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January 5, 2015


Dr. Stan GersonStan Gerson, MD
Director, Case CCC

New Addition to Cancer Center Leadership Team

Megan KilbaneI am very pleased to introduce Megan Kilbane, the newest member of our leadership team. In her newly created position, Megan will serve as Assistant Dean for Oncology, Strategic Development and Chief of Staff, working with me in my role as Director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, and the National Center for Regenerative Medicine.

Working closely with executive leadership, Megan will manage, implement and support integrated strategic initiatives and scientific vision for the three centers, develop and manage external partnerships, cultivate philanthropic relationships, and provide staff leadership. As part of her responsibilities, Megan will collaborate with Anne Duli, Associate Director for Research Administration and Finance of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, to coordinate activities for the Cancer Center.

Megan comes to us from the Cleveland Clinic, where she most recently served as Department Administrator of the Department of Patient Services, and managed cancer programs in support of patient care. Her 15-year tenure at the Cleveland Clinic includes appointments in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology as Department Manager, Project Manager in the Department of Strategic Planning and Continuous Improvement, and Project Manager at the Taussig Cancer Institute.

This is Megan's first week on the job, so please welcome her by stopping by to say hello or sending her an e-mail to introduce yourself. Her office is located in Wearn 150A, and her e-mail is


Researchers Discover Byproducts from Bacteria in Gum Disease Can Awaken Dormant T-cells and HIV Viruses
Medical Xpress- Jan 5, 2015
Dental and medical researchers from Case Western Reserve University found another reason to treat periodontal disease as soon as possible. They discovered that byproducts of bacteria in gum disease, called metabolic small chain fatty acid (SCFA), can work together to wake up HIV in dormant T-cells and cause the virus to replicate. Their findings help explain why people with the HIV-infections and periodontal disease have higher levels of the virus in their saliva than HIV patients with healthy gums...This interaction by SCFA and T-cells surprised co-investigators Fengchun Ye, assistant professor of biological sciences at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, and Jonathan Karn, director of the Center for Aids Research and professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology at Case Western Reserve's medical school. Karn is also a member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. Their findings are described in the article, "Short chain fatty acids potently induce latent HIV-1 in T-cells by activating P-TEFb and multiple histone modifications," published in January 2015 in the journal Virology.

Novel Approach to Cancer Therapy Taps into Gene 53BP1 Repair Pathway
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News - Dec 30, 2014
Scientists at Case Western Reserve University report that they have identified a two-pronged therapeutic approach that shows great potential for weakening and then defeating cancer cells. They say their complex mix of genetic and biochemical experiments has unearthed a way to increase the presence of a tumor-suppressing protein which, in turn, gives it the strength to direct cancer cells toward a path that leads to their destruction..."Our discovery one day could lead to a gene therapy where extra amounts of 53BP1 will be generated to make cancer cells more vulnerable to cancer treatment," said senior author Youwei Zhang, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. "Alternatively, we could design molecules to increase levels of 53BP1 in cancers with the same cancer-killing end result."

Unnecessary Testing in Breast Cancer Surveillance
Medscape - Dec 22, 2014
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) guidelines discourage tumor-marker assessment for the surveillance in patients with early-stage breast cancer. However, a study published online October 20 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology reports that tumor markers for the breast "are frequently used among women with early-stage disease and are associated with an increase in both diagnostic procedures and total cost of care."...In an accompanying editorial,Cynthia Owusu, MD, and Lyndsay Harris, MD, both from Case Western Reserve University and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cleveland, note that "these findings represent an underestimation of the scope of tumor-marker testing within the oncology community as the study population was limited to women 65 years and older."

Breast Cancer Updates
ideastream - Dec 18, 2014
The fight against breast cancer is an all-out offensive and the growing number of survivors shows the immense progress that has been made. We're doing all we can to beat breast cancer. But we might be doing too much. We'll try to make some sense of that on today's Sound of Ideas. Join us for a very important discussion on the latest research in breast cancer screening, treatment and prevention. Guest Experts:Jame Abraham, MD, director of the Breast Oncology Program, Cleveland Clinic's Taussig Cancer Institute and member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center; Regina Brett, author of God Never Blinks and Be the Miracle, columnist for The Plain Dealer and The Cleveland Jewish News, breast cancer survivor; Jan Bursky, breast cancer survivor; Jill Dietz, MD, surgical oncologist, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center; Ellen Heyman, MSN,RN,CS, chief program officer for The Gathering Place.


Dean Pamela Davis and Justin Lathia Honored at Ohio Cancer Research Associates Event

Dr. Justin LathiaDean Pamela DavisPamela B. Davis, MD, dean of the School of Medicine and senior vice president for medical affairs, was honored at the Ohio Cancer Research Associates' (OCRA) Singular Sensations event in December. The dean also is a new member of the OCRA's campaign committee.

Justin Lathia, PhD, assistant professor of molecular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University and a member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, was also recognized at the event.

Now in its 14th year, the OCRA event raises funds to provide seed money to cancer research and to increase awareness of the importance of early detection in saving lives.

Qing Yi Received Two Grants For Multiple Myeloma Research

Dr. Qing YiQing Yi, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Cancer Biology and holder of the Betsy B. de Windt Endowed Chair in Cancer Biology, received two awards to support his research on Multiple Myeloma. Dr. Yi recently received $600,000 from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to develop a method to make Multiple Myeloma cells more sensitive to treatment. In addition, Dr. Yi also received $200,000 from the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation to study how cells called osteoclasts suppress the immune system in Multiple Myeloma patients.

Case CCC ACS IRG Pilot Awards

Congratulations to the most recent recipients of the Case CCC ACS IRG pilot awards:

  • Parameswaran Ramakrishnan, PhD, MS, Assistant Professor, Pathology, CWRU/UH: Sam68, A Novel Regulator Linking Inflammation and Cancer
  • Sudipto Mukherjee, MD, PhD, MPH, Assistant Staff, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Cleveland Clinic:Assessing Adult Risks of Radiation and Combined Modality Treatment-induced Myeloid Leukemia

These funds are designed to provide seed money to support junior faculty members with an interest in cancer research who do not have national grant support of their own.


American Institute for Cancer Research

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is accepting Letters of Intent for Investigator-Initiated Grants (IIGs), which are awarded to researchers at non-profit universities, hospitals or research centers. AICR's Grant Program is dedicated to funding research on cancer prevention, treatment and survival through food, nutrition, physical activity and weight management (body fatness). Grant applications must adhere to AICR's general research principles and be clearly related to at least one of AICR's research themes. Preference will be given to applications that have direct relevance to human cancer. These three-year grants will be awarded to support the start-up of epidemiologic or intervention studies that require additional time.

LOI Deadline: January 26, 2015

Myeloma Research Foundation

The Melanoma Research Foundation has released its 2015 Request for Proposals:

Career Development Awards (CDA) provide funding of up to $50,000 per year for two years to junior investigators. Researchers who are beginning a research career focused on melanoma and have not yet established strong federal funding for their research are eligible. The use of relevant genetic models and human derived tumor samples is highly encouraged.

Established Investigator Awards provide funding of up to $100,000 per year for two years to established melanoma researchers, or senior researchers working in closely related fields who wish to move into melanoma research. The use of relevant genetic models and human derived tumor samples is highly encouraged.

Team Awards provide funding of up to $250,000 per year, for two years. Teams should consist of a PI and at least one co-PI, possibly from different institutions. Teams consisting of both basic scientists and clinicians to address an unmet clinical need are encouraged, as is the inclusion of a junior scientist. The use of relevant genetic models and human derived tumor samples is required. Use of clinically annotated samples, samples from clinical trials and trials conducted within the MRF Breakthrough Consortium (MRFBC) are particularly welcomed, but not required. All Team Awards must address one of the Specific Topic Proposals (STPs) identified below. Team applications should demonstrate how the proposal will answer the selected unmet need topic. Team applications need to establish the relative contribution of each member of the team for the proposed studies. A previous record of collaboration for the proposed team is advantageous. A minimum of two Team Awards are expected to be funded in 2015.

Specific Topic Proposals: The identification of scientific topics that address unmet clinical needs in melanoma research were identified through a series of meetings of multidisciplinary experts from the MRF's Scientific Advisory Committee and Breakthrough Consortium Steering Committee. The following categories are the identified unmet needs in melanoma research selected as STPs for 2015.

  • Prevention: Development of models and biomarkers
  • Identifying mechanisms and respective therapeutic strategies in less common molecular subsets of melanoma
  • Metastases: Dormancy and metastatic progression
  • CNS Metastases: Development of markers of risk and rational therapeutic approaches
  • Response to Treatment: Mechanisms and respective biomarkers for predicting response and for monitoring therapeutic response
  • Resistance: Intrinsic/Innate/Primary resistance to immunotherapies in melanoma

Deadline: March 1, 2015 at 5pm EST


American Brain Tumor Association Basic Research Fellowships
Deadline: January 7, 2015

AACR-Ocular Melanoma Foundation Fellowship, in honor of Robert C. Allen, MD 
Deadline: January 12, 2015

Doris Duke Clinical Research Mentorship Program
Deadline: January 13, 2015

Bladder Cancer Research Innovation Award
LOI Deadline: January 14, 2015

Avon Foundation for Women Breast Cancer Research 2015 Program
Deadline: January 15, 2015

International Association of the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC)
Deadline: January 15, 2015

Radiological Society of North America
Deadline: January 15, 2015

CTSC Annual Pilot Program
LOI Deadline: January 15, 2015

GI SPORE: Request for Project Proposals
Deadline: January 16, 2015

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

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