AACI Update | January 2020

Headlines

AACI Marks Milestone With New Member Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

AACI Marks Milestone With New Member Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory AACI welcomes its newest and 100th member, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Cancer Center, one of seven National Cancer Institute-designated basic laboratory cancer centers. Directed by David Tuveson, MD, PhD, the CSHL Cancer Center is committed to exploring the fundamental biology of human cancer. Research at the center covers a broad range of cancer types, including breast, prostate, leukemia, brain, pancreatic, sarcoma, lung, and melanoma. Three scientific research programs provide focus in Gene Regulation & Cell Proliferation; Signal Transduction; and Cancer Genetics. 
 

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Budget Deal Underscores Value of Continued Advocacy

After several weeks of uncertainty, Congress united to pass a budget deal for Fiscal Year 2020. The budget allocates $41.7 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $6.44 billion to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), including $212.5 million targeted toward competitive NCI grants. The boost in funding is a positive development for the cancer community at large.
 

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Call for Abstracts: 12th Annual AACI CRI Meeting

Call for Abstracts: 12th Annual AACI CRI Meeting The AACI Clinical Research Innovation (CRI) Steering Committee is currently soliciting abstracts for the 12th Annual AACI CRI Meeting that will be held July 7-9 in Chicago. This year’s meeting will focus on the future of 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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Nominate a Philanthropy Champion by January 31

Nominate a Philanthropy Champion by January 31 AACI cancer center directors are invited to submit nominations for the 2020 Champion for Cures Award by Friday, January 31. AACI established the award in 2018 to recognize an individual or individuals who, through direct financial support of an AACI cancer center, demonstrate exceptional leadership in advancing cancer research and care and in inspiring others to do the same. Selected by the AACI Board of Directors, the awardee will have gained distinction through their visionary approach to promoting our shared goal of a future without cancer. 
 

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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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AACI Launches Three New Leadership Listservs

AACI has launched three new leadership listservs for administrative directors and medical directors of clinical trials offices and for members of the Physician Clinical Leadership Initiative (PCLI), to allow for greater engagement among AACI members who want to share best practices, challenges, and solutions related to their specific roles. The new listservs are open only to AACI members who hold leadership roles in these areas at their institution. The listservs will be maintained and monitored by AACI staff.
 

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News from the Centers

Nimer Honored With Endowed Chair

Nimer Honored With Endowed Chair
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami Health System
Stephen D. Nimer, MD, director of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, which recently received designation from the National Cancer Institute, has been named the inaugural holder of the Oscar de la Renta Endowed Chair in Cancer Research.
 

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Golemis Named 2019 AAAS Fellow

Golemis Named 2019 AAAS Fellow
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health
Erica Golemis, PhD, leader of the Molecular Therapeutics Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center, has been named a 2019 fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Golemis and her colleagues study tumor-associated defects in protein structure and interactions that underlie the errors in cell signaling that cause aggressive tumor growth. 
 

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Six Rogel Cancer Center Members Named AAAS Fellows

University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center
The University of Michigan led the nation with 22 faculty members elected as 2019 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), including six members of the U-M Rogel Cancer Center: Maria G. Castro, PhDJun Li, PhDLinda C. Samuelson, PhD; Emily Scott, PhDShaomeng Wang, PhD; and Weiping Zou, MD, PhD.
 

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Second Largest Gift in Jefferson History to Pave Way for New Biomedical Research Building

Second Largest Gift in Jefferson History to Pave Way for New Biomedical Research Building
Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health
Thomas Jefferson University has received a $70 million gift from Sidney and Caroline Kimmel. The Caroline Kimmel Biomedical Research Building will provide Jefferson scientists with leading-edge technology and laboratories. AACI Vice President/President-elect, Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD, is Enterprise Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health.

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Grant Received for Innovative Approach to Attacking Metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Grant Received for Innovative Approach to Attacking Metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health
Jeffrey Peterson, PhD, has been awarded a $1.4 million grant by the U.S. Department of Defense as part of its mission to address important challenges and issues in breast cancer treatment and survival. The goal of this project is to evaluate and exploit the mechanisms of inducing programmed cell death using polyunsaturated fatty acids in triple-negative breast cancer.
 

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Kitajewski Named Interim Director

Kitajewski Named Interim Director
University of Illinois Cancer Center
Jan Kitajewski, PhD, director for basic research at the University of Illinois Cancer Center, is serving as the cancer center's interim director. Dr. Kitajewski replaces Robert Winn, MD, who was recently named director of VCU Massey Cancer Center. Before joining UIC in 2016, Dr. Kitajewski was co-director of the Cancer Signaling Networks program at Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
 

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Moffitt Taps New Chief Digital Innovation Officer

Moffitt Taps New Chief Digital Innovation Officer
Moffitt Cancer Center
Edmondo Robinson, MD, MBA, FACP, has joined Moffitt Cancer Center as the new senior vice president and chief digital innovation officer. With more than 16 years of clinical and technology experience, Dr. Robinson will be responsible for expanding Moffitt’s ecosystem from within and outside of health care to support growth and competitive advantage.
 

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New Target Identified for Advanced Prostate Cancer

New Target Identified for Advanced Prostate Cancer
Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center
Researchers have identified a cell surface receptor that is essential for the function and survival of resistant prostate cancer cells, and showed in laboratory studies that this receptor can be targeted to halt tumor growth. A clinical trial is underway using a drug originally intended for lung diseases. Jiaoti Huang, MD, PhD, is senior author on the study.
 

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New Tumor Suppressor Protein in Prostate Cancer Identified

New Tumor Suppressor Protein in Prostate Cancer Identified
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
A research team led by a Roswell Park scientist has identified the molecule LRIG1 as an important endogenous tumor suppressor in prostate cancer. The team's findings come from preclinical studies showing that overexpression of the LRIG1 protein inhibits prostate cancer development, while reducing naturally occurring LRIG1 promotes prostate tumor development. Dean Tang, PhD, is senior author of the study.
 

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Experimental Kidney Cancer Therapy May Be Better for Repeat Patients Than FDA-Approved Drug

City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
Kidney cancer patients who had already tried two or three different treatments had improved chances of preventing cancer progression with an experimental drug called tivozanib compared to an alternative approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to a City of Hope-led study.
 

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New Prognostic Markers Guide Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Treatment Decisions

New Prognostic Markers Guide Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Treatment Decisions
The University of Kansas Cancer Center
A team comprising members of the SWOG Cancer Research Network, a cancer clinical trials network funded by the National Cancer Institute, has identified two new markers to predict which triple-negative breast cancer patients may benefit from AC chemotherapy, a combination of doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide. Priyanka Sharma, MD, is principal investigator on the project.
 

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Targeted Therapy Drug Helps Women With Aggressive Breast Cancer Live Longer

Targeted Therapy Drug Helps Women With Aggressive Breast Cancer Live Longer
UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
A study led by UCLA researchers found that adding ribociclib to standard hormone therapy significantly improves overall survival in postmenopausal women with advanced hormone-receptor positive/HER2- breast cancer. Senior author of the study is Dennis Slamon, MD, PhD, director of clinical and translational research at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
 

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Researchers Find Gene Mutation Involved in Cancer Progression

Researchers Find Gene Mutation Involved in Cancer Progression
University of Florida Health Cancer Center
University of Florida researchers have found mutation hot spots in a unique class of proteins that could drive cancer progression. "Many of these mutations inactivate the functions of important proteins that prevent tumor formation and cause proteins to stimulate cancer growth," said Jonathan Licht, MD,director of the UF Health Cancer Center and study co-author.
 

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Researchers Predict Which Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Patients May Avoid Recurrence, Those at High Risk of Relapse

Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center

Indiana University School of Medicine researchers have discovered how to predict whether triple-negative breast cancer will recur, and which women are likely to remain disease-free. Milan Radovich, PhD, and Bryan Schneider, MD, found that women whose plasma contained genetic material from a tumor—referred to as circulating tumor DNA, or ctDNA—had only a 56 percent chance of being cancer-free two years following chemotherapy and surgery. Patients who did not have ctDNA in their plasma had an 81 percent chance that the cancer would not return after the same amount of time.

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Access to Clinical Trials May Drive Differences in Childhood Hodgkin Lymphoma Outcomes

Access to Clinical Trials May Drive Differences in Childhood Hodgkin Lymphoma Outcomes
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Research led by pediatric oncologist Kara Kelly, MD, at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center has confirmed what several earlier studies showed: that overall survival is significantly lower for nonwhite children and adolescents with Hodgkin lymphoma than for white patients with the same disease.
 

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Acupuncture Reduces Radiation-Induced Dry Mouth for Cancer Patients

Acupuncture Reduces Radiation-Induced Dry Mouth for Cancer Patients
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
After receiving acupuncture treatment three days a week during the course of radiation treatment, head and neck cancer patients experienced less dry mouth, according to study results from researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The study's principal investigator is Lorenzo Cohen, PhD.
 

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Glow-in-the-Dark Cells Show Mutations Driving Malignancy

Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center
Duke Cancer Institute researchers have observed how stem cell mutations quietly arise and spread throughout a widening field of the colon until they eventually become a malignancy. Using an innovative modeling system in mice, the researchers visually tagged colon cancer mutations by causing stem cells to glow. Mutations found in colon cancer were then visualized in the animals, illuminating a sort of tournament-to-the-death underway in the intestine in which one or another mutation prevailed to become the driving force of a malignancy.
 

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Immune Outposts Inside Tumors Predict Post-Surgery Outcomes

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
The immune system establishes "forward operating bases," or lymph node-like structures, inside the tumors of some patients with kidney and other urologic cancers, researchers at Winship Cancer Institute have discovered. Patients with well-supported immune cells in their tumors are more likely to control their cancers’ growth for a longer time — findings that could guide treatment decisions after surgery for kidney cancer.
 

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How Seaweed Might Prevent Colon Cancer and Digestive Tract Inflammation

University of Florida Health Cancer Center
Consuming a seaweed found near the Florida Keys may offer health benefits in preventing colon cancer and inflammatory diseases of the digestive tract, according to researchers in the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. A comprehensive multiyear study identified seaweed compounds responsible for anti-inflammatory activities and their mechanism of action. 
 

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Machine Learning, Imaging Technique May Boost Colon Cancer Diagnosis

Siteman Cancer Center
University of Washington researchers are developing a new imaging technique that can provide accurate, real-time, computer-aided diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Using deep learning, a type of machine learning, they used the technique on more than 26,000 individual frames of imaging data from colorectal tissue samples to determine the method’s accuracy. Compared with pathology reports, they identified tumors with 100-percent accuracy in this pilot study.
 

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Researchers Find Protein Promotes Cancer, Suppresses Anti-Tumor Immunity

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have found that a protein involved in immune response to microbes also can fuel cancer development and suppress immune response to the disease. Working in mouse models of lung cancer, the team found TANK-binding kinase 1 and its adaptor protein TBK-binding protein 1 contribute to tumorigenesis when they are activated by growth factors rather than by innate immune mechanisms.
 

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Researchers Program Cancer-Fighting Cells to Resist Exhaustion, Attack Solid Tumors in Mice

Researchers Program Cancer-Fighting Cells to Resist Exhaustion, Attack Solid Tumors in Mice
Stanford Cancer Institute
A new approach to programming cancer-fighting immune cells called CAR T cells can prolong their activity and increase their effectiveness against human cancer cells grown in the laboratory and in mice, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Crystal Mackall, MD, is senior author of the study.
 

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Annual Over Biennial Mammograms Linked to Less Advanced Breast Cancer

University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center
A new study makes a case for getting a mammogram every year instead of every other year. Women diagnosed with breast cancer after receiving yearly mammograms had smaller tumors and less advanced disease than women who had mammograms every other year, researchers from the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center found.
 

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Rapid Tissue Donation Program Offers Feasible Approach to Improving Research

Moffitt Cancer Center
In a new study,  Moffitt Cancer Center scientists describe a community-based program called the Rapid Tissue Donation protocol. It enables patients to consent to donating tumor tissue and blood samples for research purposes after their death. The samples provided by patients postmortem enable researchers to study the genetic and molecular makeup of primary and metastatic tumors after the patient failed treatment, and to compare those finding with what was known about the patient during earlier phases of their therapy. 
 

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Study Shows Inhibition of Gene Helps Overcome Resistance to Immunotherapy

UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
A new study from scientists at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center helps explain why some people with advanced cancer may not respond to one of the leading immunotherapies, PD-1 blockade, and how a new combination approach may help overcome resistance to the immunotherapy drug.
 

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Protein Overexpression Tied to Pancreatic Cancer

Protein Overexpression Tied to Pancreatic Cancer
The University of Kansas Cancer Center
A preclinical study led by researchers at KU Cancer Center has identified a potential new target in the treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, the most common type of pancreatic cancer. According to principal investigator Animesh Dhar, PhD, a protein called histone lysine demethylase 3A, plays a role in pancreatic cancer tumor development and regulates DCLK1, a well-known pancreatic cancer stem cell marker.
 

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Tanning Salons Cluster in Gay Neighborhoods in Large U.S. Cities, Study Finds

Tanning Salons Cluster in Gay Neighborhoods in Large U.S. Cities, Study Finds
Stanford Cancer Institute
Neighborhoods with high proportions of gay and bisexual men are twice as likely to have an indoor tanning salon as neighborhoods with fewer sexual minority men, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Eleni Linos, MD, MPH, is senior author of the study.
 

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New State Bill Would Remove Barriers to Treatment Access for Stage IV Cancer Patients

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute
Together with two state legislators, OSUCCC – James has announced new legislation that would ensure immediate access to treatment for stage IV cancer patients in Ohio. Under the proposed bill, Ohio insurance providers would be required to eliminate "fail first" provisions that require patients to first try an insurer’s preferred and often generic alternative drug prior to receiving financial coverage for the therapy prescribed by a treating physician.
 

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Cancer Center Jobs

Cancer Center Director
The University of Arizona Cancer Center
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Clinical Research Manager - Clinical Operations
Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
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Deputy Associate Director for Administration
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
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Program Manager - Clinical Research Finance
Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
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Program Manager - Survivorship, Lifestyle, and Supportive Health
Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
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Director, Clinical Trials
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
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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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Cancer Stem Cell Conference 2020

August 4, 2020
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and the National Center for Regenerative Medicine will host Cancer Stem Cell Conference 2020. Join world-class investigators for this three-day summit and network with scientists and clinicians advancing cancer stem cell research and therapeutic applications. 

Registration will open in February 2020. 
 
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