Cancer Center News

2013 Cancer Center News

Collaborative Prostate Cancer Foundation Grant Awarded
December 18, 2013
Cleveland Clinic, along with the National Cancer Institute, the University of Chicago and Thomas Jefferson University, are the recipients of a $600,000 Special Challenge Award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation to investigate the role of abnormally high protein levels in prostate tumors.

The increased expression of approximately 25 proteins – referred to as interferon-related DNA damage resistance signatures (IRDS) – correlates strongly with resistance to radiation and chemotherapy. African-American men with prostate cancer are much more likely to have the IRDS signature than Caucasian men and are two times more likely to die from the disease. [more]

Ohio Cancer Research Associates Honors Dr. Stanton Gerson For Contributions to Cancer Research
December 2, 2013
Ohio Cancer Research Associates, OCRA, an organization dedicated to the cure and prevention of the many forms of cancer, honored Stanton L. Gerson, MD, for his contributions to cancer research at the OCRA's Singular Sensation ceremony and banquet on November 22, 2013. Dr. Gerson was recognized for his substantial impact on patients and their families, his strong community advocacy and for his work in cancer research. [more]

Biomedical Engineering Researchers Aim Nanotechnology at Micrometastases
November 4, 2013
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have received two grants totaling nearly $1.7 million to build nanoparticles that seek and destroy metastases too small to be detected with current technologies.

They are targeting aggressive cancers that persist through traditional chemotherapy and can form new tumors. The stealthy travel and growth of micrometastases is the hallmark of metastatic disease, the cause of most cancer deaths worldwide.

The group, led by Efstathios Karathanasis, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and radiology, will spend the next five years perfecting molecular coatings, called ligands, that enable nanochains injected into a patient's blood to home in on micrometastases. The National Cancer Institute awarded the group $1.6 million to pursue the work. [more]

Case Western Reserve School of Medicine Scientist Wins Prestigious NIH New Innovators Award
October 21, 2013
Derek Taylor, PhD of the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, has been awarded the prestigious New Innovator Award by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH awards this grant to scientists proposing highly innovative approaches to major contemporary challenges in biomedical research, under the agency’s High Risk-High Reward program.

"Only the absolute top notch scientists compete for this award, which undergoes intense review by leaders at the NIH," stated Stanton Gerson, MD, Asa and Patricia Shiverick-Jane Shiverick (Tripp) Professor of Hematological Oncology, director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and director of the Seidman Cancer Center at UH Case Medical Center. "Derek continues to excel as a cancer scientist at Case Western Reserve. I have been impressed with his continuous innovative approaches to fundamental questions in cancer. Telomere research is critical since this process is central to how cancer continues to grow and outlive normal cells." [more]

Case Western Reserve School of Medicine Wins Prestigious NCI Sponsored Provocative Questions Grant
October 14, 2013
The National Cancer Institute's (NCI) new Provocative Questions research funding program has awarded a prestigious grant to researchers at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and Case Western Reserve University's Schools of Medicine and Engineering to study tumor detection at the earliest stages of growth.

"We know that the best way to fight cancer is to find tumors when they are small and have not yet left their primary location," said principal investigator Susann Brady-Kalnay, PhD, professor of molecular biology and microbiology at Case Western Reserve University and a member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. "Our unique approach uses molecular imaging agents that recognize tumors using conventional MR scanners. We envision that this technological advance will allow us to detect very early stage tumors using conventional MRI machines that currently exist at most major hospitals." [more]

New Research Shows PET Imaging Effective in Predicting Lung Cancer Outcomes
October 9, 2013
Advanced imaging with Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan shows great promise in predicting which patients with inoperable lung cancer have more aggressive tumors and need additional treatment following standard chemotherapy/radiation therapy, according to new research recently published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The multi-site trial, led by study author and principal investigator Mitch Machtay, MD, University Hospitals Case Medical Center Seidman Cancer Center, enrolled 250 patients at 60 cancer centers around the country. The National Cancer Institute-funded trial, led by the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) in collaboration with Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), enrolled 250 patients at 60 cancer centers around the country. [more]

Functional Disability High Among Newly Diagnosed Older Breast Cancer Patients, Especially African-Americans
September 23, 2013
Many older women with newly diagnosed breast cancer have difficulty accomplishing daily tasks, and African-Americans seem to be disproportionately affected. Those are the findings of a new study published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. The study's results suggest that many breast cancer patients could benefit from receiving therapy to improve their physical function. [more]

Discovery Could Lead to Development of Biomarkers and New Targeted Therapies
August 29, 2013
A Cleveland Clinic researcher has discovered a genetic mutation in a drug-resistant – and often deadly – form of prostate cancer.

The mutation occurs in the androgen-synthesizing enzyme 3βHSD1 in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), according to research published online today in Cell. This mutation enables the tumor to make its own supply of androgens, a hormone that fuels the growth of the prostate cancer. [more]

Stan Gerson's Academic Achievements, Collaborative Nature Earn Him Top Award
August 28, 2013
In 1983, professor Nathan Berger hired Stanton Gerson, fresh out of his fellowship at University of Pennsylvania, to join the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Division of Hematology Oncology. The next year, when Gerson's interest turned to gene therapy, he formed a research partnership with professor Richard Hanson.

Berger went on to become the school's dean from 1995 to 2002, and Hanson is internationally renowned for his brilliance in genetic research.

"In my early career, I just happened upon smart and capable people who certainly helped me get where I am today," Gerson said.

Berger and Hanson also went on to become Distinguished University Professors, and tomorrow—30 years and one month after arriving at Case Western Reserve—Gerson will join their ranks when he is awarded the permanent, honorific title. [more]

Cleveland Clinic to Study Feasibility and Clinical Impact of Next Generation Genomic Sequencing
August 21, 2013
As modern cancer treatments become more personalized, Cleveland Clinic is now offering select cancer patients the opportunity to have their tumors analyzed for genetic mutations that could influence their treatments.

For the next year, cancer patients with one of 15 specific solid tumors with historically poor prognosis or limited treatment options will have the opportunity to participate in a study where their tissue samples will be sent for targeted genetic sequencing to Foundation Medicine, a molecular information company specializing in comprehensive genomic analysis of tumors. [more]

Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Earns "Outstanding" Rating; Wins Five-Year Federal Grant Renewal
June 27, 2013
The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (Case CCC) again demonstrated the compelling power of partnership in securing an overall rating of "outstanding" and a five-year renewal of its grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Hosted at Case Western Reserve, the center is a collaboration among the university, Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals Case Medical Center. The center counts nearly 350 scientists and physicians among its members, and is one of just 41 nationwide to hold the NCI's designation as a comprehensive cancer center. Such elite organizations must demonstrate not only the highest quality of basic and clinical research, but also engage across disciplines and actively educate the public regarding prevention and treatment breakthroughs. The renewal comes with a recommendation the center receive more than $23 million during the course of the grant period. [more]

Gene Offers Athlete's Heart Without the Exercise—and Suppresses Spread of Breast Cancer
June 16, 2013
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have found that a single gene poses a double threat to disease: Not only does it inhibit the growth and spread of breast tumors, but it also makes hearts healthier. [more]

Using Big Data to Identify Prostate Cancers and Best Treatments
May 23, 2013
Some prostate cancer patients unnecessarily undergo surgery or harsh treatments because science fails to identify the differences between slow-growing and aggressive forms of the disease. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University and Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes are developing technology that allows patients to safely choose to do nothing, opt for relatively mild treatments or take drastic measures. [more]

Series Follows Cancer Patients Seeking a Cure Through Clinical Trials
April-May 2013
In a special series, the Plain Dealer chronicles the journeys of nine cancer patients who enrolled in Phase 1 clinical trials at UH Seidman Cancer Center. The series follows these individuals for 10 months as they take a gamble on innovative new treatments in the hopes of both beating cancer for good, and helping doctors discover exciting new cures along the way. [more]

School of Medicine Researchers Discover New Target for Personalized Cancer Therapy
May 6, 2013
A common cancer pathway causing tumor growth is being targeted by a number of new cancer drugs and shows promising results. A team of researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has developed a novel method to disrupt this growth-signaling pathway, with findings that suggest a new treatment for breast, colon, melanoma and other cancers.

The research team has pinpointed the cancer abnormality to a mutation in a gene called PIK3CA that results in a mutant protein, which may be an early cancer switch. By disrupting the mutated signaling pathway, the Case Western Reserve team, led by John Wang, associate professor in the Department of Genetics and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, inhibited the growth of cancer cells, opening the possibility to new cancer therapies. [more]

New Minimally Invasive, MRI-Guided Laser Treatment for Brain Tumor Found to be Promising in Study
April 5, 2013
The first-in-human study of the NeuroBlate™ Thermal Therapy System finds that it appears to provide a new, safe and minimally invasive procedure for treating recurrent glioblastoma (GBM), a malignant type of brain tumor. The study, which appears April 5 in the Journal of Neurosurgery online, was written by lead author Andrew Sloan, MD, Director of Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center, UH Seidman Cancer Center and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, who also served as co-Principal Investigator, as well as Principal Investigator Gene Barnett, MD, Director of the Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center at Cleveland Clinic and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, and colleagues from UH, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic Florida, University of Manitoba and Case Western Reserve University. [more]

New MRI Method Fingerprints Tissues and Diseases, Leading to Earlier, Quicker Diagnoses
March 17, 2013
A new method of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could provide early identification of specific cancers, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and other maladies, researchers at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center write in the journal Nature. [more]

Collaboration and Innovation Win School of Medicine Grant to Study Gastric Cancer
February 7, 2013
The Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has received a $220,000 grant from the DeGregorio Family Foundation to study gastric cancers, which remain among the most deadly diseases.

The two-year grant from the foundation, which focuses on stomach and esophageal cancer research and education, will support studies aimed at identifying and developing more effective treatments for gastric and esophageal malignancies. [more]

Researchers Discover Promising Prognostic Marker for Aggressive Breast Cancer
January 23, 2013
A team of researchers led by Goutham Narla, MD, PhD, at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Case Medical Center, and collaborators at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Erasmus Medical Center, have discovered a gene variant that drives the spread of breast cancer. Published in Scientific Translational Medicine, the study lays the early foundation for predicting which breast cancer patients may develop more aggressive disease and for designing more effective treatments. [more]