Oncology Times:
doi: 10.1097/01.COT.0000292607.04343.b5
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Tom Curran, PhD, Chairman of the Department of Developmental Neurobiology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, the national academy of science of the United Kingdom.

A native of Scotland, Dr. Curran is a Past President of the American Association for Cancer Research, and his research, which focuses on molecular events that control the formation of the brain in mammals, has shown that deregulated gene expression is a critical factor in the development and progression of cancer. Early in his career, Dr. Curran discovered the fos oncogene and demonstrated its function in gene regulation. More recently, he has studied a novel molecule called HhAntag for the treatment of brain cancer without traditional chemotherapy or radiation.

The American Cancer Society awarded the Lane Adams Quality of Life Award to 14 medical professionals “who have made a difference through innovation, leadership, and consistent excellence in providing compassionate, skilled care and counsel to persons living with cancer and their families.” They are:

Ray Bell of Road to Recovery in Franklin, TN.

Constantino Benedetti, MD, of Ohio State University Medical Center and the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital.

Lois Starnes Doane, RN, MSN, AOCN, of the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Bernadette “Bunny” Dugan, RN, CHPN, of Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Richard L. Fabian, MD, of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Jeffrey Forman, MD, of Weisberg Cancer Treatment Center in Farmington Hills, MI.

Diane Hopkins, RN, MA, OCN, a counselor/consultant in Staten Island, NY.

Monica Kahn, founder of Helen's Room in Playa Del Ray, CA.

Pat Lehr, RN, of Victory Memorial Hospital in Waukegan, IL.

Lucille A. Leong, MD, of City of Hope National Medical Center.

Jennifer Rogers Maggiore, MSW, LCSW, of First Coast Oncology in Mandarin, FL.

Alice Rainess Jordan, MSW, LCSW-C, of Palm Harbor, FL.

Dawn Tiedemann, RN, MSN, APRN, AOCN, of West Haven (CT) VA Medical Center.

Robin Yoder, MSW, of Hawthorne Cancer Center and Chippenham & Johnston-Willis Medical Center in Midlothian, VA.

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The American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology has announced C. Norman Coleman, MD, and Allen S. Lichter, MD, as its 2005 Gold Medal winners, the highest of ASTRO awards. Dr. Coleman, Director of the Radiation Oncology Sciences Program and Associate Director of the Radiation Research Program at the NCI, advises President George W. Bush's administration and the Department of Health and Human Services on medical response to radiological and nuclear terrorism. Dr. Lichter is Dean of the University of Michigan Medical School, where he has played a key role in the development of three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy.

René Bernards, PhD, Head of the Division of Molecular Carcinogenesis at the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Chief Scientific Officer of Agendia, a company that develops methods to profile gene expression, received the NWO/Spinoza prize from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. The prize “is awarded to Dutch scientists who are at the very top of the research profession” and consists of 1.5 million euros, which is to be used for research purposes at the winner's own discretion. Three other researchers, not involved in the cancer field, also received Spinoza prizes this year. Dr. Bernards has developed three innovative genetic technologies to study the process of cell division, and he discovered a pattern of gene expression that predicts breast cancer metastases.

Stephen C. Rubin, MD, was elected Director of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology's Division of Gynecologic Oncology, which is responsible for the accreditation of fellowship training programs and for the board certification process in gynecologic oncology in the United States. Dr. Rubin is the Franklin Payne Professor and Chief of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, a public charity committed to funding innovative research, awarded four Young Investigator three-year grants for early-stage research into gene therapy for cancer. The recipients are:

Mukesh K. Jain, MD, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Cardiovascular Transcriptional Biology Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital, is conducting an anti-angiogenesis project that will test the use of a polymer compound to deliver genes to the tumor site.

Chien-fu Hung, PhD, Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University, is studying immunotherapy for ovarian cancer treatment.

Jian Yu, PhD, Assistant Professor at The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is investigating gene therapy using p53-upregulated modulator of apoptosis, PUMA, in animals for lung cancer treatment.

Suzie Pun, PhD, Assistant Professor at the University of Washington, is studying the use of synthetic nanoparticles for drug delivery to tumors.

Richard Gross, MD, and Alan List, MD, were named to positions at the Infusion Center at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. Dr. Gross, the new Medical Director, is the Leader of the Internal and Hospital Medicine Program. He created and directed the first Hospital Medicine Program at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and has extensive experience in the area of computerized medical records and other programming applications. Dr. List, the new Associate Medical Director, is the Leader of the Hematologic Malignancies Program and an internationally recognized expert in biology and the treatment of leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes, and was most recently at the University of Arizona Cancer Center.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center announced the following appointments: David W. Kissane, MBBS, was named to an Alfred P. Sloan Chair; Pier Paolo Pandolfi, MD, PhD, was named the first incumbent of the Albert C. Foster Chair; Gavril W. Pasternak, MD, PhD, was named to the Anne Burnett Tandy Chair of Neurology; and John H.J. Petrini, PhD, was named the incumbent of the Paul A. Marks Chair in Molecular Cell Biology.

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Also at MSKCC, the following staff members recently received awards:

Richard J. O'Reilly, MD, Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, delivered ASCO's Pediatric Oncology Lectureship at this year's Annual Meeting, speaking on “Adoptive Cell-Based Viral Infections and Immunotherapy of Malignancies Following Allogenic Hematopoietic Cell Transplants.”

Lois Almadrones, RN, MPA, a clinical nurse specialist on the Gynecology Service, was chosen to deliver this year's Trish Greene Memorial Quality of Life Lecture at the Oncology Nursing Society Annual Congress.

Murray F. Brennan, MD, Chairman of Surgery, was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in the European Surgical Association, the highest recognition that the organization gives to a surgeon practicing outside of Europe.

Carlos Cordon-Cardo, MD, PhD, Director of the Division of Molecular Pathology, was named Senior Editor of Clinical Cancer Research.

Rosalind Kleban, CSW, was named a Professor of Survivorship by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Richard Kolesnick, MD, Head of the Laboratory of Signal Transduction in the Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry Program, received a grant from the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Don X. Nguyen, PhD, Research Fellow in the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, was awarded a Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.

Jatin P. Shah, MD, Chief of the Head and Neck Service, was elected President of the newly formed International Academy of Oral Oncology.

Liang Wang, MD, MS, Research Fellow in Radiology, received the 2004 Research Trainee Prize from the Radiological Society of North America for his study of prostate cancer imaging, supervised by Hedvig Hricak, MD, PhD, Chairman of Radiology.

Steve M. Larson, MD, Chief of the Nuclear Medicine Service, received the Society of Nuclear Medicine's 2005 Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Pioneer Award.

Sidney J. Winawer, MD, the Paul Sherlock Chair of Gastroenterology, received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.

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Kristie Blum, MD, a specialist in leukemia and lymphoma at Ohio State University Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, is one of two recipients of the Junior Faculty Award from the Cancer and Leukemia Group B Foundation. The Award, sponsored by Novartis Oncology, will give Dr. Blum $40,000 a year for the next two years to support her research.

David M. Goldenberg, ScD, MD, founder and President of the Garden State Cancer Center and the Center for Molecular Medicine and Immunology in Belleville, NJ, received the Society of Nuclear Medicine's 2005 Paul C. Aebersold Award for Outstanding Achievement in Basic Nuclear Medicine Science and the Inventor of the Year award from the Research and Development Council of New Jersey. The awards recognized his pioneering work in the development of monoclonal antibodies for cancer detection and treatment.

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center will inaugurate a new research institute, launched with a $10 million gift from Tennessee businessman Jim Ayers, to develop techniques to detect cancers at their earliest, most curable stages. Research at the new center, called the Jim Ayers Institute for Pre-Cancer Detection and Diagnosis, will focus on identifying patterns of protein expression that signal the presence of precancer and early cancer and help predict how tumors will behave so that the most effective treatment can be selected. The Ayers Institute will be a “virtual institute,” including personnel and technology in various areas of the cancer center.

Also at Vanderbilt, Christine Chung, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology, received the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation/Lilly Clinical Investigator Award. The Award will provide $750,000 over five years to support Dr. Chung's work on the use of DNA microarray technology to identify patterns of gene expression to predict which patients with head and neck cancers are likely to experience a recurrence and which recurrent tumors will respond to specific chemotherapies. The award also will retire up to $100,000 in medical school debt.

Laurie Gaspar, MD, MBA, Professor and Chairman of Radiation Oncology at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, was named the David F. and Margaret Turley Grohne Professor of Clinical Oncology.

Robert Garcea, MD, Professor of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplantation at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, received a $3.5 million grant from the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, a major effort to achieve scientific breakthroughs against diseases that kill millions of people each year in the world's poorest countries. Dr. Garcea and his colleagues will use the grant money to work on the development of an inexpensive therapeutic vaccine for human papillomavirus.

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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has established a new Cancer Vaccine Center, which will be organized around two groups of core facilities—human immunology and clinical trials support. Ellis Reinherz, MD, Director of the Center, will head the human immunology core components, including bioinformatics, mass spectrometry, structural immunology, and immune monitoring. Jerome Ritz, MD, is overseeing the clinical trials support cores, which focus on vaccine manufacturing, clinical reagents, and clinical and regulatory support. Glenn Dranoff, MD, will direct clinical trials.

The University of California Davis Cancer Center received $4.48 million from the NCI to fund a new nationwide effort aimed at reducing cancer in Asian-Americans. The new effort, called the Asian-American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training, unites cancer-control experts from the California Department of Health Services; University of California, San Francisco; UCLA; University of Hawaii; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/University of Washington; and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard University with two community groups—the Hmong Women's Heritage Association in Sacramento, CA, and the San Francisco Medical Society Foundation/Chinese Community Health Plan.

Over the next five years, the effort will focus on increasing hepatitis B immunization rates in children and screening rates in adults; improving breast and cervical cancer screening rates; encouraging adherence to the traditionally low-fat, vegetable-based diets common in Asian countries; and increasing the rates of colorectal cancer screening.

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GM Cancer Research Awards

This year's General Motors Cancer Research Awards were presented to Angela M. Hartley Brodie, PhD; Gerald N. Wogan, PhD; and Roger D. Kornberg, PhD. Each award consists of $250,000 and a gold medal.

Dr. Brodie, who received the Kettering Prize, is Professor of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a cancer researcher at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center. A pioneer in the development of aromatase inhibitors, she began investigating aromatase inhibitors while working in a lab with her husband, Harry Brodie, MD, who synthesized the first selective inhibitors in the early 1970s. She went on to create formestane, the first aromatase inhibitor to be used to treat breast cancer patients. Dr. Brodie has also expanded her research into prostate cancer and is now developing steroidal compounds that target key enzymes in androgen production.

Dr. Wogan, who received the Mott Prize, is Underwood-Prescott Professor of Toxicology, Emeritus, and Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus at MIT as well as Senior Research Fellow in the Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis at the NCI and Visiting Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences of Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Kornberg, who received the Sloan Prize, is Winzer Professor of Structural Biology at Stanford University School of Medicine, where his research has focused on the mechanism and regulation of eukaryotic gene expression. He has demonstrated the role of nucleosomes in transcriptional regulation, established a yeast RNA polymerase II transcription system and isolated all the proteins involved, discovered the mediator of transcriptional regulation, developed two-dimensional protein crystallization and its application to transcription proteins, and determined the atomic structure of an RNA polymerase transcribing complex.

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Society of Nuclear Medicine Picks PET/CT Image as ‘Image of the Year’

A three-dimensional positron-emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) image of the human airway taken by Stanford University researchers was named the 2005 Image of the Year at the Society of Nuclear Medicine's Annual Meeting.

The image was part of the team's “Novel 3D Rendered FDG PET/CT Virtual Bronchoscopy and Colonography for Improved Lesion Localization and Presurgical Evaluation,” study.

“This study is intended to be an initial step in developing a new paradigm for reviewing and interpreting PET/CT images in a fully 3D-rendered format,” senior scientist Sanjiv (Sam) Gambhir, MD, PhD, Director of the Molecular Imaging Program and Chief of Nuclear Medicine and Professor in the Departments of Radiology and Bioengineering Medicine, said in a press release.

“Our new strategy is to fuse PET and CT in order to travel through and around organs for improved visualization of the 3D anatomical and functional data sets.”

The images can be viewed in multiple 3D formats, including virtual colonoscopy/bronchoscopy “fly throughs” that display the fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-uptake pattern at the same time, which aids the characterization and localization of the lesion, the authors wrote in the abstract.

In the study, the researchers used 15 patient cases that were referred for an evaluation of a known malignancy. The study used an integrated PET/CT scanner, and all patients had an FDG PET/CT scan.

A nuclear medicine physician reviewed two sets of images for each patient—one set consisted of standard tomographic slices of the PET, CT, and fusion PET/CT; and the other was 3D PET/CT fusion images.

Of the study participants, eight had abnormalities that were identified as malignant using conventional tomographic FDG PET/CT images, for a total of 21 lesions. All 21 were also identified on the 3D PET/CT images. The seven patients with normal PET/CT scans also had normal 3D PET/CT scans.

The researchers' fused 3D images not only enabled them to get 3D images of the body's metabolism and structure but also made it possible to see structure and function from the inside out throughout the patient's body, such as the airways and bowels.

“As computer and scanning technology advances, imaging modalities—such as virtual CT colonography and bronchoscopy—will propagate, particularly for presurgical planning and visualization,” said lead author Andrew Quon, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Radiology-Diagnostic Radiology.

“This pilot study demonstrates the usefulness of fusing 3D rendered PET images to CT images, allowing for simultaneous 3-D viewing of multiple modalities.”

Dr. Gambhir noted that additional studies with larger, specific patient populations and additional radiotracers need to be conducted.

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Excellence in Nursing Awards at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Samuel and May Rudin Awards for Excellence in Nursing were given to the following Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center staff members: Mary Elizabeth Davis, MSN, RN, a clinical nurse specialist for the MSK Regional Network, received the Excellence in Nursing Advanced Practice award; Kevin P. Browne, MSN, RN, Nurse Leader for Perioperative Services, received the Excellence in Nursing Leadership award; clinical nurses Elizabeth H. Flowers, RN, and Audrey J. Odishoo, RN, received Excellence in Nursing Practice awards; Maureen G. O'Brien, MSN, RN, a clinical nurse specialist in the Smoking Cessation Program, received the Excellence in Nursing Education Award; and Claudia Bryan, a nursing assistant, received the Special Recognition Award.

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© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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