Extraordinary Service
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) honored Neal J. Meropol, MD, as a Fellow during the opening session of the 2014 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago. He was one of 12 exceptional members to earn the designation of Fellow as a result of their extraordinary volunteer service, dedication and commitment to ASCO. Dr. Meropol is associate director for Clinical Research at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. more...
Researchers Receive Honors, Awards at AACR Meeting
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, a leading expert in the field of immunology and pancreatic cancer, will lead the newly-announced Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C)-Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Dream Team. The announcement was made during AACR Annual Meeting 2014, along with other awards and honors for Johns Hopkins researchers. more...
Walter Receives Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Peter Walter, PhD, a UC San Francisco professor of biochemistry and biophysics has received Asia's highest scientific honor, the 2014 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine, for his groundbreaking discovery of a system that makes "life and death decisions" for the cell. more...
Damron Wins C-Change National Award
University of New Mexico Cancer Center
University of New Mexico Cancer Center scientist Barbara Damron, RN, PhD, FAAN, recently won the prestigious C-Change Comprehensive Cancer Control Champion Award. The award honors Dr. Damron's outstanding 30-year career in all phases of cancer treatment and research and her passion for saving lives from the ravages of cancer. Dr. Damron has worked in end-of-life care, survivorship, treatment and prevention. She is the fourth-ever recipient of the award. more...
Young Winship Investigators Win Prestigious Awards
Winship Cancer Institute
Two physician-scientists have won awards recognizing their research work at Winship: Olatunji Alese, MD, Winship Hematology & Medical Oncology Fellow, received the Paul Carbone, MD Fellowship Award for 2014 from the ECOG Research and Education Foundation; and David S. Yu, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology in the Emory School of Medicine and a Winship member, is the recipient of this year's Michael Fry Research Award from the Radiation Research Society. more...
Berchuck Receives Foundation for Women’s Cancer/Claudia Cohen Research Foundation Prize
Duke Cancer Institute
The Foundation for Women’s Cancer and the Claudia Cohen Research Foundation has selected Andrew Berchuck, MD, as the 2014 recipient of the Foundation for Women’s Cancer/Claudia Cohen Research Foundation Prize for Outstanding Gynecologic Researcher. The $50,000 prize was presented at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology 45th Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer in Tampa. more...
Paper Examining how Tumor Cells "Talk to Each Other" Named Best of 2013
UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center
A University of Alabama at Birmingham research paper on exosomes has been selected as a "Best of 2013" by The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC). The paper, "Heparanase Regulates Secretion, Composition, and Function of Tumor Cell-derived Exosomes", was chosen as the best in the Glycobiology and Extracellular Matrices category. The "Best of" papers were selected from the thousands published by the JBC last year. more...
Grants & Gifts
Cancer Center Set to Expand with $65 Million Gift
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins will use a $65 million gift toward the construction of a new patient care building that will be named for the late Albert P. "Skip" Viragh, Jr., a Maryland mutual fund investment leader and philanthropist. A pancreas cancer patient treated at Johns Hopkins, Mr. Viragh died of the disease in 2003 at age 62. more...
Web-based Tool Helping Melanoma Survivors With Skin Self-Exam, Sun Protection
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Research from Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey shows that many patients do not perform a regular, thorough self-exam of their skin or sufficiently engage in sun protection behaviors as recommended by their doctor. In order to address these concerns, Cancer Institute of New Jersey behavioral scientist Elliot J. Coups, PhD, will explore developing a behavioral intervention for this group. A recently-awarded $2.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute will support the work, which will focus on the creation and testing of a web-based tool. more...
Researchers Looking to Reduce Cervical Cancer Rate Among Incarcerated Women
University of Kansas Cancer Center
Researchers at the University of Kansas Cancer Center will use a $1.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to examine ways to lower the rates of cervical cancer among incarcerated women. Megha Ramaswamy, PhD, MPH, will lead the new project. Dr. Ramaswamy has done extensive research into why cervical cancer rates are four to five times higher among women in jails or prisons than in women who aren't incarcerated. more...
Leadership Transitions
Corey to Step Down as President and Director
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has announced that Larry Corey, MD, will step down as president and director to return to his passion and focus on research. Dr. Corey will turn his attention from scientific administration back to his longstanding research focus to develop vaccines for HIV and herpes viruses. He will remain at Fred Hutch as a member of the faculty in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division and will hold the title of President and Director Emeritus. His resignation will be effective June 30. more...
Mayer to be Director of Cancer Survivorship
UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Deborah K. Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN, has been named the UNC Lineberger Director of Cancer Survivorship. In her new position, Dr. Mayer will lead the effort to enhance clinical and research initiatives for cancer survivors for the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. more...
Hollings Surgeon, Researcher Next President of Medical University of South Carolina
Hollings Cancer Center
The Medical University of South Carolina Board of Trustees has named David J. Cole, MD, an oncology surgeon and researcher at MUSC's Hollings Cancer Center, president of the university and its affiliated medical centers. Dr. Cole earned his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College and completed his residency training in general surgery at Emory University. After residency, Dr. Cole completed a surgical oncology fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute Surgery Branch. more...
Genetics Researcher to Lead Cancer Biology Program
The University of Arizona Cancer Center
Nathan A. Ellis, PhD, an internationally recognized genetics researcher, has joined the University of Arizona Cancer Center to be the program leader of the Center's Cancer Biology Program. Dr. Ellis most recently was an associate professor of pediatrics and member of the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Illinois, Chicago. He has been previously affiliated with the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Research Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the New York Blood Center. more...
Research Highlights
MRI for Prostate Biopsies Increases Odds of Finding Aggressive Tumors
Siteman Cancer Center, Barnes Jewish Hospital at Washington University School of Medicine
Prostate biopsies performed using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are more likely to find aggressive tumors than those that rely on ultrasound, according to a study by Gerald Andriole, MD, of Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. more...
Tumor Modeling Predicts Most Effective Drugs Targeting Brain Cancer
UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center have used computer simulations of cancer cells - cancer avatars - to identify drugs most likely to kill cancer cells isolated from patients' brain tumors. Sandeep Pingle, MD, PhD, was lead author of the study, published in the Journal of Translational Medicine. more...
Some Electronic Cigarettes May Increase Health Risks
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
High-voltage electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) may expose users to increased levels of toxic chemicals, including formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, according to research led by Maciej Goniewicz, PhD, PharmD, a researcher in the Department of Health Behavior at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The study was published online by Nicotine and Tobacco Research, a peer-reviewed journal. more...
A Bad Penny: Cancer's Thirst For Copper Can Be Targeted
Duke Cancer Institute
Drugs used to block copper absorption for a rare genetic condition may find an additional use as a treatment for certain types of cancer, researchers at Duke Medicine report. The researchers found that cancers with a mutation in the BRAF gene require copper to promote tumor growth. These tumors include melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer that kills an estimated 10,000 people in the United States a year, according to the National Cancer Institute. Christopher M. Counter, PhD, was the study’s senior author. more...
Inherited Gene Mutations Linked to Rare Form of Uterine Cancer
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Findings from a Memorial Sloan-Kettering study have revealed that women with mutations in BRCA1 may also have an increased risk of developing a rare, aggressive form of uterine cancer. Noah Kauff, MD, FACOG, is the senior author of the study. Catherine Shu, MD, the first author, presented the study at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology's annual meeting in Tampa. more...
A Form of Immune Therapy Might be Effective for Multiple Myeloma
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center
James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute

A new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute provides evidence that genetically modifying immune cells might effectively treat multiple myeloma. The researchers modified T cells to target a molecule called CS1, which is found on more than 95 percent of myeloma cells, and to kill the cells. more...
Students Swayed by 'Relaxing, Fun' Image of Hookah Smoking Ignore Health Harms
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
Educational campaigns meant to dissuade college students from initiating hookah tobacco smoking may be more successful if they combat positive perceptions of hookah use as attractive and romantic, rather than focusing solely on the harmful components of hookah tobacco smoke, a new University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study found. Jaime Sidani, PhD, MPH, was lead author. more...
Coached Extracurricular Activities May Help Prevent Pre-Adolescent Smoking and Drinking
Norris Cotton Cancer Center
Dartmouth researchers have found that tweens (preadolescents aged 10-14) who participate in a coached team sport a few times a week or more are less likely to try smoking. Their findings on the relationship between extracurricular activity and health risk behaviors are reported in "The relative roles of types of extracurricular activity on smoking and drinking initiation among tweens," which was recently published in Academic Pediatrics. more...
Myeloma-Obesity Research Reveals Way Drugs Could Work With Body's Defenses
Cancer Therapy and Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center
Edward Medina, MD, PhD, and his colleagues have discovered a potential way to not only boost the effectiveness of current chemotherapy treatments for myeloma, but at the same time a way to help the body help itself. more...
Water Pipe Smoking Causes Significant Exposure to Nicotine, Cancer-causing Agents
American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
Young adults who smoked water pipes in hookah bars had elevated levels of nicotine, cotinine, tobacco-related cancer-causing agents, and volatile organic compounds in their urine, and this may increase their risk for cancer and other chronic diseases, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The study was led by Gideon St.Helen, PhD. more...
Older, Sicker Men with Prostate Cancer do not Benefit from Aggressive Treatment
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA
Treating older men who have early-stage prostate cancer along with other serious underlying health problems using aggressive therapies like surgery or radiation does not help them live longer, a UCLA study shows. In fact, it can be detrimental, researchers said. Timothy Daskivich, MD, was the study’s lead author. more...
Drug-Target Database Lets Researchers Match Old Drugs to New Uses
University of Colorado Cancer Center
There are thousands of drugs that silence many thousands of cancer-causing genetic abnormalities. Some of these drugs are in use now, but many of these drugs are sitting on shelves or could be used beyond the disease for which they were originally approved. Repurposing these drugs depends on matching drugs to targets. A study recently published in the journal Bioinformatics describes a new database and pattern-matching algorithm that allows researchers to evaluate rational drugs and drug combinations, and also recommends a new drug combination to treat drug-resistant non-small cell lung cancer. more...
Aggressive Ovarian Cancer May Be Caused by a Single Gene Mutation
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Memorial Sloan-Kettering researchers have identified a genetic mutation that appears to cause a rare but very aggressive type of ovarian cancer in young women. The discovery could be an important step toward developing the first effective treatments for the disease, called small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcemic type. Funded initially by a charitable organization, the research is also an example of the powerful effect philanthropy can have on rare diseases. Douglas A. Levine, MD, FACOG, FACS, led the research. more...
Reduced Kidney Function Associated with Higher Risk of Renal and Urothelial Cancer
Huntsman Cancer Institute
Researchers who investigated the level of kidney function and subsequent cancer risk in more than one million adults have found that reduced glomerular filtration rate - a key measure of reduced kidney function and chronic kidney disease - is an independent risk factor for renal and urothelial cancer but not other cancer types. The retrospective study of almost 1.2 million adult members of the Kaiser Permanente healthcare system was conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, the University of Utah's Huntsman Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. William Lowrance, MD, MPH, was lead author of the study. more...
Scientists Pinpoint Protein that Could Improve Small Cell Lung Cancer Therapies
VCU Massey Cancer Center
Approximately 15 percent of all lung cancers are small cell lung cancers (SCLC), which grow rapidly and often develop resistance to chemotherapy. However, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center have revealed new insights into the mechanisms leading to this resistance that may lead to improved therapies. more...
IU, Paradigm to Test Genomic Sequencing for Women with Aggressive Form of Breast Cancer
Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center
Researchers at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, led by Bryan Schneider, MD, and Milan Radovich, PhD, are using targeted DNA sequencing in a new clinical trial for women with triple negative breast cancer, to test whether certain treatment choices improve survival rates. more...
E-Cigarettes Expose People to More than ’Harmless’ Water Vapor, Should be Regulated
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
In a major scientific review of research on e-cigarettes, UC San Francisco scientists found that industry claims about the devices are unsupported by the evidence to date, including claims that e-cigarettes help smokers quit. In their analysis of the marketing, health and behavioral effects of the products, which are unregulated, the UCSF scientists found that while the data are still limited, e-cigarette emissions "are not merely ’harmless water vapor,’ as is frequently claimed, and can be a source of indoor air pollution. more...
Clinical Benefit for Interleukin-2 Immunotherapy in Advanced Kidney Cancer
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
A retrospective study published online ahead of print in the medical journal Urology by a physician team from Roswell Park Cancer Institute found that patients with metastatic kidney cancer - even those with chronic renal insufficiency - can tolerate and benefit from a treatment called high-dose interleukin-2 immunotherapy. more...
Tailored Intervention has Low Impact on Colorectal Cancer Screening
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
In an effort to increase colorectal cancer screening, researchers from UC Davis and elsewhere investigated whether an individualized interactive multimedia computer program (IMCP) would spur patients to get screened. Tailored to each patient's knowledge, language (English or Spanish), and perceptions, this sophisticated intervention increased patients' familiarity with their options and motivation for screening. However, the program generated only a modest increase in actual screening, one no greater than the increase resulting from a simple non-tailored "electronic leaflet." The paper was published in the Annals of Family Medicine. more...
Researchers Present Findings on Promising Biomarker for Esophageal Cancer
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University
A new biomarker for esophageal cancer shows promise in improving screening for this deadly disease and its precursor, Barrett's esophagus. Amitabh Chak, MD, of University Hospitals Case Medical Center's Seidman Cancer Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, presented findings at Digestive Disease Week in Chicago in a research forum titled "Aberrant Vimentin Methylation in Esophageal Brushings: A Biomarker for Detecting Barrett's Esophagus and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma". more...
Drug Trial Leads to First FDA-Approved Treatment for Castleman's Disease
Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
The first-ever treatment for a rare blood disorder called multicentric Castleman's disease was approved recently by the Food and Drug Administration after drug trials headed by a researcher at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Frits van Rhee, MD, PhD, the nation's leading expert in Castleman's disease, led the years-long study of siltuximab in conjunction with Horsham, Pa.-based Janssen Biotech Inc. The drug was approved April 23 under the trade name Sylvant for patients who are HIV negative and human herpes virus-8 negative. more...
New Technique Expands Number of Functional Cord Blood Stem Cells for Transplantation
Tisch Cancer Institute, Mount Sinai Medical Center
Adults suffering from diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood-related disorders may benefit from life-saving treatment commonly used in pediatric patients. Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have identified a new technique that causes cord blood (CB) stems cells to generate in greater numbers making them more useful in adult transplantation. more...
Study: Doubling of Early-Stage Lung Cancer Diagnoses if Medicare Implements Recommended LDCT Screening
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggest annual low dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening for lung cancer in high-risk patients. A new study projects that implementing this screening policy in the Medicare program could result in approximately 54,900 more lung cancer cases detected over a five-year period, a majority of which would be early-stage disease. The study is the first to look at a lung cancer screening model specifically focused on the Medicare population, which has the highest lung cancer incidence and a large proportion of members that qualify for screening. more...
Immune Cells Found to Fuel Colon Cancer Stem Cells
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
A subset of immune cells directly target colon cancers, rather than the immune system, giving the cells the aggressive properties of cancer stem cells. So finds a new study that is an international collaboration among researchers from the United States, China and Poland. Weiping Zou, MD, PhD, was senior study author. more...
Genetic Blueprint Identified for Rare, Aggressive Cancerous Tumors of the Appendix
Norris Cotton Cancer Center
Using next generation DNA sequencing, Dartmouth scientists have identified potentially actionable mutations in cancers of the appendix. Their study, "Molecular Profiling of Appendiceal Epithelial Tumors Using Massively Parallel Sequencing to Identify Somatic Mutations," was published in the journal Clinical Chemistry. Gregory Tsongalis, PhD, was principal investigator for the study. more...
New Biopsy Method Shows Prostate Cancers Considered ’Low Risk’ May Not Be
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA
More and more men who have low-risk prostate cancers are forgoing treatment and opting for active surveillance, in which their tumors are closely monitored with PSA tests, digital rectal exams and ultrasounds at regular intervals. However, according to a new UCLA study, the selection of men for active surveillance should be based not on the widely used conventional biopsy method but on a new image-guided, targeted prostate biopsy. The new method, pioneered by a multidisciplinary team at UCLA, is now a routine part of the UCLA's surveillance program. more...
Collaborative Project to Advance Therapies for Both Humans and Dogs
University of Kansas Cancer Center
While advances in chemotherapy have helped improve cancer survival rates in recent years, the five-year survival rates for patients diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone disease, are still between 50 and 60 percent. In a new project that seeks to improve the treatment of osteosarcoma, researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Children's Mercy and Colorado State University will screen thousands of drugs in humans and dogs alike. more...
Prostate Cancer and Blood Lipids Share Genetic Links
UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
Numerous studies have suggested a relationship between cardiovascular disease risk factors and prostate cancer. A new study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Norway, significantly refines the association, highlighting genetic risk factors associated with low density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides as key players and identifying 17 related gene loci that make risk contributions to levels of these blood lipids and to prostate cancer. more...
Chemotherapy Linked to Inflammation in Breast Cancer Survivors
Winship Cancer Institute
Many breast cancer survivors experience fatigue and other debilitating symptoms that persist months to years after their course of treatment has ended. Now researchers at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have found clues that may explain how these symptoms can linger. Chemotherapy, one of the major treatments for breast cancer, can leave a long-lasting epigenetic imprint in the DNA of breast cancer patients' blood cells. That imprint is associated with biological signs of inflammation up to six months after the completion of treatment. Inflammation in turn is believed to cause symptoms like fatigue. more...
Blood Test Could Provide Rapid, Accurate Method of Detecting Solid Cancers
Stanford Cancer Institute
A blood sample could one day be enough to diagnose many types of solid cancers, or to monitor the amount of cancer in a patient's body and responses to treatment. Previous versions of the approach, which relies on monitoring levels of tumor DNA circulating in the blood, have required cumbersome and time-consuming steps to customize it to each patient or have not been sufficiently sensitive. Now, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have devised a way to quickly bring the technique to the clinic. In their study, the researchers were able to accurately identify about 50 percent of people in the study with stage-1 lung cancer and all patients whose cancers were more advanced. more...
Tiny Mutation Triggers Drug Resistance for Patients with One Type of Leukemia
The University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center
A multi-institutional team of researchers has pinpointed exactly what goes wrong when chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients develop resistance to ibrutinib, a highly effective, precisely targeted anti-cancer drug. In a correspondence published in the New England Journal of Medicine, they show how the mutation triggers resistance. Their finding could guide development of new agents to treat drug-resistant disease. Y. Lynn Wang, MD, PhD, was the study’s senior author. more...
New Data Shows Continued Long-Term Effectiveness of Immunotherapy in Advanced Melanoma
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
The immunotherapy drug nivolumab continues to show long-term effectiveness in treating metastatic melanoma, achieving a three-year survival rate of 41 percent against the deadly skin cancer, report scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. New data from a phase 1 study was reported at the meeting in Chicago of the American Society of Clinical Oncology by F. Stephen Hodi, MD, director of the Melanoma Treatment Cancer at Dana-Farber. more...
Device Found to Reduce Chemotherapy-induced Pain
VCU Massey Cancer Center
An estimated 30 to 40 percent of cancer patients treated with chemotherapy experience pain, according to the National Cancer Institute. Known as chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), CIPN can produce sharp pains, numbness, tingling and/or burning sensations in the hands and feet of cancer patients because of nerve damage caused by chemotherapy. However, a recent clinical trial utilizing a device first tested at VCU Massey Cancer Center provides further evidence that it can significantly reduce CIPN symptoms without the use of drugs or invasive treatments. Patrick J. Coyne, MSN, APRN, FAAN, was the study's author. more...
Improved Methods to Identify Frequent E-Cigarette Users Needed
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
As the prevalence of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) continues to grow, research from investigators at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Rutgers School of Public Health shows more defined survey measurements are needed to better identify established users. In a recently published study, senior author Cristine Delnevo, PhD, MPH and colleagues examined the prevalence of ever use, current use, and a newly created category of established use. The team used nationally representative data from a 2013 web survey that captured 2,136 current and former smokers who had quit within the past five years of being surveyed. more...
Study Illuminates How Cancer-Killing Gene May Actually Work
University of Colorado Cancer Center
Scientists armed with a supercomputer and a vast trove of newly collected data on the body's most potent "tumor suppressor" gene have created the best map yet of how the gene works, an accomplishment that could lead to new techniques for fighting cancers, which are adept at disabling the gene in order to thrive. Scientists from the University of Colorado Cancer Center and the University of Colorado Boulder used a new technology to tease out how the p53 gene-which is responsible for recognizing damaged DNA in cells and then marking them for death-is actually able to suppress tumors by determining what other genes p53 regulates. more...
Genetic Testing Lab Nearly Doubles Diseases Covered by Ashkenazi Jewish Carrier Screening Panel
Tisch Cancer Institute, Mount Sinai Medical Center
The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has launched its Expanded Carrier Screening Panel for people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. This test increases the number of diseases covered from 20 to 38, giving Ashkenazi Jewish individuals a 1 in 2 chance of being a carrier for at least one of the diseases. The 18 new diseases were added based on population screening studies performed by scientists at the Mount Sinai Genetic Testing Laboratory. more...
Other News
More Hispanics in Cancer Clinical Trials Crucial to Reducing Health Disparities
Cancer Therapy and Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center
Hispanics are the fastest-growing demographic group in the U.S., and they suffer from major health disparities, including higher rates of cancers of the cervix, stomach and liver. However, their enrollment levels in cancer clinical trials seeking to cure these problems is abysmally low: 3.9 percent. Three physicians from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio have issued a call to arms to other cancer researchers to improve their recruitment of Hispanic patients into clinical trials. more...
Job Opportunities
Research Protocol Analyst - Data and Safety Monitoring Office  
City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center


Associate Director, Clinical Investigations Support Office  
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center


Director of the Office of Cancer Disparities Research  
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center


Research Nurse or Research Nurse Practitioner  
Columbia University Medical Center
Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center


Meeting Announcements

AACI Clinical Research Initiative (CRI) 6th Annual Meeting
July 9-11, 2014
Chicago, IL

Information on the meeting, including hotel information, preliminary program, speakers list and electronic registration, is now available on the AACI website.

Cancer Stem Cell Conference (CSC 2014)
On behalf of Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and the National Center for Regenerative Medicine (NCRM), we cordially invite you and the members of the AACI to attend the Cancer Stem Cell Conference (CSC 2014) in Cleveland held August 17-20, 2014.

In an effort to increase participation by our NCI Cancer Center colleagues, we are offering you a special discount to share worth $100 off any registration rate until June 15, and $50 until July 15. To get this discount, please register online and use discount code "cancerctrcsc2014".

Intra-Patient Tumor Heterogeneities: Implications for Targeted Therapy
The Stanford Cancer Institute is sponsoring a symposium titled, "Intra-Patient Tumor Heterogeneities: Implications for Targeted Therapy," on October 6-7.

Held on the Stanford campus, the symposium will provide an in-depth exploration of the key questions surrounding the phenomenon of cancer cell heterogeneity within individual patients, and the implications for treatment strategies, including targeted molecular therapies.

More information, including the agenda and on-line registration, is available at:

Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy: Delivering The Promise
Register today for "Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy: Delivering The Promise"
October 9-10, 2014
Masur Auditorium, Blg 10, NIH, Bethesda, MD

The Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute is hosting a two-day national symposium entitled "Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy: Delivering The Promise." The program includes recent advances in the field and should be an exciting forum for discussion and debate on the current understanding on the immunotherapy of cancer.

2014 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting
October 26-28, 2014
The Westin Chicago River North
Chicago, IL

The 2014 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting will be held in Chicago, October 26-28. Information on the meeting, including hotel information, preliminary program, speakers list and electronic registration, is now available on the AACI website.