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News from the Association of American Cancer InstitutesFebruary 2016
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 AACI reserves the right to decide whether or not materials are appropriate for inclusion.

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AACI Thanks Vice President Biden for Leading Cancer Moonshot
In a letter sent last week to Vice President Joe Biden, the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) thanked him for spearheading the effort for a "moonshot" to end cancer, and enthusiastically offered to work closely with the vice president in advancing the groundbreaking initiative.

Responding to the vice president's focus on expanded cooperation among cancer centers, AACI noted that since its inception in 1959, the association has served as the rallying point for academic cancer centers, breaking down silos and facilitating cooperation by supporting cancer centers' ability to work together. more...

Call for Abstracts for the 8th Annual AACI CRI Meeting

AACI Clinical Research Initiative (CRI) is soliciting abstracts for presentation at the 8th Annual CRI Meeting that will be held on July 20-21, 2016, in Chicago, IL. The purpose of the abstracts is to inform the CRI meeting audience about clinical trials operational challenges and solutions implemented at the cancer centers. more...

Holcombe to Head PCLI Steering Committee
Randall Holcombe, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer-Cancer at Mount Sinai Health System and Deputy Director for the Tisch Cancer Institute, was recently appointed chair of the AACI Physician Clinical Leadership Initiative (PCLI) Steering Committee. Dr. Holcombe served as a member of the steering committee for one year and was active in developing the oversight responsibilities survey. more...

Registration is Open for Annual Hill Day
AACI's annual Hill Day is set for Thursday, May 12, 2016, in Washington, DC. Advocates will head to Capitol Hill to thank Members of Congress for their renewed commitment to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Fiscal Year 2016 and to request a robust investment for these agencies in Fiscal Year 2017 and beyond.

We invite you to join your colleagues in Washington as we call on Congress to continue prioritizing funding for the NIH and the NCI for the overall health and economic well-being of our nation. AACI asks that each cancer center send a representative to Washington. Registration and accommodations can be found here. Please contact Jennifer Pegher with questions. more...

2015 AACI Report Now Online
An up-to-date overview of AACI's programs and initiatives is now available online in our 2015 Report. The publication highlights the Association's progress toward achieving its strategic goals of promoting broad recognition of the cancer center network, facilitating interaction among centers, and fostering collaboration and communication with other cancer organizations. more...
News from the Centers
Grants & Gifts
Scientists Receive $13.7 Million to Develop New Multiple Myeloma Treatments
Siteman Cancer Center
Washington University researchers at Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis have been awarded $13.7 million from the National Cancer Institute to create new therapies for multiple myeloma, a cancer of immune cells in the bone marrow. Led by Samuel Achilefu, PhD, and Gregory Lanza, MD, PhD, at the university's newly created Center for Multiple Myeloma Nanotherapy, scientists will work to develop nanomaterials and drugs to treat the disease, which kills most patients within six years of diagnosis. more...
$12 Million NCI Grant to Support Innovative Cloud-Based Approach
City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded City of Hope more than $12 million to support the landmark California Teachers Study. The five-year NCI award will fund the CTS's innovative approach of using secure, cloud-based data management and technology to conduct large-scale cancer epidemiology research. more...
$5 Million Donation Will Support Cancer Care, Prevention and Treatment Research
The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
The Hospira Foundation has donated $5 million to the University of Chicago Medicine to create the Hospira Foundation Professorship in Oncology. This position significantly bolsters the University's capacity to conduct pioneering research in cancer. The Hospira Foundation was the philanthropic affiliate of Hospira, Inc., which was acquired by Pfizer Inc. in September 2015. Until its acquisition, Hospira was the world's leading provider of injectable drugs and infusion technologies. more...
Leadership Transitions
Willson Named Chief Scientific Officer for CPRIT
Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center
James K.V. Willson, MD, director of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has been named Chief Scientific Officer of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), effective March 1. Dr. Willson led UT Southwestern's successful efforts to have the Simmons Cancer Center recognized with Comprehensive status from the National Cancer Institute, more...
Rutgers Director Named Dean of the UK College of Medicine
UK Markey Cancer Center
University of Kentucky officials have announced that Robert DiPaola, MD, director of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, has been named dean of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. Dr. DiPaola is expected to assume the dean's position in the early spring, pending approval from the UK Board of Trustees. more...
Expert in Cancer Immunotherapy Joins Stanford
Stanford Cancer Institute
Cancer immunotherapy expert Crystal Mackall, MD, joined the Stanford University School of Medicine on Jan. 1 as a professor of pediatrics and of medicine, as well as associate director of the Stanford Cancer Institute and co-medical director of the Stanford Laboratory for Cell and Gene Medicine. Dr. Mackall, who previously headed the Immunology Section at the National Cancer Institute, and served as chief of the Institute's Pediatric Oncology Branch, will lead Stanford's efforts to advance clinical trials of immune therapies for cancer. more...
Solórzano Named Chief of Surgical Oncology, Endocrine Surgery
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Carmen Solórzano, MD, professor of Surgery and director of the Endocrine Surgery Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has been named chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery in the Department of Surgery. She was selected following a national search that included more than 70 potential candidates. more...
Torres to Direct Breast Center
Winship Cancer Institute
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University has named Mylin A. Torres, MD the new director of the Glenn Family Breast Center effective January 19th. She succeeds Ruth O'Regan, MD who now heads the University of Wisconsin Division of Hematology and Oncology. more...
New Communications Director Appointed
The Wistar Institute
The Wistar Institute has appointed Tara Yates as Director of Communications. She will work closely with Wistar's president and CEO Dario C. Altieri, MD, on a variety of projects that integrate strategic communications and public outreach. Yates joins Wistar from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, in Buffalo, where she was Director of Public Affairs in the Marketing Department. more...
Research Highlights
Link Between Obesity and Increased Risk of Colorectal Cancer Revealed
Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University
Obesity has long been associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer, but the link has never been understood. Now, a research team led by investigators at Thomas Jefferson University has revealed the biological connection, and in the process, has identified an approved drug that might prevent development of the cancer. Scott Waldman, MD, PhD, is senior author on the study. more...
GenomeSpace "Recipes" Help Biologists Interpret Genomic Data
UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
Many biomedical researchers are striving to make sense of the flood of data that has followed recent advances in genomic sequencing technologies. In particular, researchers are often limited by the challenge of getting multiple bioinformatics tools to "talk" to one another. To help address this need, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, in collaboration with labs at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Stanford University, Weizmann Institute and Pennsylvania State University, developed GenomeSpace, a cloud-based, biologist-friendly platform that connects more than 20 bioinformatics software packages and resources for genomic data analysis. more...
Review Highlights Advances in Diagnosis and Treatment of Bile Ducts Cancers
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health
A multidisciplinary team of physicians from Fox Chase Cancer Center – Temple Health and the Temple University School of Medicine has compiled a comprehensive review of recent advances in the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of bile ducts cancers (or cholangiocarcinomas). Nestor F. Esnaola, MD, MPH, MBA, is lead author of the review. more...
Women Treated with Chemo Before Age 21 at Higher Risk for Early Breast Cancers
The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
Women who survived cancer when they were children are four times more likely to develop early breast cancer as adults than those who did not have cancer as a child, even if they never received radiation therapy to the chest. According to a study led by Tara Henderson, MD, MPH, 85 percent of the increase was caused by two specific cancer types: sarcoma and leukemia. The women in this study who survived childhood sarcoma were 5.3 times more likely than average to have a breast cancer diagnosis. The women treated for leukemia were 4.1 times more likely. more...
Potential Therapeutic Targets Identified for Multiple Sclerosis
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
A study led by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, describes a protein regulator known as Trabid as an important piece of the puzzle that leads to autoimmune inflammation of the central nervous systems in multiple sclerosis patients. more...
Chemotherapy May Benefit Subgroup of Stage-2 Colon Cancer Patients
Stanford Cancer Institute
Stage-2 colon cancer patients whose tumors lack a particular protein may benefit from the use of chemotherapy after surgery, according to a retrospective study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Previous studies have suggested that chemotherapy given to stage-2 patients had limited benefit. Michael Clarke, MD, is senior author of the study. more...
New Class of Anticancer Compounds Identified for Possible Targeted Therapy in Blood Cancers
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
A research team from the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) has discovered a new class of small-molecule compounds that are good candidates for development of novel targeted therapies in the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma. This new class of compounds drives cancer cells to suicide, the researchers report. Xinjiang Wang, PhD, was the study's senior author. more...
Study Clarifies Long-Term Consequences of Smoking in Breast Cancer Survivors
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Documenting that it's never too late to quit smoking, a large study of breast cancer survivors has found that those who quit smoking after their diagnosis had a 33 percent lower risk of death as a result of breast cancer than those who continued to smoke. The study involved more than 20,600 women with breast cancer, and is one of the largest studies of survival outcomes according to smoking habits in women with a history of breast cancer, and the first study to assess smoking habits both before and after diagnosis. Michael Passarelli, PhD, was first author of the study. more...
New Guidelines Aimed at Improving Personalized Cancer Treatment Plans
Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute
A committee of national experts, led by a Cleveland Clinic researcher, has established first-of-its-kind guidelines to promote more accurate and individualized cancer predictions, guiding more precise treatment and leading to improved patient survival rates and outcomes. more...
Disrupting Cell's Supply Chain Freezes Cancer Virus
Duke Cancer Institute
When the cancer-causing Epstein-Barr virus moves into a B-cell of the human immune system, it tricks the cell into rapidly making more copies of itself, each of which will carry the virus. To satisfy a sudden increase in demand for more building parts, rapidly dividing host cells will chew up their insides to free up more amino acids, fats and nucleotides. But if supplies of these materials run low, the cell will enter a suspended state called senescence and cell division will stop, freezing the advance of the virus, according to new findings from a Duke University research team. more...
Research on Monoclonal Antibodies Shows Promise in Multiple Myeloma
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
New monoclonal antibodies for multiple myeloma co-developed by hemato-oncologists at the Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center could become the next blockbusters in this malignancy. According to results from two recently published clinical trials, the new drugs have impressive efficacy in patients with relapsed and relapsed/refractory disease. more...
Survival Period for Esophageal Cancer Tied to Race, Income
City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
African-American patients with esophageal cancer survive fewer months after diagnosis than white patients, but only if they also have low incomes, according to a new study. Researchers analyzed data from the National Cancer Data Base to assess what impact the combination of race and low socioeconomic status has on cancer survival. Loretta Erhunmwunsee, MD, assistant professor in City of Hope's Division of Thoracic Surgery, led the study while at Duke Health. more...
Targeted Axillary Dissection of Lymph Nodes Improves Staging Accuracy of Node-Positive Breast Cancer Patients
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
A new procedure developed by surgeons at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center improves the accuracy of axillary staging and pathologic evaluation in clinically node-positive breast cancer, and reduces the need for a more invasive procedure with debilitating complications. The research has changed treatment guidelines at the institution for a select group of breast cancer patients with lymph node metastasis, who will now receive Targeted Axillary Dissection (TAD). Abigail Caudle, MD, is the study's first author. more...
  From a Cotton Seed to a Potential Cancer Drug
University of Kansas Cancer Center
The genes that cause cancer are so tiny, yet so complex, that finding something to destroy or stop them is one of the top struggles for cancer researchers today. At The University of Kansas Cancer Center, understanding these microscopic processes and making drug discoveries is a priority in helping make the road for cancer patients easier and curbing recurrence. more...
Scientists Uncover Process That Could Drive the Majority of Cancers
VCU Massey Cancer Center
The gene p53 has been described as the "guardian of the genome" due to its prominent role in preventing genetic mutations. More than half of all cancers are thought to originate from p53 mutations or loss of function, and now a recent study by VCU Massey Cancer Center scientist Richard Moran, PhD, explains why. more...
Clinical Trials Education Improves Knowledge, Attitudes About Participation
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University
A five-center national study led by Neal Meropol, MD, and researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Case Medical Center demonstrated that a little information goes a long way in encouraging cancer patients to enroll in clinical trials, a decision that could be potentially lifesaving. The findings showed that among cancer patients taking part in an educational program, 21 percent chose to enroll in cancer clinical trials. Traditionally, less than 5 percent do, according to the American Cancer Society. more...
Neurosurgeons Evaluate Precision Laser Treatment of Brain Tumors
UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
Neurosurgeons at UC San Diego Health have initiated a landmark, multi-center study to evaluate how the treatment of brain tumors using the NeuroBlate system, a minimally invasive, FDA-approved laser device, impacts the quality of life of patients. Clark C. Chen, MD, PhD, is lead investigator. more...
Web-based Indoor Tanning Intervention Found Favorable by Users
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
A web-based intervention targeted toward young, female users of indoor tanning beds has tested favorably among these users and may encourage cessation of this behavior. That is according to research by Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey which tested an intervention that targeted users' perceptions of the benefits and value of tanning as well as encouraged them to consider how tanning was related to their body image. more...
Are We Ready for a Blood Test for Cancer?
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
What if screening for cancer was as easy as checking your cholesterol? That's the promise of techniques currently in development that may one day make it possible to detect the earliest stages of cancer with an annual blood draw. So-called "liquid biopsies" involve extracting free-floating cancer cells or cancer DNA from the bloodstream (or in some cases from the urine) to get information about tumors too small or hidden to detect with standard techniques. This could make it possible for clinicians to remotely monitor how cancer patients are responding to treatment, to detect early warning signs of recurrence, and even to pick up the very first signs of cancer in otherwise healthy people. more...
Chemistry Researchers Develop Metal Complexes to Study Cancer
UK Markey Cancer Center
University of Kentucky researchers recently published a study showing that specialized compounds containing the metal ruthenium may be able to visualize or damage specific DNA structures relevant for cancer. The ends of chromosomes and some genes associated with cancer have regions where DNA can form unusual structures known as G-quadruplexes, of which there are several subtypes. For cancer cells to continue growing and dividing, they need to untangle these G-quadruplex structures. Researchers have long thought it would be possible to halt tumor growth if there was a way to lock these G-quadruplex structures in place. more...
Other News
Cancer Centers Urge More People to Get the HPV Vaccine
American Cancer Society
A call-to-action from dozens of National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Centers across the U.S. urged action to increase vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 40% of girls and 21% of boys in the US have received all 3 doses of the HPV vaccine. The NCI-designated centers called low rates of HPV vaccination a "serious public health threat." more...
Junior Investigators Win Awards for Pilot Projects
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health
The results of the Fox Chase Cancer Center's American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant Pilot Project Competition for Junior Investigators have been announced. The competition was open to eligible junior faculty at Fox Chase Cancer Center or Temple University. Applicants from Temple University must have a formal appointment to one of Fox Chase's CCSG Research Programs. more...
Moffitt Achieves 2015 Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality Status
Moffitt Cancer Center
For the fourth consecutive year, Moffitt Cancer Center has been designated as a leader in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) healthcare in the Healthcare Equality Index report by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the country's largest LGBT organization. more...
Job Opportunities
Inpatient Medical Director  
Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute


Administrative Director, Office of Regulatory Affairs  
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA


Deputy Director  
Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute


Associate Director for Clinical Research  
Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute


Director, Public Relations & Corporate Communications  
Roswell Park Cancer Institute


Associate Director for Cancer Health Disparities  
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center


Director-Central Protocol & Data Monitoring  
Comprehensive Cancer Center St. Jude Children's Research Hospital


Meeting Announcements

Fourth Symposium on Translational Genomics

March 17-18, 2016
Building 35, Room 610, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

The National Cancer Institute Symposium on Integrative Cancer Biology and Genomics: Fourth Symposium on Translational Genomics with a Special Focus on Liver Cancer. This symposium will provide a dedicated forum for the advancement, implementation and exchange of information on the Etiology, Molecular Pathogenesis and Translational Research of Liver Cancer, for translation into clinical practice with the ultimate goal to improve the health of patients with cancer.

Registration is free but seating is limited so please register online at:

CCAF 2016 Spring Meeting

Sunday, April 3 through Tuesday, April 5
The meeting will be held in downtown Fort Worth at the Renaissance Worthington Hotel. A preliminary agenda and meeting registration can be found here:

2016 NACCDO/PAMN Annual Conference

Please join us for the 2016 NACCDO/PAMN Annual Conference from Tuesday, April 5, through Friday, April 8, hosted by City of Hope at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, CA. You may register for the conference here.

2016 Capitol Hill Day

AACI will co-host its annual Capitol Hill Day with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
May 11-12, 2016
Washington, DC
Register to attend today!

2016 Pan Pacific Lymphoma Conference

University of Nebraska Medical Center
July 18-22, 2016
Grand Hyatt Kauai, Hawaii
For more information:

8th Annual AACI Clinical Research Initiative Meeting

Save the Date!
July 20-21, 2016
Loews Chicago O'Hare Hotel

2016 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting

Save the Date!
October 23-25, 2016
Westin Chicago River North
Chicago, IL