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January 20, 2015


Results from Two Studies of MET Inhibition for Patients with Esophageal and Gastroesophageal Adenocarcinoma
MedPage Today- Jan 16, 2015
Comments from Neal Meropol, MD, Chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Associate Director for Clinical Research, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Is a Cancer Clinical Trial Right For You? New Education Tool Created in Cleveland, Now Online, Will Help You Decide - Jan 14, 2015
A free tool to help cancer patients quickly learn more about clinical trials, is now available at Cancer.Net, the patient information website of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The video-based program, called Preparatory Education About Clinical Trials (PRE-ACT), was designed and tested by researchers in Cleveland...Dr. Neal Meropol, chief of the division of hematology/oncology at University Hospitals and CWRU, and associate director for clinical programs at UH Seidman Cancer Center, and Associate Director for Clinical Research at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Dr. Smitha Krishnamurthi, a UH oncologist and medical director for the Seidman's Clinical Trials Unit and member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, are the only two medical professionals featured in the videos, most of which were filmed at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia...Meropol led the initial design of PRE-ACT with a grant from the National Cancer Institute while a faculty member at Fox Chase. When he moved to Cleveland in 2009, Meropol brought PRE-ACT – which CWRU licensed from Fox Chase – with him.

Vitamin D May Boost Colon Cancer Survival
CBS News - Jan 13, 2015
Higher vitamin D levels in patients with advanced colon cancer appear to improve response to chemotherapy and targeted anti-cancer drugs, researchers say...This increase in progression-free survival is the most compelling evidence indicating that vitamin D makes a difference in colon cancer, said Dr. Smitha Krishnamurthi, an associate professor of hematology and oncology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cleveland. "That is interesting because that's more of a cancer-specific endpoint as opposed to overall survival, which could be influenced by other factors like heart health," Krishnamurthi said.

Ohio is 20th State with Breast Density Notification Law; Requires Women to be Told after Mammogram - Jan 13, 2015
In December, Ohio became the 20th state to pass a breast density notification law; SB 54 (which was later folded into another bill prior to its passage) requires hospitals and clinics that perform mammography screening to notify a woman that her test results show dense breast tissue...Since 2011, University Hospitals has offered breast tomosynthesis (three-dimensional mammography). It will begin offering ultrasound screening in February. But because tomosynthesis decreases false positive findings and unnecessary biopsies, UH's Dr. Donna Plecha says she is more enthusiastic about that screening tool. "I think all patients would benefit from tomosynthesis, [not just] dense-breasted women," said Plecha, UH's director of breast imaging and a member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. "I just want patients to know that if it's something they're interested in, we're willing to offer it."

Avoiding Surgery in Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer
MedPage Today - Jan 12, 2015
Three-fourths of patients with locally advanced rectal cancer avoided surgery following complete clinical response to chemoradiation therapy, data from a retrospective analysis showed...The findings have important implications for the management of locally advanced rectal cancer, which often can necessitate a colostomy and lead to substantial alterations in bowel habits, said press briefing moderator Smitha S. Krishnamurthi, MD. "They set the bar very high, comparing results with nonoperative management to the patients who had no cancer left under the microscope at the time of surgery," said Krishnamurthi, of University Hospitals Case Medical Center and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cleveland. "The nonoperative management appears to compare favorably. We do need longer follow-up, though, to be sure that these patients will have disease-specific survival that equals what is achieved with surgery over the long term."


Sharifi Receives Prostate Cancer Center Foundation Challenge Award

Dr. Nima SharifiDr. Nima Sharifi, Associate Professor of Cancer Biology at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of CWRU and Co-Leader of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center GU Malignancies Program, is one of six people to receive a Challenge Award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF). These multi-year awards support cross-disciplinary teams of research scientists to advance the treatment of lethal prostate cancer.

According to a PCF press release, Dr. Sharifi's project will develop an FDA-approved prognostic test to identify patients with genetic mutations that predispose them to treatment resistance. An inherited mutation in 3βHSD1 increases the body's production of male hormones, leading to poor clinical outcomes when patients are treated with androgen deprivation therapy. Dr. Sharifi's work will be translated into a new diagnostic test, which may also predict the efficacy of abiraterone (Zytiga®) as an alternative treatment for these high-risk patients. This is Dr. Sharifi's third PCF award; he was named a PCF Young Investigator in 2008, and a co-investigator on a previous Challenge Award.

Mark Your Calendars

City Club Cleveland

On January 30, 2015, Drs. Stan Gerson, Brian Bolwell, Ruth Keri and Neal Meropol will serve as panelists at a City Club of Cleveland event–From Science to Cancer Cures: How the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Makes the City of Cleveland Better.

This conversation will be moderated by WCPN health reporter/producer Sarah Jane Tribble, and is an opportunity for the above members of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Executive Team, who represent our three institutions, to discuss innovations at each institution and the positive stride made by coordinated efforts through the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Tickets are $18 for City Club members and $30 for nonmembers. Please visit the City Club of Cleveland website for more information and to purchase tickets.

Graft versus Host Disease National Symposium

Registration is now open for the Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD) National SymposiumFriday, April 24, at the Embassy Suites Cleveland. This conference is intended to raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of GvHD, review cutting edge approaches to prevention and treatment, and highlight and promote research to further our understanding of its cause.

The symposium will have two tracks: a scientifically rigorous one for physicians and practitioners, and a survivor track that will focus on challenges faced by BMT recipients and their families. The survivor track is intended to provide 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 will provide an opportunity for the physicians, survivors and their families to come closely together during the program. Continuing Medical Education credits will be offered.

Case CCC Annual Scientific Retreat

The Case CCC Annual Scientific Retreat will be held July 9-10, 2015. The agenda is still being planned, but we hope you will set aside time to attend this important event! More details will be posted in future newsletters.

News from the NIH

NIH Postpones New Biosketch Format Requirement until May 25, 2015

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently announced that a new biosketch format will be required for all applications submitted for FY2016 funding, and will be required beginning May 25, 2015. Originally, the requirement was to go into effect beginning January 25, 2015, but in response to input from the research community, the mandatory change in format was postponed.

The NIH has been piloting a planned modification of the biosketch since June 2012. The new format increases the page limit from 4 to 5 pages and increases the number of peer-reviewed publications from 15 to 20. The new format allows investigators to include a link to a complete listing of their publications in SciENcv or My Bibliography.

For assistance with the new biosketch formatting, please contact Kathy Blazer, Interim Director, Cleveland Health Sciences Library, (216-368-1361 or Information is also available by viewing the Health Sciences Library's slide presentation.


NIH Center for Accelerated Innovation at Cleveland Clinic

The National Center for Accelerated Innovations (NCAI-CC) is accepting applications for its third funding cycle. Funding is available for promising emerging technologies directed towards diagnosis, treatment or management of cardiovascular, pulmonary, blood, or sleep-related disorders. The Center is seeking projects such as therapeutics (e.g. drugs, biologics), preventatives, diagnostics, devices, tools, etc., in order to facilitate their translation to commercialized products that improve patient care and enhance health.

The NCAI-CC will provide funding and project assistance to advance the development of high priority early-stage technologies within the mission areas of the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute (NHLBI). Expert assistance will be provided in areas required for early technology development, including commercial opportunity assessment, intellectual property, clinical and regulatory, reimbursement, business, legal and project management.

This opportunity is open to investigators from the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio State University, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and University of Cincinnati.
Deadline: February 10

Taub Foundation Grants Program for Myelodysplastic Syndromes Research

The Taub Foundation Grants Program for Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) Research was created to support high-impact, innovative translational research to understand the underlying causes of MDS and to advance its treatment and prevention. The Program specifically focuses on MDS research, exclusive of Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN).
Initial Proposal Deadline: March 17
Invited Proposal Deadline: August 14


Breast Cancer Research Foundation-AACR Career Development Awards for Translational Breast Cancer Research
Deadline: January 20, 2015

American Institute for Cancer Research Investigator-Initiated Grants
Deadline: January 26, 2015

AACR-Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation Career Development Award for Clinical/Translational Research
Deadline: January 27, 2015

Debbie's Dream Foundation-AACR Gastric Cancer Research Fellowships
Deadline: January 27, 2015

American Brain Tumor Association Medical Student Summer Fellowships
Deadline: January 28, 2015

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Translational Research Program (TRP)
LOI Deadline: February 15, 2015
Application Deadline: March 1, 2015

Lila and Murray Gruber Memorial Cancer Research Award
Deadline: February 28, 2015

Ohio Cancer Research Associates
Deadline: February 28, 2015

Myeloma Research Foundation
Deadline: March 1, 2015

Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network 2015 Young Investigator Awards
Deadline: March 4, 2015

Limited Submission: National Science Foundation Collections in Support of Biological Research (CSBR)
Internal Deadline: March 23, 2015
External Deadline: July 13, 2015

Worldwide Cancer Research
Deadline: April 24, 2015

International Union Against Cancer (UICC) International Cancer Technology Transfer Fellowships
Application Deadline: Open

International Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia Foundation (IWMF) Research Grant Program
Application Deadline: Open

Solving Kids' Cancer Therapeutic Development Initiative
Application Deadline: Open

Support of Multi-investigator Initiatives in the Case CCC
Deadline: Open

Collaborative Activity Awards
Deadline: Open

NIH BULLETIN – Notices and Funding Opportunities


If you have a new grant, recently won an award, or have other newsworthy items, please let us know so we can publicize them in the newsletter and other media outlets. You deserve the accolades! Send items to Gillian Irwin at


Wed, Jan 21

ASH Review
8 am - 3:30 pm Renaissance Cleveland Hotel
Details and Registration

Thurs, Jan 22

Cancer Center Special Seminar
Gregory A. Plotnikoff, MD, MTS, FACP
Penny George Institute for Health and Healing
Topic: Interventional Nutrition: Rational Use of Diet and Supplements in Cancer Care
10 am WRB 3-136 **note time change**

Immunology Journal Club
Fred Allen
PhD Student, Huang lab
Topic: The Angiogenic Factor PIGF Mediates a Neuroimmune Interaction in the Spleen to Allow the Onset of Hypertension
12 pm WRB 5-136

Prostate Cancer Working Group & Journal Club Seminar Invited Speaker
Massimo Loda, MD
Director, Center for Molecular Oncologic Pathology
Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Institute
Topic: Metabolic Dependencies in Prostate Cancer: Regulation and Targeting of Lipogenesis
12 pm NA1-140 Cleveland Clinic

Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Daria Hazuda, PhD
VP Scientific Affairs for Infectious Disease
Merck & Co., Inc.
Topic: Advances In HIV and HCV Drug Discovery 
12 pm Rottman Seminar Room W203

Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Erin Armentrout
Rietsch lab, Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Topic: A Genetic Analysis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Translocon Function
1:30 pm Rottman Seminar Room W203

Fri, Jan 23

Hematology/Oncology Fellows Seminar
8 am Wearn 137

Taussig Cancer Institute Grand Rounds
M&M Conference - Cleveland Clinic only
8 am R3/002-003 Cleveland Clinic

Cellular & Molecular Medicine Midterm Review Seminar
Justin Lathia, PhD
Assistant Professor, Cell Biology
CWRU/Cleveland Clinic
Topic: Cracking the Cancer Stem Cell Communication Code
10 am NC1-202 Cleveland Clinic

Cancer Center Seminar Series
Benjamin L. Ebert, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Co-Director, Cancer Program, Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Topic: Genetics and Targeted Therapy for Myeloid Malignancies
12 pm BRB 105

Cancer Center Research in Progress
Markowitz Lab
Division of Hem/Onc
4 pm WRB 3-136

Mon, Jan 26

GMI Seminar
Lindsey Friedrich
Serre lab, Genomic Medicine Institute
Cleveland Clinic
12:30 pm NE1-205 Cleveland Clinic

AYA Guest Lecture
Mari Hashitate Dallas, MD
Departments of Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Topic: Using Immunogenetics to Investigate Gamma Delta T Cell All Development
4 pm WRB 5-136

Breast Cancer Program Focus Group Meeting
Drs. Lyndsay Harris and Huiping Lui
4 pm WRB 3-136

Physiology & Biophysics Seminar
Baron Chanda, PhD
Associate Professor, Neuroscience
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Topic: Thermodynamic Insights into Voltage-dependent Gating of Ion Channels
4 pm Robbins E-501

Tues, Jan 27

Cancer Biology Seminar Series
Arie Horowitz, PhD
Assistant Staff, Molecular Cardiology
Cleveland Clinic
Topic: Exploiting Membrane Trafficking to Inhibit Angiogenesis
2 pm NC1-202 Cleveland Clinic

Wed, Jan 28

Hematology/Oncology Grand Rounds
8 am Lerner B-151

Academic Drug Development Seminar
Monica Montano, PhD
Associate Professor, Pharmacology 
Topic: Targeting Hormone Resistant and Metastatic Breast Cancer
4 pm Global Cardiovascular Innovations Center (GCIC)Room 1-102

Thurs, Jan 29

Molecular Biology and Microbiology Seminar
de Boer Lab, Molecular Biology and Microbiology
1 pm Rottman Seminar Room W203

Fri, Jan 30

Hematology/Oncology Fellows Seminar
8 am Wearn 137

TCI Grand Rounds
Keith McCrae, MD; Aaron Gerds, MD; Yogen Saunthararajah MD; Alok Khorana MD
Cleveland Clinic
Topic: ASH Update – Oral Presentations
8 am R3/002-003 Cleveland Clinic

City Club Cleveland Panel Discussion
Stan Gerson, MD; Brian Bolwell, MD; Ruth Keri, PhD; Neal Meropol, MD
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Executive Committee
Topic: From Science to Cancer Cures: How the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Makes the City of Cleveland Better
12 pm City Club Cleveland
Tickets and More Information

Cancer Center Research In Progress Seminar
Edward Greenberg, MD
Trainee in Physician Scientist Track
Distelhorst Lab, Div. of Hem/Onc
Topic: Synergistic Killing of Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells by the BH3-mimetic ABT-263 and the Bcl-2-IP3 Receptor Disruptor BIRD-2
4 pm WRB 3-136


Case CCC Calendar

LRI Calendar


Best of San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
February 4, 2015

Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Update
Weston, FL
March 6-7, 2015

Graft Versus Host Disease Symposium 2015
April 24, 2015
Embassy Suites Cleveland - Rockside

Advances in Lung Cancer: A Multidisciplinary Approach
April 25, 2015
Marriott Hotel at Key Center

ASCO Review
June 26, 2015
InterContinental Hotel


Symposium on Global Cancer Research
March 25, 2015
Boston Sheraton Hotel