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News from the Association of American Cancer InstitutesJuly 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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Vice President Continues Quest for Cancer Moonshot
On Thursday, June 29, Vice President Joe Biden hosted a National Cancer Moonshot Summit at Howard University in Washington, DC. AACI President George J. Weiner, MD, was in attendance along with President-Elect Stanton L. Gerson, MD, and Executive Director, Barbara Duffy Stewart, MPH. The Summit brought together more than 350 cancer center directors, physicians, researchers, nurses, patient advocates, and public and private companies with interests in cancer. Many AACI cancer centers were represented at the Summit which featured Dr. Jill Biden and entertainer Carol Burnett as speakers.

In October 2015, the Vice President called for a "moonshot to cure cancer." Since then, President Barack Obama and the Vice President have announced a national cancer initiative, aimed at making a decade's worth of progress in five years through a $1 billion research investment. more...

Clockwise from top: University of Hawaii Cancer Center Summit Participants; Small group discussion at UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Summit; Summit Participants at University of Illinois Cancer Center; Panelists at Huntsman Cancer Institute Summit; AACI President George J. Weiner, MD and Director of the National Institutes of Health Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD.

Randall Holcombe to become University of Hawaii Cancer Center Director
Dr. Randall Holcombe, currently Deputy Director of the NCI-designated Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai and Chief Medical Officer for Cancer for the Mount Sinai Health System in New York, will assume the role of Director, University of Hawaii Cancer Center on October 1, 2016.

The UH Cancer Center was founded in 1981 and became an NCI-designated Cancer Center in 1996. Its mission is to reduce the cancer burden through research, education and outreach with an emphasis on the unique ethic, cultural and environmental characteristics of Hawaii and the Pacific. This emphasis provides a foundation for the epidemiologic research and cancer prevention research focused on Hawaii's multiethnic community as well as research into the development of agents with anti-cancer activity derived from natural resources unique to the Pacific ecosystem. more...

Abstracts Selected for 8th Annual AACI CRI Meeting

The AACI Clinical Research Initiative Steering Committee has selected three abstracts from the 33 considered for judging at the 8th Annual AACI CRI Meeting, July 20-21, in Chicago. The winning abstract authors represent Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah and the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. more...

Register Today for the 2016 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting
Registration for the 2016 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting is underway, and we encourage you to register and reserve your hotel room today to take advantage of currents rates and availability.

The meeting will bring together AACI cancer center leaders-directors and executive-level administrators-with representatives from national cancer research and advocacy organizations, industry, and government health agencies. No other program presents information on cancer research and patient care issues as they pertain to academic cancer centers and fosters discussion of common challenges and opportunities and current practices to address them. more...

AACI Physician Clinical Leadership Initiative Will Meet Sunday, October 23
In response to rapid changes in healthcare delivery and the expectation to "do more with less", AACI has created a forum for physician leaders responsible for overseeing clinical operations at cancer centers. This forum aims to be a resource for creating "best practices" to assist physician leaders in addressing challenges like clinical services reimbursement, quality care and patient satisfaction, integrating electronic medical records with other cancer center information technology, assimilating clinical research and clinical programs to increase trial accrual and developing performance metrics. More information about the AACI Physician Clinical Leadership Initiative can be found at

To help advance this forum, AACI invites the physician leaders responsible for cancer center clinical operations to attend an in-person meeting at the 2016 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting at the Westin Chicago River North in Chicago, IL, on Sunday, October 23, 2016 from 4:00-6:00 PM, CT. Agenda topics include oncology care model mandates, genomic driven care and cancer center best practices.

If you are interested in attending the 4th Annual PCLI Meeting and/or 2016 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting, information on the meeting, including hotel information, preliminary program, speakers list and electronic registration, is now available on the AACI website. more...

AACI Update Summer Break
AACI Update will not be published in August. Many thanks to all AACI centers for their contributions to the AACI Update throughout the year. Submission guidelines for AACI Update are available here.

The next AACI Update is scheduled for publication on September 1. Please keep the good news coming! more...

News from the Centers
Awards & Honors
Stanford Cancer Institute Earns Highest Cancer Center Designation
Stanford Cancer Institute
The Stanford Cancer Institute has been designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health and the world's leading cancer research organization. The designation is recognition of the institute's robust and integrated programs encompassing laboratory research, clinical care and community outreach and education. more...
Breast Cancer Expert Named One of TIME's 100 Most Influential People
Duke Cancer Institute
Shelley Hwang, MD, chief of breast surgery at the Duke Cancer Institute, has been named one of TIME's 100 most influential people for 2016 as a pioneer in her field. One of the world's foremost experts in early-stage breast cancers, Hwang has become an international leader calling for research to guide treatment for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), in which abnormal cells are detected in the lining of a milk duct, but haven't spread to other tissues. more...
Osborne Honored for Work in Breast Cancer Research, Mentorship
The Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Kent Osborne, MD, director of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, has been awarded the 2016 American Society of Clinical Oncology's Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award and Lecture, an honor given annually to an oncologist for outstanding contributions to basic or translational research in breast cancer and exceptional mentoring abilities. more...
Levy Named Komen Scholar for Breast Cancer Research
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Mia Levy, MD, PhD, director of Cancer Health Informatics and Strategy at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, has been named a Komen Scholar by the Susan G. Komen organization. Dr. Levy is among 15 other leaders in breast cancer research and advocacy who will join the international advisory group to help guide Komen's research and scientific programs, education and public health efforts in the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Levy was also selected for her expertise in big data and precision medicine. more...
UNM Health Sciences Center Wins Award to Expand Drug Development
University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center
The UNM Health Sciences Center has joined a national network of scientists on the leading edge of drug discovery and development in the fight against cancer. It received a subcontract for infrastructure and project costs associated with its participation in the Chemical Biology Consortium. The consortium is centered at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, which is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, and provides world-class expertise in high-throughput screening, compound profiling, cancer cell biology, and animal models for oncology. more...
Cogle Selected as Runner-Up in Harvard Business School Precision Trials Challenge
University of Florida Health Cancer Center
Harvard Business School recently announced the winners of its recent Precision Trials Challenge, an online competition to generate ideas on how to bring precision diagnostics and therapies to market faster by reinventing the clinical trials process. Christopher Cogle, MD, a member of the UF Health Cancer Center, and his research team were selected as one of two runners-up in the challenge for the submission "Using Patient-Specific Cancer Mutanome and Pharmacogenomics Data to Create Personalized Avatars for Predicting Drug Efficacy and Safety." more...
First Eisenberg Scholar Named
The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
The Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation, a longtime supporter of gastrointestinal (GI) cancer research at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, presented the inaugural Harold E. Eisenberg Research Scholar Award to Guang-Yu Yang, MD, PhD. more...
CTRC Among Top Ten SWOG Institutions
Cancer Therapy and Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center
The Cancer Therapy & Research Center has been named among the top 10 of the 990 institutions that are members of SWOG, an international network of researchers that design and conduct cancer clinical trials. The ranking is based on the number of patients currently involved in SWOG clinical trials. Formerly called the Southwest Oncology Group, SWOG is one of the largest organizations that conducts cancer clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health. With more than 6,000 physician-researchers, the network conducts clinical trials to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. more...
Gormley Receives National Pharmacy Technician of the Year Award
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Edward "Eddie" Gormley Jr., the Weinberg Outpatient Pharmacy’s automation specialist, received the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association’s National Pharmacy Technician of the Year award. He has served as a leader, motivator, trainer and ambassador for his work implementing the Cancer Center’s two APOTECA chemotherapy robots within the pharmacy. more...
Grants & Gifts
CPRIT Awards $10.9 Million to Greehey Institute
Cancer Therapy and Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center
The Greehey Children's Cancer Research Institute at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio garnered $10.9 million from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)―a larger amount than any other academic institution in the state. The UT Health Science Center received 24 percent of the $45.3 million awarded to 13 academic institutions on May 18. The grant was the largest ever made to the university by CPRIT since it began awarding funds in 2010. more...
$7.5 Million Awarded to Evaluate Supplemental Breast Imaging
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
Diana Miglioretti, PhD, has received $7.5 million to determine the effectiveness of two supplemental breast screening and diagnostic workup strategies - digital breast tomosynthesis (3D mammography) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - used with mammography for cancer detection. Dr. Miglioretti's team also will work to determine whether effectiveness of the screening strategies depends on a woman's breast density. more...
PCORI Approves $7.5 Million for Patient-Centered Research on Breast Screening
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors has approved funding for a $7.5 million project to determine the effectiveness of supplemental breast cancer screening methods, such as digital tomosynthesis and MRI, for women with dense breast tissue, as well as whether MRI should be used before surgical decisions for patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer. more...
$3 Million Awarded to Study Blood Cell Stimulation Effect on Adolescent Leukemia, Bone Marrow Disorders
VCU Massey Cancer Center
Seth Corey MD, MPH, was awarded more than $3 million in grant funding from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for a four-and-a-half-year study on the evolution of a blood cell deficiency to pre-leukemia. The research aims to determine whether a common treatment for the condition acts as a contributor to the development of leukemia or other life-threatening bone marrow disorders. more...
Targeting Wayward Tumor Cells in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
University of Florida Health Cancer Center
University of Florida Health neuro-oncologist David Tran, MD, PhD, has been awarded a $1.78 million grant from the Florida Department of Health's Bankhead-Coley Cancer Research Program to develop new strategies to target disseminated tumor cells in triple-negative breast cancer. more...
Team Receives Grant to Study Metastatic Melanoma
The Wistar Institute
The Wistar Institute has announced that a global, multi-institutional research team consisting of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, The Wistar Institute, Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre (University of Edinburgh), the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has been awarded the L'Oréal Paris USA–MRA Team Science Award for Women in Scientific Research by the Melanoma Research Alliance, the largest private funder of melanoma research worldwide. more...
Tobacco Control Experts Awarded NCI Grant
Hollings Cancer Center
The Medical University of South Carolina's Hollings Cancer Center was awarded a five year grant from the NCI to lead an international consortium of research designed to evaluate the impact of government policies on tobacco use behaviors and the evolving nicotine delivery market, which includes the use of vaporized nicotine products such as e-cigarettes. This grant builds upon the longstanding International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project, which has used cross-country comparisons and a common set of measures to evaluate the behavioral impacts of national-level tobacco control policies implemented as part of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. more...
Leadership Transitions
De Vere White Steps Down as Long-Time UC Davis Director
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
Ralph de Vere White, MD, an acclaimed researcher and urologist who led the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer to designation by the National Cancer Institute, stepped down as its long-time director on June 29. Dr. De Vere White, who was cancer center director for 20 years, will continue to serve in a research capacity part-time. Primo "Lucky" Lara, MD, a medical oncologist who has been on the faculty at UC Davis since 1999, will serve as interim director during the national search for a permanent replacement. more...
Obama Announces National Cancer Advisory Board Appointees
President Barak Obama has announced his selection of six new appointees to the National Cancer Advisory Board: Francis Ali-Osman, DSc; Lawrence Gostin; Scott Hiebert, PhD; Electra D. Paskett, PhD; Nancy Raab-Traub, PhD; and, Margaret R. Spitz, MD, MPH. more...
Director Appointed for New Office of Cancer Disparities Research
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center welcomes Monica Webb Hooper, PhD, as director of the new Office of Cancer Disparities Research. She is also Professor of General Medical Science (Oncology), Family Medicine, Epidemiology & Biostatistics, and Psychological Sciences. Dr. Webb Hooper is a clinical health psychologist who has made important contributions to nicotine and tobacco research, and is a leader in the field of tobacco-associated health disparities. more...
Kauff Appointed Director of Clinical Cancer Genetics
Duke Cancer Institute
Noah D. Kauff, MD, recently joined Duke University Health System and Duke University School of Medicine as the director of Clinical Cancer Genetics for the Duke Cancer Institute. In his newly appointed position, Kauff will provide leadership, strategy and oversight for Clinical Cancer Genetics and the Hereditary Cancer Clinic, which opened in 1999 to offer risk assessment and education to patients with cancer and people with a family history of cancer or other risk factors. more...
Schwartz Elected to International Lung Cancer Consortium Steering Committee
Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
Ann G. Schwartz, PhD, MPH, deputy center director and executive vice president for Research and Academic Affairs at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, was recently elected to a three-year term on the International Lung Cancer Consortium's Steering Committee. The International Lung Cancer Consortium, established in 2004, is a group of lung cancer researchers from across the globe that bring their expertise with the aim of sharing comparable data from ongoing lung cancer case-control and cohort studies from different geographical areas and ethnicities. more...
Physician-Scientist to Chair Radiation Oncology at UAMS
UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
Fen Xia, MD, PhD, MS, a radiation oncologist and physician-scientist, has joined the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) as chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology in the College of Medicine. Dr. Xia previously served as director of translational research in radiation oncology at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. more...
Chen Named Department of Radiation Oncology Chair
University of Kansas Cancer Center
After a national search, Allen M. Chen, MD, has been appointed the new Joe and Jean Brandmeyer Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. He will join the faculty on October 1, succeeding Terry Tsue, MD. Dr. Chen is currently professor and vice chair of education in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine, and a member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. more...
Kung Named Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Andrew L. Kung, MD, PhD, has been named the new Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). An accomplished physician, researcher, leader, and mentor, Dr. Kung most recently served as the Chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation at New York-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Kung formally assumes his new role as Richard J. O'Reilly, MD, steps down as Chairman after more than 30 years. more...
Ohio State Lands Top Liver Cancer Expert as New Chair
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center
James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute

The Ohio State University Board of Trustees has approved the appointment of surgeon and liver cancer expert Timothy Pawlik, MD, MPH, PhD, to Department of Surgery chair, effective Aug. 1. Dr. Pawlik will also be The Urban Meyer III and Shelley Meyer Chair for Cancer Research. Dr. Pawlik joins Ohio State from Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Surgery. more...
Wei Joins Fox Chase Department of Pathology
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health
Shuanzeng (Sam) Wei, MD, PhD, has joined the department of pathology at Fox Chase Cancer Center as an assistant professor, where he will specialize in surgical pathology and cytopathology. Dr. Wei completed a combined anatomic pathology and clinical pathology residency, a surgical pathology mini-fellowship, and most recently, a fellowship in cytopathology in June - all at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. more...
Pancari Joins Fox Chase-Temple BMT Program
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health
Philip A. Pancari, MD, has joined the department of hematology/oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center, providing additional physician support for the Fox Chase Cancer Center-Temple University Hospital Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program. more...
Research Highlights
New Method Could Resurrect an Abandoned Pancreatic Cancer Targeted Drug
Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University
Pancreatic cancer is on track to become the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths by 2020. These statistics are due, in part, to pancreatic cancer’s resistance to most targeted cancer therapies. Working with pancreatic cancer cells, researchers have now found a mechanism that could be responsible for the cancer’s resistance to at least one targeted approach. If the results hold true in animal models and eventually clinical trials, the approach could help researchers develop more effective combination therapies and breathe new life into forgotten and failed cancer drugs. more...
Radiation and Vaccination Can Magnify Effects of Immunotherapy
The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
By combining local radiation therapy and anti-cancer vaccines with checkpoint inhibitors, researchers from the University of Chicago, led by Ralph Weichselbaum, MD, were able to increase the response rate in mice for these new immunotherapy agents. The findings showed this sequence of treatments could open up unresponsive pancreatic cancers to immune cell infiltration, often leading to immunologic control of tumor growth. more...
Investigational Compound Found Active Against Cancer Driven by Genetic Mutation
UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have demonstrated how a genetic mutation can drive the most common type of lymphoma as well as melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. The researchers reported the description of new laboratory models of B-cell lymphoma and melanoma featuring a specific mutation of EZH2, a gene known to regulate cell fate. The authors also demonstrated that a new investigational inhibitor, JQEZ5, blocked the function of the protein made by the EZH2 gene, and that it was highly active in EZH2-driven cancer models. Norman Sharpless, MD, director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, is corresponding author on the study. more...
Antibody-Based Drug Helps "Bridge" Leukemia Patients to Curative Treatment
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
In a randomized Phase III study of the drug inotuzumab ozogamicin, a statistically significant percentage of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) whose disease had relapsed following standard therapies, qualified for stem cell transplants. Inotuzumab ozogamicin, also known as CMC-544, links an antibody that targets CD22, a protein found on the surface of more than 90 percent of ALL cells. Once the drug connects to CD22, the ALL cell draws it inside and dies.

The study, which revealed complete remission rates of nearly 81 percent and significantly longer progression-free and higher overall survival rates than with standard therapies, was conducted at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. more...
New Drug 'Retrains' Immune System to Fight Aggressive Bladder Cancer
Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone
A new drug that harnesses the immune system to attack tumors is highly effective against advanced bladder cancer, according to the results of an international clinical trial. As part of the latest study, led by Arjun V. Balar, MD, and colleagues at NYU Langone Medical Center, injections of the experimental agent atezolizumab were found to shrink tumors by at least 30 percent and stall new tumor growth in 28 of 119 (or 24 percent of) patients, all of whom received the medication as their first therapy for metastic bladder cancer. more...
Telephones Can Bring Cancer Genetic Counseling to Rural Women
University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center
For women in rural communities, traveling to meet in person with cancer genetic counselors can be time-consuming and expensive. Now, a new study shows that getting cancer genetic counseling over the phone can be just as good as getting the same counseling in person. The work is led by Anita Kinney, PhD, RN, at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center. more...
Probing Proteins' 3-D Structures Suggests Existing Drugs May Work for Many Cancers
Siteman Cancer Center
Examining databases of proteins' 3-D shapes, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified more than 850 DNA mutations that appear to be linked to cancer. The information may expand the number of cancer patients who can benefit from existing drugs. The study detailed a list of the mutations and associated drugs that may work against them. Drugs already approved for use in patients by the Food and Drug Administration were included, as well as drugs being evaluated in clinical trials and in preclinical studies. Li Ding, PhD, is senior author of the study. more...
Presurgery Chemotherapy May Make Advanced Ovarian Cancers Responsive to Immunotherapy
American Association for Cancer Research
Metastatic ovarian cancer patients treated with chemotherapy prior to surgery had altered immune cells in their tumors, and specific alterations identified suggest that immunotherapy given after chemotherapy may help in preventing the cancer from coming back, according to a study published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. more...
New Compound Shows Potential for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Researchers at the University of Michigan have identified a promising new drug compound for targeting one of the most aggressive types of breast cancer. The compound, currently called UM-164, goes after a kinase known to play a role in the growth and spread of triple-negative breast cancer. UM-164 blocks the kinase c-Src and inhibits another pathway, p38, involved in this subtype. The researchers found that the compound had very few side effects in mice. Sofia Merajver, MD, PhD, is senior study author. more...
Lack of Exercise is Linked with Ovarian Cancer Risk, But How Much is Enough?
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Knowing how much exercise is enough to prevent health problems can be confusing, but two recent studies led by Roswell Park Cancer Institute have shown that years of physical inactivity prior to diagnosis was associated with increased risk of developing ovarian cancer and of dying from the disease. The research is based on two large pooled analyses of several studies from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium. Kirsten Moysich, PhD, MS, is senior author of the studies. more...
Blood-born Molecules Could Predict Those Who Will Develop Liver Cancer
Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University
Hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer, is increasing in incidence in the United States, and infection with the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes about 50 percent of cases. However, it can be difficult to identify who is most likely to develop this cancer. Although earlier research had discovered molecular signatures associated with HBV-driven liver cancer, new research from Thomas Jefferson University has proven that this panel of microRNAs can also predict the patients at high risk for developing the disease before the cancer develops, via a blood test. more...
Advanced Cancer Patients Receive Aggressive Care at High Rates at the End of Life
UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
In the last month of their lives, younger cancer patients continued to be hospitalized and receive other aggressive treatment at high rates, a University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center-led study found. A national health claims analysis of cancer patients who were younger than age 65 and had metastatic disease revealed that nearly two-thirds were admitted to the hospital or visited the emergency room in the last 30 days of their lives. The researchers said nearly a third of patients died in the hospital. more...
Blocking PRMT5 Might Force Resistant Brain Tumor Cells into Senescence
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center
James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute

A new study suggests that blocking an enzyme called PRMT5 in tumor cells could be a promising new strategy for the treatment of glioblastoma (GB), the most aggressive and lethal form of brain cancer. The study by Balveen Kaur, PhD, and colleagues at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) shows that knocking down PRMT5 (protein arginine methyltransferase 5) might force the cells into senescence and slow or stop tumor growth. more...
Biomarkers Predicting Graft-Versus-Host Disease After Stem Cell Transplants Identified
Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center
Researchers have identified biomarkers that could serve to predict which patients are more likely to be affected by chronic graft-versus-host disease following stem cell transplants. The identification of the four-biomarker panel could impact early detection and eventually treatment of the disease. The biomarkers were identified and validated by a national team of researchers comprising the Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease Consortium, including study co-lead author, Sophie Paczesny, MD, PhD. more...
Shorter Radiation Course Recommended for Early-Stage Breast Cancer Patients
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Early-stage breast cancer patients receiving a shorter course of whole breast radiation with higher radiation doses per fraction reported equivalent cosmetic, functional and pain outcomes over time as those receiving a longer, lower-dose per fraction course of treatment, according to researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Their study found patient-reported functional status and breast pain improved significantly following both radiation schedules, and there were no significant differences in physician-reported cosmetic evaluations. more...
Combination Therapy Shows Strong Response in Patients with Advanced Solid Tumors
VCU Massey Cancer Center
A phase 1 clinical trial testing a novel combination therapy developed by scientists at VCU Massey Cancer Center slowed the growth of cancer in the majority of trial participants, which were patients with advanced solid tumors. Approximately 61 percent of these patients experienced some degree of tumor growth delay, with multiple partial responses and one complete response. A phase 2 study testing the same combination of the drugs sorafenib and pemetrexed in patients with recurrent or metastatic triple negative breast cancer is now open at Massey. more...
Medical Center Selected for CMS-led Initiative Promoting Better Cancer Care
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it has selected Vanderbilt University Medical Center to participate in a care delivery model that supports and encourages higher quality, more coordinated cancer care. The Medicare arm of the Oncology Care Model includes more than 3,200 oncologists - about one-fifth of U.S. oncology specialists - and will involve approximately 155,000 Medicare beneficiaries nationwide. more...
Summer Session Fruit Fly Data Leads to Promising New Target in Colorectal Cancer
University of Colorado Cancer Center
In summer 2011, University of Colorado Cancer Center investigators Joaquin Espinosa, PhD, and Matthew Galbraith, PhD, taught a summer symposium on gene expression at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Long Island, New York. As part of the three-week course, one of their students presented data from experiments on fruit flies describing the role of the histone acetyl-transferase TIP60 (aka KAT5) in regulating the expression of genes controlled by a protein known as HIF1A. Now five years later studies resulting from this seemingly obscure finding have resulted in a paper showing the role of TIP60 in allowing human colorectal cancer cells to survive at the oxygen-poor centers of tumors. more...
Investigational Immunotherapy Drug Well Tolerated in Rare Form of Melanoma
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
An investigational immunotherapy drug being tested in the treatment of a rare form of skin cancer known as Merkel cell carcinoma has been found to be well tolerated with a clinical benefit seen in up to 42 percent of patients who failed prior treatment and were observed for at least six months. That's according to research from a Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey physician scientist and colleagues across the globe. The study is believed to be the largest trial to date investigating the programmed death-1 receptor ligand (PD-L1) in this form of cancer. Howard L. Kaufman, MD, FACS, is the study’s lead investigator. more...
Oliver Sacks' Rare Eye Disease Prompts New Strategy for Treating Difficult Cancers
Huntsman Cancer Institute
Eye cancer took the life of author and neurologist Oliver Sacks last year, bringing attention to the rare and deadly disease. Scientists have tried to develop precision treatments against cancers like this one, but the mutations that cause them have proven difficult to block with drugs. Now, a team led by scientists at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, University of Utah School of Medicine, and Navigen, Inc., report a new treatment that shows promise against the hard-to-treat cancer. They found that the mutation relies on a protein, ARF6, to promote cancer. A drug made against this alternative target inhibits eye tumors in mice. more...
New Approach to MRI Links Saturated Fats, Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women
Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone
The presence of high saturated fatty acids in breast tissue may be a useful indicator of cancer in postmenopausal women, according to a new study by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center led by Sungheon G. Kim, PhD. Specifically, the researchers used a new technique developed in NYU Langone's Department of Radiology that helps identify the relationship between fatty acids and breast cancer. more...
Novel Immunotherapy Approach Shows Promise in Blood Cancers
The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
A protein known as STING plays a crucial role in the immune system's ability to "sense" cancer by recognizing and responding to DNA from tumor cells. Injection of compounds that activate the STING pathway directly into solid tumors in mice has been shown in prior studies to result in very potent anti-tumor immune responses.

Researchers from the University of Chicago have shown that by injecting substances that mimic tumor-cell DNA into the bloodstream, they could stimulate STING to provoke a life-extending immune response in mice with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the most common type of acute leukemia seen in adults. more...
Whole-Exome Sequencing Predicts Which Bladder Cancers and Common Cell Lines Respond to Cisplatin
University of Colorado Cancer Center
Much of basic cancer research is based on studies with cultured cancer cells. However, the usefulness of these studies greatly depends on how accurately these cancer cells grown in a dish represent human tumors. A University of Colorado Cancer Center study used next-generation sequencing technologies to perform the most detailed DNA-based analysis to date of 25 commonly used bladder cancer cell lines, allowing researchers to match patient tumors with their closest genetic cell line match, and demonstrated genetic alterations that may make cells more or less sensitive to common therapies. more...
Study Finds Testicular Cancer Survivors May Have Hearing Loss After Cisplatin Therapy
Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center
Many testicular cancer survivors experience hearing loss after cisplatin-based chemotherapy, according to researchers at Indiana University. Researchers studied for the first time the cumulative effects of cisplatin-based chemotherapy on hearing levels in testicular cancer survivors through comprehensive audiometry measurements. They found that increasing doses of cisplatin were associated with increased hearing loss at most of the tested frequencies, involving 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 kHz. more...
T-Cell Receptor Sequencing Reveals Novel Biomarkers for Ovarian Cancer
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
The ability of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) such as T cells to produce multitudes of clones that overwhelm and effectively control cancer cells has been demonstrated, but the significance of the composition of T-cell repertories is unknown. Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) researchers used deep T-cell receptor (TCR) sequencing to evaluate the clonal composition of TILs and identify novel prognostic biomarkers in ovarian cancer. more...
Other News
NCI Launches the "Next Generation Cancer Knowledge Network"
National Cancer Institute
The National Cancer Institute has launched the Genomic Data Commons (GDC) data system that will promote sharing of genomic and clinical data between researchers and facilitate precision medicine in oncology. Initially, the GDC will centralize and standardize genomic data from large-scale NCI programs. In addition, the GDC will accept submissions of cancer genomic and clinical data from researchers around the world who wish to share their data broadly. more...
Children's Hematology and Cancer to Open in Botswana's Capital
The Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center
The Botswana-Baylor Children's Center of Excellence and the government of Botswana have signed a memorandum of agreement to build the first children's hematology and cancer center of excellence in Gaborone. Pediatric oncologists from Texas Children's Cancer and Hematology Centers (the pediatric program of the Duncan Cancer Center) have been providing care there for about 10 years, and this facility will be a standalone pediatric cancer center in sub-Saharan Africa. more...
Takeda, M2Gen Collaborate with ORIEN to Speed Clinical Development and Discovery of Cancer Treatments
Moffitt Cancer Center
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited and M2Gen®, a healthcare informatics solutions company, have established a new collaboration to generate broad genomic data from consenting cancer patients. Under the agreement, Takeda will help build the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN) Avata™ Research Program based on the Total Cancer Care® Protocol, a prospective observational study enrolling patients with various cancers, and access information generated under this program. more...
Four NCI Centers Establish Research Consortium
The Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, The Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University Medical Center, the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, and The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have established a research consortium focused on accelerating the discovery and development of novel cancer therapeutics and diagnostics for the benefit of patients. more...
UVA Collaborates on Advanced Cancer Tumor Models
University of Virginia Cancer Center
To better understand cancerous tumors and help develop breakthrough treatments, University of Virginia Health System and HemoShear Therapeutics, LLC, will collaborate on developing and validating advanced cancer tumor models. Under the agreement, HemoShear will transfer technology to UVA to continue validation of HemoShear's existing tumor models and develop new tumor models. HemoShear will also have options to license new discoveries by UVA researchers. more...
GI Cancers Alliance Elevates Patients' Voices Against Gastrointestinal Cancers
Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Twenty cancer advocacy groups from around the United States announce the formation of the GI Cancers Alliance, committed to the fight against gastrointestinal cancers, which include many of the leading cancer killers. The groups' leadership met in June during the ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago to elect its chairs. The mission of the GI Cancers Alliance is to raise awareness, provide education and advocate for the prevention, treatment and cure of gastrointestinal cancers through a collaboration of advocacy groups, industry and institutional partners. more...
Incyte and Moffitt Cancer Center, Establish Multi-Year Oncology Research Alliance
Moffitt Cancer Center
Incyte Corporation and Moffitt Cancer Center have entered into a research support and collaboration agreement, whereby Incyte has agreed to provide funding to conduct three new Moffitt Cancer Center research programs over a period of three years. The research programs will be focused on specific blood cancers, including myeloproliferative neoplasms, mantle cell lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. more...
Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation, BioNovus to Develop Bladder Cancer Drug
University of Kansas Cancer Center
The University of Kansas Medical Center granted exclusive rights to CicloMed LLC for Ciclopirox Prodrug, a novel agent targeted for the treatment of bladder cancer. CicloMed plans to submit an investigational new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) early next year. Pending FDA clearance, CicloMed intends to initiate a Phase I clinical trial at several clinical sites, including the University of Kansas Cancer Center. more...
Job Opportunities
Research Program Manager  
Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation


Vice President, Clinical Trials Office  
Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University


Executive Administrative Director (EAD), Cancer Clinical Trials Office  
Stanford Cancer Institute


Executive Director, Clinical Trials Office  
The University of Kansas Cancer Center

Funding Opportunities
SU2C Catalyst™

Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) has launched a new collaborative initiative - SU2C Catalyst™ - intended to leverage all stages of the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostic, and devices industries. It is aimed at bringing together new treatments to patients as rapidly as possible. For more detailed information, click here.

Astellas Oncology C3 Prize
Can your bright idea improve cancer care for patients and their loved ones? The Astellas Oncology C3 Prize is a challenge aimed at inspiring novel, non-treatment and non-medicine based ideas in four categories where patients living with cancer and the cancer community face obstacles to receiving or providing optimal care. More information can be found here:

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