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News from the Association of American Cancer InstitutesMarch 2015
The Association is dedicated to reducing the burden of cancer by enhancing the impact of the nation's leading academic cancer centers.
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 [email protected]. AACI reserves the right to decide whether or not materials are appropriate for inclusion.

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Capitol Hill Briefing Touts Nation's Cancer Centers
On February 11, AACI hosted an educational briefing on Capitol Hill, with support from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and in cooperation with the House Cancer Caucus. The briefing focused on educating new legislators, their staff, and Hill veterans about the importance of the nation's cancer centers. The panelists were: AACI President George J. Weiner, MD, director, Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center; Roy A. Jensen, MD, director, The University of Kansas Cancer Center; Candace S. Johnson, PhD, president and CEO and director, Roswell Park Cancer Institute; and Averl Anderson, a patient advocate from Buffalo, New York. more...

Portal Search Function Fosters Collaboration
AACI's website member portal now features a search function aimed at linking potential research collaborators across more than 50 AACI cancer centers. The individuals listed have been identified by their centers as the appropriate contacts for discussing research and development opportunities. Searches can be executed by disease site, cancer center name, or cancer center state.

This exclusive AACI member service is expanding daily, so check back often for updates. If your center is not yet listed, please contact Andrea Dixon to be included. more...

Lawrence Is New Director at Michigan
Theodore S. Lawrence, MD, PhD, has been named the director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. He succeeds Max S. Wicha, MD, who founded the cancer center 27 years ago. Dr. Lawrence joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1987, following a fellowship in medical oncology and a residency in radiation oncology at the National Cancer Institute. His laboratory interests are focused on chemotherapeutic and molecularly targeted radiosensitizers. more...

Save the Date - 7th Annual Clinical Research Initiative Meeting July 8-9

The 7th annual meeting of AACI's Clinical Research Initiative will be held July 8-9 in Chicago. This year the meeting will begin on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. to accommodate two full days of an expanded program and to provide more networking opportunities for meeting attendees. The meeting program will focus on immunology and its impact on conducting cancer research trials at the nation's cancer centers.

More information regarding lodging and registration will be forthcoming. Please direct questions to Janie Hofacker, 412-647-6331. Potential sponsors should contact Kate Burroughs, 412-647-3844 regarding commercial support opportunities. more...

Call for Abstracts for AACI CRI Meeting
AACI Clinical Research Initiative (CRI) is soliciting abstracts for presentation at the seventh CRI Annual Meeting that will be held on July 8-9, 2015, in Chicago, IL. The purpose of the abstract is to inform the CRI meeting audience about clinical trials operational challenges and solutions implemented at the cancer centers. The abstract due date is 5:00 PST on Monday, May 11, 2015. more...
News from the Centers
Awards & Honors
Tesar Receives Stem Cell Research Award
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University
Paul Tesar, PhD, has been named the recipient of the prestigious International Society for Stem Cell Research Outstanding Young Investigator Award, the premier international award for young stem cell researchers. Dr. Tesar will accept the honor at the 2015 ISSCR annual meeting this June in Stockholm, Sweden. more...
Roswell Park Designated Lung Cancer Alliance Screening Center of Excellence
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
The Lung Cancer Screening Program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute has earned the commendation of a major national advocacy group. Lung Cancer Alliance has named Roswell Park a Screening Center of Excellence in recognition of the comprehensive cancer center's ongoing commitment to responsible lung cancer screening within an experienced and multidisciplinary clinical setting. more...
Grants & Gifts
Duke Receives $10 Million to Continue Developing Blood-Based Radiation Test
Duke Cancer Institute
Duke University researchers are developing a blood test that can tell in just hours how much radiation a person has absorbed from a nuclear incident. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has awarded Duke an additional $10.4 million contract to continue the program through early 2016, bringing total funding since 2009 to more than $43 million. more...
$7.75M Award Approved by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
A research team led by Scott Ramsey, MD, PhD, director of the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research, or HICOR, has been approved for a $7.75 million, four-year funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, or PCORI, an independent, nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. The award will be used to conduct a pragmatic clinical trial evaluating the use of colony stimulating factor to reduce the risk of serious infection in patients undergoing chemotherapy for breast, colorectal or lung cancer. more...
CTRC Receives $6.6 million in Research and Product Development Grants
Cancer Therapy and Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas has awarded $6.6 million in both research and product development grants to researchers at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. In product development, a $2 million grant is giving a boost to a promising new brain cancer therapy's move beyond academia to potentially help many more patients. The state-founded CPRIT also awarded CTRC researchers four individual investigator grants for $4.6 million. They support work ranging from reducing chemotherapy's painful side effects to unmasking resveratrol's potential in managing prostate cancer. more...
$1.74 Million Award Supports Program to Reduce Preventable Cancers
GRU Cancer Center
The Georgia Regents University Cancer Center has launched an initiative seeking to reduce the burden of cancer among minority and underserved populations in Georgia. Thanks to a three-year, $1.74 million grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, the GRU Cancer Center will focus its initial efforts on reducing the burden of lung cancer in the Central Savannah River Area. more...
$1 Million Awarded to Study Use of Nanoparticles in Cancer Immunotherapy
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Robert Ivkov, PhD, a member of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, has been awarded a three-year grant totaling $1,005,000 by the Jayne Koskinas Ted Giovanis Foundation for Health and Policy to develop nanoparticles - microscopic objects too tiny to see with the naked eye - that may help the body's immune system recognize breast cancer cells. more...
Funding Secured to Plan First U.S. Center for Heavy Ion Radiation Therapy Research
Simmons Cancer Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center
UT Southwestern Medical Center is leading a Texas consortium of researchers to establish the country's first National Center for Heavy Ion Radiation Therapy that could provide clinical care and research using heavy particles for innovative new cancer treatments. The National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health awarded UT Southwestern a $1 million planning grant to develop research proposals for the center. more...
Leadership Transitions
Lymphoma Expert Kwak Will Join City of Hope
City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
Acclaimed translational research scientist and physician Larry W. Kwak, MD, PhD, will join City of Hope in a key leadership role within the institution's new Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation Institute. As director of the Toni Stephenson Lymphoma Center, Kwak will shape the next generation of research and treatments for all types of lymphoma. more...
Hematologist-Oncologist Marcucci Joins City of Hope
City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
Renowned physician and researcher Guido Marcucci, MD, has joined City of Hope in a key leadership role within the institution's new Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation Institute. As director of the Gehr Family Center for Leukemia Research and as chief of the Division of Hematopoietic Stem Cell and Leukemia Research, Dr. Marcucci will guide research into improved treatments, even cures, for leukemia and other hematologic malignancies. more...
Research Highlights
Four Centers Join Precision Cancer Research Collaboration
Moffitt Cancer Center
A novel research partnership anchored by Moffitt Cancer Center and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute has announced the addition of four nationally recognized cancer centers, bringing its membership to six and extending the national oncology network from coast to coast. The new members of the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN) are: City of Hope; University of Virginia Cancer Center; University of Colorado Cancer Center; and, University of New Mexico Cancer Center. more...
Study Shows Why Some Targeted Cancer Drugs Lose Effectiveness
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
A protein called YAP, which drives the growth of organs during development and regulates their size in adulthood, plays a key role in the emergence of resistance to targeted cancer therapies, according to a new study led by UC San Francisco researchers. Trever Bivona, MD, PhD, was senior author of the study. more...
  Structure-based Design Used as Tool for Engineering Deimmunized Biotherapeutics
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center
In the first experimental use of algorithms that employ structure-based molecular modeling to optimize deimmunized drug candidates, Karl Griswold, PhD, and co-investigator Christopher Bailey-Kellogg, PhD, of Dartmouth College complement their prior sequence-based deimmunizing algorithms and expand the tool kit of protein engineering technologies to use in next generation drug development. more...
Study: Ovarian Suppression Reduces Breast Cancer Recurrence for Some Young Women
VCU Massey Cancer Center
Results from a large international study co-led by Charles Geyer, MD, a VCU Massey Cancer Center physician-scientist, concluded that adding ovarian suppression to adjuvant therapy (post surgery) with tamoxifen substantially reduced breast cancer recurrence in young, premenopausal women with hormone-sensitive early breast cancer who received chemotherapy because of a high risk for recurrence of their cancer. more...
New Study Could Lead to Better Assessment of Prostate Cancer Treatment Options
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA
UCLA researchers have found that radiation therapy is the most common treatment for men with prostate cancer regardless of the aggressiveness of the tumor, risk to the patient and overall patient prognosis. These findings lay the groundwork for improved treatment assessment by physicians and to better inform men fighting the disease. The study is led by UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center member Karim Chamie, MD. more...
Scientists Unveil Map of Human Epigenomes in Effort to Fight Disease
Siteman Cancer Center
For the first time, researchers have assembled a comprehensive map of the human epigenome. The mapping, by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and other institutions, includes detailed descriptions of the epigenetic markers in 111 types of cells and tissues. Partial epigenome mapping is available for many other cell types, and new information will be added as it becomes available. more...
Research Finds Smokers Have Strong Support for Many E-Cigarette Policies
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration prepares to issue a final ruling on whether it will extend its tobacco regulatory authority to electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), researchers from Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Rutgers School of Public Health have identified strong support for a number of e-cigarette policies among smokers. more...
Study Sheds Light on Treating Blood Cancers
Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute
In a new study, researchers have explored ways to treat life-threatening blood cancers in a less toxic way. They worked to wipe out cancer cells in the blood without destroying healthy surrounding cells. Yogen Saunthararajah, MD, who treats cancer patients at Cleveland Clinic, led the study. more...
How a Basic Building Block of the Body Could Prevent Breast Cancer
University of Kansas Cancer Center
Carol Fabian, MD, co-leader of The University of Kansas Cancer Center Cancer Prevention Program and the Morris Family Endowed Chair in Cancer Prevention, is leading a study for women with a higher risk of breast cancer that focuses on two natural approaches to preventing breast cancer: weight loss and omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. more...
Group Issues Recommendations for NIH On Sex Diversity in Research
Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
A diverse group of experts from academia, industry and advocacy is offering recommendations to the National Institutes of Health as the federal research institution works to increase the inclusion of female animal models and achieve a balance in the use of male and female cells and animals in preclinical studies. The recommendations, available online now, will be published in the May issue of FASEB Journal. more...
Researcher Leads One of Four Major U.S. Centers in Global Effort to Map Human Epigenomes
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Two dozen scientific papers published online simultaneously on Feb. 18 present the first comprehensive maps and analyses of the epigenomes of a wide array of human cell and tissue types. Joseph F. Costello, PhD, was director of one of four NIH Roadmap Epigenome Mapping Centers that contributed data to the Roadmap Epigenomics Program. He is a member of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. more...
Camel, Alpaca Antibodies Target Anticancer Viruses Directly to Tumors
Siteman Cancer Center
Using antibodies from camels and alpacas, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found a way to deliver anticancer viruses directly to tumor cells, leaving other types of cells uninfected. David Curiel, MD, PhD, was senior author on the study. more...
Pancreatic Cancer Patients with Particular Gene Signature may Benefit from Personalized Treatment
Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, Indiana University
Cancer researchers at Indiana University report that about 15 percent of people with pancreatic cancer may benefit from therapy targeting a newly identified gene signature. Using data from the Cancer Genome Atlas, Murray Korc, MD, and colleagues found that a sub-group of pancreatic cancer patients who possess a strong angiogenic gene signature could benefit from personalized therapies that cut off the pathways that feed the cancer's growth. more...
Glioblastoma: Three Genes Tied to Radiation Resistance in Recurrent Tumors
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center
James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute

A new study has identified several genes that together enable a lethal form of brain cancer to recur and progress after radiation therapy. The findings might lead to new therapies that target cancer stem cells, say researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, who led the study. more...
Human Neural Stem Cells Restore Cognitive Functions Impaired by Chemotherapy
UCI Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Human neural stem cell treatments are showing promise for reversing learning and memory deficits after chemotherapy, according to UC Irvine researchers. In preclinical studies using rodents, they found that stem cells transplanted one week after the completion of a series of chemotherapy sessions restored a range of cognitive functions, as measured one month later using a comprehensive platform of behavioral testing. In contrast, rats not treated with stem cells showed significant learning and memory impairment. more...
New Screening Tool Could Speed Development of Ovarian Cancer Drugs
University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
The current treatment for metastatic ovarian cancer is surgery and chemotherapy, which has a low five-year survival rate. Although recently approved therapies can increase progression-free survival by a few months, University of Chicago Medicine researchers have now built a model system for developing new drugs that is a long overdue step forward for ovarian cancer therapy. Ernst Lengyel, MD, is senior author on the study. more...
Investigators Help NCI Present Statistics in More Understandable Ways
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center
Three papers in the survival monograph published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, co-authored by Dartmouth’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center investigators Steven Woloshin, MD, MS, and Lisa Schwartz, MD, MS, aim to help doctors, patients, and policymakers better understand cancer prognosis and survival. more...
Protein Found to Block Benefits of Vitamin A Cancer Therapy
VCU Massey Cancer Center
Retinoic acid is a form of vitamin A that is used to treat and help prevent the recurrence of a variety of cancers, but for some patients the drug is not effective. The reason for this resistance was unclear until researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center demonstrated that a protein known as AEG-1 blocks the effects of retinoic acid in leukemia and liver cancer. Because AEG-1 is overexpressed in nearly every cancer, these findings could impact the care of countless cancer patients. more...
UVA Discovers A Key to Cancer's Spread
University of Virginia Cancer Center
In a breakthrough in the understanding of how cancer spreads, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have identified a substance secreted by lung cancer cells that enables them to metastasize, beginning their deadly march to other sites in the body. By blocking that process in lab studies, the researchers were able to confine cancer cells to a single tumor site, offering hope that drugs could one day block the spread of cancers in people. more...
Coffee Intake May Lower Endometrial Cancer Risk
American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
Women who drank about four cups of coffee per day appeared to have decreased endometrial cancer risk compared with those who drank less than a cup each day, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. more...
Cancer Survival Improvements Vary by Age, Race
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Improvements in cancer diagnosis and treatment have led to longer survival for most cancer patients in the United States. However, the improvement in survival was substantially greater among younger patients and those who are white in most of the cancers studied, according to new research by Vanderbilt University investigators. more...
Other News
Remembering Meir Wetzler, 1954-2015
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Meir Wetzler, MD, 60, died Feb. 23, in a Denver, Colorado hospital a little more than two weeks after a skiing accident. Chief of the Leukemia Section at Roswell Park, he was nationally prominent in his field and served on the Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia Treatment Committee of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, helping set the standard of care for CML patients. more...
Former Hollings, Moores Director Dies
Hollings Cancer Center
Mark R. Green, MD, former Director of Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina and the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, died February 23 at the age of 70, following a battle with plasma cell leukemia. Dr. Green was an important figure in the development of medical oncology and played a pivotal role in the history of both cancer centers. more...
FDA Approves New Drug for Estrogen-Receptor Positive Advanced Breast Cancer
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved IBRANCE (palbociclib), a potentially groundbreaking new drug to treat women with advanced breast cancer, signaling a new treatment strategy to arrest tumor growth and extend the time before the cancer worsens. Early results from a clinical study led by UCLA researchers showed a dramatic improvement and the FDA granted the drug "breakthrough therapy" status in April 2013, allowing it to be fast-tracked to early approval. more...
Survival Rates for Blood and Marrow Transplant Patients Among Best Nationwide
UF Health Cancer Center
Outcomes for patient survival following stem cell transplant at the University of Florida Health Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program, which treats patients with leukemia and other blood cancers, were recently ranked among the top 2.5 percent nationwide. The ranking is based on the center's one-year survival rate for patients who receive allogeneic stem cell transplants. The Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research lists survival rates in its annual transplant center-specific survival report. more...
AACR Academy 2015 Class of Fellows Inducted
American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has announced 11 new fellows of the AACR Academy. The AACR Academy serves to recognize and honor distinguished scientists whose major scientific contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer. All fellows are nominated and elected through a rigorous peer-review process conducted by existing fellows of the AACR Academy and ratified by the AACR Executive Committee. This process involves an assessment of each candidate on the basis of his or her scientific achievements in cancer research and cancer-related biomedical science. more...
Job Opportunities
Senior Director Clinical Research Administration  
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center


Associate Director of Research Administration  
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center


Director, UVa Cancer Center Total Cancer Care Program (TCCP)  
University of Virginia Cancer Center


Senior Director, Clinical Research  
Moffitt Cancer Center


Clinical Research Coordinator  
Oregon Health and Science University, Knight Cancer Institute


Assistant Vice President (AVP) Clinical Trials Office  
Fox Chase Cancer Center


Meeting Announcements

CCAF Spring Meeting

March 29-31, 2015
Hyatt Regency Lexington
Lexington, Kentucky

The Markey Cancer Center is pleased to be hosting the 2015 CCAF meeting in beautiful Lexington, KY. Our website includes information to register for the meeting, make hotel accommodations, review the agenda for the meeting and much more. Please follow this link:

7th Annual AACI Clinical Research Initiative Meeting

Save the Date!
July 8th, 8:00 am - July 9th, 5:00 pm CST
The Westin O'Hare
6100 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018

More information regarding accommodations and registration will be forthcoming.

2015 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting

Save the Date!
October 25-27, 2015
Washington, DC