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Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Newsletter

February 17, 2014


Crowdsourced Testers Prefer New Cyber Search Method Created by CWRU Computer Scientists
The Daily - Feb 17, 2014
Computer scientists at Case Western Reserve University have developed a new tool to search and fetch electronic files that saves users time by more quickly identifying and retrieving the most relevant information on their computers and hand-held devices..."Most people have an iPhone or laptop that stores a wide variety of information and, often, you can't find it when you need it, even though you know it's there," said GQ Zhang, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, division chief of medical informatics at Case Western Reserve and an author of the study.

FDA Approves New Leukemia Drug; May One Day Make Chemo Obsolete for Some CLL Patients
Cleveland.com - Feb 14, 2014
A new drug for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL, approved this week by the Food and Drug Administration, could signal a drastic change in the way the disease is treated...One patient at University Hospitals Case Medical Center took part in a study of ibrutinib in combination with two other drugs for patients with relapsed or refractory CLL and small lymphocytic lymphoma. The Cleveland Clinic is enrolling patients in two separate studies, testing inbrutnib in a head-to-head comparison with chemotherapy. "This represents a significant step forward in the treatment of [CLL]," said Dr. Brian Hill, associate staff physician in the department of Hematologic Oncology and Blood Disorders at the Clinic.

Biologics Showing Great Promise for Breast Cancer Treatment
PRWeb.com - Feb 17, 2014
Dr. Jame Abraham, Director of Breast Oncology at the Cleveland Clinic, states new class of breast cancer drugs showing impressive results while being significantly less expensive than standard chemotherapy drugs.

Poor Sleep Causes Premature Skin Aging
Examiner.com - Feb 13, 2014
Most Floridians are well aware that too much time in the sun can age your skin, but now researchers at Cleveland's University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center have discovered that not getting enough sleep is also a cause of premature skin aging. Principal investigator and dermatologist Elma Baron, MD, director of the Skin Study Center in Cleveland examined 60 pre-menopausal women aged 30 to 49, half of whom were identified as being poor sleepers.

Multiple Myeloma: 'Incurable, But Highly Treatable'
AARP Blog - Feb 12, 2014
Former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow that has seen remarkable progress in its treatment in the last 15 years...Today, says Matt Kalaycio, MD, chairman of the department of hematologic oncology and blood disorders at the Taussig Cancer Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, multiple myeloma patients are treated with an improved derivative of thalidomide, called Lenalidomide...

Tom Brokaw's Multiple Myeloma Diagnosis Spotlights Incurable Cancer
CBS News - Feb 12, 2014
Veteran newsman Tom Brokaw's multiple myeloma diagnosis draws attention to an incurable cancer that researchers have made great strides in treating. Before chemotherapy treatment for multiple myeloma was introduced in the 1950s, patients lived about one year after diagnosis, Dr. Frederic Reu, an associate staff physician at the Cleveland Clinic who specializes in blood cancers, explained to CBS News. Now, better treatments including stem cell transplants and non- chemotherapy medications that better target cancer cells can prolong life about seven to 10 years or longer after a diagnosis...

Oncology: Colorectal Cancer (video)
Medpage Today - Feb 12, 2014
Tumor gene analysis has helped improve management of colorectal cancer by identifying patients most likely to benefit from chemotherapy and newer targeted agents – or not – resulting in more patient-specific treatment, according to three specialists in the field: Neal Meropol, MD, of University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Howard Hochster, MD, of Yale University, and Lisa Kachnic, MD, of Boston Medical Center.

Cancer Risk Spurs Concern Over Gyn Procedure
Medpage Today - Feb 12, 2014
Given morcellation's long history of use, one question centers on why the seemingly sudden flurry of clinical and editorial interest in the cancer risk. The short answer is that a paucity of information has been available about the frequency or magnitude of the problem, said Kristine Zanotti, MD, of University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland...

For Younger Women, Study Reveals Mammography Saves Live
Medical Imaging International - Feb 11, 2014
New findings have demonstrated that mammography remains beneficial for women in their 40s..."Our findings clearly underscore the impact of neglecting to screen women with mammography for women in their 40s," said the study's first author Donna Plecha, MD, director of breast imaging at UH Case Medical Center Seidman Cancer Center and assistant professor at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.

MicroRNA-181a Shows Promise as a Biomarker for Late-Stage Ovarian Cancer
ASCO Post - Feb 11, 2014
"This study is one of the first to indicate that it is possible using a novel genomic analysis to identify abnormalities specific to ovarian cancer. Women worldwide will benefit from this discovery," said Stanton Gerson, MD, Director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, in a statement. Analisa DiFeo, MD, of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, is the corresponding author of the article in Nature Communications.

Annoyed When e-cigarette Users 'Light Up' Near You? It Depends on Where You Are, New Survey Says
Feb 11, 2014
Focusing on those who were not accepting of e-cigarette use – the 55 percent of people who don't like being around it in a restaurant, or 71 percent who don't want to be around it in a movie theater, for example " oncologist Dr. Nathan Pennell says they are right to be concerned. "This is a real drug that is being burned and vaporized, and you are able to inhale it in your lungs," said Pennell, an oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic whose focus includes lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies.


Distelhorst Lab Discovers Pathway of Protein that Helps Cancer Cells Survive

Clark DistelhorstA team of researchers from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine has discovered how the cancer-related protein Bcl-2 signals cancer cells to live longer. The breakthrough emerged when the scientists discovered that Bcl-2 alters the level of calcium ions in lymphoma and leukemia cells that are resistant to cancer treatments. Published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the research findings could help lead to the development of drugs that attack Bcl-2 in malignancies and produce better outcomes for cancer treatment.

"One of the deadliest and most remarkable characteristics of cancer cells is that regardless of where they are growing, and no matter what types of treatments are employed, including many different forms of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, the cancer cells have the ability to survive," said Clark W. Distelhorst, MD, Professor, Medicine-Hematology/Oncology, Pharmacology, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. "Since 1993 our team has been conducting research on key mechanisms by which the protein Bcl-2 keeps cancer cells alive."


Disease Team sign-off and PRMC protocol submission

Effective immediately, the Protocol Review and Monitoring Committee (PRMC) will not be accepting protocol submissions without Disease Team sign-offs from both institutions. One of the functions of the Case CCC Clinical Trials Disease Teams is to "recommend action to PRMC for trial advocacy and priority" by providing "pre-review by experts in their field for scientific merit, prioritization, and intent to accrue patients" (Case CCC Clinical Trials Operations Manual).

Disease Team sign-off from both hospitals has been a long-standing requirement and protocol submissions will no longer be accepted by PRMC without it. Please note that the overall responsibility of following-up and obtaining sign-offs rests with the PI and the study team. Contact April Firstencel, PRMC Manager, at 216.286.2294 or april.firstencel@case.edu with any questions.


Team Science Workshop

On Monday, February 17 the Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC) will host a Team Science Workshop from 1-4 pm in the Wolstein Research Building Auditorium. This workshop is a forum to enhance our understanding of Team Science and how it can advance research efforts through collaboration. Team Science is a collaborative and multidisciplinary research effort that joins together researchers to explore a specific research problem with specific targeted goals. Team Science collaborations can join together individuals from the same department, other institutions, community organizations, and/or other organizations that typically do not interact with one another. Teams can vary in focus from training, clinical translation, public health issues, and scientific discovery.

The National Institutes of Health has been explicit in its support of Scientists working in teams to solve complex problems. The National Center for the Advancement of Translational Sciences promotes this model. The partner institutions will demonstrate their support of a team science environment by enhancing the infrastructure through pilot funding, technology transfer resources and support, and other shared resources.

Inaugural Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Academic Drug Development Seminar

The Inaugural Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Academic Drug Development Seminar, will be held on February 26 at 4pm in the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center, 10000 Cedar Avenue. This first seminar will feature a presentation by Dr. Goutham Narla, Assistant Professor, Medicine and Transformative Molecular Medicine at CWRU/UH, on Drugging the Undruggable: Small Molecule Activators of Tumor Suppressor Genes.

As part of the Case CCC Developmental Therapeutics Program, this series will gather clinicians, scientists, medical chemists, computer-aided drug designers, screeners, and commercialization personnel in the same room as a stimulating presentation so that all attendees can learn and benefit from the sparked interaction.

Retreat: Engaging in Cultural Competence through Awareness, Knowledge and Action

Please mark your calendars for Thursday, March 13 from 2-5 pm to join the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Case Center for Reducing Health Disparities as they explore issues related to cultural competence. Extend your knowledge and raise your awareness about the dynamic variety of people and communities the Case CCC serves. This retreat will feature a keynote address by Dr. Sonja Harris-Haywood, and will provide perspective on the growing need to be culturally competent and facilitate the impact of cultural beliefs within the health care setting, specifically in research.

The retreat is intended for investigators, research nurses, regulatory coordinators, outreach and training and education personnel. Pre-registration is required. Please direct any questions to Katarzyna Karelus at 216.844.4176 or katarzyna.karelus@case.edu.


Sta Op Tegen Kanker Dream Team Translational Cancer Research Grant

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), on behalf of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and the Dutch Cancer Society - KWF Kankerbesrtijding (KWF), is accepting applications for a Sta Op Tegen Kanker Dream Team Translational Cancer Research Grant that will offer up to €6 million in research funding. The grant provides four years of funding for a translational cancer research project that will address critical problems in patient care and deliver near-term patient benefit through investigation by a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional team of expert investigators. Research projects must be designed to accelerate the application of new preventive, diagnostic or therapeutic agents to the clinic, and may focus on particular organ sites or on specialized research areas.
Deadline: April 1

Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation

Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) is accepting applications for the following funding opportunities:

  • ALSF's Bridge Grant is designed to sustain research projects falling between the end of funding by the NIH R or P Award and the beginning of a competitively renewed NIH Award. ALSF will support projects via this mechanism for a maximum of 12 months. If NIH funding is secured and begins before the end of this 12 month period, ALSF must be notified and will cease its financial support of the project. Projects funded via this mechanism that do not receive funding from the NIH within 12 months are not eligible to reapply for the ALSF Bridge Grant.
    Deadline: April 10
  • ALSF's Springboard Grant is designed to support new NIH R01 or P01 research projects which were scored less than or equal to the 20th percentile but were not funded. ALSF will support projects via this mechanism for a maximum of 12 months. If NIH funding is secured and begins before the end of this 12 month period, ALSF must be notified and will cease its financial support of the project. Projects funded via this mechanism that do not receive funding from the NIH within 12 months are not eligible to reapply for the ALSF Springboard Grant.
    Deadline: April 10



February 17

Genetics Student Seminar
Andrea Cohen
Student, Genetics and Genome Sciences
Topic: Enhancer Profiling Identifies a Predictive Signature of Drug Sensitivity in Cancer
11 am BRB 105

Pathology Research Seminar Series
William Schiemann, PhD
Associate Professor, Div. of General Medical Sciences-Oncology
Co-Director, Developing Breast Cancer Program
Leader, TME & Metastasis Focus Group
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Topic: Oncogenic TGF-beta Signaling and EMT Programs in Metastatic Breast Cancer
12 pm WRB 5-136

Genomic Medicine Institute Seminar Series
Gurkan Bebek, PhD
Eng lab, Genomic Medicine Institute
Cleveland Clinic
Topic: Whole Genome Sequencing of Families with Autism Spectrum Disorder-Diagnosed Children
12:30 pm NE1-205 Cleveland Clinic

February 18

Radiation Oncology Grand Rounds
Jason W. Sohn, PhD
Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology
Topic: Current Small Animal Irradiation Devices at Case and Questions in Radiobiology
8:10 am Lerner Tower B-151

Molecular Genetics Departmental Seminar
Masatoshi Nukui, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow, Murphy lab, Molecular Genetics
Cleveland Clinic
Topic: Identification of Human Herpesvirus 6A Encoded microRNAs and Evaluation of Their Biological Functions
9:30 am NE1-205 Cleveland Clinic

Immunology Seminar Series
Fabio Cominelli, MD, PhD
Professor, Medicine and Pathology
Topic: The SAMP1/YitFc Mouse: A Model of Autoinflammatory Disease
12 pm WRB 1-413

February 19

Hematology and Oncology Division Research Conference
Hillard Lazarus, MD
Professor, Div. of Hem/Onc
Topic: Novel Cell Therapy
8 am Lerner B-151

Pathology Faculty Candidate
Nu Zhang, PhD
Research Specialist
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Department of Immunology
University of Washington
Topic: TGF-beta Signaling in CD8 T Cell Homeostasis, Migration and Tissue Residency
10 am WRB 5-136

Genetics and Genome Sciences Seminar
Stephen Parker, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow, National Human Genome Research Institute
National Institutes of Health
Topic: Enhancer Biology in Disease: Stretch Enhancers in Type 2 Diabetes
11 am BRB 105

February 20

Cancer Trainee Seminar
Jennifer Brancato
Student, Keri lab, Pharmacology
Topic: JQ1 Inhibits Growth of Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells through the Induction of Senescence
12 pm WRB 3-136

Genetics and Genome Sciences Journal Club
Angela Lager and Olivia Corradin
Students, Genetics and Genome Sciences
Topic: Duons: The Dual Use of Codons in the Genetic Code
12 pm BRB 732

Immunology Journal Club
Christina Antonopoulos
Student, Immunology
Topic: Posttranscriptional Control of T Cell Effector Function by Aerobic Glycolysis
12 pm WRB 5-136

Molecular Biology and Microbiology Seminar
Tomoaki Ogino, PhD
Assistant Professor, Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Topic: mRNA Synthesis and Processing Mediated by a Multifunctional Viral RNA-dependent RNA Polymerase
1 pm Rottman Seminar Room, Wood W203

February 21

Hematology/Oncology Fellows Conference/Curriculum Series
Topic: TBD
8 am Breen Conference Rm.

Taussig Cancer Institute Grand Rounds
Harold Goforth, MD
Richard Rosenquist, MD
Cleveland Clinic
Topic: Managing Pain in a Cancer Survivor: A New Paradigm
8 am R3/002-003 Cleveland Clinic

Cellular and Molecular Medicine Seminar Series
Noa Noy, PhD
Professor, Pharmacology
Topic: The Many Functions of Vitamin A
10 am NC1-202 Cleveland Clinic

Cancer Center Seminar Series, co-sponsored by the Dept. of Genetics and Genome Sciences
Anna Lasorella, MD
Associate Professor of Pediatric and Pathology & Cell Biology
Columbia University
Topic: The Function of ID Proteins in Development and Cancer in the Brain
12 pm BRB 105

Cancer Center Research in Progress
Duncan Stearns, MD
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics
Topic: Update on the Importance of Tumor-derived Extracellular Matrix in Medulloblastoma
4 pm WRB 3-136



Case CCC Calendar

LRI Calendar


Screening for Cancer in Women: 2014
May 21
Embassy Suites - Rockside Rd. - Independence

Case CCC Annual Scientific Retreat
July 10-11
Wolstein Research Bldg/Corporate College East


International Symposium on Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy and Stereotactic Radiosurgery
February 21-23
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club
Naples, FL

1st Annual Multidisciplinary Colorectal Oncology Course
April 23
InterContinental Hotel & Bank of America Conference Center
Cleveland, OH


ASH HONORS (Hematology Opportunities for the Next Generation of Research Scientists) Award
Deadline: February 21

Dan David Prize Scholarships
Deadline: February 28

CWRU Department of Medicine Team Science Challenge
Deadline: March 1

Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network 2014 Young Investigator Awards
Deadline: March 5

James S. McDonnell Foundation (JSMF) Scholar Awards program
Deadline: March 12

Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation Pediatric Brain Tumor Grant Awards
Deadline: March 14

Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation Astrocytoma Research Award
Deadline: March 14

Damon Runyon-Sohn Pediatric Cancer Fellowship Award
Deadline: March 17

Damon Runyon Fellowship Award
Deadline: March 17

National CENter for ReGenerAtive Medicine UnderGraduate StudEnt Summer Program (ENGAGE)
Deadline: March 28

Cancer Research Institute Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
Deadline: April 1

American Cancer Society RFA: The Role of Healthcare and Insurance in Improving Outcomes in Cancer Prevention, Early Detection and Treatment
Deadline: April 1

Brian Werbel Memorial Fund Summer Cancer Research Fellowships
Deadline: April 25

HHMI Investigator Program National Competition
Deadline: June 3

Damon Runyon Fellowship Award
Deadline: August 15

AACR Scholar-in-Training Awards - Other Conferences and Meetings
Deadline: Open

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

Pilot Grants: Planning for Multi-Investigator Proposals
Deadline: Open

NIH BULLETIN – Notices and Funding Opportunities

Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for an Oncology Models Forum (U24)(NOT-CA-14-022)

Phase-out and Termination of NCI Participation in the NIH MERIT (R37) Program (NOT-CA-14-023)

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Stipends, Tuition/Fees and Other Budgetary Levels Effective for Fiscal Year 2014 (NOT-OD-14-046)

Notice of Salary Limitation on Grants, Cooperative Agreements, and Contracts (NOT-OD-14-052)

NIH Fiscal Policy for Grant Awards – FY 2014 (NOT-OD-14-055)

PHS 2014-02 Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH, CDC, FDA and ACF for Small Business Innovation Research Grant Applications (Parent SBIR [R43/R44])(PA-14-071)

PHS 2014-02 Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH for Small Business Technology Transfer Grant Applications (Parent STTR [R41/R42]) – Oral, Oropharyngeal and Salivary Gland Cancers (PA-14-072)

SBIR Phase IIB Bridge Awards to Accelerate the Development of Cancer Therapeutics, Imaging Technologies, Interventional Devices, Diagnostics and Prognostics Toward Commercialization (R44)(RFA-CA-14-002)

Empirical Research on Ethical Issues Related to Central IRBs and Consent for Research Using Clinical Records and Data (R01)(RFA-OD-14-002)


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 gillian.irwin@case.edu.

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