41-35 Vanderbilt, UNC Get “Exceptional” Scores on Cancer Center Support Grant Renewal Applications

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Vanderbilt, UNC Get “Exceptional” Scores on Cancer Center Support Grant Renewal Applications

VANDERBILT-INGRAM CANCER CENTER received an overall “exceptional” score as part of the renewal of the Cancer Center Support Grant.

The CCSG provides almost $30 million over five years to support scientific leadership and administration of the cancer center, as well as infrastructure that includes shared resources for cancer investigators.

Despite tight federal budgets, VICC will receive an increase over the previous five-year grant award.

This is the third renewal of VICC as an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. It is one of only 45 such centers in the United States and the only Comprehensive Cancer Center in Tennessee providing treatment for both adult and pediatric patients.

VICC is among the few centers in the United States with multiple NCI-designated Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant programs, including breast and gastrointestinal cancer.

VICC has nearly 300 faculty members and generates more than $140 million in annual federal research funding, ranking it among the top 10 centers in the country in competitive grant support. The clinical program sees more than 6,000 new cancer patients each year.

THEUNCLINEBERGER COMPREHENSIVE CANCER CENTER earned an “exceptional” rating from the NCI for a major grant application associated with the center’s multidisciplinary research.

The rating was given to UNC Lineberger’s application to the NCI for renewal of a five-year grant that supports multidisciplinary research and shared scientific core resources for hundreds of scientists and clinicians in addition to other key center functions.

“This recognition speaks to the excellence of our researchers’ work in a wide range of disciplines, from clinical research to cancer genetics to breast cancer and molecular therapeutics,” Norman Sharpless, director of UNC Lineberger and the Wellcome Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research, said in a statement. “We are striving to leverage this high-impact research to ultimately reduce cancer incidence and mortality across North Carolina.”

The rating followed a rigorous institutional review with a site visit by a panel of 22 peer reviewers. UNC Lineberger researchers made presentations to demonstrate both the depth and breadth of their work spanning the basic sciences, population sciences, clinical sciences and translational research.

UNC Lineberger researchers made presentations to demonstrate both the depth and breadth of their work spanning the basic sciences, population sciences, clinical sciences and translational research.

Researchers presented in each of nine program areas: cancer cell biology, immunology research, molecular therapeutics, virology, cancer genetics, clinical and translational research, breast cancer, cancer prevention and control, and cancer epidemiology.

PETER SCHULTZ was named CEO and STEVE KAY was named president of The Scripps Research Institute.

Schultz is a member of the TSRI faculty as well as director of the California Institute for Biomedical Research. Kay, a former TSRI faculty member, is dean of the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University Of Southern California.

Schultz will take the lead in developing long-term strategy and external alliances, with a focus on building “bench-to-bedside” research capabilities, while Kay will spearhead the academic and operational activities of the Institute, said Dick Gephardt, chair of the TSRI board of trustees and president/CEO of Gephardt Government Affairs.

Schultz assumes his role immediately. His research is at the interface of chemistry and biology. He has pioneered technologies to make and characterize molecules and materials hundreds to millions at a time–work that has dramatically impacted our ability to create new medicines and materials.

He has led the development of new drugs that affect endogenous stem cells for neurodegenerative diseases and diseases of aging, and has directed efforts that have resulted in breakthrough therapies for the treatment of cancer, autoimmune and infectious disease. Most recently his laboratory has successfully created new “synthetic” organisms in which the evolutionary constraints of the 20-amino acid genetic code are lifted.

Kay, an expert on genes and circadian rhythms, will begin as president-elect as he transitions from USC. Kay has founded several biotechnology companies, most recently Reset Therapeutics, a San Francisco-based drug development corporation.

JEFFREY MEDIN was named MACC (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer) Fund Endowed Professor at the department of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

At MCW, Medin will serve as vice chair of research innovation for the department of pediatrics, and research director within the section of pediatric hematology/oncology, where he is expected to expand the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Transplant Program.

Medin will also serve as director of cell processing laboratories in the MCW Adult and Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, with appointments in the MCW Cancer Center and the BloodCenter of Wisconsin’s Blood Research Institute.

Medin will also be the Good Manufacturing Practice facility director at MCW, referring to the Good Manufacturing Practice Regulations issued by FDA.

Medin currently serves as a professor in the Department of Medical Biophysics and the Institute of Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada.

He is also a senior scientist with the University Health Network, and director of the UHN Vector Core Facility at the Krembil Discovery Tower at Toronto Western Hospital.

“Dr. Medin has a distinguished record of accomplishment in the field of pediatric cancers,” said Joseph Kerschner, dean of the school of medicine and executive vice president of MCW. “Dr. Medin’s appointment represents the importance of fighting cancer as a strategic priority for MCW, and highlights how we work closely with our partners at the MACC Fund and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to improve outcomes for children and families.”

Medin will assume his full duties on Jan. 1, 2016.

EVELYN WHITLOCK named chief science officer of Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Whitlock is an expert in evidence-based medicine and health policy at Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, Ore., as its new chief science officer.

As CSO, Whitlock will be responsible for leading the ongoing development and management of PCORI’s patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research portfolio.

Whitlock, a board-certified preventive medicine physician, is the founding director of the Kaiser Permanente Research Affiliates Evidence-based Practice Center, or EPC, one of 13 officially designated EPCs in the nation.

It operates under a multi-year contract to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to produce evidence syntheses based on systematic reviews, lead methodological development for systematic reviews, and support the increased application of systematic reviews and other evidence-based products into policy and practice.

Whitlock sits on the Methods Steering Committee, among other leadership activities for AHRQ’s EPC program. Whitlock also serves as the principal investigator for multiple contracts for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to provide systematic reviews for USPSTF, which are used to make evidence-based recommendations for clinical preventive services across all ages and health conditions.

She has provided evidence synthesis services to the USPSTF for more than 15 years, as well as to other federal agencies, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute. In addition, she has helped lead scientific resource centers that provide scientific, methodological, and technical support for large national programs such as AHRQ’s Effective Healthcare Program and the USPSTF.

She was a member of the senior faculty of the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute, one of the first 12 NIH-funded centers for clinical and translational sciences, and helped develop and implement its translation of research into policy and practice program.

In addition to her position at Kaiser Permanente, Whitlock serves as a clinical associate professor in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Oregon Health Sciences University, where she directed its residency program from 1993-1997. She also is an associate professor in OHSU’s Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology.

JOAQUIN ESPINOZA was named associate director of science at the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Anschutz).

His team will continue investigating diverse cancer genes, while also focusing on the remarkable fact that the population with Down syndrome has a much lower risk of developing solid tumors.

Espinosa’s team has moved from the University of Colorado Boulder to the Department of Pharmacology at UCD-SOM in Aurora, where Espinosa will hold a full professorship.

In his new position overseeing science at the Crnic Institute, Espinosa is tasked with expanding beyond the existing Crnic Grand Challenge Grants program that has stimulated 28 labs and nearly 100 scientists to work on Down syndrome research at the University Of Colorado.

He will foster growth in key areas such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders and clinical research in association with the Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

He will also work on establishing public-private-university alliances to stimulate research that benefits people with Down syndrome.

Previously Espinosa held the position of associate professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he will continue as a visiting associate professor.

He will also continue as the University of Colorado’s director of the Functional Genomics Facility and as the co-leader of the Molecular Oncology Program at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

ROBERT SCHREIBER and PHILIP GREENBERG were named editors-in-chief of Cancer Immunology Research, one of eight peer-reviewed journals published by the American Association for Cancer Research.

Cancer Immunology Research publishes original articles reporting advances in cancer immunology and immunotherapies that span the spectrum of science and medicine, from basic investigations in host-tumor interactions to developmental therapeutics in model systems, early translational studies in patients, and late-stage clinical trials.

“In 2013, the AACR launched Cancer Immunology Research with Glenn Dranoff as the founding editor-in-chief to capture the most significant work in the field of cancer immunology and to highlight the relationship of cancer immunology to other areas of cancer research,” said Margaret Foti, chief executive officer of the AACR.

“The AACR owes much gratitude to Dr. Dranoff for his editorial vision and for the journal’s many early successes. Under the new leadership of Drs. Schreiber and Greenberg, the journal will continue its commitment to publish all aspects of cancer immunology and immunotherapy.”

Schreiber is the alumni endowed professor of pathology and immunology and director of the Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Greenberg is a professor of medicine/oncology and immunology at the University of Washington and head of the Program in Immunology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

CHRISTOPH ZIELINSKI was named editor-in-chief of ESMO Open, a new open-access, peer-reviewed online journal published by the European Society of Medical Oncology.

Zielinski, 63, is director of the Clinical Division of Oncology and Chairman of the Department of Medicine I and the Comprehensive Cancer Centre at the Medical University in Vienna.

He has been president of the Central European Cooperative Oncology Group since 1999 and member of the ESMO executive board since 2014.

Zielinski’s research focuses on clinical trials in breast, lung cancer, personalized medicine and immuno-oncology. He has published more than 600 papers.

ESMO Open will operate a fast submission and review process with continuous publication online to ensure that timely, up-to-date research is available worldwide and adheres to a rigorous and transparent peer-review process.

The first articles will be published in January 2016.

HUNTSMAN CANCER INSTITUTE became the first Mediso Preclinical Imaging Center of Excellence in North America.

Two multi-modality nanoScan in vivo preclinical imaging systems have been installed at HCI: a nanoScan PET/MRI, combining positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging techniques in one integrated system, and a nanoScan SPECT/CT, combining single photon emission tomography and x-ray computed tomography in one combined system.

Both systems integrate four imaging modalities without any compromise in image quality, performance and ease of use.

HCI provides a unique combination with the possibility to perform quantitative preclinical imaging covering four modalities – PET, SPECT, MRI and CT.

The researchers are able to select any combination of the modalities to interrogate a wide range of biological questions by using the common building blocks developed by Mediso, including the Nucline acquisition framework and the MultiCell animal handling and monitoring system.

SCIEX, a company focused on life science analytical technologies, announced a collaboration with the laboratory of Amanda Paulovich, of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, to make targeted proteomics in cancer research more reproducible and specific.

The collaboration provides SCIEX rights to commercialize the immuno-MRM assays that have been made in the Paulovich Laboratory, a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium.

This effort, aligned with NIH’s strategy to make technology more widely accessible through public and private partnerships, will result in commercially available assays that quantitatively measure phosphorylated and unmodified proteins known to be involved in cancer signaling pathways.

To extend the reach of this technology, and make it more sensitive, and more routine and reproducible, an augmented approach is required over direct-MRM.

Immuno-MRM assays combine the best features of immunoassays and mass spectrometry to provide highly reproducible, specific and sensitive quantification of target proteins, including phosphorylated proteins.

However, a lack of availability of off-the-shelf content for this technique has been holding the field back, and this partnership aims to redress that.

By partnering with the Paulovich Laboratory, SCIEX will offer researchers a complete solution for mass spectrometry-based protein quantification of specific key biological pathways.

At the HUPO 2015 Annual World Congress this week, SCIEX introduced an improved targeted proteomics workflow that includes the new QTRAP 6500+ system and microflow LC, to combine high sensitivity and high throughput, and the Beckman Biomek Laboratory Automated Workstation, with optimized workflows for protein digestion.

The immuno-MRM kits will be commercialized for this workflow, creating a solution that will include sample preparation reagents, antibodies and beads for target enrichment, internal standards for quantification, and related methods for LC-MS and data analysis.

“The research reproducibility crisis has been well-documented in the media recently, especially around antibody quality for Immunoassays.” said Aaron Hudson, senior director of academic and clinical research business at SCIEX.”

The immuno-MRM kits will be available in 2016.

THE EXPERIMENTAL THERAPEUTICS INSTITUTE at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. entered into an agreement with the goal of accelerating the discovery of fully-human antibodies directed against therapeutic targets being researched by Mount Sinai investigators.

Regeneron will provide the ETI with access to VelocImmune technology and potential financial support to use the company’s proprietary antibody discovery platform to generate antibodies against targets of interest and explore potential therapeutic applications for human disease.

ETI will undertake preclinical research and Regeneron has an exclusive option to negotiate a license to the antibody for future clinical development and commercialization.

Developed by Regeneron scientists, VelocImmune is a genetic engineering platform that enables the fast and efficient creation of superior fully-human monoclonal antibodies for drug development.

THOMAS JEFFERSON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL and GenomOncology are co-developing a multi-assay integrated cancer profiling system.

Jefferson officials said they expects to launch the system for testing acute myeloid leukemia in their molecular pathology laboratory this fall.

Combining karyotype analysis, fluorescence in situ hybridization and the evaluation of mutational status of molecular markers by next generation sequencing, can lead to improved strategies for risk stratification and targeted therapy.

Traditionally, the results of these disparate tests have been reported separately.

To improve this situation, GenomOncology is expanding its GO Clinical Workbench platform to allow both independent and cumulative analysis and reporting of these assays.

GILDA’S CLUB CHICAGO and other organizations across the country launched the It’s About Time campaign, an initiative to raise awareness of metastatic breast cancer.

“It is our hope that the It’s About Time campaign will help inform the public about metastatic breast cancer and metastatic disease in general, while giving those diagnosed, their families and friends a greater voice. ” said Laura-Jane Hyde, CEO, Gilda’s Club Chicago said in a statement.

It’s About Time encourages metastatic breast cancer patients, their families, caretakers and advocacy organizations to engage in a national conversation over the next six weeks about metastatic breast cancer facts, what time means to them, opportunities for increased advocacy and research supporting metastatic breast cancer, and, most importantly, to create a platform for those battling metastatic breast cancer to share their stories.

THE RIDE TO CONQUER CANCER raised $2.1 million for cancer research and accelerates transformational cancer discoveries at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Sibley Memorial, Suburban and Howard County General Hospitals.

“The Ride to Conquer Cancer is a testament to strength in numbers and we are very thankful to the community of riders, donors, sponsors, crew members and volunteers whose commitment has enabled the second annual Ride to be a great success,” said William Nelson, director of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

Over two years, the two-day 150-mile ride held in the Washington area raised $4.7 million. This year, over 500 riders participated.

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