AACI Update | December 2019

Headlines

Sharpless Returns as NCI Director

Sharpless Returns as NCI Director The Association of American Cancer Institutes welcomes back Norman E. Sharpless, MD, as director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Dr. Sharpless served for seven months as acting commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, following his initial appointment as NCI director a little over two years ago. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Dr. Sharpless’s return to the NCI on November 1.
 

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Register Today for CRI's eRegulatory Webinar

Register Today for CRI's eRegulatory Webinar In October 2018, AACI’s Clinical Research Innovation (CRI) formed the Regulatory File Management Working Group. The working group has established recommendations for implementing and working with eRegulatory systems, which will be discussed in an upcoming webinar. AACI will present "Perspectives on Implementing an eRegulatory System" at 3:00 pm ET on Tuesday, December 10. The webinar will provide two case studies from cancer centers that have successfully implemented a hybrid, home-grown application and an out-of-the-box solution.
 

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AACI Now Accepting PCLI Steering Committee Nominations

AACI Now Accepting PCLI Steering Committee Nominations Nominations are now being accepted for the AACI Physician Clinical Leadership Initiative (PCLI) Steering Committee. The PCLI Steering Committee helps guide the activities of the initiative and identify opportunities for AACI cancer center clinical leaders to share solutions and best practices. Committee members also identify ways AACI can collaborate with like-minded organizations. All AACI cancer center members are welcome to submit nominations until 5:00 pm PT on Friday, December 13.
 

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AACI, American Cancer Society, CDC Recognize HPV Vaccine Champions

AACI, American Cancer Society, CDC Recognize HPV Vaccine Champions Last month, AACI, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Cancer Society announced the winners of this year’s HPV Vaccine Is Cancer Prevention Champion Award. This award was established in 2017 to recognize clinicians, clinics, practices, groups, and health systems who are going above and beyond to foster HPV vaccination in their communities. This year, champions from 25 states were honored for their efforts to achieve high HPV vaccination rates. 
 

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Congressional Budget Remains Uncertain Going Into 2020

Congressional Budget Remains Uncertain Going Into 2020 The United States House of Representatives and Senate came together to pass another continuing resolution for government funding on November 21. With President Trump’s signature, a government shutdown was avoided as we headed into the Thanksgiving holiday. This four-week continuing resolution will fund the government at 2019 budget-year levels and allow Congress until December 20 to come up with a Fiscal Year 2020 budget deal.
 

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Please Submit Your News for Our January 2020 Issue

Your cancer center's news doesn't take a break—and now, neither does AACI Update. The submission deadline for our January 2020 issue is Wednesday, December 18. Many thanks for your cancer center's contributions throughout the year. Please keep the good news coming about the inspiring work and dedicated faculty and staff at your AACI cancer center in 2020.

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Save the Date for AACI/AACR Hill Day

Save the Date for AACI/AACR Hill Day AACI and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will co-host the 2020 Hill Day in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, May 13. AACI is encouraging its U.S. members to send at least one representative to Washington to advocate on your center’s behalf. All faculty and staff of AACI cancer centers are invited to attend and bring patient advocates to share their impactful stories. More details will be provided in the coming months, including information about registration and patient advocate scholarships. 
 

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News from the Centers

Theodorescu Named AAAS Fellow

Theodorescu Named AAAS Fellow
Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Theodorescu, an internationally recognized translational cancer researcher and leading expert in bladder cancer, was selected by his peers for his efforts in advancing science breakthroughs and innovation.
 

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Holmen Receives Melanoma Research Award

Holmen Receives Melanoma Research Award
Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah
The Society for Melanoma Research recently presented Sheri Holmen, PhD, with the Estela Medrano Memorial Award. Dr. Holmen is a melanoma researcher at Huntsman Cancer Institute. The award honors the late Estela Medrano, a leader in melanoma research. It is given annually to a woman who has made major contributions in the fight against melanoma.
 

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ACS, NCI Honor Ruggero

ACS, NCI Honor Ruggero
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Davide Ruggero, PhD, has accomplished the rare feat of receiving two of the most competitive awards available to cancer scientists. In September, the American Cancer Society awarded Dr. Ruggero a prestigious ACS Professorship Award; and in October, he received an Outstanding Investigator Award (R35) from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
 

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Ubel Named to National Academy of Medicine

Ubel Named to National Academy of Medicine
Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center
Peter Ubel, MD, has been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Medicine. Dr. Ubel, a member of the Duke Cancer Institute, is a behavioral scientist recognized for his exploration of controversial issues about the role of values and preference in health care and decision making.
 

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Kleer Honored for Impact on Breast Cancer

Kleer Honored for Impact on Breast Cancer
University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center
Celina Kleer, MD, has been honored by the American Association for Cancer Research for her work in generating key insights into the development of aggressive forms of breast cancer and for advancing the characterization of clinical biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets for them.
 

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New Research Funding Totals Nearly $22 Million

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Roswell Park received more than $21.8 million in recent competitive grants and contracts to launch new investigations or continue promising research efforts. This includes a five-year, $4.1 million allocation from the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Moonshot program to Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, FRCOG, FACOG, and Danuta Kozbor, PhD, in cooperation with Andrea Gambotto, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh, to explore ways to reprogram the cells and molecules surrounding ovarian tumors to overcome various resistance mechanisms that make these cancers so hard to treat.
 

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Stephenson Cancer Center Announces Multi-Million Dollar Gift

Stephenson Cancer Center Announces Multi-Million Dollar Gift
Stephenson Cancer Center, University of Oklahoma
Stephenson Cancer Center has announced a $20 million gift from the Stephenson Family Foundation and Peggy and Charles Stephenson, the center’s namesakes and longtime supporters of the University of Oklahoma. Stephenson Cancer Center is committed to raising an additional $20 million to expand its research mission. Robert S. Mannel, MD, is director of the cancer center.
 

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MD Anderson and University of Puerto Rico Receive $13 Million Grant Renewal

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Puerto Rico received a competitive renewal of their Comprehensive Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity grant from the National Cancer Institute, totaling $13 million over five years. This is the fourth funding award for the institutions’ Partnership for Excellence in Cancer Research, which has been ongoing since 2002. It will continue to support collaborative research projects, community outreach and joint education programming.
 

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Trial Aims to Curb HPV-related Cancers in HIV+ Women and Children

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
A "dream team" of researchers from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have received funding from the National Institutes of Health for an ambitious five-year collaboration designed to help a population at high risk for cervical and other HPV-related cancers: women and children living with HIV. Through the project, which comes with around $1.8 million each year, researchers will conduct three separate trials in three major Latin American cities: Lima, Rio de Janeiro, and Santa Domingo.
 

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Prostate Cancer Program Awarded $8.7 Million

UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
The prostate cancer program at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and UCLA Health has been awarded an $8.7 million Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant from the National Cancer Institute. The grant will support the development of new and innovative approaches for improving the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of prostate cancer.
 

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New $5.7 Million Grant Aims to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening, Follow-Up Care in Appalachia

UK Markey Cancer Center
Cancer-control researchers at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute aim to increase colorectal cancer screening and follow-up care among underserved individuals in Appalachia through a $5.7 million grant from the National Cancer Institute.
 

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$3.7 Million Supports Crowdsourced Database of Cancer Genomics

Siteman Cancer Center
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received a $3.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support an open-source database aimed at boosting personalized approaches to cancer treatment. The database is designed to help doctors match cancer mutations—found in patients’ tumors—with drugs that target such genetic errors.
 

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Study Tests Medically Tailored Meals for Patients With Lung Cancer to Combat Malnutrition

Study Tests Medically Tailored Meals for Patients With Lung Cancer to Combat Malnutrition
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute
A new clinical trial at OSUCCC - James and three other leading cancer centers aims to reduce malnutrition among patients with lung cancer by offering nutritional counseling and medically tailored meals. Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation awarded $2.3 million to Colleen Spees, PhD, RD, and Carolyn Presley, MD, MPH to fund the project.
 

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NCI Moonshot Grant to Boost Hereditary Cancer Identification

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
An initiative to establish a streamlined process for collection of family health histories could set the stage for a standardized system to make the information easily accessible. The project is supported by a $5.3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Moonshot program. This is the second large Cancer Moonshot grant awarded to Vanderbilt researchers. Another team received an $11 million grant last year for colorectal cancer research.
 

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Prostate Cancer Foundation Awards Recognize SKCC Researchers

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health
The Prostate Cancer Foundation has awarded the 2019 PCF VAlor Challenge Award to a team of Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health researchers led by Veda N. Giri, MD. The $1 million grant will support the development of technology-based tools that will enhance engagement of physicians, patients, and the public regarding prostate cancer genetics and genetic testing.  Additionally, Raffaella Pippa, PhD, has been recognized with the 2019 PCF Young Investigator Award in Honor of H. Ward Hamlin, Jr.
 

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WVU Names Interim Director

WVU Names Interim Director
WVU Cancer Institute
Hannah Hazard-Jenkins, MD, has been named interim director of the WVU Cancer Institute, effective January 2020. As the director of clinical services for the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, Dr. Hazard-Jenkins manages clinical affairs and outpatient services as well as the cancer institute’s statewide network of cancer care.
 

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New Chief Nursing Officer Named

New Chief Nursing Officer Named
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and RWJBarnabas Health welcome Carolyn Hayes, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, as the new chief nursing officer. She will oversee nursing at Rutgers Cancer Institute and oncology service line-related nursing across RWJBarnabas, ensuring nursing excellence throughout an integrated cancer care model.
 

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Urologic Cancer Expert Joins VICC as Chief of Clinical Trials

Urologic Cancer Expert Joins VICC as Chief of Clinical Trials
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Brian Rini, MD, a leader in genitourinary oncology, kidney cancer, and clinical drug development, will join Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in January 2020 as the inaugural chief of clinical trials. Dr. Rini was recruited from the Cleveland Clinic, where he currently serves as director of the Genitourinary Cancer Program and professor of medicine at the Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University.
 

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Director of Patient Access Named

Director of Patient Access Named
Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center
Jennifer Kennedy-Stovall has been named director of patient access at Duke Cancer Institute. She previously served as director of patient access support services at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she provided strategic direction for the institution’s main centralized contact centers.
 

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Genetic 'Fingerprint' May ID Breast Cancer Patients Likely to Benefit From Potentially Toxic Chemo

Genetic 'Fingerprint' May ID Breast Cancer Patients Likely to Benefit From Potentially Toxic Chemo
Stanford Cancer Institute
Women with early-stage breast cancer that has a specific pattern of gene expression are more likely than others to benefit from treatment with a class of common but potentially harmful chemotherapy drugs called anthracyclines, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Christina Curtis, PhD, and Gerald Crabtree, MD, are senior authors.
 

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Secondary Surgery Does Not Improve Overall Survival for Recurrent Ovarian Cancer Patients

Secondary Surgery Does Not Improve Overall Survival for Recurrent Ovarian Cancer Patients
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have reported that secondary tumor-reduction, or cytoreduction, surgery followed by chemotherapy did not result in longer survival than chemotherapy alone in patients with platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer. Robert L. Coleman, MD, is lead investigator.
 

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Kidney Cancer Study Uncovers New Subtypes and Clues to Better Diagnosis, Treatment

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University
In what is believed to be the most comprehensive molecular characterization to date of the most common—and often treatment-resistant—form of kidney cancer, researchers at Johns Hopkins’ departments of pathology and oncology, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine report evidence for at least three distinct subtypes of clear cell renal cell carcinoma, along with new revelations about the proteins that define them.
 

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Study IDs Effects of Bazedoxifene and Conjugated Estrogen on Breast Cancer Risk Biomarkers

Study IDs Effects of Bazedoxifene and Conjugated Estrogen on Breast Cancer Risk Biomarkers
The University of Kansas Cancer Center
Researchers at KU Cancer Center have identified an agent that improves risk biomarkers for breast cancer while reducing menopausal side effects in women at high risk for breast cancer. Prompted by a preclinical study that suggested a medication containing estrogen and anti-estrogen bazedoxifene may help prevent breast cancer, Carol Fabian, MD, and her team conducted a six-month pilot study of the product, called Duavee®.
 

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Catchy Headlines for Health Awareness Campaigns Not Enough to Inspire Action

Catchy Headlines for Health Awareness Campaigns Not Enough to Inspire Action
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
A new study reveals that the internet popularity of health awareness campaigns may not always translate into a greater interest in related health behaviors. Researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of USC compared Pinktober and Movember, two month-long cancer outreach campaigns with similar online popularity based on six years of search traffic data. Giovanni Cacciamani, MD, is principal investigator.
 

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Clues to Improve Cancer Immunotherapy Revealed

Clues to Improve Cancer Immunotherapy Revealed
Siteman Cancer Center
A new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates a way for cancer immunotherapy to spur a more robust immune response. Such knowledge could lead to the development of better cancer vaccines and more effective immunotherapy drugs called checkpoint inhibitors. Senior author is Robert D. Schreiber, PhD.
 

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Nearly One-Quarter of Completed Lung Cancer Clinical Trial Results Are Not Published

Nearly One-Quarter of Completed Lung Cancer Clinical Trial Results Are Not Published
Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Despite the lengthy time and money commitments that are required to conduct clinical trials, a new analysis has found that up to one-fourth of completed lung cancer clinical trial results are not published, depriving patients, the research community, and the public of a complete picture of the current state of the science. Chul Kim, MD, MPH, is the senior investigator for this work.
 

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Cancer Research Stars Align to Develop Ovarian Cancer Detection Test

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Four top teams of ovarian cancer researchers are uniting efforts in an unprecedented collaboration aimed at enabling early detection and perhaps prevention of many ovarian cancers. Funded by a developmental grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, the initiative will bring together researchers from both government and academic centers to apply emerging technologies to this pressing challenge to discover biomarkers for early detection of ovarian cancer.
 

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Oxygen-Starved Tumor Cells Have Survival Advantage That Promotes Cancer Spread

Oxygen-Starved Tumor Cells Have Survival Advantage That Promotes Cancer Spread
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University
Using cells from human breast cancers and mouse breast cancer models, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center say they have significant new evidence that tumor cells exposed to low-oxygen conditions have an advantage when it comes to invading and surviving in the bloodstream. Daniele Gilkes, PhD, is study leader.
 

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Protein Decoy Stymies Lung Cancer Growth in Mice

Stanford Cancer Institute
Scientists at Stanford and UC San Francisco have developed an experimental drug that targets a currently untreatable type of lung cancer responsible for generating roughly 500,000 newly diagnosed cases worldwide each year. The researchers slowed the spread of this cancer in mice by neutralizing a single protein that would otherwise set off a chain reaction, causing runaway growth.
 

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Spread of Breast Cancer Halted by Blocking Metastasis-Promoting Enzyme

UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
In a breakthrough with important implications for the future of immunotherapy for breast cancer, UC San Francisco scientists have found that blocking the activity of a single enzyme can prevent a common type of breast cancer from spreading to distant organs.
 

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RNA Helps Virus Create 'Zombie' Cells, Cause Cancer

WVU Cancer Institute
Ivan Martinez, PhD, is exploring how HPV produces and modifies tiny molecules of RNA—called "non-coding RNAs"—in infected human cells. Using cell lines from cervical and head and neck cancers that test positive for HPV, he’s investigating how the virus uses these RNAs to trick the human cells into multiplying too fast and forming tumors.
 

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Lasting Tumor Regression of Leukemia and Lymphoma in Mouse Models Achieved

University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center
Researchers at Rogel Cancer Center have taken a promising new approach to targeting STAT3 — developing a small-molecule compound that harnesses the power of a natural cellular "cleanup" system to get rid of it entirely, rather than traditional methods that have tried to block its action. The U-M compound was able to achieve a long-lasting and nearly complete elimination of tumors in mouse models of leukemia and lymphoma.
 

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Complex Cellular Machine Visualized to Yield New Cancer Insights

Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah
Cellular machines that control chromosome structure, such as the RSC complex, are mutated in about one-fifth of all human cancers. Now, for the first time, scientists have developed a high-resolution visual map of this multi-protein machine, elucidating how the RSC complex works and what role it has in healthy and cancer cells. The study was co-led by HCI cancer researcher Bradley Cairns, PhD, along with Ning Gao, PhD, at Peking University, and Zhucheng Chen, PhD, at Tsinghua University in China.
 

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Non-Coding DNA Located Outside Chromosomes May Help Drive Glioblastoma

Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
A new study could explain why drugs will often work for some cancer types, but not others. "We’ve been targeting the cancer-causing gene for therapy, but it turns out we should also think about targeting the switches that are carried along with it," said co-senior author Peter Scacheri, PhD.
 

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Study Helps Hepatitis C Patients, Shows Potential for Drug Approvals

University of Florida Health Cancer Center
In a new kind of real-world study, a "pragmatic" clinical trial, University of Florida researchers found that hepatitis C patients who previously did not respond to oral drug therapy were cured by a recently approved drug regimen. The study showed that the fixed-dose combination of glecaprevir/pibrentasvir, marketed as Mavyret™ by the manufacturer, AbbVie, cured hepatitis C in patients who previously did not respond to sofosbuvir plus an NS5A inhibitor.
 

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International Collaboration for Scientific Training Launched

The Wistar Institute
The Wistar Institute and Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) in the Netherlands formalized a memorandum of understanding between the two institutions to explore a postdoctoral training exchange program in immunology, cancer research, and vaccine biology. The Wistar-Schoemaker International Postdoctoral Fellowship would bring recent PhD graduates trained at LUMC to Wistar to advance their research education under the mentorship of cutting-edge biomedical research leaders.
 

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Cancer Center Jobs

Administrative Director, Clinical Research Office
University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center
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Incyte Research Scholars
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
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Postdoctoral Fellow
LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes, The University of Texas at Austin, Dell Medical School
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Senior Biostatistician, Department of Oncology
LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes, The University of Texas at Austin, Dell Medical School
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Assistant Director, Community Outreach
Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center
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Associate Director for Clinical Research
University of Colorado Cancer Center
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Cancer Center Research Administrator
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami Health System
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Meeting Announcements

4th Annual Cancer Disparities Symposium: Cultivating Science and Community Engagement to Address Cancer Health Disparities

March 6, 2020
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Office of Cancer Disparities Research will present the 4th Annual Cancer Disparities Symposium on March 6, 2020. The symposium will feature keynote presentations by renowned disparities researchers and community leaders, a poster session highlighting academic research and community programs, a networking session, and an interactive panel discussion.
 
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Immunotherapy of Cancer: CAR T Cell to Checkpoint Inhibitors

March 18, 2020
Waldorf Astoria, Las Vegas, NV
City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center will host a two-and-a-half day symposium that addresses the immunologic basis for cellular immunotherapies and how to select and manage patients.

A pre-conference nursing workshop will be held at 5:00 pm PT on March 18. The general session will be held March 19-21. 
 
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