AACI Update | April 2019

Headlines

New AACI Member: Cancer Center at Illinois

New AACI Member: Cancer Center at Illinois AACI welcomes its newest member this spring, with the addition of the Cancer Center at Illinois (CCIL), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Rohit Bhargava, PhD, is director of the center, which applies the university’s historic strengths in basic science and engineering to cancer. The mission of CCIL is to promote and translate engineering and scientific innovations to enable cancer-free lives.
 

Read More

Join Us at Hill Day to Advocate for the NIH and NCI

Join Us at Hill Day to Advocate for the NIH and NCI As a member of AACI, your advocacy is critical to sharing our message with legislators: that stable, predictable funds are vital to advancing cancer research and care. On Tuesday, April 30, AACI will co-host the 2019 Hill Day with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). All faculty and staff of AACI cancer centers are invited to attend and bring patient advocates, whose impactful stories demonstrate the importance of cancer research and care. 
 

Read More

CRI Meeting to Highlight Innovation, Resiliency

CRI Meeting to Highlight Innovation, Resiliency The 11th Annual AACI Clinical Research Innovation (CRI) Meeting will be held July 9-11, at the Loews Chicago O'Hare Hotel. The theme for this year's meeting is "Strategies to Maximize Innovation to Advance Cancer Clinical Research." This year's keynote features Raquel Forsgren, a Chicago-based resilience coach and yoga therapist, who will focus on strategies for self-preservation, managing stress, and building resiliency.
 

Read More

Briefing Highlights Importance of Funding, CAR T Therapy

Briefing Highlights Importance of Funding, CAR T Therapy On March 27, AACI hosted a Congressional briefing titled "Breaking Down Barriers to a Cure." The briefing highlighted the importance of robust and sustained funding levels for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and provided background on CAR T therapy to members of Congress and their staff members. 
 

Read More

News from the Centers

Dicker Named ASCO Fellow

Dicker Named ASCO Fellow
Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health

Adam P. Dicker, MD, PhD, has been named a fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Dr. Dicker is senior VP and chair of Enterprise Radiation Oncology; director of the Jefferson Institute for Digital Health; and professor of Radiation Oncology, Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health. 

Read More

Jung Wins AACR Award

Jung Wins AACR Award
UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Michael Jung, PhD, a UCLA distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry and member of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 American Association for Cancer Research Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research. 
 

Read More

Le Beau Elected to ACS Board

Le Beau Elected to ACS Board
The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
The American Cancer Society has named Michelle M. Le Beau, PhD, director of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, to its board of directors, effective January 1, 2019. Directors serve a two-year term on the all-volunteer board, which sets policy, establishes long-term goals, monitors general operations, and approves organizational outcomes and resource allocation.
 

Read More

Werb Elected AACR Academy Fellow

Werb Elected AACR Academy Fellow
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Zena Werb, PhD, has been named a 2019 AACR Academy Fellow for her contributions to the understanding of cellular microenvironments, inflammation, and intercellular communications in breast development and carcinogenesis, and for discovering MMP3 and MMP12 and the central processes by which they induce extracellular matrix remodeling and proteolysis.
 

Read More

Cohn Receives AACR Research Award

Cohn Receives AACR Research Award
The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has named Susan Cohn, MD, dean for clinical research at the University of Chicago Medicine, as the recipient of the 2019 AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for her outstanding contributions in international pediatric clinical research. Dr. Cohn is a leading authority on neuroblastoma.
 

Read More

Andriole Elected to American College of Surgeons Academy

Andriole Elected to American College of Surgeons Academy
Siteman Cancer Center
Gerald L. Andriole, MD, the Washington University chief of urologic surgery at Siteman Cancer Center, has been elected to the American College of Surgeons Academy of Master Surgeon Educators. Launched in 2017, the academy recognizes surgeon educators poised to advance the science and practice of surgical education and training.
 

Read More

Back to News from the Centers

Over $28 Million in Grants Includes Funding for Breast Cancer Studies in African Americans

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

A $6.6 million award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) leads the latest slew of grants awarded to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers. These awards, totaling more than $28.2 million in new funding from federal agencies as well as nonprofit foundations and associations, will enable critical investigations to help explain why an aggressive form of breast cancer is more common in African-American women, learn how cancer metastasizes and develops resistance to treatment, explore opportunities to enhance patients’ recovery following surgery, and advance development of a pioneering immunotherapy involving engineered T cells.

Read More

NIH Awards $11.4 Million to Establish Institute for Precision Medicine

NIH Awards $11.4 Million to Establish Institute for Precision Medicine
The University of Kansas Cancer Center

A team led by Andrew Godwin, PhD, deputy director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center, has been awarded a five-year, $11.4 million National Institutes of Health Phase I Centers for Biomedical Research Excellence grant to establish the Kansas Institute for Precision Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. 

Read More

NCI Grant Will Help Assess New Treatment for Deadly Brain Tumor

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded a five-year grant of nearly $2.83 million to help a research team at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute conduct a clinical trial that will assess a potential new treatment for patients with glioblastoma. The grant was awarded to a team led by co-principal investigators Vinay Puduvalli, MBBS and Deepa Sampath, PhD.
 

Read More

$1.1 Million Awarded to Investigate Treatment Options for Chemotherapy Nerve Damage

$1.1 Million Awarded to Investigate Treatment Options for Chemotherapy Nerve Damage
VCU Massey Cancer Center
Researchers at VCU Massey Cancer Center were awarded more than $1.1 million to investigate alternative treatment options for cancer patients with nerve damage, a debilitating side effect of chemotherapy. M. Imad Damaj, PhD, and David A. Gewirtz, PhD, received a four-year R01 grant from the National Cancer Institute to conduct research to inform novel therapies that can prevent or suppress nerve damage triggered by paclitaxel.
 

Read More

Back to News from the Centers

Sharpless to be Acting FDA Commissioner

Sharpless to be Acting FDA Commissioner
National Cancer Institute
Norman Sharpless, PhD, director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), will head the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after current FDA chief Scott Gottlieb steps down in early April. In an email to NCI colleagues, Dr. Sharpless said his move was announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on March 12, and that Douglas Lowy, PhD, will serve as acting NCI director.
 

Read More

Chief Technology Officer Role Created

Chief Technology Officer Role Created
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Paul Visco has been promoted to the role of chief technology officer (CTO) at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. A new position at Roswell Park, Mr. Visco’s role as CTO involves developing and implementing new technologies that benefit the experiences of both patients and clinical teams.
 

Read More

Draetta Named Chief Scientific Officer

Draetta Named Chief Scientific Officer
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
MD Anderson Cancer Center has named Giulio Draetta, MD, PhD, as chief scientific officer, a new position that champions innovation, strengthens partnerships, and provides leadership on the clinical translation of research programs. His previous roles include director of MD Anderson's Institute for Applied Cancer Science and vice president of its Therapeutics Discovery Division.
 

Read More

Antonia Appointed Director of Center for Cancer Immunotherapy

Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center
Scott Antonia, MD, PhD, who joined Duke in February, has been appointed director of the newly formed DCI Center for Cancer Immunotherapy, a DCI Strategic Plan priority that aims to enhance the institute’s ability to develop and test novel immunotherapeutic approaches.
 

Read More

Kim to Lead Gastrointestinal Cancers Program

Kim to Lead Gastrointestinal Cancers Program
GW Cancer Center
Medical oncologist George Kim, MD, will direct the George Washington University (GW) Cancer Center's Gastrointestinal Cancers Program. Dr. Kim, who specializes in colorectal, pancreatic, liver, and gastric esophageal cancers, most recently provided medical oncology services at 21st Century Oncology in Florida. He previously worked at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida; the National Cancer Institute; and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
 

Read More

Immunologist Joins Ohio State

Immunologist Joins Ohio State
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
Zihai Li, MD, PhD, a medical oncologist and immunologist, has been named founding director of the new Institute for Immuno-Oncology (IIO) at the OSUCCC – James. Dr. Li, whose appointment is effective April 1, was previously co-leader of the Cancer Immunology Program at Hollings Cancer Center, Medical University of South Carolina.
 

Read More

Back to News from the Centers

Enzyme USP15 May Have Potential Role in Future Treatment of Various Cancers

GW Cancer Center

Researchers at GW Cancer Center found that the enzyme USP15 could potentially lead to new treatments for breast and pancreatic cancer. The Cancer Genome Atlas indicates that USP15 enzyme deletions occur in 16 percent of breast cancers and in 5 percent of pancreatic cancers. Studies have shown that cancer-associated USP15 mutations increase poly ADP ribose polymerase inhibitor sensitivity in cancer cells.

Read More

Researchers Pursue Blood Test for Colorectal Cancer

WVU Cancer Institute
Researchers at the West Virginia University Cancer Institute are evaluating a first-of-its-kind blood test for detecting colorectal cancer. Their findings may help propel the test toward inclusion in the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s recommendations for colorectal cancer screening. The blood test, which the Food and Drug Administration recently approved, looks for an abnormal gene called SEPT9 associated with colorectal cancer.
 

Read More

Molecular Data Can Predict Breast Cancer Recurrence

Stanford Cancer Institute

Molecular data obtained from breast cancer cells can be used to predict which patients are at a high risk for recurrence even decades after their diagnosis, according to a new study jointly conducted by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, as well as several other institutions. Christina Curtis, PhD, first defined the distinct subgroups of patients in a study published in 2012.

Read More

Scientists Home in on MicroRNA Processing for Novel Cancer Therapies

Scientists Home in on MicroRNA Processing for Novel Cancer Therapies
VCU Massey Cancer Center

More than a decade of research on the mda-7/IL-24 gene has shown that it helps to suppress a majority of cancer types, and now scientists are focusing on how the gene drives this process by influencing microRNAs. The study was led by Paul B. Fisher, MPh, PhD, FNAI.

Read More

Scans May Reduce Need for Surgery in Head and Neck Cancer Patients

Scans May Reduce Need for Surgery in Head and Neck Cancer Patients
UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute

A study led by UAMS surgeon Brendan C. Stack Jr., MD, has shown the potential to alter neck dissection surgeries in about 21 percent of head and neck cancer patients. Dr. Stack served as co-investigator on an international study examining the effectiveness of PET/CT scans in determining whether a patient’s cancer has spread to their lymph nodes.

Read More

Vaccine for HER2 Breast Cancer Shows Promise

Vaccine for HER2 Breast Cancer Shows Promise
Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center

Duke researchers led by H. Kim Lyerly, MD, have developed a vaccine that shows early promise in targeting the HER2 protein that fuels a deadly form of breast cancer. In a Phase I clinical trial that enrolled 22 women with recurrent cancers that overexpress the HER2 protein, the vaccine demonstrated an ability to halt tumor growth and improve survival for a subset of patients.

Read More

Managing Nontraditional Risk Factors Could Improve Cancer Surgery Outcomes

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University

In a study of 142 patients preparing for cancer surgery, Johns Hopkins researchers say they have evidence that psychological or social risk factors such as depression, limited resilience, and lack of emergency resources, along with standard medical risk factors such as high blood pressure or diabetes, are linked with higher risks of surgical complications.

Read More

Structural, Clinical Barriers Keep 3 of 4 Cancer Patients From Participating in Trials

Structural, Clinical Barriers Keep 3 of 4 Cancer Patients From Participating in Trials
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

A new meta-analysis led by Joseph Unger, PhD, MS, has revealed that structural and clinical barriers prevent more than three out of four cancer patients from participating in clinical trials. The study is part of an ongoing effort to understand why patient participation is so low in cancer clinical trials.

Read More

Finding Will Help ID New Targets for Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases

Finding Will Help ID New Targets for Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health
Adhesion of lymphocytes to their cellular targets is critical to adaptive immunity. This process is controlled by a group of cell surface receptors called integrins through a cascade of molecular events known as inside-out signaling, regulated by RAP1, a small GTPase closely related to the RAS oncogene. Jinhua Wu, PhD, has found that the RAP1 function can be suppressed if its effector protein (RIAM) adopts an autoinhibitory configuration.
 

Read More

Potential Treatment for Cancer in 'Butterfly Disease'

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health
Children with the severe skin disease, recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa—also known as "butterfly disease"—often develop an aggressive and fatal skin cancer by early adulthood. Now an international team of scientists have identified a potential drug treatment for the lethal complication. The discovery paves the way for a clinical trial set to begin this year.
 

Read More

Soft Drink Companies Copy Tobacco Playbook to Lure Young Users

UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Tobacco conglomerates that used colors, flavors, and marketing techniques to entice children as future smokers transferred these same strategies to sweetened beverages when they bought food and drink companies starting in 1963, according to a study by researchers at UC San Francisco. The study, which draws from a cache of previously secret documents from the tobacco industry that is part of the UCSF Industry Documents Library, found that as tobacco was facing increased scrutiny from health authorities, its executives transferred the same tactics to peddle soft drinks.
 

Read More

Study Leads to First FDA-Approved Drug in Decades to Improve Survival in Small Cell Lung Cancer

Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved atezolizumab (Tecentriqâ) in combination with chemotherapy for the initial treatment of extensive-stage small cell lung cancer, marking the end of numerous failed attempts to improve survival for people with the deadly disease. The regimen of carboplatin, etoposide, and atezolizumab was first explored in an investigator-initiated trial at Georgetown Lombardi in 2016.
 

Read More

Link Found Between Demographics, Liver Cancer

Link Found Between Demographics, Liver Cancer
University of Florida Health Cancer Center

A new study by UF Health researchers, led by Ali Zarrinpar, MD, PhD, finds that Hispanics, the elderly, and people with diabetes have a higher risk of developing liver cancer. The study aimed to identify factors that put fatty liver disease patients at a greater risk of developing cancer by looking at the differences between alcoholic and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, as well as patient demographics.

Read More

Potential New Combination Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer Identified

UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Researchers from UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified a possible new therapeutic strategy using two types of drug inhibitors at once to treat one of the world’s deadliest cancers. The combination approach uses one drug that inhibits the process—known as lysosome—that allows cancer cells to recycle essential nutrients to survive, and another drug that blocks the pathway used to repair DNA. Researchers found the approach to be promising after testing it on pancreatic cancer cells and mice in the laboratory.
 

Read More

Drug Could Alleviate Side Effects of Chemo for Breast Cancer Patients

Drug Could Alleviate Side Effects of Chemo for Breast Cancer Patients
Stanford Cancer Institute
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have demonstrated a method of forecasting which breast cancer patients will suffer heart problems from a commonly used chemotherapy drug. The researchers also found that a class of medications already approved by the FDA may mitigate these side effects. Joseph Wu, MD, PhD, is senior author.
 

Read More

Key Regulator of Immune System Defies Evolution

Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health
The average person could not identify many genetic similarities between an opossum and a mouse, however, new research from scientists at Fox Chase Cancer Center has identified an aspect of these mammals’ immune systems—the immune gene ThPOK—that has remained similar for more than 165 million years.
 

Read More

New Target for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment Identified

New Target for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment Identified
The University of Kansas Cancer Center
A preclinical study led by researchers at The University of Kansas Cancer Center has identified a region of the human genome, called a super-enhancer, as a novel target for a pancreatic cancer subtype called “pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma". Animesh Dhar, PhD, is principal investigator. 
 

Read More

Blood Diseases Cured with Bone Marrow Transplant

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University

Doubling the low amount of total body radiation delivered to patients undergoing bone marrow transplants with donor cells that are only “half-matched” increased the rate of engraftment from about 50 percent to nearly 100 percent, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers. The findings could offer a significantly higher chance of a cure for patients with severe and deadly inherited blood disorders, including sickle cell anemia and beta thalassemia.

Read More

Topical Immunotherapy Reduces Skin Cancer Risk

Siteman Cancer Center
A combination of two topical creams already shown to clear precancerous skin lesions from sun-damaged skin also lowers the risk that patients will later develop squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. The finding comes from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School.
 

Read More

Back to News from the Centers

Report: States Must Do More to Ensure People at High Risk Can Be Screened for Lung Cancer

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer, yet coverage of screenings for individuals at high risk for lung cancer varies across state Medicaid programs, according to a new report by the American Lung Association. To ensure those eligible can access lifesaving lung cancer screenings, the American Lung Association and MD Anderson Cancer Center have partnered on educational initiatives to improve coverage for recommended low-dose computed tomography lung cancer screenings in state Medicaid programs.

Read More

Multipronged Approach to Reducing Health Inequities

Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
The Cedars-Sinai Research Center for Health Equity is front and center in the growing trend of population health studies, which addresses environmental, cultural, and genetic factors to understand why certain populations have higher rates of cancer and other diseases than other groups. In Los Angeles County and across California, the Health Equity team is focusing on the high cancer mortality rate among Korean-Americans and the growing incidence of liver cancer in the Hispanic population, in addition to other health disparities in a number of communities.
 

Read More

Back to News from the Centers

Cancer Center Jobs

Director
Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center
Read more
Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Research Unit
Moffitt Cancer Center
Read more
Administrative Director, Clinical Research Office
University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center
Read more
Clinical Research Coordinator
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
Read more
Chief Administrative Officer/Associate Director for Administration & Finance
UCI Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Read more
Director of Regulatory Affairs
The University of Kansas Cancer Center
Read more
Research Nurse Manager, Clinical Trials Office
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami Health System
Read more
Director, Clinical Protocol Office
O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
Read more
Chair, Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
Read more
Clinical Research Budget Coordinator I/II - Pre Award
Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Read more
Clinical Research Educator,
Hem-Onc Clinical Trials
Penn State Cancer Institute
Read more
Clinical Team Lead, Cancer Clinical Trials Office
Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Read more
Director, Clinical Trials Administration
City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
Read more
Manager of Clinical Research Operations, Hem-Onc Clinical Trials
Penn State Cancer Institute
Read more
Regulatory Program Manager
UCI Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Read more

Meeting Announcements

Epigenetics in Cancer Scientific Symposium

April 25, 2019
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA
This second “Epigenetics in Cancer” symposium will bring together leaders in basic and translational research to promote a better understanding of epigenetic pathways as drug targets in cancer therapy.
 
Learn More

AACI/AACR Hill Day 2019

April 30, 2019
Washington, DC
Hill Day will bring cancer center directors, researchers, oncologists, cancer survivors, and other advocates to Capitol Hill to build support for federal funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI).
 
Learn More

11th Annual AACI CRI Meeting

July 9, 2019
Loews Chicago O'Hare Hotel, Rosemont, IL
The CRI annual meeting creates opportunities for peer-to-peer networking and collaboration among clinical trials office staff at AACI's member cancer centers.
 
Learn More

SITC Women in Cancer Immunotherapy Network Leadership Institute

August 19, 2019
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Seattle Waterfront Marriott Hotel, Seattle, WA
The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) Women in Cancer Immunotherapy Network (WIN) Leadership Institute seeks to empower emerging female leaders in cancer immunotherapy.

Women interested in attending this free program are encouraged to submit an application by April 15 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
 
Learn More

2019 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting

October 20, 2019
Washington, DC
This three-day event convenes AACI cancer center directors and executive-level administrators with leaders of national cancer research and advocacy groups, industry, and government health agencies to share best practices. 
 
Learn More
Back to top