7th Midwest Tumor Microenvironment Meeting at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS
The University of Kansas Cancer Center
KU Cancer Biology
School of Medicine Bohan Visiting Professor Program
This month AACI welcomes the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT to its membership. Directed by Matthew Vander Heiden, MD, PhD, the Koch Institute focuses on five strategic areas: nanotechnology-based drugs, detection and monitoring, metastasis, precision medicine, and immunology and immunotherapy. With the addition of the Koch Institute, AACI counts all 71 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers among its 104 members.
Monique Phillips, PMP, will deliver the keynote presentation at the 14th Annual AACI Clinical Research Innovation (CRI) Meeting. Phillips is the People & Business Resource Groups lead of the Black Organization for Leadership and Development at Bristol Myers Squibb. She will be joined by Kimberly Richardson, a patient advocate and ovarian cancer survivor. Phillips and Richardson will discuss implicit bias, straightforward patient communication, and other topics related to optimizing diversity in clinical trials.
Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Representative Donald Payne, Jr (D-NJ) will be honored with the Cancer Research Ally Award at the 2022 AACI/AACR Hill Day, which will be held virtually on Wednesday, June 15. Both will deliver remarks at 12:00 pm eastern time as part of the event’s lunchtime programming.
Peter Riedell, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, is the new chair of AACI's CAR T Initiative Steering Committee. He succeeds Joseph McGuirk, DO, FACP, whose term expired earlier this year.
Roy A. Jensen, MD, vice chancellor and director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center, was awarded the Kansas Masonic Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. The award has been given to only three other individuals throughout the Kansas Masonic Foundation’s 50-year history. Dr. Jensen is AACI's immediate past president.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has recognized Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah as an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader, awarding it the highest score possible in the 15th anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index.
Mount Sinai researcher Natasha Kyprianou, MBBS, PhD, a leading expert on prostate, bladder, and kidney cancer, has been awarded the Richard D. Williams, MD, Prostate Cancer Research Excellence Award by the Urology Care Foundation, a nonprofit urological health foundation and official foundation of the American Urological Association. Dr. Kyprianou is the first woman to receive this award.
Elana Fertig, PhD, has been elected by her peers as a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), which represents the most accomplished individuals in the fields of medical and biological engineering. The College of Fellows comprises the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the United States.
Indiana University School of Medicine has named Shelley Johns, PsyD, ABPP, the Walther Scholar in Psycho-Oncology. Dr. Johns is the first person to hold this position, which was established by a $14 million gift to IU School of Medicine from the Walther Cancer Foundation to create five endowed positions to develop a supportive oncology program encompassing research and patient care.
Co-leader of the Duke Cancer Institute Melanoma Disease Group Georgia Beasley, MD, MHSc, is among 40 recipients nationally of a Young Physician-Scientist Award from the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI).
The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health (SKCC), along with the American Cancer Society (ACS), has been selected as a Faces of Philanthropy honoree by the Philadelphia Business Journal.
Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, National Medical Fellowships, and the American Association for Cancer Research have announced a new name for a $100 million, five-year initiative they launched in 2020: The Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Award Program. The program also received $14 million in funding over the next four years from Gilead Sciences, Inc. Dr. Winn is AACI's vice president/president-elect.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center has competed successfully for a third renewal of its Clinical and Translational Science Award by the National Institutes of Health. The grant will provide more than $73 million for another five years to support the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.
Break Through Cancer will award $50 million in grants to support cutting-edge interdisciplinary research at five top cancer centers. MIT's David H. Koch Professor of Biology Tyler Jacks, PhD, is president of Break Through Cancer.
Terry Badger, PhD, RN, a University of Arizona Health Sciences researcher, was one of only four recipients of a $4 million American Cancer Society grant to develop a Cancer Health Equity Research Center with the goal of improving health equity for Hispanic cancer survivors and family caregivers.
With the aid of a $3.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, investigators from Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, along with Holden Cancer Center at the University of Iowa and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, are collaborating to address lung cancer screening disparities among individuals with a history of heavy smoking.
With the aid of a $3 million National Cancer Institute grant, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey researchers aim to enhance the effectiveness of a digital intervention that supports skin self-examination for survivors of melanoma. The project is based on a previous Rutgers Cancer Institute research study that resulted in the development of an internet-based intervention called mySmartSkin.
The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research has selected four scientific research projects to receive $12 million in funding for its 2022 Endeavor Awards. Brent Ferrell, MD, is one of the recipients and will work with researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center on one of the projects.
The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Foundation received a $1 million gift to create the world’s first distinguished professorship in neuroendocrine tumor research. The Amanda W. Lockey Foundation gives the gift in support of UK Markey Cancer Center medical oncologist Lowell Anthony, MD, a specialist in neuroendocrine tumor treatment.
Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, has been appointed to a second five-year term as director of the Abramson Cancer Center. Highlights of his first term include 17 FDA-approved oncology therapies, high-impact basic and translational research discoveries, expansion of radiation oncology services, and development of new methods for live tumor imaging during surgeries.
Elizabeth Plimack, MD, MS, chief of the Division of Genitourinary Medical Oncology and professor in the Department of Hematology/Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center, has been appointed deputy director. She will oversee the Clinical and Translational Research Plan as she takes on this newly created role.
The UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has named Amy L. Cummings, MD, its new director for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI). Dr. Cummings is a faculty member in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.
M. Patricia Rivera, MD, has joined the faculty of the University of Rochester Medical Center with several prominent positions, including associate director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Wilmot Cancer Institute. This is the first AD for DEI at Wilmot. She most recently served as professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Breast surgical oncologist Lauren DeStefano, MD, was recently added the growing roster of cancer specialists at Cedars-Sinai Cancer in Tarzana. She joins Cedars-Sinai Cancer from the University of Washington’s Department of Surgery and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
Evan Zaslow has joined Moffitt Cancer Center as the new vice president of payer strategies, overseeing all aspects of Moffitt’s managed care strategy. Before joining Moffitt, Zaslow served as the chief of the Managed Care Support Branch and contracting officer for the Defense Health Agency.
Combining a retrospective analysis of clinical records with in-depth laboratory studies, researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have discovered that vitamin E can enhance immunotherapy responses by stimulating the activity of dendritic cells in the tumor.
Radiation to the heart during treatment for locally advanced lung cancer is associated with an increased risk of major adverse cardiac events within the first two years following treatment. The higher the cardiac dose exposure, the higher the risk of a cardiac event.
Adding the immunotherapy drug nivolumab to chemotherapy before surgery for patients with operable non-small cell lung cancer reduced the risk of recurrence of the cancer or death by more than one-third, according to results from the Phase III CheckMate-816 trial. It also achieved a nearly twelvefold increase in pathological complete response over patients who received chemotherapy alone.
Tumor biopsies are currently the most common tool for diagnosing lung cancer. However, according to a new paper published by the University of Kentucky and Manipal Academy of Higher Education, there is evidence that liquid biopsies—obtained from a blood sample—have the potential to replace tumor biopsies that require patients to undergo a surgical procedure.
A new study from researchers at the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital, and Houston Methodist Hospital shows that cancer patients who receive treatment with genetically modified immune cells are not at increased risk for subsequent malignancy when compared to patients who receive standard chemotherapy.
A study led by researchers in the Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology at OSUCCC – James examined the differences in intratumoral immune responses between male and female cancers of non-reproductive origin.
Hematologist Jason Gotlib, MD, wanted more effective treatments for patients with systemic mastocytosis. His research has led to the approval of two new treatments by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Researchers at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, led by Nikki Nollen, PhD, have received a five-year, $3.9 million grant to explore the effectiveness of menthol-flavored versus tobacco-flavored electronic cigarettes in helping smokers stay away from cigarettes and improve their health. The grant is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Food and Drug Administration.
Searching for ways to extend the survival benefit of targeted therapies, a team led by researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute identified a potential new tactic to disrupt the repair mechanism that cancer cells use after treatment, blunting their ability to regenerate. The approach could present a new treatment strategy.
In a small but multi-institutional study, an artificial intelligence-based system improved providers’ assessments of whether patients with bladder cancer had complete response to chemotherapy before a radical cystectomy (bladder removal surgery). Yet the researchers caution that AI isn’t a replacement for human expertise and that their tool shouldn’t be used as such.
Combining a beta-blocker with the cancer immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab could be a promising new treatment option for many hard-to-treat solid-tumor cancers. Researchers from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center demonstrated the safety of this treatment combination in patients with advanced or metastatic melanoma in the first prospective clinical trial of this approach.
A recent study that shows manipulating and deleting a specific gene (AMN1) from yeast could provide a foundation for a new approach to combating drug resistance when treating microbial infections or cancer. Led by Gábor Balázsi, PhD, the study centers on disassembling cell clusters that can form an added barrier of drug resistance in the disease process.
A recent study conducted by researchers from VCU Massey Cancer Center, the University of Florida College of Medicine and UF Health Cancer Center found that minority patient participation in cancer clinical trials is alarmingly low.
A recent study demonstrates the first successful living-donor liver transplants in North America for patients who have liver-confined colorectal cancer tumors which cannot be removed by surgery otherwise. The study was conducted across the University of Rochester Medical Center, the University Health Network, and Cleveland Clinic.
African American adult patients are more likely than white patients to receive substandard gastrointestinal cancer surgery, according to a large study led by researchers at Yale Cancer Center who examined a cohort of 565,124 adult patients with gastrointestinal cancer undergoing surgery between 2004 and 2017.
A new data-driven mechanistic approach that predicts cell types within tissue will help to reduce drug costs and treat diseases that were difficult to develop drugs for. David J. Klinke, PhD, leads the research.
To increase access to tumor genetic screening and study the utility of this strategy, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) partnered to create the NCI-COG Pediatric MATCH trial. Since 2017, more than 1,000 patients have been enrolled in this nationwide protocol, which uses tumor sequencing to find actionable genetic mutations to match patients to 13 different Phase II clinical trials of molecularly targeted therapies.
An analysis by Yale Cancer Center researchers identified accelerated genetic aging in breast tissue adjacent to breast cancer tumors. Their findings demonstate that adjacent breast tissue is "biologically older" than the chronologic age of the patient, a discovery that may explain why some women develop breast cancer at a younger age and that may also become a future marker of breast cancer risk.
Men diagnosed with prostate cancer prefer physicians to explain their life expectancy in quantitative terms—either as a number of years or as a probability of living at a time point—according to a new study by Cedars-Sinai investigators. Life expectancy is a crucial factor in deciding on aggressive treatment like surgery or radiation for prostate cancer.
Research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that 20 percent of early-stage breast cancer patients will develop metastasis within 20 years of their original diagnosis. While there is no consensus as to why some patients develop "mets" and some don’t, new Fred Hutch research reveals why muscle tissue doesn’t get mets, and how dormant tumor cells in the brain wake up and proliferate.
Neda Hashemi, MD, and her team at UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center are offering several clinical trials, including a National Cancer Institute-sponsored clinical trial that offers people with localized disease the option of surgery—before scars develop—if their cancer does not respond to standard treatment.
A study has identified the Virginians least likely to know that there is a vaccine available for human papillomavirus (HPV). More than a quarter of respondents to a survey of state residents had not heard of the vaccine. Those least likely to be aware include males, urban residents, and people who reported lower incomes. Those most likely to know of the vaccine include part-time workers, younger people, and those with higher education.
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine recently established the Sylvester Pancreatic Cancer Research Institute. Nipun Merchant, MD, is the institute's founding director.
Samuel Strober, MD, professor of immunology and rheumatology, died in February of multiple myeloma. Focusing on improving transplant recipients’ lives, Dr. Strober developed a way to wean some of these patients from a lifelong regimen of drugs that prevent the immune system from attacking and destroying the donated organ.
Patsy McDonald, PhD, and Derek Duckett, PhD, Moffitt Cancer Center faculty members and founders of CADW Therapeutics, sent a scientific experiment to space in April as a part of Axiom Space’s Axiom Mission 1, the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station.
University of Utah Health scientists are launching SCALE-UP II and SCALE-UP Counts, a pair of initiatives designed to increase COVID-19 testing and vaccination among rural and underserved populations. Combined, the two initiatives are supported by $4.7 million from the National Institutes of Health.
Using the nation’s largest COVID-19 data resource, Jing Su, PhD, a researcher at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center found the COVID-19 vaccine protected most cancer patients from getting COVID. However, patients with certain types of cancer have a higher and widely varied risk of breakthrough COVID infections after receiving the vaccine.
Faced with hardships intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic, Marshallese communities in the United States mobilized to help one another. According to a study by University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) researchers, socially vulnerable groups in the U.S. have experienced food insecurity, housing insecurity, inadequate health care, and difficulty paying bills during the pandemic.
7th Midwest Tumor Microenvironment Meeting at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS
The University of Kansas Cancer Center
KU Cancer Biology
School of Medicine Bohan Visiting Professor Program
This symposium is the first of its kind to center the science and voices of LGBTQ+ people on cancer care, community engagement and policies that influence health disparities. Cedars-Sinai Cancer’s mission recognizes that by examining the intersection of sexual orientation, gender and cancer, we can better prevent, detect and cure cancer.
Save the date for the 2022 AACI/AACR Virtual Hill Day. More details to come.
The health and safety of meeting attendees is of paramount importance. AACI continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health guidelines. We are currently planning for an in-person event, July 12-14, at the Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel, and will implement protective measures in accordance with current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the City of Chicago.
Can I register with a group of colleagues at a discounted rate? No. Group registrations were available only to attendees of the 2021 virtual CRI meeting. Since we are planning an in-person meeting this year, we are providing the same registration options available for previous in-person meetings.
Will there be an option to attend this meeting virtually? For those who are unable to attend the meeting in person, AACI will provide a virtual option. To register as a virtual attendee, select the "Member - Virtual Only" registration type. This will give you access to all sessions held in the main ballroom. Login information will be provided closer to the meeting.
Do I need to be vaccinated to attend the CRI meeting? Yes. Proof of full vaccination will be requested at registration and when checking in to the meeting. No attendee will be permitted to pick up their badge without submitting proof of vaccination status. In the event that an attendee is not fully vaccinated or does not disclose their vaccination status at registration, they will be required to present a negative PCR test result upon entering the event and must wear a mask throughout the duration of the meeting. The PCR test must be taken 72 hours before the start of the meeting. “Full vaccination,” as defined by the CDC, means a person has received their primary series (two doses) of an approved COVID-19 vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) or a single dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine; boosters are not required for attendance.
What is the CRI meeting mask policy? AACI will require anyone of undisclosed or incomplete vaccination status to wear a high-quality mask (N95 or KN95 preferred) throughout the meeting. A mask must completely cover your mouth and nose and may be removed only briefly for eating and drinking.
Do I need to take a COVID test before entering the meeting? If an attendee is not fully vaccinated or does not disclose their vaccination status, they will be required to present the result of a PCR test taken 72 hours before the meeting. Fully vaccinated attendees are not required to present test results. However, any attendees, regardless of vaccination status, should refrain from attending the meeting if they have knowingly been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing any symptoms. If an attendee is already on-site and experiencing symptoms, they should be tested as soon as possible and remain in their hotel room.
AACI reserves the right to revise vaccination, masking, and testing policies based on evolving public health recommendations, and will notify attendees of any changes as soon as possible.
Save the date for the 2022 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting. More details to come.