MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
Stan Gerson, MD
Director, Case CCC
Dear Cancer Center Members:
I would like to alert you to the completion, posting, and publication of the revised Case Comprehensive Cancer Strategic Plan 2014-2018. This plan revises the thorough reassessment of the Center by our entire membership in 2011, producing the Plan of 2012-2018. The full plan can be found at: bit.ly/1gWNm9Y.
A strategic plan is an ever-evolving tool that must be revised periodically to reflect the changes and growth of an organization. As such, the Case CCC Executive Committee and Program Leaders recently re-evaluated the goals and objectives of the Center, which were set before the 2012 CCSG renewal. In doing this, the Center evaluated its progress and adjusted its direction to better take advantage of institutional investments and support. We also updated our priorities and included new initiatives.
Overall, programs have been refocused strategically to link basic biology to disease, and from that to studies of detection, prognosis, new treatment, and personalized oncology. Our members are benefiting from better collaborations and from institutional investments in faculty recruitment, basic and clinical cancer research, drug discovery and development, and genomics and bioinformatics.
Highlights include the merging of the two basic science programs into one. The newly formed Basic Sciences Program is led by Alex Almasan and Clark Distelhorst, and includes focus areas in lymphoma and brain tumors led by Jill Barnholtz-Sloan and Steve Rosenfeld, who are also leading the effort to put together the brain tumor SPORE application.
The newly created Breast Cancer Program is led by Lyndsay Harris and Bill Schiemann, with Jame Abraham leading efforts in clinical trials. Leaders will utilize multidisciplinary and team-based approaches to address the Program's overarching goals of understanding breast cancer pathogenesis from initiation to metastasis to disease recurrence, defining the role of genomics in identifying high-risk patients, and in using genomic response to predict clinical responses. These efforts are all focused on translating lab findings into novel diagnostic platforms and therapeutic strategies.
Another new initiative is the development of population-based studies into patients and families at high risk for cancer. In the past, we have been limited to tests for a few genetic predisposition to genetic changes – BRCA1, BRCA2, MMR and P53. But with the advent of high throughput genomic sequencing, whole genome sequencing is possible and may uncover many more alterations in families with multiple family members with cancer. With Affordable Health Care oversight of populations, there is an incentive to understand disease risk and to move towards better screening and other interventions in family members deemed to be at high risk for cancer. Charis Eng, Lyndsay Harris and Goutham Narla lead the team of clinicians in defining high-risk populations and providing data collection, screening, genetic counseling, followed with genomic sequencing and multi-generational monitoring.
Three broad infrastructure initiatives are strongly supported by the Cancer Center because they may support major research collaborative efforts.
- CWRU has developed a high throughput drug screening platform that may be useful for many investigators to utilize rapid analysis of their identified target with biochemical or cell-based assays to identify drugs that would block the process. The new Center for High Throughput Drug Screening is coupled with an effort to develop partnerships for chemical synthesis based on lead compounds.
- Efforts in genomics have been enhanced by the recruitment of Alex Miron from the Broad Institute to oversee the facility and assist investigators design and complete their genomic analysis. The recently completed Genomics in Cancer RFA from the Case CCC will provide new investigators the resources needed for this effort.
- In the area of clinical research informatics, Jonathan Haines has begun a process to improve the data systems within CWRU for these purposes under the Institute for Computational Biology. We expect to have concrete plans and implementation strategies to assist investigators in biorepository annotation, recovery of needed clinical information from and for clinical trials, and to help researchers ask questions about clinical populations.
Each of these initiatives should also increase our ability to pursue population intervention studies through our regional efforts, the PBRN, and the new Ohio Medical Corridor led by Dean Pam Davis through the CTSAs.
Finally, we have highlighted two new areas of focus for the coming years:
- Cancer Immunotherapy, both cellular antibody and inhibitory molecules that alter the intrinsic immune response to cancer;
- Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer research designed to understand the special aspects of the biology, progression, and treatment outcomes in these individuals.
The revised is posted on the Cancer Center website. I encourage you to read it and let me know if you have any comments or questions. This is your Center after all, and your input is appreciated.
CASE CCC IN THE NEWS
Potentially curative surgery for localized pancreatic cancer is underutilized
Oncology Nurse Advisor - Apr 10, 2014
Surgical resection of early-stage pancreatic tumors has the potential to cure patients with this deadly disease but continues to be underutilized, according to a new national analysis. This study was presented at the Society of Surgical Oncology Cancer Symposium's 67th Annual Meeting, in Phoenix, Arizona..."Surgery is potentially curative for patients with early stage pancreatic cancer but utilization has not increased over the past 22 years," said senior author Julian Kim, MD, chief of Surgical Oncology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center Seidman Cancer Center, Charles Hubay Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cleveland, Ohio. "Pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease with long-term survival less than 5% and better treatments are needed to improve survival. While not all patients with localized disease are candidates for curative resection, there is an opportunity for educating patients and physicians about the potential benefits of surgery."
lab chat: conversations with the smartest people in the cleveland biomed community
freshwater - Apr 10, 2014
Amar Desai, postdoctoral research associate in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Case Western Reserve University, interviewed Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Dr. Stan Gerson for his column on innovators in the Cleveland biomedical research field.
RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS
Scott Welford Kidney Cancer Research Award from AACR
Scott Welford, PhD, has been awarded the 2014 Kure It-AACR Grant for Kidney Cancer Research, which he accepted at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2014 in San Diego, California in early April. A novel soluble receptor-based therapy for Kidney Cancer, was approved for funding based on the research's relevance to the AACR mission, and the belief that Dr. Welford's project will have significant impact in cancer research. The two-year grant of $250,000 has a term of 07/01/2014-06/30/2016. Dr. Welford is Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at the CWRU School of Medicine and Director of the Radiation Resources Core Facility of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Stephen Grobmyer Society of Surgical Oncology Awardee
Stephen Grobmyer, MD, Chair of Breast Services at the Cleveland Clinic, is one of two awardees nationally to receive the Clinical Investigator Award from the Society of Surgical Oncology for the proposal, The Microbiome and Human Breast Cancer. This two-year project, which is a collaboration with fellow Cancer Center member Charis Eng, MD, PhD, Chair of the Cleveland Clinic Genomic Medicine Institute, will study the association of the breast, oral, and urinary microbiome with human breast cancer.
Hillard Lazarus Named Editor-in-Chief of Bone Marrow Transplant Journal
Hillard Lazarus, MD has been appointed as editor-in-chief of Bone Marrow Transplantation, a premier journal in the field. This position recognizes Dr. Lazarus for his scientific contributions as well as his singular expertise with medical communication. Dr. Lazarus, CTIS Disease Team Leader and Director of Novel Cell Therapy at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Professor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at CWRU School of Medicine, is also editor of Blood Reviews.
Mikkael Sekeres Receives Leadership Award
Mikkael A. Sekeres, MD, MS, Director of Cleveland Clinic's Leukemia Program and member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, is the 2013 recipient of the Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation's Leadership in Science award. Recipients of this award are selected for their contributions to the fields of bone marrow failure disease treatment and/or research.
2014 Affymetrix® Tumor Profiling Grant Program
The 2014 Affymetrix® Tumor Profiling Grant Program is designed to support translational cancer researchers who are discovering and validating biomarkers to address an unmet clinical need by combining multiple omics data. Affymetrix will support up to three grants globally with reagents to profile up to 30 samples.
Deadline: April 15
Dr. Marty Veigl, Director of the Gene Expression & Genotyping Core Facility is available to assist anyone who may need information to put together their proposal.
Request for Proposals for Case CCC Funding for Pilot/Phase I Clinical Trials
The Case CCC is encouraging investigators to submit Letters of Intent (LOI) for Early Phase Clinical Research Support (EPCRS) funding. These in-house funds are available for the conduct of early phase clinical trials of relatively short duration. Priority will be given to trials which are developed jointly between UH and CCF with planned accrual at both institutions. (See revised NCI Cancer Center Support Grant EPCRS guidelines, page 43, Section 2.12). Please submit LOIs to Katarzyna Karelus, Case CCC Clinical Research Office, firstname.lastname@example.org, 216.844.4176.
LOI deadline: April 15
Limited Submission: National Science Foundation Scalable Nano Manufacturing
The National Science Foundation (NSF) announces a fourth year of a program on collaborative research and education in the area of scalable nanomanufacturing, including the long-term societal implications of the large scale implementation of nanomanufacturing innovations. This program is in response to and is a component of the National Nanotechnology Initiative Signature Initiative: Sustainable Nanomanufacturing - Creating the Industries of the Future. Although many nanofabrication techniques have demonstrated the ability to fabricate small quantities of nanomaterials, nanostructures and nanodevices for characterization and evaluation purposes, the emphasis of the scalable nanomanufacturing program is on research to overcome the key scientific and technological barriers that prevent the production of useful nanomaterials, nanostructures, devices and systems at an industrially relevant scale, reliably, and at low cost and within environmental, health and safety guidelines.
CWRU LOI Deadline: April 21
NSF Deadline: June 16
American Society of Hematology Scholar Awards
The American Society of Hematology (ASH) Scholar Awards are designed to support hematologists who have chosen a career in research by providing partial salary or other support during that critical period required for completion of training and achievement of status as an independent investigator. Scholar Award applicants are required to be members of ASH in good standing at the time of the Letter of Intent submission, and for the duration of the Scholar Award Program.
Fellow Scholar Awards are open to PhD or MD/PhD applicants with fewer than 5 years of research experience after completion of their PhD (including research performed during fellowship, but excluding clinical fellowship time). MD applicants should have more than 3 but fewer than 5 years of research experience (including research performed during fellowship, but excluding clinical fellowship time). Applicants with the title of Assistant Professor or equivalent *must* apply for the Junior Faculty Award, regardless of research experience.
Junior Faculty Scholar Awards are open to MD, PhD or MD/PhD applicants with more than 5 but fewer than 10 years of research experience after completion of their PhD (including research performed during fellowship, but excluding clinical fellowship time). Applicants with the title of Assistant Professor or equivalent *must* apply for the Junior Faculty Award, regardless of research experience.
LOI Deadline: May 7
Invited Application Deadline: August 1
Limited Submission: National Science Foundation Research Traineeship Program
The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program is designed to encourage the development of bold, new, potentially transformative, and scalable models for STEM graduate training that ensure that graduate students develop the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed to pursue a range of STEM careers. The NRT program initially has one priority research theme - Data-Enabled Science and Engineering (DESE); in addition, proposals are encouraged on any other crosscutting, interdisciplinary theme. In either case, proposals should identify the alignment of project research themes with national research priorities and the need for innovative approaches to train graduate students in those areas.
CWRU LOI Deadline: May 1
NSF Deadline: June 24
L'Oréal USA For Women in Science
The L'Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship program has recognized more than 2,000 women scientists in over 100 countries since the program began in 1998. The fellowship program is a national awards program that annually recognizes and rewards five U.S.-based women researchers at the beginning of their scientific careers. The aims of the program is to: raise awareness of the contribution of women to the sciences and identify exceptional female researchers in the U.S. to serve as role models for younger generations.
Deadline: May 19
Vilcek Prizes For Creative Promise in Biomedical Science
The Vilcek Foundation will award three prizes of $50,000 each to young foreign-born biomedical scientists who demonstrate outstanding early achievement. Eligible work may be in basic, applied, and/or translational biomedical science. Applicants must not be more than 38 years old as of December 31, 2014, must be a naturalized citizen or permanent resident (green card holder) of the United States, must have earned a doctoral degree (MD, PhD, or equivalent), and must hold a full-time position in an academic institution or other organization. Eligible positions include the following: Assistant or Associate Professor, Research Scientist, or equivalent.
Deadline: June 10
Stand Up To Cancer-Cancer Research UK Translational Research Fellowship
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is now accepting applications for the Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C)-Cancer Research UK Translational Research Fellowship, which will provide up to four grants for postdoctoral or clinical research fellows. This grant opportunity is provided by SU2C and Cancer Research UK and is the first joint research project resulting from the collaboration between the two groups announced in 2012. This Fellowship will provide four years of research fellowship support to talented and promising early-career investigators in the United States and the United Kingdom who demonstrate clear potential to become leaders in their fields. Research projects must be translational in nature and address critical problems in cancer with the potential to deliver benefit to patients. The proposed work must be performed in two phases, one in the United States and one in the United Kingdom. Each phase must be one to three years in length, and the total support period for this fellowship is a maximum of four years. Applications must identify one mentor and qualified host laboratory in the United States and one mentor and qualified host laboratory in the United Kingdom. Mentors should be established leaders in cancer research with a track record of successful mentoring. The research proposal must describe how the work has the potential to advance to the clinic.
Deadline: July 28
Join Our Team - Race for the Place
Walk or run with the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center team at the Race for the Place, June 1, 2014. This great event helps The Gathering Place to offer services to anyone touched by cancer, no matter their economic situation. Anyone is welcome to join our team. If you can't make the Race in person, please consider making a donation to support our efforts. Click here to view our team page.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Academic Drug Development Seminar
Please join us for our 2nd Academic Drug Development Seminar on Wednesday, April 23 at 4pm at the Global Cardiovascular Innovations Center (GCIC) located at 10000 Cedar Avenue. Dr. Jennifer Carew, new staff in the Department of Translational Hematology & Oncology at the Taussig Cancer Institute, will present Targeting Autophagic Degradation for Cancer Therapy. This is work for which Dr Carew was recently awarded an RO1.
The objective of these seminars is to have the various disciplines needed for successful Academic Drug Development (scientists, clinicians, med chemists, computer-aided drug design, in vivo model, commercialization) in the same room as a stimulating presentation that sparks learning, interaction and synergy. Presentations incorporate:
- scientific basis for therapeutic index;
- scientific basis for why the approach/molecular target should be better than existing treatments;
- screening strategy;
- med chem strategy including computer-aided drug design;
- pre-clinical in vivo proof of principle strategy including PK and PD;
- IP/commercialization strategy (while keeping what needs to be kept confidential, confidential)
Free parking is available behind the Global Cardiovascular Innovations Center (South of Cedar, off E. 100th Street), press the buzzer on the speaker, let the front desk know you are there for the Academic Drug Development Seminar, and the front desk will buzz you into the parking lot.
GI SPORE Retreat
Registration is open for the Case Gastrointestinal Cancers SPORE Retreat, April 24 in Dively Rm. 202. Planned presentation topics include: Colon Cancer, Barrett's Esophagus, Cancer Metastasis, Cancer Prevention, and Cancer in Minorities.
The day will also feature poster presentations by trainees and fellows. To participate, submit abstracts to John Wang (email@example.com) by April 17.
CME Event - Screening for Cancer in Women: 2014
Registration is open for Screening for Cancer in Women: 2014, Wednesday, May 21 from 8 am - 3:35 pm at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Independence.
This conference will feature speakers from health centers across Northeast Ohio working together to fight cancer, who will offer expert insight, updates, and advice on screening for cancer in women.
Optimal strategies in cancer screening and detection are constantly evolving, and best practices are changing. This comprehensive symposium is aimed at primary care providers and cancer specialists with updates that can be incorporated into their practices including:
- New screening technologies, particularly to detect breast and lung cancer
- Current guidelines for colorectal, skin, lung, breast, and cervical cancer screening
- Dr. Brian Bolwell will discuss the impact of the Affordable Care Act
- Racial and economic disparities within cancer screening and detection
- When to refer a patient for a genetics referral or to a high-risk clinic
CME credit will be offered. Visit the conference website for more details and registration information.
NCRM Cancer Stem Cell Conference
The first CWRU: National Center for Regenerative Medicine Cancer Stem Cell Conference will be held in Cleveland,August 17-20, 2014. This conference is guaranteed to have incredible research from a variety of backgrounds in the Cancer Stem Cell field, and will feature keynote speakers from over 25 different institutions from around the world. Register today to connect with an international community of researchers and their work.