MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
Stan Gerson, MD
Director, Case CCC
Varmus Interview Details NCI Priorities and Initiatives
In a recent interview with Harold Varmus, the priorities of the NCI are outlined as are some initiatives that Dr. Varmus is pursuing - an altered Biosketch, more streamlined and smaller grants, the RAS project, and the new genomics trials for cancer patients.
Please review and consider as you pursue your research and remember the advantages of being in line with the thinking of the NCI. Note the statements about grant funding - program has an active voice, and pursues "really interesting science". Note also the statements about adjusting our training programs towards fewer academic and more commercial jobs as well as having stable research scientists in labs.
CASE CCC IN THE NEWS
Axitinib Active in Treatment-naive Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma
Helio/HemOnc Today - Nov 18, 2013
First-line therapy with axitinib demonstrated clinical activity in metastatic renal cell carcinoma, and dose titration with axitinib is associated with a higher rate of objective response than placebo titration, according to results of a randomized phase 2 study. In the double blind, multicenter study, Brian I. Rini, MD, of the department of solid tumor oncology at Cleveland Clinic's Taussig Cancer Institute, and colleagues compared the safety and efficacy of axitinib (Inlyta, Pfizer) dose titration vs. placebo titration in patients with previously untreated metastatic renal-cell carcinoma.
VTEs With Chemo 'Much Higher' in Real World Than in Trials
Medscape - Nov 12, 2013
The risk for venous thromboembolism (VTE) in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy is considerably greater in clinical practice than in recent major clinical trials, according to a "real world" study of a healthcare claims database...The findings are not wholly surprising, said Alok Khorana, MD, the Hardis Chair in Oncology Research at the Taussig Cancer Institute of the Cleveland Clinic, who was not involved in the study. "The study validates what clinicians have been reporting anecdotally," he told Medscape Medical News in an interview.
Know Your Options When Selecting a Treatment for Metastatic Melanoma
Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer - Nov 12, 2013
After a diagnosis of metastatic melanoma, it can be difficult to understand the different treatment options that are available. Every case is unique and there is no single answer for which treatment may be best for you...In addition to the physical considerations for treatment, it is also important to discuss your treatment goals. "When I meet with a patient who has recently been diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, our conversation about treatment goals is one of the most important talks we have," says Henry Koon, MD, UH Seidman Cancer Center, Cleveland, OH.
Former NBC Correspondent Diagnosed with Breast Cancer
WKYC (video) - Nov 12, 2013
Cleveland Clinic Oncologist Dr. Halle Moore comments on tv correspondent Amy Robach's on air mammogram and cancer diagnosis.
In Memoriam: Helen Moss
[Excerpts from The Plain Dealer] Helen Moss – philanthropist, stockbroker, politician and a breast cancer survivor who for more than a decade raised money for cancer research – died of cancer Saturday, November 9. She was 76.
In recent years, Moss was known more for her efforts to raise money and awareness for cancer research, and her passion for raising awareness about integrative oncology, the term for the combination of traditional cancer treatment and complementary therapies such as acupuncture and botanical products. Moss embraced those causes in 2000. That year, she received her first cancer diagnosis of advanced breast cancer. She launched the Helen Moss Cancer Research Foundation (formerly the Helen Moss Breast Cancer Research Foundation).
In 2011 Moss was instrumental in bringing the annual conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology – of which she was a board member " to Cleveland.
"She was persuasive," said Dr. Stanton Gerson, Director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and UH Seidman Cancer Center. "It was very hard to argue with Helen because she thought things through incredibly well." Gerson, whom Moss recruited to serve on the board of her foundation, credits Moss with "kick-starting" the field of integrative oncology in the Cleveland area and using her talent of connecting ideas and people together to help other cancer patients.
One of those institutions, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, is actively recruiting to fill the position of the Parker Hannifin-Helen Moss Cancer Research Foundation Professorship in Integrative Oncology. Moss helped raise money for the post, the first professorship in integrative oncology at a major medical school in the United States.
GvHD National Symposium Brings Together Cancer Specialists and Patients in Unique Forum
The only event of its kind focusing exclusively on Graft vs. Host disease (GvHD), took place on November 1 in Cleveland, Ohio. The day-long conference, GvHD National Symposium, sponsored by the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Meredith A. Cowden Foundation, brought together the nation's foremost physicians, surgeons, research scientists, educators and other specialists in the fields of hematology, oncology, bone marrow transplantation and immunology to highlight the latest scientific research, as well as discuss significant improvements being made in the lives of patients battling GvHD and its symptoms.
The conference, now in its fourth year, continued to raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of GvHD, reviewed cutting edge approaches to prevention and treatment, and highlighted and promoted research to further understanding of the causes of GvHD. The symposium had two tracks: a scientifically rigorous one for physicians and practitioners, and a survivor track that focused on challenges faced by Bone Marrow Transplant recipients and their families. The survivor track provided both education and the opportunity for individuals to interact with national leaders in the GvHD field. The afternoon "Meet the Expert" uniquely interactive breakout sessions provided an opportunity for the physicians, survivors and their families to come together for open dialogue during the program.
"What is special about the GvHD conference is its ambiance," said Stanton L. Gerson, MD, Director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. "The parallel track in which doctors talk to doctors with patients in the room and doctors talk to patients with other doctors in the room is quite unique, and the patients and their families love it."
Over 150 attendees participated in the conference: 25 MDs, PhDs and pharmacists; 39 nurses and health professionals; 10 students, post doctorates and fellows; and 55 survivors and family members; as well as 16 faculty speakers and 10 pharmaceutical representatives. This year's conference brought over 10% of audience attendees from out-of-state, a percentage that has grown steadily each year the conference has taken place.
Outstanding scientific research discussed at the conference included:
- Dr. John DiPersio from the Washington University School of Medicine Siteman Cancer Center discussed epigenetics in GvHD, with emphasis on the role of small molecules as possible regulators of GvHD and the graft-versus-leukemia effect. He is currently investigating whether early exposure of transplanted hematopoietic stem cells to low dose hypomethylating agents could prevent uncontrolled expansion of all reacting lymphocytes, leading to tolerance and no GvHD.
- Dr. Frances Hakim from the Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch, NIH, spoke about the biology of chronic GvHD. Her presentation and findings concentrated on upregulation of interferon signature in tissues affected by chronic GvHD, and interestingly, in circulating monocytes. Upregulated Interferon genes include genes related to lymphocyte trafficking and others.
- Dr. David Jacobsohn from the George Washington University and Children’s National Hospital discussed current status and future clinical investigations in the field of treating and preventing GvHD in the pediatric population. He emphasized the orphan drug status of most of the interventions available for children, as well as for adults – since very few companies are interested in developing drugs for this indication. Dr. Jacobsohn also emphasized the need for more research on the long term effects of GvHD.
- Dr. Stephanie Lee from the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center reviewed a variety of studies in the GvHD field, with emphasis on the growing collaboration among several centers in the U.S. – the GvHD consortium that she leads.
- Dr. Leonido Luznik from Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center described the use of post-transplant cyclophosphamide as the basis for GvHD prophylaxis in allogeneic transplantation. This approach has led to low rates of acute and chronic GvHD, with emphasis in the reduction of the latter. In addition, results of haploidentical transplantation with this strategy are promising and are leading to a fast increase in the number of such transplants performed in the U.S. and abroad. Post-transplant cyclophosphamide seems to affect allo-reactive T cells disproportionally, while sparing hematopoietic stem cells and possibly, T regulatory cells.
- Dr. Paul Martin from the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center provided a sober overview of clinical trial design and study ‘real life’ challenges in the GvHD arena. He discussed challenges related to motivating investigators in a multi-center trial, and also managing financing and realistic goals given current grant support scenarios.
- Dr. Pamela Stratton from the NIH reviewed gynecologic and reproductive health issues in women after allogeneic transplantation, and emphasized the key issue of under recognition and delayed intervention frequently observed in this population.
Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test
Friends For An Earlier Breast Cancer Test® is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness and education and to raising funds for research into earlier detection of breast cancer. Earlier is requesting applications for pilot projects that focus on new methods to improve detection of early breast cancer and are especially interested in the development of new techniques in the areas of biological or immunologic methods of early detection. It is the hope that pilot projects will provide preliminary data that leads to applications for more substantial peer-reviewed funding. Applications are accepted from both established investigators who have funding but want to embark on a new area, as well as those less experienced. In either case, the proposal should represent a new approach to the area of interest. Funds will not be given to enhance ongoing research unless it is clear that a new line of inquiry is being explored.
Deadline: December 1
AACI Translational Cancer Research Fellowship
The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center may nominate ONE candidate for the AACI Translational Cancer Research Fellowship. The intent of the fellowship is to provide additional support to individuals who are engaged in any area of clinical and/or translational cancer research in order to further the development of their careers and enhance their future success in an academic discipline. The AACI fellowship will provide a one-year non-renewable grant to support post-doctoral training to individuals who have completed at least one year of training in any field of oncology and have at least one year of training remaining at an AACI member institution. Interested candidates should forward a letter of support from their mentor and their 4-page NIH biosketch to Gillian Todd by Friday, December 13.
Internal Deadline: December 13
External Deadline: February 3, 2014
ASH HONORS Award
The ASH HONORS (Hematology Opportunities for the Next Generation of Research Scientists) Award will contribute to the development of the next generation of hematologists by supporting talented medical students and residents to conduct hematology research. This award is intended for medical students and residents (residents are defined as trainees who have not yet entered a hematology-related training program) in the United States, Canada, or Mexico with an interest in hematology research.
Deadline: February 21, 2014
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
5th Annual NCRM Scientific Retreat
Registration is open for the 5th Annual NCRM Scientific Retreat that will be held Monday, December 2 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). This year's retreat will showcase the many scientific highlights in stem cell and regenerative medicine happening within NCRM as well as engage in interactive panel discussions that will develop into new ideas for promising projects of tomorrow.
The retreat will conclude with poster presentations, and all attendees are invited to enjoy a cocktail reception while gathering around a network of leaders in stem cell and regenerative medicine. All are invited to submit abstracts to be included in the NCRM Retreat Poster Sessions. Please submit your abstract using the online registration form.