AACI Update | February 2019

Headlines

$30 Million Gift Will Transform University of Alabama Cancer Center

$30 Million Gift Will Transform University of Alabama Cancer Center O’Neal Industries, Inc., a family-owned global business based in Birmingham, and its shareholders have given the largest single gift in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s history—a $30 million donation to the comprehensive cancer center—which will allow the center to change the lives of more patients and families through transformational cancer research, patient care, education, and prevention. Michael J. Birrer, MD, PhD, is director of the cancer center, now known as the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  
 

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Join Us for the 2019 AACI/AACR Hill Day

Join Us for the 2019 AACI/AACR Hill Day

AACI and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will co-host the 2019 Hill Day in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, April 30. AACI is encouraging its U.S. members to send at least one representative to Washington to advocate on your center’s behalf—and this year, for the first time, AACI will offer scholarships to support the participation of patient advocates at Hill Day, giving them an opportunity to share their impactful stories with legislators. 

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CAR T Listserv Now Open to AACI Members

AACI has launched a CAR T listserv to allow for greater engagement among members who want to share best practices, challenges, and solutions related to CAR T-cell therapy implementation. The listserv was created as part of the larger CAR T Initiative, which aims to help guide AACI members in implementing CAR T-cell therapy programs at cancer centers across North America. The CAR T listserv is open only to AACI members.

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AACI Welcomes ASTRO as New Sustaining Member

AACI Welcomes ASTRO as New Sustaining Member AACI kicked off 2019 by welcoming a new sustaining member. The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is the premier radiation oncology society in the world. ASTRO’s membership is comprised of physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, and other health care professionals who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies—a critical tool in the fight against cancer. The society's mission is to advance and elevate the field of radiation oncology.

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Call for Abstracts for the 11th Annual AACI CRI Meeting

The AACI Clinical Research Innovation (CRI) Steering Committee is currently soliciting abstracts for the 11th Annual AACI CRI Meeting that will be held July 9-11 in Chicago. This year’s meeting theme will focus on strategies to maximize innovation to advance cancer clinical research. The purpose of the abstracts is to inform meeting attendees about clinical trials office challenges and solutions implemented at AACI cancer centers.
 

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AACI Changes, Member Benefits Featured in Report

AACI Changes, Member Benefits Featured in Report
2018 was a year of transitions for AACI—a new president and executive director, fresh initiatives, a redesigned website and newsletter, and an expanded staff to better serve AACI’s 98 cancer center members. These are just a few of the highlights covered in the 2018 AACI Report.

In 2019, AACI will continue to develop programming that supports the interests of its members and provide peer-to-peer networking opportunities for cancer center leadership.
 

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News from the Centers

Gerson Tapped for Biden Cancer Working Group

Gerson Tapped for Biden Cancer Working Group
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
AACI Immediate Past President Stanton L. Gerson, MD, director, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been named to the Biden Cancer Initiative Data Sharing Working Group. The group's goal is to gather evidence to show that standardized collection of a new minimum set of cancer-specific data elements can inform better clinical decision making and alignment within the cancer community.
 

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Weiner Named a National Academy of Inventors Fellow

Weiner Named a National Academy of Inventors Fellow
Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has named Louis M. Weiner, MD, director of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, to its 2018 class of fellows. An internationally recognized medical oncologist specializing in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers, Dr. Weiner is also an accomplished immunotherapy researcher.
 

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Neurosurgeon-scientist Honored for Work in Lab, Clinic

Neurosurgeon-scientist Honored for Work in Lab, Clinic
UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Linda Liau, MD, PhD, MBA, has been awarded the Abhijit Guha Award for her pioneering work on treating brain tumors. Established in memory of the late Dr. Abhijit Guha, the award is jointly sponsored by the Society for Neuro-Oncology and the Joint Section on Tumors of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. 
 

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Soper Inducted into AIMBE College of Fellows

Soper Inducted into AIMBE College of Fellows
The University of Kansas Cancer Center
Steven Soper, PhD, was elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biomedical Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows. The AIMBE College of Fellows represents the top 2 percent of the medical and biological engineering community. Dr. Soper is a leading researcher in the generation of novel biomedical devices, concentrating on in vitro cancer diagnostics based on lab-on-a-chip technologies. 
 

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Puzanov Honored for Melanoma Research

Puzanov Honored for Melanoma Research
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Igor Puzanov, MD, MSci, FACP, was honored for his “outstanding and lifelong contributions to melanoma research” during the just-concluded Melanoma and Immunotherapy Bridge research meeting in Naples, Italy. Dr. Puzanov, who is chief of melanoma and director of the Early Phase Clinical Trials Program at Roswell Park, received the award from Italy’s Fondazione Melanoma, or Melanoma Foundation.
 

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Khabele Elected as ASCI Member

Khabele Elected as ASCI Member
The University of Kansas Cancer Center
Dineo Khabele, MD, director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center’s gynecologic oncology division, has been elected a new member to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) for 2019. Dr. Khabele is one of five physician-scientists in the history of KU Medical Center to be elected to ASCI, and she is one of only three gynecologic oncologists to ever receive it.
 

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Ruckdeschel Named to Lung Roundtable

Ruckdeschel Named to Lung Roundtable
University of Mississippi Medical Center Cancer Institute
John Ruckdeschel, MD, University of Mississippi Medical Center Cancer Institute director, has been named to the National Lung Cancer Roundtable. Established by the American Cancer Society in 2017, the roundtable gathers experts dedicated to reducing the incidence of and deaths from lung cancer through appropriate screening, treatment, and prevention services.
 

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Chen Honored with Chair in Oncology

Chen Honored with Chair in Oncology
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
Jing Chen, PhD, professor and director of the Division of Basic & Translational Science in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology in the Emory University School of Medicine, has been named the R. Randall Rollins Chair in Oncology. 
 

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Osley Appointed to NCI Board for Basic Sciences

Osley Appointed to NCI Board for Basic Sciences
University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center

Mary Ann Osley, PhD, has been appointed to a four-year term on the NCI Board of Scientific Counselors for Basic Sciences, which advises on scientific program policy and the direction of basic science research programs. Dr. Osley leads the Cancer Genetics, Epigenetics and Genomics Research Group at the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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Immunologist Named AAAS Fellow

Immunologist Named AAAS Fellow
O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
John F. Kearney, PhD, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Kearney was elected in the Medical Sciences section of AAAS “for his distinguished contributions to immunology, particularly in understanding B cell development and the role of B cells in autoimmune diseases.”
 

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Waller Awarded Professorship

Waller Awarded Professorship
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
The inaugural Rein Saral, MD Professorship in Cancer Medicine was awarded to Edmund K. Waller, MD, PhD, a distinguished Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University investigator and physician. The professorship recognizes Dr. Waller's outstanding contributions and expertise in the area of hematological malignancies and bone marrow/stem cell transplantation.
 

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Lonial Honored with Gray Family Chair in Cancer

Lonial Honored with Gray Family Chair in Cancer
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University

Sagar Lonial, MD, chief medical officer for Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, was honored with the Anne and Bernard Gray Family Chair in Cancer. The endowment honors the life of Mrs. Gray's sister, Karen Ammons Howell, who died of breast cancer.

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Slamon Awarded Prize for Pioneering Research

Slamon Awarded Prize for Pioneering Research
UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Dennis Slamon, MD, PhD, director of the Revlon/UCLA Women’s Cancer Research Program, has been named a co-winner of the 2019 Sjöberg Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and Sweden’s Sjöberg Foundation. Honored for his groundbreaking research in targeted cancer therapies, Dr. Slamon shares the award with Brian Druker, MD, of Oregon Health & Science University.
 

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Dhodapkar Awarded Inaugural Brock Chair

Dhodapkar Awarded Inaugural Brock Chair
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
Madhav V. Dhodapkar, MBBS, director of Winship Cancer Institute's new Center for Cancer Immunology, has been honored as the inaugural holder of the Anise McDaniel Brock Chair. He was also named a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Cancer Innovation at a ceremony in February.
 

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Pelotonia 2018 Generates More Than $27 Million for Cancer Research

Pelotonia 2018 Generates More Than $27 Million for Cancer Research
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
Pelotonia riders and volunteers raised a record-breaking $27.4 million through the 2018 event to benefit cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute. This brings the 10-year total to more than $184 million.
 

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$26 Million 'Grand Challenge' Project Will Probe Role of Inflammation in Cancer

$26 Million 'Grand Challenge' Project Will Probe Role of Inflammation in Cancer
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
UC San Francisco Professor Thea Tlsty, PhD, is a winner of the “Grand Challenge” competition sponsored by Cancer Research UK, an ambitious funding initiative that aims to answer some of the biggest  questions in cancer. Tlsty’s international team will receive $26 million to uncover how chronic inflammation drives some of the most aggressive forms of cancer. 

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Grant to Support Study of E-Cigs, Oral Health

Grant to Support Study of E-Cigs, Oral Health
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

Researchers at the OSUCCC - James, led by Purnima Kumar, DDS, PhD, have landed a five-year, $3.12 million grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research for the first comprehensive examination of biological responses to electronic nicotine delivery systems, or e-cigs.

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NCI-Funded Study Aims to Enhance Glioblastoma Treatment

NCI-Funded Study Aims to Enhance Glioblastoma Treatment
The Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center
Jeongwu Lee, PhD, was awarded a five-year, $2.4 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, to study an FDA-approved drug to enhance treatment of glioblastoma, the most common and lethal form of brain cancer.
 

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Researchers Investigate Nanoimmunotherapies for Cancer

Researchers Investigate Nanoimmunotherapies for Cancer
GW Cancer Center

A GW Cancer Center team has engineered a nanoimmunotherapy combining the advantages of nanotechnology and immunotherapy to treat cancer. The goal of this combination is to increase the potency of immune checkpoint inhibitors to a significantly larger proportion of patients. Rohan Fernandes, PhD, received more than $1.6 million from the National Institutes of Health for the study.

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Grant Helps Unravel Role of Glucose, Fats in Bone Cancer

Grant Helps Unravel Role of Glucose, Fats in Bone Cancer
Indiana University Melvin & Bren Simon Cancer Center
A $1.2 million Department of Defense grant has been awarded to Theresa Guise, MD, whose research explores a cascade of events that decreases quality of life and treatment responses for patients with metastatic bone cancer. Her work aims to understand the role of the tumor-bone microenvironment on glucose metabolism and the role of a high-fat diet  in the process.
 

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Department of Defense Awards Nearly $1 Million to Study Prostate Cancer Drug Resistance

Department of Defense Awards Nearly $1 Million to Study Prostate Cancer Drug Resistance
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
As part of their Idea Award program, the Department of Defense has awarded Sanjay Gupta, PhD, MS, a total of $962,000 over three years to investigate drug resistance mechanisms in prostate cancer. The program aims to improve quality of life by decreasing the impact of cancer on active duty service members and their communities.
 

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$75 Million Gift to Establish Blood Cancer Center

Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone
An anonymous $75 million gift to NYU Langone Health and its Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center will establish a Center for Blood Cancers housing a new, world-class program for multiple myeloma care and research. The new center will significantly expand the center’s capacity to study and treat blood cancers. 
 

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Patient Feedback Improves Cancer Treatments

Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
A major new study now underway aims to better incorporate patient feedback into clinical trials that help determine which new cancer treatments will be approved for use. The project, supported by a five-year, $3.4 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, involves statisticians, clinicians, and patient advocates. The team is analyzing data from previous and ongoing clinical trials to design new statistical measurement criteria for assessing how well trial participants tolerate experimental therapies.
 

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NCI Awards Lymphoma SPORE Grant

City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
City of Hope has received its third lymphoma Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), one of four current NCI-supported lymphoma SPORE grants. It covers a five-year period and totals $12.5 million. This interdisciplinary research is currently advanced in the Toni Stephenson Lymphoma Center, which is the foundation of City of Hope's Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation Institute.
 

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Brawley to Direct Outreach, Disparities Research

Brawley to Direct Outreach, Disparities Research
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University

Otis W. Brawley, MD, former chief medical and scientific officer for the American Cancer Society, has been named a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University. He will lead interdisciplinary research on cancer health disparities and outreach programs as Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center’s associate director for community outreach and engagement.
 

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Geneticist Joins UMMC Cancer Institute

Geneticist Joins UMMC Cancer Institute
University of Mississippi Medical Center Cancer Institute
Yann Gibert, PhD, has joined the University of Mississippi Medical Center Cancer Institute as an associate professor in the CI Cancer Molecular Biology Program and as an associate professor in the UMMC Department of Cell and Molecular Biology.
 

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Patel to Lead Multidisciplinary Cutaneous Oncology Program

Patel to Lead Multidisciplinary Cutaneous Oncology Program
GW Cancer Center

The George Washington University (GW) Cancer Center has announced that Vishal A. Patel, MD, FAAD, FADMC, has joined the cancer center. He will serve as the director of the  recently established Cutaneous Oncology Program. Dr. Patel most recently led the Division of Dermatologic Surgery and directed the High Risk Skin Cancer Clinic at Columbia University in New York City.

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Artificial Intelligence Officer Hired

Artificial Intelligence Officer Hired
Moffitt Cancer Center

J. Ross Mitchell, PhD, has joined Moffitt Cancer Center as the artificial intelligence officer. The new role will lead the development of digital tools that utilize computer science to improve cancer care. A senior member of Moffitt's Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Mitchell will collaborate with fellow research faculty to optimize projects with artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

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Hazlehurst Named Associate Director

Hazlehurst Named Associate Director
WVU Cancer Institute
Lori Hazlehurst, PhD, has been named as the associate director for basic research at the WVU Cancer Institute. In this role, she will work closely with the leadership team of the institute to implement strategic goals to increase the impact of basic and translational cancer research at WVU. The primary strategy is to increase the number of NIH-funded investigators focused on cancer research at WVU.

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Medical Director Named for Center for Brain and Spine Metastasis

Medical Director Named for Center for Brain and Spine Metastasis
Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center
Medical oncologist Carey Anders, MD, has been appointed medical director for the DCI Center for Brain and Spine Metastasis and has joined the Breast Medical Oncology group. Previously, Dr. Anders was leader of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Breast Section.
 

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Meyerson Named Chief of Thoracic Surgery

Meyerson Named Chief of Thoracic Surgery
UK Markey Cancer Center
Thoracic surgeon and educator Shari Meyerson, MD, MEd, has joined UK HealthCare as the new chief of thoracic surgery. Meyerson will direct the section of thoracic surgery as well as provide surgical leadership to the thoracic oncology team at the UK Markey Cancer Center. She comes to UK after nearly a decade at Northwestern University.
 

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New Vice Chair of Genitourinary Oncology Announced

New Vice Chair of Genitourinary Oncology Announced
Moffitt Cancer Center

Manish Kohli, MD, has joined Moffitt Cancer Center as the vice chair of the Department of Genitourinary Oncology. He has an extensive research background, focusing on bringing individualized care to patients. Dr. Kohli joins Moffitt from the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, where he conducted clinical trials in advanced stages of prostate, kidney, bladder, and testicular cancers.

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Improved Understanding of Renal Cell Cancer Mutations, Identification of Biomarkers May Inform Future Treatment

Improved Understanding of Renal Cell Cancer Mutations, Identification of Biomarkers May Inform Future Treatment
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health
While renal cell cancer treatments have improved as researchers gained a deeper understanding of the disease’s genetics and genomics, there is an opportunity to make a greater difference by identifying biomarkers and mutations that will help oncologists select the most effective treatments for individual patients, according to a recent paper by Daniel M. Geynisman, MD.
 

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Advanced Drug Delivery System with Highest Tumor-Targeting Ability Developed

Advanced Drug Delivery System with Highest Tumor-Targeting Ability Developed
VCU Massey Cancer Center
In pre-clinical studies, VCU Massey Cancer Center scientists, led by Hu Yang, PhD, have developed a novel drug delivery system using nanoparticles that significantly outperformed the tumor-targeting abilities of its predecessors. The researchers are hopeful their findings could lead to improved outcomes and reduced side effects for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
 

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Researchers Aim to Develop Radiation Therapy with Short Exposure Times

Stanford Cancer Institute
New accelerator-based technology being developed by the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University aims to reduce the side effects of cancer radiation therapy by shrinking its duration from minutes to under a second. Researchers at SLAC and Stanford received funding to develop two possible treatments for tumors — one using X-rays, the other using protons. 
 

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HPV Discovery Raises Hope for New Cervical Cancer Treatments

HPV Discovery Raises Hope for New Cervical Cancer Treatments
University of Virginia Cancer Center
Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have made a discovery about human papillomavirus (HPV) that could lead to new treatments for cervical cancer and other cancers caused by the virus. Anindya Dutta, PhD, and his colleagues have determined that an enzyme called USP46 is essential for HPV-induced tumor formation and growth. The enzyme promises to be very susceptible to drugs.

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Improved Survival Shown in Pediatric Hodgkin Lymphoma Patients When Receiving Combined Modality Treatment

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Research from Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey shows improved overall survival at five years for pediatric patients with early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma when treated with chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy versus chemotherapy alone. The work is believed to be the largest retrospective study to date involving this population.
 

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Personalized Medicine Tool Developed for Inherited Colorectal Cancer Syndrome Risk

Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah
An international team of researchers led by Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah has developed, calibrated, and validated a novel tool for identifying the genetic changes in Lynch syndrome genes that are likely to be responsible for causing symptoms of the disease. 
 

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Tumor Microenvironment Targeted to Shut Down Liver Cancer

Tumor Microenvironment Targeted to Shut Down Liver Cancer
VCU Massey Cancer Center

For nearly a decade, VCU Massey Cancer Center researcher Devanand Sarkar, PhD, has uncovered new insights into the development and progression of liver cancer, identifying key genetic drivers and shedding light on unknown associations with obesity and inflammation. He and his colleagues have set their sights on immune cells found in the liver called macrophages, and their findings could lead to novel treatment approaches.

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Engineered Immune Cells Target Pediatric Solid Tumors in Mice

Engineered Immune Cells Target Pediatric Solid Tumors in Mice
Stanford Cancer Institute
Immune cells engineered to attack childhood cancers were able to eradicate different types of pediatric tumors in mice, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The study provides evidence that these engineered cells can target many types of pediatric solid tumors, including brain tumors. Robbie Majzner, MD, is lead author of the study.
 

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Cancer Drugs Speed Repair in Lungs Damaged by Bacterial Infections

Cancer Drugs Speed Repair in Lungs Damaged by Bacterial Infections
Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center
Cancer drugs are able to halt life-threatening bacterial lung infections in mouse models by promoting lung repair, researchers at Duke Health have found. If the findings are confirmed in human studies, the drugs could point to a new weapon against bacterial pneumonia, which afflicts 50,000 people in the U.S. each year. Ann Marie Pendergast, PhD, is the study's senior author.
 

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Exciting Early Results in Trial of Immunotherapy for Myeloma

Exciting Early Results in Trial of Immunotherapy for Myeloma
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Eleven patients had already received numerous treatments for their cancers, some as many as 20 different courses of therapy. Yet their myelomas, almost all classified as “high risk,” kept coming back. These patients were part of a clinical trial led by Damian Green, MD, for a new experimental, immune-harnessing therapy, whose design includes features based on research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. 

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Christmas Berry Plant Could Fight Uveal Melanoma

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health

Researchers at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai have found that a compound extracted from the Christmas berry primrose plant stops the growth of uveal melanoma—a cancer of the eye—in preliminary tests. With further testing, the discovery could lead to new therapeutic options for patients with the cancer.

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Complication Rates, Costs of Invasive Lung Cancer Diagnostic Tests May Be Higher Than Expected

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Complication rates following invasive diagnostic procedures for lung abnormalities were twice as high in the community setting compared to those reported in lung cancer screening trials, and associated downstream costs ranged from $6,320 to $56,845 on average, according to a new study from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
 

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Sprayable Gel Could Help Body Combat Cancer After Surgery

UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Many people who are diagnosed with cancer will undergo some type of surgery to treat their disease. But despite improvements in surgical techniques over the past decade, the cancer often comes back after the procedure. Now, a UCLA-led research team has developed a spray gel embedded with immune-boosting drugs that could help. In a peer-reviewed study, the substance was successful half of the time in awakening lab animals’ immune systems to stop the cancer from recurring and inhibit it from spreading to other parts of the body.
 

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New Algorithm Improves Online Survey Data Reliability

New Algorithm Improves Online Survey Data Reliability
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health
Elizabeth Handorf, PhD, has developed a new method that makes analysis of data collected online more reliable by eliminating repeat responders. Her method identifies clusters of non-independent enrollments that administrators of a study could not otherwise detect. When these low quality participants are omitted from a study, its efficacy can be measured with greater accuracy.
 

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Study Unveils 40 New Mutations Linked to Colorectal Cancer

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
A group of colorectal cancer researchers are using the word “milestone” to describe their new genomic research. The product of more than five years’ work by scientists at 130 institutions, the paper presents results from the most comprehensive genome-wide association study (GWAS) of colorectal cancer risk done to date. Among their findings: 40 new inherited mutations that put people at risk for colorectal cancer, or CRC, the second-deadliest cancer in the world.
 

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Opioid Prescriptions Can Be Drastically Reduced After Surgery with No Increase in Pain

Opioid Prescriptions Can Be Drastically Reduced After Surgery with No Increase in Pain
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
A two-year study by a multidisciplinary team of surgeons and other cancer specialists found that the amount of opioid medications prescribed after surgery can be drastically reduced without negatively affecting pain scores, postoperative complications, or patient requests for additional opioids. Emese Zsiros, MD, PhD, FACOG, is senior author of the study.

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New Insights Regarding Genetic Contribution to Inherited Prostate Cancer

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health
Newly published research from Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health investigators provides a snapshot of the spectrum of genetic changes that are responsible for inherited prostate cancer, supporting current guidelines for genetic testing of patients with prostate cancer, as well as suggesting expanded testing to encompass additional patients.
 

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Targeting an 'Energy Crisis' in the Treatment of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Targeting an 'Energy Crisis' in the Treatment of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
When it comes to stopping a common form of lung cancer, an energy crisis is a good thing. Research from investigators at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey examined a potential approach to cancer therapy that disrupts a cancer cell’s "fuel supply" by targeting a cellular survival mechanism known as autophagy. "Jessie" Yanxiang Guo, PhD, is the senior author of the work.
 

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Team Finds Promise in Precision Medicine Approach to Osteosarcoma

Team Finds Promise in Precision Medicine Approach to Osteosarcoma
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Using a divide and conquer strategy, researchers from the University of California San Francisco have provided a roadmap for the development of a precision medicine approach to osteosarcoma, the most common bone cancer in children and young adults, for which treatment has remained unchanged for more than 30 years. E. Alejandro Sweet-Cordero, MD, is lead author of the study.
 

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Study Shows Progress Toward Melanoma Prevention

UK Markey Cancer Center
A team of University of Kentucky researchers led by Stuart Jarrett, PhD, and John D’Orazio, MD, PhD, have discovered specific protein interactions that may help cells resist ultraviolet damage and carcinogenesis. The study focused on the role of a cell receptor found in melanocytes known as the melanocortin 1 receptor.
 

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Expanded Cord Blood Promising for Use in Adult Bone Marrow Transplants

Expanded Cord Blood Promising for Use in Adult Bone Marrow Transplants
Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center
Umbilical cord blood stem cells that are cultured and expanded outside the body before being used for bone marrow transplant in adult blood cancer patients appear safe and restore blood count recovery faster than standard cord blood. The findings, led by Mitchell Horwitz, MD, are from a Phase I/II study of the biologic treatment, NiCord, at 11 clinical trial sites. 
 

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Drug Target Identified for Chemotherapy-Resistant Ovarian, Breast Cancer

Siteman Cancer Center
Washington University researchers at Siteman Cancer Center may have found a path toward improving the effectiveness of chemotherapy in people with breast or ovarian cancer that is caused by BRCA defects. They have identified a pair of genes that operate in parallel to BRCA. Knocking down the genes increases tumor cells’ susceptibility to a toxic chemical – and potentially to chemotherapy drugs as well. 
 

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Genetic, Metabolic Differences May Explain Diet, Cancer Study Variations

Genetic, Metabolic Differences May Explain Diet, Cancer Study Variations
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
A new study led by Susan McCann, PhD, RD, examines how women of different backgrounds metabolize lignans. What scientists learned may help explain why associations between diet and breast cancer risk have been difficult to demonstrate consistently.
 

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Risk-Adapted Approach to Assessing Kidney Tumor Complexity Recommended

Risk-Adapted Approach to Assessing Kidney Tumor Complexity Recommended
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health
By diving deep into data about more than 1,300 past kidney cancer cases, Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers, led by Robert G. Uzzo, MD, FACS, concluded that there is no compelling cancer-related reason to remove an entire kidney solely based on a tumor’s location in the hilum. Instead, other factors should provide more weight in risk-adapted decisions about whether to do a partial or a radical nephrectomy.
 

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How to Boost Cancer Clinical Trial Participation

How to Boost Cancer Clinical Trial Participation
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
How do you make cancer clinical trials available to more patients? A new study led by Joseph Unger, PhD, MS, at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center offers a tantalizing solution: loosen up the strict eligibility criteria. In a nutshell, the research found that physicians often don’t even discuss potential trial participation with patients who are ineligible due to having another disease. 
 

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Lymph Nodes May Help Determine Course of Pleural Mesothelioma

University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center
University of Maryland School of Medicine surgeons have identified a group of lymph nodes in the chest that appear highly significant in predicting the prognosis for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. The researchers found that presence of cancer in these lymph nodes increased the risk of recurrence or death more than two-fold in patients undergoing mesothelioma surgery.
 

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Novel Strategy for Therapy-Resistant Melanoma with Mutations in the BRAF Gene

The Wistar Institute
Collaborative research by The Wistar Institute and Moffitt Cancer Center has demonstrated that BRAF-targeted therapies render resistant melanoma more sensitive to the attack of killer T cells. This result suggests that adoptive T cell therapy may benefit patients that have become resistant to BRAF inhibitors.
 

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Researchers Develop Urine Test for Bladder Cancer

Stanford Cancer Institute
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a highly sensitive urine test for diagnosing and monitoring bladder cancer. The test involves looking for fragments of cancer DNA in urine samples.
 

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Study: Survival Benefit for Black Men on New Prostate Cancer Drugs

Study: Survival Benefit for Black Men on New Prostate Cancer Drugs
Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center
Recent research led by scientists at the Duke Cancer Institute shows better overall survival rates among black men with metastatic disease who are treated with abiraterone acetate or enzalutamide. Megan Ann McNamara, MD, presented the research at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in February.
 

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A Long Shot Could Bear Fruit

A Long Shot Could Bear Fruit
University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center
UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center's Jeffrey Arterburn, PhD, a medicinal chemist, and Eric Prossnitz, PhD, a molecular biologist, screened thousands of compounds to find two that interact with a receptor called GPER. A startup company, Linnaeus, has licensed one of those compounds to use in combination with an immunotherapy agent and will begin clinical trials in melanoma.
 

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Bioluminescent Deep-Sea Creatures Illuminate Effectiveness of New Cancer Therapies

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
Researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of USC have developed a new laboratory tool, which is poised to improve the development and effectiveness of a burgeoning group of therapies that use patients' immune systems to fight cancer with genetically-engineered CAR T cells. The Topanga assay, named after Topanga Beach in Malibu, uses genes originally isolated from bioluminescent marine organisms. 

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Biomechanics of Phenylalanine Maintenance Illustrated in New Study

Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health
Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers have published a groundbreaking study that describes for the first time the mechanisms of how the amount of amino acid phenylalanine (Phe) is controlled in blood. Accumulation of Phe can cause phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare genetic condition that can result in permanent neurological damage as well as behavioral abnormalities if not properly managed.
 

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Shorter Course of Radiation Therapy Effective in Treating Prostate Cancer

UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
A new UCLA-led study shows that men with low- or intermediate-risk prostate cancer can safely undergo higher doses of radiation over a significantly shorter period of time and still have the same, successful outcomes as from a much longer course of treatment.
 

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Immunotherapy Looks Better Than Chemo for Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University
The first study of the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab as the initial treatment for patients with a rare but aggressive form of skin cancer known as Merkel cell carcinoma reports better responses and longer survival than expected with conventional chemotherapy. The study is the longest observation to date of Merkel cell carcinoma patients treated with any anti-PD-1 immunotherapy drug used in the first line.
 

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Is It Possible to Prevent Breast Cancer Metastasis?

Is It Possible to Prevent Breast Cancer Metastasis?
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, led by translational researcher Cyrus Ghajar, PhD, may have found a way to essentially smother cancer cells in their sleep, preventing them from ever waking up and forming deadly metastatic tumors.
 

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Overcoming Drug Resistance in HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
In a new study, Roswell Park researchers led by Yuesheng Zhang, MD, PhD, report that a new HER2 inhibitor, PEPD-G278D, has the potential to overcome that drug resistance. It is a novel anticancer agent that operates on several different fronts.
 

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Antibody Could Increase Cure Rate for Blood, Immune Disorders

Antibody Could Increase Cure Rate for Blood, Immune Disorders
Stanford Cancer Institute
An antibody-based treatment can gently and effectively eliminate diseased blood-forming stem cells in the bone marrow to prepare for the transplantation of healthy stem cells, according to a study in mice by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Judith Shizuru, MD, PhD, is senior author of the study. 
 

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New Therapeutic Target for Rare Pediatric Cancer

New Therapeutic Target for Rare Pediatric Cancer
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
MD Anderson researchers have found that malignant rhabdoid tumors, a rare pediatric cancer, may be sensitive to drugs that block the cancer cell's ability to dispose of misfolded proteins. The findings provide a therapeutic target for cancers caused by mutations in the SMARCB1 gene. Giannicola Genovese, MD, is the study's corresponding author.
 

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Noninvasive Liquid Biopsies Rapidly, Accurately Determine Response to Cancer Treatment

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University

Results of two clinical studies have added to evidence that blood-based liquid biopsies can accurately track lung cancer treatment responses by measuring circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) during immunotherapy and related treatments. The new studies, described in the December issues of the journal Cancer Research, showed that tracking responses to treatment by measuring ctDNA was a more accurate way of assessing tumor growth or shrinkage than traditional imaging techniques.

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Sitting, Watching TV Linked to Colorectal Cancer Risk Before Age 50

Sitting, Watching TV Linked to Colorectal Cancer Risk Before Age 50
Siteman Cancer Center
A new study has identified a connection between prolonged time spent sitting while watching TV and increased risk of colorectal cancer for Americans under age 50. Young-onset colorectal cancer is increasing in the U.S. and globally, sharply contrasting with the dramatic decreases among older people, largely as a result of cancer screening initiatives. Yin Cao, ScD, MPH, is co-senior author of the study.
 

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Study Finds HIV+ Cancer Patients Benefit From Immunotherapy

Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center

The immunotherapy that has revolutionized treatment of many cancers appears to offer similar benefit to cancer patients living with HIV, say researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Their study focused on whether a relatively new class of drugs called checkpoint inhibitors is both safe and effective in patients with advanced cancer who also live with HIV.

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John Mendelsohn, MD Anderson President Emeritus, Passes Away

John Mendelsohn, MD Anderson President Emeritus, Passes Away
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
John Mendelsohn, MD, president emeritus of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and an internationally acclaimed scientist whose research helped pioneer a new type of cancer therapy, died January 7 at his home in Houston. He was 82. The cause of death was glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer with which he was diagnosed 15 months ago.
 

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First Breast Cancer Patients Treated with GammaPod Radiotherapy

University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center
Radiation oncologists at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC) are now treating patients with the GammaPod™, a new FDA-cleared radiation therapy for early-stage breast cancer. The UMGCCC is the first to treat patients with this system, which was invented by University of Maryland School of Medicine scientists and physicians.
 

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Home-Based Cancer Care Service Launched

Home-Based Cancer Care Service Launched
Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah

Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah has launched a unique new service called Huntsman at Home. This service brings HCI-quality care into the homes of HCI patients, whose medical needs range from symptom management to end-of-life care. Huntsman at Home may also allow patients to be discharged sooner by enabling them to receive follow-up care in their own homes.

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Jefferson to Pursue Purchase of Fox Chase

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health
Thomas Jefferson University and Temple University have signed an agreement that creates an exclusive 90-day window within which to consider and negotiate the acquisition and conduct due diligence by Jefferson of the Fox Chase Cancer Center. The move opens the door to bring together complementary expertise in cancer treatment and research across the greater Philadelphia region and beyond.
 

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Developing and Sustaining an Effective and Resilient Oncology Careforce

Developing and Sustaining an Effective and Resilient Oncology Careforce
National Cancer Policy Forum
Registration is open for a National Cancer Policy Forum workshop, February 11-12, in Washington, DC, that will examine the impact of evolving trends in cancer incidence and care on the oncology careforce. A primary goal of the workshop is to consider opportunities to enhance the delivery of high quality patient care by improving the development and support of the oncology careforce.
 

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ASTRO Announces Research Funding Opportunities

American Society for Radiation Oncology
Each year, the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) funds radiation-specific pilot/seed grants for residents and postdocs and early career development awards for junior faculty. The application period for the following grant programs closes on February 15, 2019
 
  • Resident Seed Grants ($25,000/one year)
  • Physics Seed Grants ($25,000/one year)
  • ASTRO-Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) Early-Career Development Awards ($200,000 over two years)
  • ASTRO-Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) Early-Career Development Awards ($225,000 over three years)
Please email questions to research@astro.org.
 

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Cancer Center Jobs

Administrative Director, Clinical Research Office
University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center
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Regulatory Specialist I
Moffitt Cancer Center
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Associate Operating Officer
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
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Meeting Announcements

Developing and Sustaining an Effective and Resilient Oncology Careforce

February 11, 2019
Washington, DC
This National Cancer Policy Forum workshop will provide a venue for the cancer community to examine the impact of evolving trends in cancer incidence and care on the oncology careforce. 
 
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3rd Annual Mid-Atlantic Extracellular Vesicle Scientific Symposium

February 26, 2019
8:30 AM - 6:00 PM
The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA
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3rd Annual Cancer Disparities Symposium

March 1, 2019
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Cleveland, OH
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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.
 
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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).
 
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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.
 
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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. 
 
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