AACI Update | July 2019

Headlines

AACI to Honor Lowy With Distinguished Scientist Award

AACI to Honor Lowy With Distinguished Scientist Award Douglas R. Lowy, MD, acting director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), will receive the AACI Distinguished Scientist Award on October 21, during the 2019 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting, in Washington, DC. AACI is recognizing Dr. Lowy for his long-term research on the molecular biology of tumor viruses and growth regulation, his role in enabling the development of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, and his exploration of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes and their signaling pathways.
 

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Abstract Winners Selected for AACI CRI Meeting

Abstract Winners Selected for AACI CRI Meeting The AACI Clinical Research Innovation (CRI) Steering Committee and CRI Education Committee have selected three abstracts from 66 submissions for formal presentation at the 11th Annual AACI CRI Meeting, July 9-11, in Chicago. Winning abstract authors represent Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Hollings Cancer Center, Medical University of South Carolina; and Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.
 

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How the Lower Health Care Costs Act Will Impact the Cancer Community

How the Lower Health Care Costs Act Will Impact the Cancer Community On Wednesday, June 26,  the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) approved S. 1541, the Tobacco-Free Youth Act. The bill, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), would raise the national age for purchasing tobacco products to 21. S. 1541 was included in the manager’s amendment of a larger Senate HELP package, S. 1895, the Lower Health Care Costs Act, authored by Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), which aims to end surprise medical bills. 
 

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AACI Endorses Call for Elimination of HPV-Related Cancers

AACI Endorses Call for Elimination of HPV-Related Cancers On June 27, AACI joined the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Biden Cancer Initiative, and Moffitt Cancer Center to host a congressional briefing titled "Let’s End HPV-related Cancers" in Washington, DC. In conjunction with the briefing, leading health organizations, patient advocates, and AACI cancer centers issued a call to action urging policymakers and other stakeholders to help eliminate cervical cancer and other cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). 
 

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News from the Centers

Kuettel Named to National Health Care Advisory Panel

Kuettel Named to National Health Care Advisory Panel
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Michael Kuettel, MD, MBA, PhD, FASTRO, professor and Barbara C. & George H. Hyde Chair in Radiation Medicine at Roswell Park, has been appointed to the Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment. The panel provides expert guidance to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on issues affecting outpatient medical care. 

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Mentorship, Collaboration Inspire a Passion for Improving Outcomes for Older Adults With Cancer

Mentorship, Collaboration Inspire a Passion for Improving Outcomes for Older Adults With Cancer
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Li-Wen Huang, MD, received the 2019 Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Endowed Young Investigator Award in Geriatric Oncology in honor of Arti Hurria, MD, FASCO. Dr. Huang, a hematology oncology fellow at UC San Francisco, credits mentorship within a close-knit community with driving interest in geriatric oncology.
 

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Cancer Center Earns CEO Cancer Gold Standard Re-Accreditation

Cancer Center Earns CEO Cancer Gold Standard Re-Accreditation
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health
Fox Chase Cancer Center has earned CEO Cancer Gold Standard re-accreditation for satisfying the latest comprehensive requirements of the Gold Standard. Founded by President George H.W. Bush, the CEO Roundtable on Cancer created the Gold Standard to recognize employers for taking exceptional health and wellness measures on behalf of their employees. Richard I. Fisher, MD, is president and CEO of Fox Chase.

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City of Hope to Invest More Than $1 Billion in a Comprehensive Cancer Campus

City of Hope to Invest More Than $1 Billion in a Comprehensive Cancer Campus
City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
City of Hope has revealed plans to invest more than $1 billion to develop and support a new comprehensive cancer campus at FivePoint Gateway in Orange County, accelerating highly specialized cancer care, Phase I-III clinical trials, and precision medicine and early detection to the nation’s sixth most populous county.
 

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NCI Renews Roswell Park Comprehensive Designation

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has affirmed its support for Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, renewing its status as one of 50 Comprehensive Cancer Centers and awarding a $22.5 million Cancer Center Support Grant to fund core research and education programs — the largest such award and highest application score in Roswell Park’s history. Roswell Park has held this NCI designation continuously since it became one of the nation’s first Comprehensive Cancer Centers more than 45 years ago.
 

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UK Part of $11 Million Project to Combat Cervical Cancer in Appalachia

UK Markey Cancer Center
A new public health initiative supported by $11 million in funding from the National Cancer Institute aims to address the burden of cervical cancer incidence and mortality in Appalachia. The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, in partnership with NCI-designated cancer center at The Ohio State University and University of Virginia, along with investigators at West Virginia University, is collaborating on a project that will involve 10 health systems in the Appalachian region.
 

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$5.4 Million Awarded to Investigate Novel Therapies for Liver Cancer

$5.4 Million Awarded to Investigate Novel Therapies for Liver Cancer
VCU Massey Cancer Center
Researchers at VCU Massey Cancer Center were awarded $5.4 million from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to investigate the potential for novel therapies to treat hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer. Devanand Sarkar, PhD, received two R01 grants to identify key genetic players that regulate HCC and translate that knowledge into effective targeted therapies. 
 

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Researchers Earn $4.1 Million 'Moonshot' Grant

Researchers Earn $4.1 Million 'Moonshot' Grant
Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center
Researchers from Indiana University and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have been awarded a $4.1 million National Cancer Institute "Cancer Moonshot" grant to develop immunotherapy treatments for pediatric cancers. Sophie Paczesny, MD, PhD, a researcher at the IU Simon Cancer Center, will collaborate with Nai-Kong Cheung, MD, PhD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering.
 

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Duke BRPC Receives $3.4 Million From NCI

Duke BRPC Receives $3.4 Million From NCI
Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center
Shannon J. McCall, MD, has received a grant of over $3.4 million from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to support the Duke BioRepository & Precision Pathology Center (BRPC). The BRPC will join the NCI’s Cooperative Human Tissue Network, which was established in 1987 to accelerate the pace of cancer research through improved access to human tissue and tissue processing services.
 

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Grant Will Help Show How Breastfeeding Protects Against Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute
The National Cancer Institute has awarded a $2.2 million, five-year grant to help OSUCCC – James researchers led by principal investigator Bhuvaneswari Ramaswamy, MD, address cancer disparity by defining the molecular link between breastfeeding and triple-negative breast cancer.
 

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$1.75 Million Grant Awarded to Study New Therapies for Metastatic Melanoma

$1.75 Million Grant Awarded to Study New Therapies for Metastatic Melanoma
UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
Alan Tackett, PhD, a cancer researcher at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), has received a five-year, $1.75 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to identify new tumor targets in the treatment of metastatic melanoma. In 2016, Dr. Tackett received funding from the National Institutes of Health to provide a biomarker discovery platform to researchers.
 

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Zuckerberg Initiative Picks IU Team for Human Cell Atlas Award

Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has announced that a team of Indiana University School of Medicine researchers is joining a select group of scientists, computational biologists, software engineers and physicians as winners of the CZI Seed Networks for the Human Cell Atlas awards.
 

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Goal of New BMT Medical Director: 'Make It Happen'

Goal of New BMT Medical Director: 'Make It Happen'
Hollings Cancer Center, Medical University of South Carolina
Michelle Hudspeth, MD, is the new medical director of the Blood & Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program at Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Hudspeth has served as medical director of the pediatric oncology program since 2007 and director of quality for the adult and pediatric BMT program since 2008.
 

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Biomarker Predicts Which Pancreatic Cysts May Become Cancerous

Biomarker Predicts Which Pancreatic Cysts May Become Cancerous
Siteman Cancer Center
A multicenter team led by investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has taken a big step toward identifying pancreatic cysts that are likely to become cancerous. Testing fluid from cysts for a biomarker—an antibody called mAb Das-1—the researchers were able to identify those likely to become cancerous with 95 percent accuracy. Koushik K. Das, MD, is first author on the study.
 

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POLO Trial for Advanced Pancreatic Cancer: A New Standard of Care

The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
Treatment with the drug olaparib significantly reduced the risk of disease progression or death from metastatic pancreatic cancer, according to findings from the recently completed, international, Phase III POLO (Pancreas cancer OLaparib Ongoing) trial.
 

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Out of Many Ovarian Precancerous Lesions, One Becomes Cancer

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University
In a novel study of cancer genetics using fallopian tube tissue from 15 women, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center say they have found evidence that the most common and lethal type of ovarian cancer arises not from a uniform group of precancerous lesions, but from individual growths found in groups genetically unrelated to each other.
 

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Colorectal Cancer Vaccine Shows Positive Phase I Results

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health
A new colorectal cancer vaccine showed positive results in the Phase I clinical trial to demonstrate that the approach is safe. The patients treated had no signs of serious adverse events and samples of their blood contained markers of immune activation – an early indication that the vaccine could trigger immune cells to fight colorectal tumors and metastases. Further tests to determine if the vaccine is effective at slowing tumor growth are forthcoming.
 

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Cytophone Detects Melanoma in Earliest Stages, Could Prevent Fatal Disease Spread

UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
A University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences research team led by Vladimir Zharov, PhD, DSc, has demonstrated the ability to detect and kill circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the blood using a noninvasive device called Cytophone that integrates a laser, ultrasound, and phone technologies. This device is 1,000 times more sensitive than other methods at detecting of CTCs in the blood of patients with melanoma.
 

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Identifying Colorectal Cancer Subtypes Could Improve Treatment

Identifying Colorectal Cancer Subtypes Could Improve Treatment
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
Researchers at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center found that identifying a metastatic colorectal cancer patient’s Consensus Molecular Subtype (CMS) could help oncologists determine the most effective course of treatment. CMS also had prognostic value, meaning each subgroup was indicative of a patient’s overall survival, regardless of therapy. Heinz-Josef Lenz, MD, was the lead author on the study.
 

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Significant Knowledge Gap Exists in Use of Genetic Testing to Decide Cancer Treatment

Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
On a questionnaire aimed at assessing how well community oncologists understand "molecular profiling" results from tumor specimens, 69 percent of participants either said they don’t know the answers, or they responded incorrectly. In six different clinical scenarios, the oncologists were asked to match a genetic alteration to the targeted therapy designed to attack those cancer-causing aberrations — information that is key to effective personalized treatment. The survey was taken at several case-based research events by 292 community oncologists who were either based in hospitals or private clinics.
 

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Unhealthy Gut Promotes Spread of Breast Cancer

Unhealthy Gut Promotes Spread of Breast Cancer
University of Virginia Cancer Center
An unhealthy, inflamed gut causes breast cancer to become more invasive and spread more quickly to other parts of the body, new research from the UVA Cancer Center suggests. Melanie Rutkowski, PhD, found that disrupting the microbiome of mice caused hormone receptor-positive breast cancer to become more aggressive. Altering the microbiome, the collection of microorganisms that live in the gut, primed the cancer to spread. 
 

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Study Finds Pathway for Macrophages to Nurture PTEN-Deficient Glioblastoma

Study Finds Pathway for Macrophages to Nurture PTEN-Deficient Glioblastoma
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
A common genetic deficiency summons macrophages that nurture glioblastoma instead of attacking it, researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center report. Their work in mouse models that lack functional cancer-suppressor gene PTEN points to new potential treatment targets for the lethal brain tumor, said senior author Ronald DePinho, MD, past president of MD Anderson.
 

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Approach Could Help in Treating Glioblastoma, Other Rare Cancers

University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center
Using a new approach that combines data from human tumors grown in mice with data from The Cancer Genome Atlas, a team led by University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center researchers has uncovered several previously unknown biomarkers for glioblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor.
 

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New Research Helps Identify High-Risk Pediatric Cancer

The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
Researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine have discovered a new way to identify potentially high-risk pediatric neuroblastoma tumors. Tissue samples from consenting patients were used with a relatively new technology developed at the University of Chicago. Called Nano-hmC-Seal, this low-cost, genome-wide technology requires minimal amounts of tissue input to analyze the DNA profiles.
 

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Indoor Tanning May Be an Addiction Abetted by Both Genetic and Psychiatric Factors

Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
A combination of elevated symptoms of depression along with modifications in a gene responsible for dopamine activity, important to the brain’s pleasure and reward system, appear to influence an addiction to indoor tanning in young, white, non-Hispanic women. That finding comes from a new study, reported by researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.
 

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Most Metastatic Colorectal Cancers Have Spread Before Diagnosis

Most Metastatic Colorectal Cancers Have Spread Before Diagnosis
Stanford Cancer Institute
Up to 80 percent of metastatic colorectal cancers are likely to have spread to distant locations in the body before the original tumor has exceeded the size of a poppy seed, according to a study of nearly 3,000 patients by Christina Curtis, PhD, and colleagues at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
 

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Radiation Plus Chemotherapy Does Not Improve Endometrial Cancer Recurrence-Free Survival

Radiation Plus Chemotherapy Does Not Improve Endometrial Cancer Recurrence-Free Survival
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
The standard of care for women with stage III/IVA endometrial cancer following surgery has been chemotherapy and radiation. But in a surprising new finding, the combination did not increase recurrence-free survival. The findings were the result of a National Cancer Institute-sponsored Gynecology Oncology Group study led by Daniela Matei, MD.
 

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Epigenetic Therapy Shows Promise in Epstein-Barr Virus-Associated Lymphomas

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health
A combination of nanatinostat (VRx-3996), an oral histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, and the oral antiviral valganciclovir appears to be well tolerated and effective in patients with Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)-associated lymphomas, according to data from a Phase Ib/II study. Pierluigi Porcu, MD, was the global study lead.
 

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Immunotherapy Shows Doubled Median Survival Time for Advanced Lung Cancer Patients

University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center
A large, randomized immunotherapy clinical trial continues to show improved overall survival and progression-free survival in advanced lung cancer patients. An update on the KEYNOTE-189 trial provides nearly two years of data on use of the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy as a first-line treatment for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.
 

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New Insights Into Treatment Targets for Men With Advanced Prostate Cancers

Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah
A new study outlines findings from the largest-ever prospective genomic analysis of advanced prostate cancer tumors. Using comprehensive genomic profiling to analyze thousands of tumor samples from men with advanced prostate cancers, the researchers identified that 57 percent of the samples evaluated had genomic characteristics that suggested the tumors were candidates for targeted therapies.
 

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Combination Checkpoint Blockade Effective in Pre-Surgical Setting For Early-Stage Lung Cancers

Combination Checkpoint Blockade Effective in Pre-Surgical Setting For Early-Stage Lung Cancers
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Pre-surgical treatment with nivolumab plus ipilimumab resulted in an overall major pathologic response rate of 33 percent of treated patients with early-stage, resectable non-small cell lung cancers. The combination immunotherapy met the pre-specified efficacy endpoint of the Phase II NEOSTAR trial at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Tina Cascone, MD, PhD, is principal investigator.
 

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Researchers First to Develop Comprehensive Models of 'Seeds' and 'Soil' to Combat Breast Cancer Metastasis

VCU Massey Cancer Center
Scientists at VCU Massey Cancer Center have identified key biological pathways that regulate the spread of tumor cells to vital organs. These findings may have a significant influence on the development of new therapies that slow or prevent breast cancer metastasis. The concept of cancer metastasis has long been supported by the “seed and soil” proposal, in which it is theorized that cancer cells (seeds) are dependent upon the tissue of organs (soil) to thrive in sites beyond their point of origin. 
 

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Experimental Glioblastoma Vaccine Shows Promise in Slowing Brain Tumor Growth

The Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center
Manmeet Ahluwalia, MD, director of the Brain Metastasis Research Program at Cleveland Clinic, is helping lead a clinical trial of a new glioblastoma vaccine. SurVaxM works by stimulating the body to kill brain tumor cells that contain survivin, a protein that helps those cells resist traditional treatments. Patients in the Phase II clinical trial have seen slowed tumor progression and improved overall survival after treatment with the vaccine.
 

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UCSF Unveils Precision Cancer Medicine Building

UCSF Unveils Precision Cancer Medicine Building
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
UC San Francisco has opened a pioneering cancer center to provide adult patients with genetic counseling, immunotherapy, molecular profiling of tumors, fully integrated clinical trials, and advanced imaging. The UCSF Bakar Precision Cancer Medicine Building places patients and families at the center of a university commitment to deliver a new generation of precision medicine.

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Landmark Scientific Paper Turns 40

Landmark Scientific Paper Turns 40
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Forty years ago, a team of scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center published the first unequivocal report in humans that immune cells called T cells have the power to cure cancer. The finding emerged from patients who’d received a bone marrow transplant at the Hutch. The donated cells did not simply rescue patients from high doses of radiation and chemotherapy — they were key to the potential cure.
 

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Cancer Program Earns CoC Accreditation With Commendation

Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center

Duke University Hospital’s NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Program recently earned a three-year accreditation rating, with commendation, from the Commission on Cancer (CoC). Established in 1922 by the American College of Surgeons, the CoC is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and the monitoring of comprehensive quality care.

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Brain Surgeons Turn to Basic Science to Fight Childhood Brain Cancer

Brain Surgeons Turn to Basic Science to Fight Childhood Brain Cancer
Stanford Cancer Institute
In 2012, Teresa Purzner, MD, PhD, and her husband, Jamie Purzner, MD, both neurosurgery residents, traded their scrubs for lab coats in an effort to understand, at the most basic level, what causes medulloblastoma, the most common pediatric brain cancer.
 

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Telementoring Program Aims to Improve Quality of Breast Cancer Care

The University of Kansas Cancer Center
A new program led by The University of Kansas Cancer Center seeks to improve community oncology providers’ knowledge of genetic testing in breast cancer patients, as well as provide tools to allow genetic counseling and testing to be incorporated in their clinical practice. Called "ePOST BC" (Efficacy of Point of Service Testing in Breast Cancer), the program is based on the Project ECHO model, which links specialists at academic institutions with primary care clinicians in local communities. Principal investigators are Jennifer Klemp, PhD, MPH, and Lauren Nye, MD.
 

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HAP Achievement Award Earned for Optimal Operations

Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health
Fox Chase Cancer Center has earned a 2019 HAP Achievement Award from The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP). The award recognizes the center’s outstanding effort to enhance its processes for managing patient discharge planning and care transitions. Mary Pat Winterhalter, MS, BSN, RN, NE-BC, and Tricia Heinrichs, BS, RRT, PMP, submitted the center’s entry, "Optimizing Care Transitions: Reimagining Case Management."
 

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Comment Period for Proton Radiation Therapy Guidelines

American Society for Radiation Oncology
The National Cancer Institute Radiation Research Program has released a draft update of its guidelines for the use of proton radiation therapy in cooperative group settings. Comments are being accepted through July 15 and may be directed to jeff.buchsbaum@nih.gov.
 

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Cancer Center Jobs

Administrative Director, Clinical Research Office
University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center
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Senior Director of Clinical Research Operations and Management
VCU Massey Cancer Center
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Clinical Administrator, Radiation Oncology
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
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Assistant Director of Cancer Research Career Enhancement and Education
University of Illinois Cancer Center
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Associate Director, Clinical Translational Investigation Program Operations
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School
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Program Leader, Cancer Prevention and Control Associate Professor or Professor, Tenure Track
University of Colorado Cancer Center
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Meeting Announcements

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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SITC Women in Cancer Immunotherapy Network Leadership Institute

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

September 20, 2019
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
The Wendy & Emery Reves International Breast Cancer Symposium provides information on the latest laboratory-based translational discoveries and new technologies, while exploring developments in treatment options, clinical trials, and population sciences. 
 
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Multidisciplinary Approaches to Cancer Symposium

October 10, 2019
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Waldorf Astoria, Las Vegas, NV
This intensive program will provide participants with an enhanced ability to interpret and apply best treatment options into their individual cancer practices.
 
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Cancer and Inflammation: From Micro to Macro

October 17, 2019
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Masur Auditorium, Building 10, NIH, Bethesda, MD
This two-day national symposium hosted by the CCR Center of Excellence in Immunology addresses recent advances in the field through discussion and debate on the current understanding of cancer and inflammation.
 
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2019 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting

October 20, 2019
The Mayflower Hotel, 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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Artificial Intelligence in Oncology: Advancements and Policy

October 24, 2019
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
The inaugural Artificial Intelligence in Oncology Symposium will bring together experts in AI and machine learning as well as clinical, industry, and federal agency experts in pathology, radiology, oncology, and immuno-oncology to speak on research developments, regulatory policy, reimbursement, and ethics surrounding AI.
 
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