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News from the Association of American Cancer InstitutesJune 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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Allison Will Receive 2016 AACI Distinguished Scientist Award
The Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) will present the AACI Distinguished Scientist Award to James P. Allison, PhD, on October 23, during the 2016 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting, in Chicago. Prior to the award presentation, Dr. Allison will deliver a talk entitled, "Immune Checkpoint Blockade in Cancer Therapy: New Insights, Opportunities and Prospects for a Cure".

The AACI Distinguished Scientist Award acknowledges extraordinary scientific accomplishments and contributions to cancer research. Previous honorees are Lewis Cantley, Brian Druker, Lee Hartwell, Mary-Claire King, Timothy Ley, Janet Rowley, Stuart Schreiber, Margaret R. Spitz, Bert Vogelstein, Robert Weinberg and Irving Weissman. more...

Hill Day Advocates Highlight Importance of NIH/NCI Funding
Nearly 80 cancer center directors, physicians, researchers, and patient advocates representing 25 states plus the District of Columbia visited Capitol Hill on May 12 to urge legislators to provide stable, predictable support for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Fiscal Year 2017. The event allowed advocates to participate in over 130 meetings with members of Congress and their staff, including leadership and key committee staff.

Hill Day was co-hosted by AACI, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The event kicked off with a reception the evening prior to Hill Day. Representatives Kathy Castor (D-FL) and Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) were recognized for their outstanding support for cancer research. more...

Clockwise, upper right: AACI President Dr. George Weiner, Dr. William Dalton, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, ASCO President Dr. Julie Vose and AACR President Dr. Nancy Davidson; Dr. Roy Jensen, Dr. Nancy Davidson, and AACI President-Elect Dr. Stan Gerson meeting with U.S. Rep. Tom Cole; Ted Yank; Drs. Davidson, Vose and Weiner with U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor; Rhonda Curry. Photos by Alan Lessig

Clinical Trials Office Budget Development on Agenda for CRI Meeting

Set for July 20-21, in Chicago, the 8th Annual AACI Clinical Research Initiative Meeting will feature a panel discussion on "Clinical Trials Office Budget Development". Presenters will discuss financial reporting metrics for their cancer center clinical trials offices and their use of budget modeling. In addition, they will examine innovative processes for justifying trial startup costs, how to identify and capture underfunded trial costs, and the benefits of conducting a review for closed trials to assess budget performance.

Wednesday, June 15, is the last day to register before late registration rates apply. Information on the meeting, including the program and electronic registration is available on the AACI website. Please contact C.J. Confair at 412-802-6774 with questions. Potential sponsors should contact Kate Burroughs at 412-647-3844 regarding commercial support opportunities. more...
News from the Centers
Awards & Honors
Greenebaum Earns NCI "Comprehensive" Designation
University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center
The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center has been awarded the National Cancer Institute's highest designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center. The new name of the center is the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The center was granted NCI-designated Cancer Center status in 2008 and applied last fall to become a Comprehensive Cancer Center. NCI awarded the center the new designation after a rigorous review, which included a three-day site visit by 22 NCI reviewers in late February. The reviewers cited the cancer center's "impressive progress" over the past five years and rated the center "outstanding." The new designation goes into effect at the start of the cancer center's next grant cycle August 1. more...
Kastan Named to National Academy of Sciences
Duke Cancer Institute
Michael Kastan, MD, executive director of the Duke Cancer Institute, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Dr. Kastan is one of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates named to the NAS this year. The NAS is a nonprofit organization of leading researchers charged with advising the president and Congress on matters related to science and technology. New members of the NAS are chosen based on their distinguished achievements in original research. more...
Murphy, Virgin Elected to National Academy of Sciences
Siteman Cancer Center
Two Siteman Cancer Center research members--Kenneth M. Murphy, MD, PhD, and Herbert W. "Skip" Virgin IV, MD, PhD--are among the 84 members and 21 foreign associates elected to the National Academy of Sciences this year. Election to the academy -- which was announced May 3 -- is considered one of the highest honors that can be awarded to a U.S. scientist or engineer. more...
Weiner Named to Cancer Research Professorship
The Wistar Institute
The Wistar Institute is pleased to announce David B. Weiner, PhD, executive vice president of The Wistar Institute and director of The Wistar Institute Vaccine Center, is the recipient of the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust Professorship for Cancer Research. A molecular immunologist and pioneer in the design and delivery of DNA vaccines, his more than 30 years of trailblazing research in tumor, immunology, and vaccine creation has contributed to important achievements in DNA vaccine development. more...
AACR CEO Foti Recognized with ONS Honorary Member Award
American Association for Cancer Research
Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), was honored during the opening ceremony of the 41st Annual Congress of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) in San Antonio, Texas, with the Honorary Member Award for her unwavering dedication to improving cancer care and her unstinting commitment to the prevention and cure of all cancers.

The Honorary Member Award is awarded by the ONS to thank and honor an individual who is not otherwise eligible for ONS membership for his or her contributions to oncology nursing, support of the ONS, and conduct consistent with the ONS mission and core values. more...
Poplack Honored with Distinguished Career Award
The Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center
David Poplack, MD, was presented with the 2016 Distinguished Career Award at the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology annual meeting in Minneapolis. Dr. Poplack is the Director of Texas Children's Cancer and Hematology Centers, and Deputy Director of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine. The award is presented annually to a senior physician or other professional who has had a major impact on the hematology/oncology field through research, education, patient care, and advocacy. more...
Program Leader Tapped for Moonshot Advisory Group
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University
Alex Huang, MD, PhD, co-Leader of the Hematopoietic and Immune Cancer Biology Program of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and pediatric oncologist at the Angie Fowler Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Institute at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, has been named to a select working group advising the National Cancer Institute on President Obama's "moonshot" initiative to cure cancer. more...
Researchers Named to Federal Cancer Moonshot Committees
Siteman Cancer Center
Robert Schreiber, PhD, and Graham Colditz, MD, PhD, have been named as advisers to the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative. Dr. Schreiber is part of the Cancer Immunology and Prevention working group, which will consider new methods of treating cancer that increase the strength of a patient's immune responses against tumors. Dr. Colditz is part of the Implementation Sciences working group, which will consider methods for more effectively sharing information about new approaches for cancer prevention, risk assessment, screening, prognosis, treatment, and survivorship. more...
Grants & Gifts
UAB Awarded $29 Million NCI Core Grant
UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center
The University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center has received a five-year, $29 million Cancer Center Support Grant from the National Cancer Institute to renew support for its cancer research program through 2021. The Cancer Center will receive nearly $6 million per year to support six research programs, as well as 14 shared facilities and services. more...
CPRIT Provides $10.6 Million for Lung Cancer Research
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center will receive $10.6 million in funding from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) for two collaborative studies targeting crucial issues in lung cancer. Both grants originate from MD Anderson's Lung Cancer Moon Shot, part of its Moon Shots Program to reduce cancer deaths by accelerating the development of new treatments, prevention programs, and early detection efforts based on scientific discoveries. more...
Hollings Lipids Researchers Awarded Program Project Grant
Hollings Cancer Center
The Medical University of South Carolina's (MUSC) Hollings Cancer Center received an $8.9 million grant from the National Cancer Institute designed to foster collaboration across clinical and laboratory research for the study of signaling in sphingolipids, a class of lipids known to be involved in the growth of solid tumor cancers. Besim Ogretmen, PhD, is Principal Investigator. more...
Research Teams Awarded More Than $6.5 Million in Funding
The Wistar Institute
Principal investigators at The Wistar Institute, an international biomedical research leader in cancer, immunology and infectious diseases, have secured more than $6.5 million in research grants so far this year. The awards include a National Cancer Institute grant totaling more than $3.3 million that supports development of blood-based biomarkers to aid in lung cancer detection. more...
$5 Million Gift Funds Neuro Research, Cancer Drug Development
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer CenterJames Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute
The Harry T. Mangurian Jr. Foundation is donating $5 million over five years to fund both brain and human performance research at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Ohio State Athletics along with cancer drug development at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center- Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James). more...
$1.8 Million Supports Further Exploration of Drug Compound on Commonly Mutated Gene
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey researcher and surgical oncologist Darren R. Carpizo, MD, PhD, has been awarded a $1,839,863 grant from the National Cancer Institute to build upon research from his laboratory examining a drug compound that restores tumor suppressor function in the most commonly mutated gene in human cancer - the p53 gene. The aim is to provide the foundation for the development of a new class of anti-cancer drugs that will target p53, resulting in broad activity against all cancer types. more...
For First Time, State of Colorado Directly Funds Cancer Research
University of Colorado Cancer Center
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill giving approximately $1.7 million annually to University of Colorado Cancer Center for cancer research. The money will be allocated from tobacco litigation settlement money. This is the first time the state legislature has earmarked money specifically for cancer research.

In 1998, Colorado signed the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement awarding a total of $206 billion to counteract the health effects of tobacco use in the United States. To date, Colorado has received more than $1.5 billion of these monies. The recently signed bill allocates money from this fund to speed the pace of cancer research and other health-related programs in the State of Colorado. more...
Leadership Transitions
Co-Program Leader in Cancer Pharmacology Research Named
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Stephen K. Burley, MD, DPhil, has been named as co-program leader of the Cancer Pharmacology Research Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. This basic science program unites investigators with broad scientific expertise who share a strong interest in cancer pharmacology and preclinical drug development. The aim of the program is to discover, design, and develop new anti-cancer agents that will translate into more effective cancer treatments. more...
Lee Appointed First Woman to Lead Department of Urology
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer CenterJames Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has tapped an expert in bladder cancer to lead its urology, uro/gynecology and uro/oncologic programs, beginning July 1, pending approval by The Ohio State University Board of Trustees. Cheryl Taylore Lee, MD, will be chair of the Medical Center's Department of Urology, one of only a handful of women to ever chair departments of urology in the U.S. She'll also be appointed the Dorothy M. Davis Chair in Cancer Research. more...
Czerniecki New Chair of Breast Oncology
Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt Cancer Center has announced that Brian Czerniecki has joined the faculty of the hospital and will serve as the chair of the Department of Breast Oncology. Dr. Czerniecki has more than 100 publications and is recognized nationally for his contribution to the development of sentinel lymph node mapping, a procedure for determining the spread of cancer into lymph nodes that is less invasive than diagnostic surgery. more...
Research Highlights
International Collaboration for Genome Analysis Leads to Clues About Rare Cancer
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Researchers from across the globe have joined together to improve understanding about one of the most rare - and lethal - types of cancer. Teams from 39 institutions in Europe, North America, South America, and Australia collected and analyzed 91 samples of adrenocortical carcinoma. They performed a comprehensive genomic analysis as part of The Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network. more...
Hybrid Cancer Drug Could Be Resistance-Resistant
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
A team of cancer researchers led by scientists at UC San Francisco and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center demonstrated in human cells and mouse models that a first-of-its-kind hybrid drug can outsmart drug-resistant cancers. The new drug physically yokes together two existing drugs against a common cancer pathway into a single molecule, generating a double-blow that blocked the resistance cancer cells otherwise develop to either drug on its own. more...
Understanding the Life Cycle of Regulatory Cells Key to Cancer Immunotherapies
The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
Peter Savage, PhD and his colleagues are studying Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells, a unique type of T cell that does not participate in host defense against pathogens and tumors. Instead, Treg cells actually suppress immunity by regulating other T cells. Treg cells are essential for the prevention of autoimmune diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis, but they're thought to be a major barrier to immunotherapy and the ability of our immune system to fight cancer, according to Dr. Savage. more...
Study Shows New Potential Marker for Obesity
UK Markey Cancer Center
A new study led by University of Kentucky researchers shows a potential new biological marker--Neurotensin (NT)--for the development of obesity and a possible target for obesity prevention and treatment. The study showed that obese and insulin-resistant subjects have significantly elevated levels of fasting pro-NT, and the risk of developing obesity was doubled in non-obese subjects who had fasting pro-NT at the highest concentrations compared to subjects with the lowest concentrations. Markey Cancer Center Director Mark Evers, MD, FACS, led the study in collaboration with other investigators from the University of Kentucky, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Lund in Malmo, Sweden. more...
Genomic Study on Renal Cell Carcinoma Shows Potential for Better Treatments
The Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center
An international team led by Chad Creighton, PhD, analyzed and grouped kidney cancers into nine major subtypes, each with uniquely altered molecular pathways that can be targeted more precisely for treatment. They discovered that what have historically been considered three major types of kidney cancer according to their characteristics under the microscope, could be further distinguished into nine major subtypes through molecular analyses. Each subtype was unique in terms of altered molecular pathways and patient survival. more...
Lab Cell Study Shows that HOXA5 Protein Acts as Tumor Suppressor in Breast Cancer
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Many breast cancers are marked by a lack of HOXA5 protein, a gene product known to control cell differentiation and death, and lower levels of the protein correspond to poorer outcomes for patients. Now, results of a new study by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientists suggests a powerful role for the protein in normal breast cells, acting as a tumor suppressor that halts abnormal cell growth. more...
Better Survival for Colon Cancer Patients with Left-Sided Tumors
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
The chances of surviving colon cancer could depend on which side of the colon the cancer strikes. A national study led by a UC San Francisco oncologist has found that patients with metastatic colon cancer that develops on the left side of the colon survive significantly longer than those with cancer that develops on the right side. Additionally, the researchers learned that a standard drug used to treat colon cancer offers little benefit for patients whose cancer originated on the right side. more...
Early Genetic Changes in Premalignant Colorectal Tissue Uncovered
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have discovered mutations that may fuel early cancer growth in precancerous colorectal tissue from high-risk patients. Their study is the first to use advanced genetic sequencing techniques to characterize genetic changes in precancerous polyps and nearby tissue that has not yet transformed into polyps. more...
New PSA Test Examines Protein Structures To Detect Prostate Cancers
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University
A promising new test is detecting prostate cancer more precisely than current tests, by identifying molecular changes in the prostate specific antigen (PSA) protein, according to Cleveland Clinic research presented at the American Urological Association annual meeting. The study - part of an ongoing multicenter prospective clinical trial - found that the IsoPSA test can also differentiate between high-risk and low-risk disease, as well as benign conditions. more...
Preventing Autophagy May Halt Tumor Metastasis
The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
Researchers from the University of Chicago have shown that inhibiting autophagy, a self-devouring process used by cells to degrade large intra-cellular cargo, effectively blocks tumor cell migration and breast cancer metastasis in tumor models. Under team leader Kay MacLeod, PhD, the researchers demonstrated that the process is essential for tumor metastasis and describe the mechanisms that connect autophagy to cell migration. more...
Pembrolizumab Effective Against Advanced Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health
Pembrolizumab, an anti-programmed death cell protein 1 antibody, is successful in treating advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, according to researchers from Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health. This provides a new treatment option with fewer side effects. Ranee Mehra, MD, is lead study author. more...
Targeted Hepatitis B Virus Screening Addresses Infection, Liver Disease Risk
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
A community-based hepatitis B virus screening effort led by UC Davis researchers found that targeted outreach to Asian American populations can identify groups at high risk for infection and direct them to appropriate follow-up care to help prevent the onset of liver diseases, including cancer. Julie Dang, MPH, is lead author on the study. more...
Patients May Face Barriers to Starting Oral Chemotherapy Medications
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health
Researchers from Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health have found that patients starting oral anticancer medications can face delays in starting treatment due to the complexity of the processes needed to obtain these medications. Lead study author is Yu-Ning Wong, MD. more...
Common Supplement Boosts Kidney Cancer Therapy
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
Researchers at UC Davis have shown that docosahexaenoic acid, a fatty acid commonly found in fish and fish oil supplements, reduces renal cell carcinoma invasiveness, growth rate, and blood vessel growth when combined with the anti-cancer therapy regorafenib. Robert Weiss, MD, is head of the kidney cancer working group at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. more...
Study Contradicts Belief that Cancer Protects against Alzheimer's
Huntsman Cancer Institute
Despite studies that claim people with cancer are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease--raising the possibility that what triggers cancer also prevents the neurodegenerative disorder--a new investigation finds a more somber explanation. Many cancer patients don't live long enough to get Alzheimer's. The research was led by investigators at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. more...
Androgen Receptor Plays Role in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Tumor Growth, Metastases
University of Colorado Cancer Center
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study shows that androgen receptor (AR) may play a role in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) metastasis. Investigator Jessica Christenson, PhD, characterized AR expression in an immunocompetent animal model of breast cancer in order to learn more about TNBC primary tumor growth and metastasis. She found that late-stage primary tumors and metastases, as well as Met-1 cells (derived from a late-stage primary tumor), expressed high levels of AR. When she treated the primary tumors with an anti-androgen, the second-generation AR-inhibitor enzalutamide, she found those tumors rely on AR for growth and are responsive to anti-androgen therapy. more...
A Long-Noncoding RNA Regulates Repair of DNA Breaks in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Genomic studies of triple-negative breast cancer to solve for its tough-to-treat status have mainly focused on protein-coding genes while the function of non-coding genes is still largely unknown. Using a clinically guided genetic screening approach, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania identified LINP1, a lncRNA. This lncRNA is overexpressed in triple-negative breast cancer cells and regulated by the tumor suppressor p53 and the activated cell surface protein, EGFR. LINP1 enhances the repair of DNA breaks by serving as a scaffold that links two other proteins in the repair machinery. more...
Mouse Study: Triple-Therapy Cocktail Shrinks Triple-Negative Breast Tumors
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
In a new study using mice and lab-grown human cells, a scientific team led by Saraswati Sukumar, PhD, and colleagues at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center shows how a triple-drug cocktail can shrink triple-negative breast cancers by killing off cancer cells and halting new tumor growth. more...
Current Cancer Drug Discovery Method Flawed: VUMC Study
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
The primary method used to test compounds for anti-cancer activity in cells is flawed, Vanderbilt University researchers report. The findings cast doubt on methods used by the entire scientific enterprise and pharmaceutical industry to discover new cancer drugs. The researchers have developed a new metric to evaluate a compound's effect on cell proliferation -- called the DIP (drug-induced proliferation) rate -- that overcomes the flawed bias in the traditional method. more...
Study Examines Use of Multiple Tobacco Products in College Students
UK Markey Cancer Center
A new study by University of Kentucky researchers found that roughly 15 percent of college students who had ever used tobacco currently use more than one tobacco product. Polytobacco use (using more than one tobacco product) drives nicotine addiction and can prolong the use of tobacco products, leading to acute and chronic negative health risks such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and more. more...
Quality of Life Meets Cure for Prostate Cancer Treatment
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Patrick W. McLaughlin, MD, is the senior author of a paper that looks at how MRI and a clear understanding of the functional anatomy (and its variations from patient to patient) can allow radiation oncologists to plan a course of treatment that spares the critical functions and structures that run through or near the prostate. more...
Other News
Job Opportunities
Director, Clinical Research Support Office   
University of California, San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center


Funding Opportunities
The Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care

Deadline 6/30/2016

Merck Foundation

The Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care (the Alliance) aims to increase timely access to patient-centered care and reduce disparities in care, especially for vulnerable and underserved populations. Established with $15 million in funding from the Foundation over five years, the Alliance will support the implementation of multi-faceted cancer care programs in selected U.S. communities.

The Call for Proposals is now open. The Foundation is seeking applications from eligible nonprofit organizations such as universities or colleges, cancer centers, oncology medical homes, and community-based or nongovernmental organizations.

Meeting Announcements

8th Annual AACI Clinical Research Initiative Meeting

July 20-21, 2016
Loews Chicago O'Hare Hotel

2016 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting

Register now:
October 23-25, 2016
Westin Chicago River North
Chicago, IL