Director's Message

Welcome to the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. Our Center, now in its 25th year of continuous NCI funding, has held Comprehensive status since 1998 and coordinates all cancer research throughout northern Ohio.

The Case CCC is an evolving, innovative center emphasizing the translation of discovery into patient-based research and treatment of cancer. We recently incorporated the research activities at MetroHealth Medical Center to expand our academic hospital affiliates that include Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, which was added to the original consortium of Case Western Reserve University and Seidman Cancer Center of University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

These partnerships strengthen and extend the range of our scientific and clinical programs, and the impact is staggering. Our eight scientific programs engage 337 cancer research investigators, from basic and translational scientists to clinical and population investigators. In 2011, our clinical affiliates saw over 11,000 new cancer cases reported to the Ohio tumor registry and saw perhaps double that number for consultations and care. Over 1,000 patients participated in research by donating a tissue sample, completing a questionnaire or engaging in another research activity, and 911 patients were accrued to therapeutic clinical trials.

Our clinical trials office manages over 300 clinical trials. Our research portfolio among members has increased to over $47M in total annual awards from the NCI, and $119M in total annual awards of which $105M was peer-reviewed.

2011 was a significant year for our center:

  • Brian Bolwell, MD, was named Chair of the Taussig Cancer Institute of the Cleveland Clinic and was appointed Associate Director for Taussig of the Case CCC.
  • Sanford Markowitz, MD, PhD, became Principal Investigator of our first SPORE, in GI cancers.
  • We joined Ohio State as recipients of the N01 Phase II clinical trials contract with NCI-CTEP linked to our long-standing U01 for Phase I clinical trials grant. These two awards lock our center into the new drug pipeline of NCI for investigator- initiated clinical trials.
  • Methoxyamine, a drug developed in Case labs and licensed by Tracon as TRC102, was introduced into the CTEP drug pipeline for development through the U01 and N01 grantees.

Our research focus continues to evolve. Recent recruitments with interests in breast cancer and brain tumors enable the center to expand its disease-based research breast cancer and brain tumor programs in development.

Reflecting the inclusive and far reaching nature of our organization, our Senior and Program Leadership are drawn from our affiliated institutions. I am delighted with the internationally acclaimed accomplishments of our Senior Leaders who together form the Executive Committee (EC) of the Case CCC: Brian J. Bolwell, MD, Associate Director for the Taussig Cancer Institute; Neal Meropol, MD, Associate Director for Clinical Research; Ruth Keri, PhD, Associate Director for Basic Research; Jaroslaw Maciejewski, MD, PhD, Associate Director for the Lerner Research Institute; Li Li, MD, PhD, Associate Director for Prevention Research; and Clark Distelhorst, MD, Associate Director for Training and Education.

Associate Director positions that have been added in recognition of the increased reliance on research infrastructure are James Jacobberger, PhD, Associate Director for Shared Resources; Mark Schluchter, PhD, Associate Director for Biostatistics; and G.Q. Zhang, Associate Director for Informatics. Anne Duli serves as Associate Director for Administration and Finance, and manages the program activities and finances for all components of the Center.

Other members of the EC are Afshin Dowlati, MD as Director of the Center for Cancer Drug Development; Sanford Markowitz, MD, PhD, as PI of the GI SPORE; Rob Dreicer, MD as Director of Clinical Trials; and Mitchell Machtay, MD as Director for Cooperative Groups. Together, the EC develops the long-term strategy, vision and priorities of the Cancer Center while promoting a cohesive proactive approach to interdisciplinary cancer research.

What distinguishes the Case CCC is it strong and accessible shared resources. These are designed to be user-responsive and to provide the services needed by the cancer research community. We support 16 Core Facilities and related support services, and strive to make these the best shared resources across the institutions.

With 3.9 million people throughout northeast Ohio, a region with a higher than average cancer mortality rate, the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center supports cancer prevention efforts throughout Ohio and contributes to national and international research efforts to improve cancer outcomes.

Cure, after all, is what we seek. We will continue to emphasize collaborative efforts that translate basic research discoveries into preclinical analysis and evaluation in human cancers and then directly into clinical trials of innovative treatment for patients with cancer. As the hub for cancer research in Cleveland, we recognize what the Case CCC means to our community and we are eager to fulfill its potential.

Stanton L. Gerson, MD
Director, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
slg5@case.edu