AACI Update | September 2020

Headlines

Phil and Penny Knight to Receive AACI Champion for Cures Award

Phil and Penny Knight to Receive AACI Champion for Cures Award

Phil and Penny Knight will receive the 2020 AACI Champion for Cures Award, in recognition of their transformational philanthropy that advances our shared vision of a future without cancer. Brian Druker, MD, director of OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, will virtually present the award to the Nike, Inc. co-founder and his wife on Monday, October 12, during the 2020 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting.

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Annual Meeting Sessions Address Disparities in Cancer Care

Annual Meeting Sessions Address Disparities in Cancer Care

The 2020 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting will virtually convene AACI cancer center members with national cancer research and advocacy groups, industry, and government health agencies on October 12-13. Two sessions at this year's meeting will address disparities in cancer care, including the disproportionate cancer burden experienced by people of color and the challenges of delivering cancer care in rural communities.

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News from the Centers

Mesa Elected Officer of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Board

Mesa Elected Officer of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Board
Mays Cancer Center, UT Health San Antonio

Ruben Mesa, MD, FACP, has been elected an officer on the national board of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Dr. Mesa is director of the Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson, where he holds the Mays Family Foundation Distinguished University Presidential Chair.

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Wandinger-Ness Receives PAESMEM

Wandinger-Ness Receives PAESMEM
University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center

Angela Wandinger-Ness, PhD, received the 2020 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) in an online ceremony. She is the Victor and Ruby Hansen Surface Endowed Professor in Cancer Cell Biology and Clinical Translation at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

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Merad Elected to National Academy of Science

Merad Elected to National Academy of Science
The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai

Miriam Merad, MD, PhD, was elected to the National Academy of Science in recognition of her transformational contributions to the fields of myeloid cell biology and innate immunity. Dr. Merad is the Mount Sinai Professor in Cancer Immunology and director of the Precision Immunology Institute.

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UF Named New Member of Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium

UF Named New Member of Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium
University of Florida Health Cancer Center

When Sridharan Gururangan, FRCP, joined the University of Florida in 2016, he had a big goal for the university: to become a member of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium (PBTC). In July, UF was named one of four new PBTC member institutions.

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Fox Chase Earns HAP Achievement Award

Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health

Fox Chase Cancer Center earned the Achievement Award from The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) for its outstanding effort to improve health care in the communities it serves. Fox Chase’s entry, "Nasogastric Tube Feeding for Radiation-Induced Dysphagia in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer," was chosen as an Excellence in Care award winner.

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NIH Awards $11.2 Million for Pharmaceutical Research and Innovation Center

UK Markey Cancer Center

The University of Kentucky was recently awarded a Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence grant to study translational chemical biology from the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health. The $11.2 million grant will fund UK's Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in Pharmaceutical Research and Innovation.

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$10.6 Million Grant to Expand National Proteomics Resource

$10.6 Million Grant to Expand National Proteomics Resource
UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute

A $10.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, awarded to Alan Tackett, PhD, will allow the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to greatly expand its proteomics resource. The grant will establish the IDeA National Resource for Quantitative Proteomics.

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$5.5 Million Grant Received to Study Health Impact of Youth Vaping

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

Researchers at Ohio State will study the health effects of e-cigarettes and nicotine on youth and help develop vaping cessation programs after receiving a $5.5 million grant from the American Heart Association, which has distributed nearly $17 million in grants as part of its End Nicotine Addiction in Children and Teens research initiative.

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$3 Million Grant to Help Develop Early Detection Liver Cancer Test

UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

Researchers from the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center were awarded a $2.97 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop a nanotechnology-enabled cancer diagnostic solution that will help detect early stage liver cancer for people who are at risk of developing the disease. This is the second grant of a similar scale awarded to this joint research team in 2020.

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$2.3 Million Grant Funds New Viral-Based Gene Therapies for Lung Cancer

VCU Massey Cancer Center
Mutations in the p53 gene are found in more than half of all cancers, yet it has proven to be very difficult to target the gene with therapeutic drugs. VCU Massey Cancer Center researchers are hoping to turn the tide with an innovative viral-based strategy, and they recently received more than $2 million from the National Cancer Institute to fund their work.
 

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Researcher to Study Cellular Stress Responses Common in Cancer, Aging

Researcher to Study Cellular Stress Responses Common in Cancer, Aging
The University of Arizona Cancer Center

Understanding how cells respond to stress may provide new building blocks for designing future cancer and aging treatments, and University of Arizona Health Sciences researcher Timothy Bolger, PhD, has received a five-year, $1.6 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to further study these implications.

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Hwu Named President and CEO

Hwu Named President and CEO
Moffitt Cancer Center

Tumor immunologist Patrick Hwu, MD, has been appointed the new president and CEO of Moffitt Cancer Center. He joins Moffitt from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he is the division head of Cancer Medicine. Dr. Hwu begins his new role at Moffitt on November 10.

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Grossman Named Cancer Physician-in-Chief

Grossman Named Cancer Physician-in-Chief
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

Keck Medicine of USC has named oncologist and cancer researcher Steven Grossman, MD, PhD, as USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center’s cancer physician-in-chief. He will step into the role on September 15.

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O'Malley Returns to Leadership Role

O'Malley Returns to Leadership Role
University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center

Bert W. O’Malley, Jr., MD, has been appointed as the new president and chief executive officer of the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dr. O'Malley served in multiple University of Maryland leadership roles from 1999 - 2003 including associate director of the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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Executive Medical Director Named for VICC Cancer Patient Care Center

Executive Medical Director Named for VICC Cancer Patient Care Center
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Laura Goff, MD, MSCI, has been named the executive medical director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Cancer Patient Care Center. She will oversee the cancer clinical enterprise in Nashville, including the flagship Henry-Joyce Cancer Clinic, among other responsibilities.

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Brenner Chairs Department Focused on Diabetes and Cancer Metabolism

Brenner Chairs Department Focused on Diabetes and Cancer Metabolism
City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center

Biochemist Charles Brenner, PhD, has joined City of Hope to lead the nation’s first research department focused on the intersection between cancer and diabetes. He is also the inaugural holder of the Alfred E Mann Family Foundation Chair in Diabetes and Cancer Metabolism.

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Jung Named Chair of Cancer Biology

Jung Named Chair of Cancer Biology
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center

Jae Jung, PhD, has been appointed chair of Lerner Research Institute's Department of Cancer Biology where he will lead the department’s work in understanding the biological underpinnings of cancer. He will also serve as director of the Cleveland Clinic's new Center for Global and Emerging Pathogens Research.

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Kuhs Named Co-Leader of Markey Cancer Prevention & Control Research Program

Kuhs Named Co-Leader of Markey Cancer Prevention & Control Research Program
UK Markey Cancer Center

UK Markey Cancer Center has announced that Krystle Kuhs, PhD, MPH, will serve as co-leader of its Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program. She will co-lead the program with Jerod Stapleton, PhD, who joined the university in 2019.

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New Chief of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, Stem Cell Transplantation Appointed

New Chief of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, Stem Cell Transplantation Appointed
Stanford Cancer Institute

Tanja Gruber, MD, PhD, has been appointed division chief of Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine in the Division of Pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine, associate director for childhood cancer in the Stanford Cancer Institute, and director of the Bass Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases at Stanford Children’s Health.

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Senior Director of Population Sciences Named

Senior Director of Population Sciences Named
Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah

Tracy Onega, PhD, has been appointed senior director of population sciences at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and professor of population sciences at the University of Utah. She began her service at HCI on August 1.

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Davis Named Senior Medical Director for Cancer Care Network and Strategy

Davis Named Senior Medical Director for Cancer Care Network and Strategy
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Nancy Davis, MD, has been named senior medical director for VICC Cancer Care Network and Strategy, a new leadership position at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center responsible for expanding cancer clinics within and beyond the Middle Tennessee catchment area.

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Massey Scientists Join International Effort to Streamline Brain Metastasis Research

Massey Scientists Join International Effort to Streamline Brain Metastasis Research
VCU Massey Cancer Center

The laboratory of Paula D. Bos, PhD, has joined forces with 18 other international laboratories to develop the first collaborative platform to streamline research into brain metastases. The effort, called the Brain Metastasis Cell Lines Panel, has already compiled more than 60 different cell lines related to brain metastasis research.

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Study Suggests New Approach to Improve Radiation Therapy Resistance in Glioblastoma

University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center

Many modern cancer drugs target a specific genetic mutation that is driving a particular cancer’s runaway growth and division, but this strategy hasn’t worked well against glioblastoma. Now research led by the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center has hit upon a new approach: make radiation therapy more effective for glioblastoma patients by targeting a critical metabolic pathway and disrupting its ability to repair the DNA damage caused by the radiation.

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Targeting Ultrasound at the Brain for Noninvasive Brain Cancer Diagnosis

Siteman Cancer Center

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, led by Hong Chen, PhD, are developing a new way to diagnose brain tumors without any incisions. The method uses ultrasonic energy to target tumors deep in the brain.

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HDAC6 Can Control Tumor Growth and Halt Metastasis in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

GW Cancer Center

Genetic modifier HDAC6 was found to control tumor growth and halt metastasis in triple-negative breast cancer in vivo, according to a new study by investigators at GW Cancer Center.

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Link Found Between Gut Microbiome, Cancer Treatment Outcomes

City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center

City of Hope physicians, working with scientists at Translational Genomics Research Institute, have found that greater gut microbial diversity in patients with metastatic kidney cancer is associated with better treatment outcomes on Food and Drug Administration-approved immunotherapy regimens.

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Scientists Look to Common Herb to Stem Progression of Early-Stage Breast Cancer

The University of Kansas Cancer Center

Rosemary, a fragrant herb, may contain properties that prevent breast cancer from progressing. Researchers at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, led by Fariba Behbod, PharmD, PhD, recently received funding to study this natural compound as a chemoprevention agent for women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.

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Differing Immune-Cell Subsets Underlie Sex Disparities in Glioblastoma

Case Comprehensive Cancer Center

A recent article highlights disparities in immune system functions between male and female glioblastoma patients that may underlie some of the observed sex differences in cancer incidence, prognosis, and treatment response. Researchers found that monocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells were enriched in the tumors of male mice, but not female mice.

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New Models to Accelerate Progress in Preventing Drug Resistance in Lung, Pancreas Cancers

New Models to Accelerate Progress in Preventing Drug Resistance in Lung, Pancreas Cancers
Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah

Scientists at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah have developed new models to study molecular characteristics of tumors of the lung and pancreas that are driven by mutations in a gene named NTRK1. The study was led by Martin McMahon, PhD, and Aria Vaishnavi, PhD.

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Link Found Between Minimally Invasive Procedure for Oropharyngeal Cancer and Longer Survival

Cedars-Sinai Cancer

Robotic surgery for patients with early stage, oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer is associated with improved health outcomes, including better long-term survival, according to a Cedars-Sinai study.

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Breast Cancer Cells Use Message-Carrying Vesicles to Send Oncogenic Stimuli to Neighboring Normal Cells

The Wistar Institute

According to a study led by Dario C. Altieri, MD, president and CEO of The Wistar Institute, breast cancer cells starved for oxygen send out messages that induce oncogenic changes in surrounding normal epithelial cells. These messages are packaged into particles called extracellular vesicles and reprogram mitochondrial shape and position within the recipient normal cells to ultimately promote deregulated tissue morphogenesis.

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Delaying Antiviral Treatment May Boost Immunity in Stem Cell Transplant Recipients

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Patients who develop cytomegalovirus infections after allogeneic stem cell transplantation may be able to develop an immunity against the virus, strengthen their immune system, and reduce reliance on strong antiviral medications, a team of cellular-therapy specialists from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center has found.

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Immunotherapy-Resistant Cancers Eliminated in Mouse Study

Siteman Cancer Center

The effects of a standard immunotherapy drug can be enhanced by blocking the protein TREM2, resulting in complete elimination of tumors, according to a study in mice by Washington University researchers at Siteman Cancer Center.

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Proposed Guidelines for Lung Cancer Screening Would Nearly Double Number of People Who Should Get Tested

Stanford Cancer Institute

A new draft recommendation by a national panel of health care experts would nearly double the number of Americans eligible for lung cancer screenings — and should result in more women and African Americans getting screened.

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Developing a Blood Test for Breast Cancer

Developing a Blood Test for Breast Cancer
University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center

Mammograms help to catch breast cancer in its early stages, but Dario Marchetti, PhD, thinks they can’t find it soon enough. He and his team are developing tools to find cancer cells in the blood, before the primary tumor grows large enough to see on a mammogram, and before tumors can grow in other parts of the body.

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Acidic Niche Keeps Lymphatic System in Check During Immune Response, Researchers Say

Moffitt Cancer Center

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have described a novel acidic niche within lymph nodes that plays an integral role in regulating T cell activation. Their findings demonstrate the potential role for the lymph node microenvironment in shaping T cell biology.

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Small Change Makes Cancer Vaccine More Effective in Animal Tests

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health

Jefferson researchers developing a cancer vaccine to prevent recurrences of gastric, pancreatic, esophageal and colon cancers have added a component that would make the vaccine more effective. The change makes the vaccine less prone to being cleared by the immune system before it can generate immunity against the tumor components. The preclinical studies pave the way for a Phase II clinical trial opening to patients this fall.

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Targeted Therapy Combination Effective for Patients With Advanced Cholangiocarcinoma and BRAF Mutations

Targeted Therapy Combination Effective for Patients With Advanced Cholangiocarcinoma and BRAF Mutations
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

In a Phase II trial led by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the combination of dabrafenib, a BRAF inhibitor, and trametinib, a MEK inhibitor, achieved a 51 percent overall response rate in patients with cholangiocarcinoma marked by the BRAF V600E mutation. Vivek Subbiah, MD, is the study's lead author.

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New Repository Program Accepts Oral Cancer Drug Donations to Help Patients in Need

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

Patients are now able to donate no-longer-needed oral cancer therapy drugs for the benefit of other cancer patients through new state rules spearheaded by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy and OSUCCC – James.

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Huerta Heads Cancer Prevention and Education Program

Huerta Heads Cancer Prevention and Education Program
GW Cancer Center

Elmer E. Huerta, MD, MPH, will serve as the director of the Cancer Preventorium at GW Cancer Center and as professor of medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences. 

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Serology Test May Not Detect Antibodies That Could Confirm Protection Against COVID-19 Reinfection

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Two types of detectable antibody responses in SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) tell very different stories and may indicate ways to enhance public health efforts against the disease, according to researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain might neutralize virus infection, while the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein antibody may often only indicate exposure to the virus, not protections against reinfection. 

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Systematic Testing of Environmental Surfaces in a Radiation Oncology Clinic Shows No Detectable SARS-CoV2

Systematic Testing of Environmental Surfaces in a Radiation Oncology Clinic Shows No Detectable SARS-CoV2
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

A Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey study shows environmental surface testing at the center’s radiation oncology department, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state, showed no detectable SARS-CoV2. The work was led by Imraan Jan, DO (pictured), and Bruce G. Haffty, MD.

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Haring Joins National COVID-19 Native Expert Panel

Haring Joins National COVID-19 Native Expert Panel
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Roswell Park's Rodney Haring, PhD, MSW, has been named to the COVID-19 Prevention Network Native Expert Panel, formed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

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Fox Chase in Partnership to Develop COVID Testing Swab

Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health

Fox Chase Cancer Center has formed a partnership with plastic injection molding company The Rodon Group to develop nasal and oral collection swabs to test for COVID-19. This partnership will provide Temple University Health System with necessary COVID-19 swabs for the next five years.

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Fred Hutch Joins International COVID-19 Vaccine Effort

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has been named the coordinating center for vaccine clinical trials of the COVID-19 Prevention Network, funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. A team headquartered at Fred Hutch will lead operations across a network of at least five large-scale efficacy trials with over 100 clinical trial sites in the U.S. and abroad.

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Trial of Drug to Fight COVID-19 Launched

The University of Kansas Cancer Center

The University of Kansas Medical Center has announced a trial exploring a drug intended to fight the cytokine storm common in COVID-19. The trial involved a unique partnership between a researcher usually focused on cancer and a researcher usually focused on cystic fibrosis.

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Leveraging Prostate Cancer Research Against COVID-19

Leveraging Prostate Cancer Research Against COVID-19
University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center

What is the connection between COVID-19 and cancer? Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD, has focused his entire career on cancer, identifying a protein that plays a key role in the development of prostate cancer in 2005. It turns out that same protein may also factor into how coronaviruses replicate.

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Cancer Center Jobs

Senior Melanoma Research Scientist
Cedars-Sinai Cancer
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Senior Director, Clinical Operations and Compliance
University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center
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Cancer Virology Assistant Professor (tenure track)
Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota
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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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