The American Cancer Society has awarded a four-year, $720,000 research grant to Lifeng Xu, PhD, Assistant Professor of Microbiology at UC Davis College of Biological Sciences, for her study of homologous recombination-based alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) pathways in tumors. Even though few tumors initially rely on ALT, the pathways can activate more tumors after telomerase activity is blocked, allowing cells to survive telomerase-inhibition cancer therapy.
“Our research will provide clues on how cancer cells activate the recombination-based ALT mechanism from which we can design complementary anticancer therapy accordingly,” she said. Used in combination with anti-telomerase drugs, such therapies could treat both telomerase-reliant and ALT-reliant tumors.
The University of Arizona Cancer Center (UACC) and St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center/CHW (St. Joseph's) have entered an agreement to collaborate on patient-centered, evidence-based multidisciplinary cancer care and clinical/translation research using St. Joseph's clinical facilities and the UACC's academic and research infrastructure and faculty. “We envision our operations in Phoenix—at St. Joseph's and at our future outpatient facility—as a national and international model of integrated healthcare to fight cancer,” said UACC Director David S. Alberts, MD.
The American Association for Cancer Research has relaunched their patient magazine as Cancer Today. The aim of the redesigned publication is to include more practical resources for readers to learn about a cancer subject (via support organizations, websites, and journal articles) as well as give more background about how new research and discoveries fit into the bigger picture of cancer care.
“Our writers and editors will also now focus on including what we call ‘next steps,’ such as questions readers can discuss with their health care teams, or reliable places readers can look for more information,” Executive Editor Jessica Gorman explained via email. New issues will include survivor essays submitted by readers; Q&A's with experts covering queries about the financial, emotional, and family challenges of cancer care and research; and a section on diet and exercise tips.
The International Society of Fertility Preservation has announced the formation of the Alliance for Fertility Preservation, a coalition of reproductive endocrinology, urology, and oncology experts funded by an educational grant from Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The stated goal is to help ensure that newly diagnosed cancer patients in the US have access to information about their fertility preservation options, including information about ASCO's fertility guidelines.
“The Alliance for Fertility Preservation aims to identify tools to support physicians within the clinical setting so that they may educate their patients about fertility preservation and enable these patients to make informed decisions about their fertility,” said co-chair Zev Rosenwaks, MD, of the Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The other co-chairs are John Mulhall, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and Glenn Schattman, MD, of the Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine.
Clifford A. Hudis, MD, New President-Elect of ASCO
Clifford A. Hudis, MD, has been elected President-Elect of ASCO, taking office in June at the Annual Meeting, to serve as President for the 2013-2014 term. He is Chief of the Breast Cancer Medicine Service and a practicing medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, as well as Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.
A news release notes that he has a particular interest in applying emerging technology to the clinical and research settings and that he believes the key issues ASCO should consider are the challenges of resource constraints, the growing cancer burden, and leveraging new technologies. Specifically, as ASCO President, Dr. Hudis hopes to help the organization take the lead in helping members to productively and efficiently incorporate evolving technology in the delivery of compassionate and evidence-based care.
Dr. Hudis has been an ASCO member since 1991, and has served as Treasurer of the ASCO Board of Directors, a member of the Executive and Planning Committees, and Co-Chair of the Finance and Governance Subcommittee since 2009.
Also joining the leadership of the ASCO Board, Susan Lerner Cohn, MD, has been elected to serve as Treasurer for three years. She is the Director of Pediatric Clinical Sciences at Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago, where she is also Professor of Pediatrics.
The following are the newly elected members of the Board of Directors whose terms will begin in June:
- Smita Bhatia, MD, MPH, has been elected to the Pediatric Oncology seat for four years. She is Professor and the Ruth Ziegler Chair of the Department of Population Sciences at City of Hope National Medical Center, as well as Associate Director for Population Research for the Comprehensive Cancer Center and Co-Leader of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program.
- Stephen S. Grubbs, MD, has been elected to a Community Oncology seat for three years. He is managing partner at Medical Oncology Hematology Consultants, PA, in Newark, Delaware, and has held positions at Christiana Care Health System, Dartmouth Medical School, St. Francis Hospital, Memorial Hospital of Salem County, and Jefferson Medical College.
- Hagop M. Kantarjian, MD, has been elected to an Undesignated Specialty seat for four years. He is Chair of the Department of Leukemia at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Kelcie Margaret Kana Research Chair and Associate Vice President for Global Academic Programs.
- Gary H. Lyman, MD, MPH, has also been elected to an Undesignated Specialty seat for four years. He is Professor of Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine and Director of the Comparative Effectiveness and Outcomes Research Program, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Duke Center for Clinical Health Policy Research and a member of the Duke Cancer Institute and Center for Personalized Medicine.
- Lillian L. Siu, MD, has been elected to an International Oncologist seat for four years. She is a Senior Medical Oncologist at Princess Margaret Hospital and Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, where she also holds a Tier I Research Chair in Experimental Therapeutics supported by Cancer Care Ontario.
There are also two newly elected ASCO Nominating Committee members who will serve three-year terms:
- William J. Gradishar, MD, will serve on the committee starting this year and will be the Chair of the Nominating Committee in 2014-2015. He is Professor of Medicine and Director of the Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Program at Northwestern University and Director of the Maggie Daley Center for Women's Cancer Care at Northwestern Memorial Hospital/Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.
- Patricia M. LoRusso, DO, Director of the Phase I Clinical Trials Program and Center for Experimental Therapeutics at Karmanos Cancer Institute.
Lillie Shockney Named J&J ‘Amazing Nurse’
BY SARAH DIGIULIO
The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing's Future chose Lillie Shockney, RN, MAS, as the winner of their 2011 “Amazing Nurses Contest.” She was recognized at the “CNN Heroes: An All Star Tribute Show” in Los Angeles on December 11.
Shockney was voted a finalist by the public via Facebook out of more than 2,500 nominees and was then selected as the winner by a panel of experts in the nursing field.
“Nurses play an incredibly important role in our communities, and we're committed to supporting this profession and highlighting their important and life-saving work,” the campaign's director, Andrea Higham, said in a news release.
Shockney stands out in her field by embracing the roles of both patient caretaker and advocate for oncology nurses. She is Administrative Director of Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center, where she heads the patient education programs, local and national outreach programs, and patient advocacy initiatives; and manages the center's website, including personally answering up to 100 electronically submitted patient questions a day. In 2008 she was appointed University Distinguished Service Assistant Professor of Breast Cancer by the Johns Hopkins Board of Trustees.
In a telephone interview, she spoke about why oncology nursing is playing a more critical role than ever in cancer care.
You're a two-time cancer survivor. How does that affect your role as director?
“It really sends a message that our faculty made the decision for the individual who's serving as the leader of the center to be a nurse as well as being a breast cancer survivor. That's a powerful statement for an institution to make on behalf of patients—ensuring that there's going to be a patient advocate—that patients are going to be educated. We're going to address their psychological needs and have a patient-centered care delivery system.”
How would you define your role as a nurse?
“I personally see patients who are newly diagnosed. I want to give each patient a mirror image of herself in the near future. As a nurse I'm able to look at that patient and take a look at all of the issues that she brings to the table along with her diagnosis—all of that affects how well she's going to do. I want to make her experience with breast cancer the least physically and emotionally traumatic as it can be. Let's learn about this patient—what are her life goals? We need to incorporate that life goal into the cancer treatment plan so that her survivorship has a quality of life.”
You mentioned you have public speaking events most weekends, plus you have administrative responsibilities—yet you still see patients?
“It's really important for nurses who do end up in a leadership position to continue having hands-on patient care. If we don't have our finger on the pulse, we can sometimes lose sight of what's going on in the trenches of patient care and most importantly, nursing care.”
What about cancer care do you most want to change?
“I want us to have the best of the best when it comes to survivorship care. Many institutions have decided to look at beginning survivorship care when the acute treatment ends, but I'm saying we could do better if we instead philosophically embrace the thought that cancer survivorship care begins at the moment you say to the patient, “You have cancer.” We want her to have a cancer treatment experience that's a bump in the road rather than a derailment or dead end.
“I see thousands of breast cancer patients, but an individual patient sees only one of me. She will remember me forever. Patients will remember if the nurse took good care of them and they will remember if the nurse didn't. This is the most vulnerable time in the lives of many people—when they've heard those words, “you have cancer,” and they are giving me the privilege of being in their life at the most vulnerable time of their life.”© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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