AACI Update | July 2020

Headlines

Lerman Elected Vice President; Three Other Cancer Center Leaders to Join AACI Board of Directors

Lerman Elected Vice President; Three Other Cancer Center Leaders to Join AACI Board of Directors

AACI members have elected Caryn Lerman, PhD, as vice president/president-elect of the association. Cornelia Ulrich, MS, PhD, and Robert Winn, MD, have been elected as new board members, and Charles S. Fuchs, MD, MPH, has been appointed to fill the remainder of Dr. Lerman’s term as a regular board member. Drs. Ulrich and Winn will replace outgoing board members Gerold Bepler, MD, PhD, and Timothy L. Ratliff, PhD.

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AACI Welcomes Two New Cancer Center Members

Last month AACI welcomed University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center (UPRCCC) and Cancer Center at Brown University to its membership roster, bringing the association’s total number of members to 102. The cancer centers are directed by Marcia Cruz-Correa, MD, PhD, and Wafik S. El-Deiry, MD, PhD, FACP, respectively.

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Virtual CRI Meeting Highlights COVID-19 Challenges

Virtual CRI Meeting Highlights COVID-19 Challenges

There is still time to register for the 12th Annual AACI Clinical Research Innovation Meeting, next Tuesday and Wednesday, July 7-8. Although the meeting will be virtual due to safety concerns amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it will still provide an innovative and quality educational experience that aligns with AACI’s strategic goal of stimulating cancer center interactions to maximize resources by creating opportunities for peer-to-peer networking and collaboration.

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AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting Shifts to Virtual Format

To prioritize the health and well-being of AACI meeting attendees, supporters, and cancer center patients, AACI's Board of Directors and the 2020 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting Program Committee have decided not to move forward with an in-person meeting in Kansas City. Instead, the annual meeting will take place Monday and Tuesday, October 12-13 in a virtual format. 

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Write Your Member of Congress to Protect J-1, F-1, and H-1B Visa Holders

AACI encourages you to write your representatives in Washington to express concern about two recent presidential proclamations that suspend visa processing for individuals from China and for certain categories of high-skilled, non-immigrant visas from around the world. Prohibiting the entry of valued STEM students, postdoctoral associates, scientists, and researchers does not address our nation’s public health needs or stimulate economic recovery. 

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Join AACI for a PCLI Webinar on July 22

Join AACI for a PCLI Webinar on July 22

The AACI Physician Clinical Leadership Initiative (PCLI) will host "Implementation of Germline Testing for Prostate Cancer" at 1:00 pm eastern time on Wednesday, July 22. The webinar will highlight a recent consensus statement regarding guidelines for genetic prostate cancer testing and implications for clinical practice.

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News from the Centers

Le Beau Receives 2020 AACR-Margaret Foti Award

Le Beau Receives 2020 AACR-Margaret Foti Award
The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center

The American Association for Cancer Research has named Michelle M. Le Beau, PhD, director of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center and a former AACI president, as the recipient of the 2020 AACR-Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research.

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Moffitt Leader Named to National Cancer Advisory Board

Moffitt Leader Named to National Cancer Advisory Board
Moffitt Cancer Center

Susan Vadaparampil, PhD, MPH, associate center director of community outreach, engagement and equity at Moffitt Cancer Center, has been selected to serve on the National Cancer Advisory Board.

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Melanoma Research Foundation Honors Aplin With Humanitarian Award

Melanoma Research Foundation Honors Aplin With Humanitarian Award
Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health

Andrew E. Aplin, PhD, has been recognized with the Melanoma Research Foundation Humanitarian Award. His research focuses on better understanding the mechanisms that cause aberrant cell growth and invasion in subsets of melanoma and identify novel therapeutic targets.

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Fang Appointed Associate Editor of Psychology Journal

Fang Appointed Associate Editor of Psychology Journal
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health

Fox Chase Cancer Center researcher Carolyn Y. Fang, PhD, has been appointed to serve as an associate editor for the journal Health Psychology.

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Siteman Earns Highest NCI Rating

Siteman Earns Highest NCI Rating
Siteman Cancer Center

Siteman Cancer Center has been recognized once again as "exceptional" by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) after having received a nearly perfect score on its most recent evaluation. Siteman also received an exceptional rating in 2015, when it last underwent an NCI review. Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, is the center's director.

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$3.62 Million CDC Grant for Colorectal Cancer Screenings, Early Detection

WVU Cancer Institute

Using a $3.62 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the West Virginia University Cancer Institute will continue working with clinics across the state to increase colorectal cancer screenings. The grant is a continuation of an existing grant which supports the West Virginia Program to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening.

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Researchers Awarded $2.8 Million Cancer Systems Immunology Grant

Yale Cancer Center, Yale School of Medicine

Yale Cancer Center researchers were awarded a $2.8 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to evaluate and model cytokine signaling related to immunotherapy for cancer.

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Cortez Named to Research Leadership Role

Cortez Named to Research Leadership Role
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

David Cortez, PhD, has been named associate director for basic science research at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. He is an expert in the field of DNA damage response and repair and made seminal discoveries about the mechanisms that maintain genome integrity.

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Cancer Scientist Appointed to Senior Advisor Position

Cancer Scientist Appointed to Senior Advisor Position
Cancer Center at Illinois

Benita S. Katzenellenbogen, PhD, has been appointed senior advisor to the director of the Cancer Center at Illinois (CCIL), Rohit Bhargava, PhD. She will counsel strategic, cancer-focused directions of CCIL research programs and educational activities, in addition to aiding in the growth of cancer researchers at the University of Illinois.

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Robinson to Lead Clinical Trials Program

UMMC Cancer Center and Research Institute

William Russel "Rusty" Robinson, MD, has joined the University of Mississippi Medical Center Cancer Center and Research Institute as a professor in gynecologic oncology and hematology/oncology and head of its cancer clinical trials program.

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New Clinical Science Research Leaders Named

Moffitt Cancer Center

Eric B. Haura, MD, and Nikhil Khushalani, MD, have been named to new leadership positions in Moffitt Cancer Center’s clinical science research division.

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Study Shows Sedentary Behavior Independently Predicts Cancer Mortality

Study Shows Sedentary Behavior Independently Predicts Cancer Mortality
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

In the first study to look at objective measures of sedentary behavior and cancer mortality, researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found that greater inactivity was independently associated with a higher risk of dying from cancer. Susan Gilchrist, MD, is lead author of the study.

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UCSF, St. Jude Identify Key Culprit Driving Treatment Resistance in Deadly Immune Disorder

UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

A new study by researchers at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has identified what they believe to be a key reason behind patients’ treatment-resistance in the rare inflammatory disorder hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). The finding could offer additional insights into other immune conditions, including a type of childhood leukemia and the severe inflammation response in some children with COVID-19.

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Partnership to Test for Anti-Cancer Activity

UK Markey Cancer Center

The University of Kentucky and ArtemiLife Inc., will collaborate on a clinical study using the extract of a medicinal plant grown in Kentucky to test for anti-cancer activity of Artemisia annua and to determine the recommended dose for future clinical trials. The clinical study, conducted by the UK Markey Cancer Center, will focus on ovarian cancer.

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A Moving Target in Small Cell Lung Tumors Identified

Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah

About 15 percent of lung cancers are classified as small cell lung cancer. Recent studies have indicated that four major subtypes of small cell lung cancer exist, yet approaches to tailor treatment of these subtypes have not yet become standard of care. Scientists at Huntsman Cancer Institute have outlined new findings about the origins of these lung cancer subtypes, paving the way for a new foundation to study this disease.

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Findings on DNA Damage Repair Published

UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute

A research team led by cancer researcher Justin Leung, PhD, at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has uncovered the role of the protein RNF168 in DNA damage repair and shown how mutations of the protein affect people with a rare genetic condition.

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Focused Ultrasound Shows Promise Against Deadliest Brain Tumor

University of Virginia Cancer Center

An innovative use of focused ultrasound is showing promise against glioblastoma and could prove useful against other difficult-to-treat cancers. The technique hits cancer cells with a drug that sensitizes them to sound waves, then blasts them with focused ultrasound. The sound waves create tiny bubbles inside the cancer cells, causing them to die.

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Researchers Find Medication Most Effective Quitting Method for Cancer Survivors Who Smoke

Researchers Find Medication Most Effective Quitting Method for Cancer Survivors Who Smoke
University of Florida Health Cancer Center

For years, evidence has shown the negative effects of smoking cigarettes on cancer patients’ health outcomes, but sometimes quitting is easier said than done. Now University of Florida researchers have found that medications that help people quit smoking are the most effective method used by cancer survivors to stop tobacco use. Ramzi Salloum, PhD, is lead author of the study.

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Some Types of Prostate Cancer May Not Be as Aggressive as Originally Thought

Some Types of Prostate Cancer May Not Be as Aggressive as Originally Thought
UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers analyzed gene-expression patterns in the most aggressive prostate cancer grade group and found that this grade can actually be subdivided into four subtypes with distinct differences. The study’s lead author is Amar Kishan, MD.

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New Strategy Suggested for Controlling Graft vs. Host Disease in BMT Recipients

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

New preclinical work by a team of researchers from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program suggests that the risk of developing acute graft vs. host disease during allogeneic blood/marrow transplant can be decreased using an existing class of drugs called beta adrenergic agonists. 

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Study: Many Colon Cancer Patients Not Receiving Standard of Care Therapy

Study: Many Colon Cancer Patients Not Receiving Standard of Care Therapy
UK Markey Cancer Center

A new UK Markey Cancer Center study finds that many Kentucky patients with colon cancer are not receiving the recommended standard of care therapy for their disease. Avinash Bhakta, MD, is lead author on the study.

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Targeted Therapy Shows Promise in Patients With Early-Stage, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Targeted Therapy Shows Promise in Patients With Early-Stage, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Yale Cancer Center, Yale School of Medicine

Treatment with the targeted therapy osimertinib following surgery improves disease-free survival in patients with early-stage, non-small cell lung cancer with EGFR gene mutations. The benefit was so substantial that the independent data monitoring committee recommended early unblinding of the trial. Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD, chief of medical oncology at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital, co-led the study.

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Better Outcomes, Lower Cost Shown in First-Ever Oncology Hospital-at-Home Evaluation

Better Outcomes, Lower Cost Shown in First-Ever Oncology Hospital-at-Home Evaluation
Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah

Researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute have presented the first outcomes evaluation of patients participating in an adult oncology hospital-at-home program, Huntsman at HomeTM. The data demonstrate improved patient outcomes, including reduced hospitalizations and decreased emergency department visits. Kathi Mooney, PhD, RN, is lead author on the study.

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Study Shows Better Option for Treatment of Inoperable Anal Cancer

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

People with inoperable anal cancer treated with carboplatin-paclitaxel had fewer complications and lived longer than those who received another chemotherapy that has been more often administered. The results from an international trial suggest that carboplatin-paclitaxel become the standard of care for anal cancer.

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Loss of Lipid-Regulating Gene Fuels Prostate Cancer Spread

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers from the Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences identified a lipid-regulating protein that conveys what the researchers describe as "superpowers" onto prostate cancer cells, causing them to aggressively spread. In studies of human prostate cancer cell and stromal cell lines, when the lipid-regulating protein, CAVIN1, was removed from stromal cells—the connective tissue cells in and around tumors—the cells no longer used the lipids. Instead, cancer cells feasted on lipids in the environment, using them as fuel.

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No Higher Risk of Breast Cancer Seen for Women Who Don't Have BRCA Mutation But Have Relatives Who Do

No Higher Risk of Breast Cancer Seen for Women Who Don't Have BRCA Mutation But Have Relatives Who Do
Stanford Cancer Institute

Researchers have shown that women related to a patient with a breast cancer caused by a hereditary mutation—but who don’t have the mutation themselves—have no higher risk of getting cancer than relatives of patients with other types of breast cancer. Allison Kurian, MD, is the study's first author.

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Deleting an Inhibitory Gene in Natural Killer Cells Found to Boost Anti-Tumor Activity

UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center

Using induced pluripotent stem cells and deleting a key gene, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have created natural killer cells—a type of immune cell—with measurably stronger activity against a form of leukemia, both in vivo and in vitro.

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Lab-on-a-Chip Detects Breast Cancer Metastasis Earlier

The University of Kansas Cancer Center

A nanochip created by researchers at The University of Kansas Cancer Center and the University of Kansas has the potential to detect and track breast cancer tumor progression and metastasis. The chip was able to detect early early-stage and metastatic tumors using plasma from 100 individuals.

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Mixed Progress in Efforts to Reduce Low Value Breast Cancer Surgery

University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center

Efforts in recent years to reduce four procedures deemed low value for early stage breast cancer patients have met with only mixed success, according to a Michigan Medicine analysis of nearly 60 studies. As part of the national Choosing Wisely campaign, the American College of Surgeons, the Society for Surgical Oncology, and the American Society for Breast Surgeons identified four low value procedures used in cases of early stage breast cancer that risk harm without improving overall survival. The U-M study found that reduction efforts have only been successful in two out of the four procedures.

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The Right Dose for the Right Patient: Reducing Toxic Effects From Chemotherapy

The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center

Physician-scientists at the UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center have been working not only to improve the results of chemotherapy, but also to improve the quality of life during and after treatment. A recent breakthrough has shown promise for treating gastroesophageal cancer.

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Tumors Disrupt the Immune System Throughout the Body

UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Cancer treatment has advanced with the advent of immunotherapies that, in some cancers, can overcome tumors’ ability to evade the immune system by suppressing local immune responses. But a new study in mice by UC San Francisco researchers has found that, depending on a cancer’s tissue of origin, tumors cause widespread and variable disruption of the immune system throughout the body, not just at the primary tumor site.

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A Promising New Candidate for Overcoming Multiple Myeloma Treatment Resistance

A Promising New Candidate for Overcoming Multiple Myeloma Treatment Resistance
Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center

Daratumumab, a treatment for multiple myeloma, only increases patient survival by a few months, with cancer cells quickly developing resistance to the drug, New findings from the lab of Jianjun Zhao, MD, PhD, suggest that daratumumab sensitivity may be rescued and restored using miR-26a, which has been shown to be a tumor suppressor in other cancers.

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Building a Better Protein Trap

Building a Better Protein Trap
Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center

Scott Soderling, PhD, has founded a Duke spinout company, CasTag BioSciences, based on a technology developed in his lab that marks proteins of interest in an entirely new way, using the genome-editing tool CRISPR

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Researchers Identify Key Immune Checkpoint Protein That Operates Within T Cells

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

A new study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute has identified a protein within certain immune cells that is required for optimal immune responses to cancer.

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Blood Test for Metastatic Prostate Cancer Could Suggest Better Treatment Options

Siteman Cancer Center

A blood test developed by Washington University researchers at Siteman Cancer Center could help determine next steps for patients whose prostate cancer has spread despite treatment. Called EnhanceAR-Seq, this "liquid biopsy" test involves looking for fragments of DNA in the blood called "cell-free DNA."

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Scientists Engineer One Protein to Fight Cancer and Regenerate Neurons

Scientists Engineer One Protein to Fight Cancer and Regenerate Neurons
Stanford Cancer Institute

By making two different alterations to a single messenger protein, a research team led by Jennifer Cochran, PhD, has induced the body’s biochemical control system to target two very different conditions.

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Study Shows New Way of Identifying Tumor Response to Immunotherapy

City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center

Scientists at City of Hope, working in collaboration with researchers at Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and other colleagues across the country, have found that the actions of circulating immune cells—namely how they differentiate and signal—at the start of immunotherapy treatment for cancer can inform how a patient will respond to the therapy.

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New Guidance Issued on Genetic Testing for Prostate Cancer

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health

An international panel led by researchers and thought leaders at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health and the Department of Urology at Jefferson have published the first multidisciplinary, consensus-driven prostate cancer genetic implementation framework for the precision medicine era.

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UAMS Joins Study of Test to Predict Response to Ovarian Cancer Drugs

UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute

KIYATEC, Inc., has announced that the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute has joined the growing roster of institutions participating in its 3D-PREDICT clinical study to validate the company’s test as a patient-specific predictor of response to recommended drug therapies for patients with ovarian cancer.

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Diet, Gut Microbes Affect Chemotherapy Outcomes

University of Virginia Cancer Center

Scientists have found that diet can cause microbes in the gut to trigger changes in the host’s response to a chemotherapy drug. Common components of our daily diets (for example, amino acids) could either increase or decrease both the effectiveness and toxicity of the drugs used for cancer treatment, the researchers found.

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Roswell Park Community Mourns Colegio

Roswell Park Community Mourns Colegio
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Roswell Park staff and patients are mourning a devastating loss. Oscar Colegio, MD, PhD, the Lawrence P. & Joan Castellani Family Endowed Chair in Dermatology, died unexpectedly last month. He was 47. Dr. Colegio relocated to Buffalo when he was recruited to head Roswell Park’s dermatology program in 2018. He had previously served as associate professor of Dermatology, Pathology, and Surgery at Yale University.

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Duke Marks Passing of Spector

Duke Marks Passing of Spector
Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center

Flags were lowered to half-staff across Duke University for Neil Spector, MD, a nationally recognized physician-scientist, translational research leader, and oncology mentor who passed away on June 14. He was 63.

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MD Anderson, Philips Collaborate on Personalized Oncology Treatments

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Royal Philips are collaborating to provide oncologists with evidence-based therapy and clinical trial guidance through Philips’ oncology informatics solutions and MD Anderson’s Precision Oncology Decision Support system.

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Bone Marrow Transplant Program to Become Newest Department at Fox Chase

Bone Marrow Transplant Program to Become Newest Department at Fox Chase
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health

The Fox Chase-Temple University Hospital Bone Marrow Transplant Program will soon become the newest department at Fox Chase. It will be chaired by Henry Chi Hang Fung, MD, FACP, FRCPE.

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Researchers Hit the Streets to Increase Cervical Cancer Screening Rates for Women in Jail

Researchers Hit the Streets to Increase Cervical Cancer Screening Rates for Women in Jail
The University of Kansas Cancer Center

For many medical researchers, studying and combating disease means going to work in exam rooms, offices and laboratories. For Megha Ramaswamy, PhD, MPH, it means going to jails and hitting the streets.

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Telehealth Genitourinary Cancer Genetics Program Launched

UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

To help identify people who have inherited genes for genitourinary cancers, UCLA Health and the Department of Urology at UCLA have created a new telehealth cancer genetics program that will provide rapid access to high-quality genetic counseling and testing.

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New Diagnostic Center Speeds Up Cancer Diagnosis, Provides Immediate Access

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

A new center at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute gives patients direct, expedited access to diagnostic testing for cancer.

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Health Care Leader Named Chair of Board of Directors

Health Care Leader Named Chair of Board of Directors
City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center

Health care leader Glenn D. Steele Jr., MD, PhD, has been elected the new board chair of City of Hope, effective June 1. He joined the board in January 2016. Dr. Steele is former chairman of xG Health Solutions and former president and chief executive officer of Geisinger Health System. He also held leadership positions at the University of Chicago.

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Samuel Oschin Cancer Center Opens New Facility

Cedars-Sinai Cancer

The team tasked with designing the new Samuel Oschin Cancer Center at Cedars-Sinai had one overarching goal: creating a safe, soothing patient environment. The new facility includes easily navigated "neighborhoods" – designated areas in the unit where patients with a particular cancer type occupy the same waiting room and clinical exam area.

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Extremely Rapid Experimental COVID-19 Test Developed to Accelerate Diagnostic Turnaround

Extremely Rapid Experimental COVID-19 Test Developed to Accelerate Diagnostic Turnaround
VCU Massey Cancer Center

Rebecca Martin, PhD, and two of her students have developed an extremely rapid experimental molecular diagnostic assay that decreases the amount of time required to diagnose COVID-19.

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COVID-19 and Cancer Expose Society's Health Care Gaps

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Disease hits Black and brown people harder. Same for Indigenous people, individuals in rural areas, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and others who are medically underserved. It’s true for cancer, for cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, and in these times, for COVID-19.

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Once a Coronavirus Vaccine Exists, Mailable Patch Could Deliver It to Millions

Once a Coronavirus Vaccine Exists, Mailable Patch Could Deliver It to Millions
VCU Massey Cancer Center

Someday, hundreds of millions of vaccinations against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could show up in people’s mailboxes and be applied as simply as slapping on a Band-Aid. That’s the vision of Guizhi "Julian" Zhu, PhD.

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To Help West Virginia Reopen Safely, Researchers Develop New COVID-19 Tests

WVU Cancer Institute

COVID-19 tests are in short supply. The companies that make the necessary chemicals—called reagents—can’t keep up with demand. But researchers at West Virginia University are developing new tests on their own to identify who has COVID-19 now and who had it in the past but recovered.

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What Happens When Cancer Patients Get COVID-19?

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

The findings of the first large observational study of nearly 1,000 patients with cancer who contracted COVID-19—gleaned from over 100 institutions participating in the international COVID-19 & Cancer Consortium, or CCC19, patient registry—underscore how deadly the new coronavirus can be for patients with active cancer and other underlying health conditions.

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Cancer Center Jobs

Clinical Trials Management System Product Support Manager
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center
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Meeting Announcements

Artificial Intelligence in Oncology Symposium

October 19, 2020
Virtual Meeting
Hosted by Case Comprehensive Cancer Center

The 2020 Artificial Intelligence in Oncology Symposium: Advancing Science and Policy will bring together experts in AI and machine learning as well as clinical, industry, and federal agency experts in pathology, radiology, drug discovery, and ethics and policy to speak on research developments, regulatory policy, reimbursement and ethics surrounding AI in oncology. For the health and safety of all attendees, this year's symposium will take place virtually.
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