Inside this Issue:
Announcing two major Cancer Center funding opportunities!
Below are descriptions of two recently announced opportunities for research support from the Cancer Center. We expect to invest approximately $1.5 million in these initiatives. Our goal is to ensure that UVA cancer research maintains and builds on strength during the current funding crunch and has a strong foundation for achieving differentiating excellence in the future. Our strategy is to create a more robust network of cancer investigators that includes UVA scientists (laboratory, clinical and population) as well as investigators at other institutions and in the private sector. This is a chance to shape the future of UVA cancer research. Please contact your Program Leaders if you have ideas, suggestions or questions. http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/research/research-centers/cancer-center/cancer-research/programs
1. Cancer Center Technology Partnership Initiative
Pre-proposal Deadline: August 1, 2013
Application Deadline: October 14, 2013
This initiative is designed to support public-private research partnerships between the UVA Cancer Center and Virginia technology and biotechnology industries. Our goal is to improve the health of Virginia’s citizens and of Virginia’s economy through investment, job creation, and improved cancer care.
Specific goals include:
1. Development, clinical application, and commercialization of UVA Cancer Center discoveries; and/or
2. Synergistic research and development partnerships between the UVA Cancer Center and the private sector that build on UVA Cancer Center research expertise; and/or
3. Movement of new discoveries from the private sector into clinical trials at UVA.
2. UVA Cancer Center Team Science Awards (CaTS)
Pre-proposal deadline: July 1, 2013.
The UVA Cancer Center is pleased to announce a new initiative in Team Science that will support innovative basic, clinical, population, and translational cancer research. This initiative is intended to foster multi-disciplinary collaborations that will strengthen basic science, facilitate translation to the clinical, community, and/or commercial setting, develop initiatives in cancer prevention and control, and move us toward status as a Comprehensive Cancer Center. We anticipate making 3-4 awards of $150,000 - $200,000 for one year, renewable for a second year on a competitive basis, contingent on visible progress toward submission of a publication and application for external peer reviewed funding.
Recently funded pilot projects:
The Cancer Center recently awarded 7 pilot projects, with a total investment of ~$500,000:
Craig Slingluff, Victor Engelhard, Tim Bullock, Richard Price, Gina Petroni and Kim Kelly: “Transforming the Metastatic Melanoma Microenvironment for Immunotherapy.” This program in cancer immunology and immunotherapy addresses mechanisms to enhance immune-mediated control of metastatic melanoma. The major challenge addressed is the failure of T cells with antitumor activity to infiltrate and to persist in melanoma metastases.
John Bushweller and Thao Dang: “RUNX Transcriptional Regulation – a Potential Target for Treatment of Lung Cancer.” This project will test a novel approach to treating lung cancer, namely inhibition of the RUNX proteins. Experiments will examine the effect of inhibiting the binding of RUNX family members to their partner protein CBFβ on growth and apoptosis of lung cancer cells, characterize the changes in gene expression, and test efficacy of this approach in vivo using a subcutaneous xenograft mouse model.
Todd Stukenberg and Ira Hall: “Measuring Chromosomal Instability (CIN) in Breast Tumors with CIN_ID.” The goal of this project is to use human tumors and cell lines to calibrate the scoring of CIN_ID (a newly developed computational method for measuring CIN from exome sequence data of whole tumors) and mine the rich information content of output plots for additional information about CIN in human tumors.
BJ Purow, Daniel Gioeli, and Thurl Harris: “Diacylglycerol Kinase Alpha as a Therapeutic Target in Melanoma.” We will investigate DGKα inhibition as a novel melanoma therapy, combining the experience of the Purow laboratory with DGKα, the melanoma expertise of the Gioeli laboratory, and the pharmacologic experience of the Harris laboratory.
Kyle Hoehn, Jill Slack-Davis, and Susan Modesitt: “Targeting Glucose Metabolism to Treat Endometrial Cancer.” Endometrial cancers in obese women have higher levels of specialized glucose transporters and proteins involved in making lipids. The overarching goal of this project is to disrupt these unique features of endometrial tumors in order to slow or reverse endometrial tumor growth.
Stephen Culp, Tom Parsons, and Todd Bauer: “The Urokinase-type Plasminogen Activator System and Its Role in Progression and Therapy Resistance in Renal Cell Carcinoma and Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma.” The study seeks to define the role of the urokinase plasminogen activator system in mediating progression and therapy resistance in renal cell carcinoma and patients with pancreatic cancer. The hypothesis is that when the uPA-PAI-1 complex binds to VLDLr or LRP1, pro-survival signaling pathways are activated.
Todd Bauer, Tom Parsons, Anindya Dutta, and Mazhar Adli: “Coordinate genetic and epigenetic regulation of gene expression in tumor and stroma of patient derived xenograft pancreatic tumors.” The goal of these pilot experiments is to develop and validate methodologies to simultaneously determine the gene expression changes and epigenetic modifications in both human pancreatic cancers and the surrounding stroma under defined conditions of tumor growth.
The investigators of four additional applications have been invited to submit revised applications, which will be reviewed and funding decisions made in the next few weeks.
The following patients have been accrued to therapeutic trials in the Cancer Center in January, February and March of 2013:
Radiation Oncology 9
Medical Oncology 6
Hematologic Malignancies 6
Gyn Oncology 6
Surgical Oncology 4
Stem Cell Transplant 2
Pediatric Oncology 1
Head and Neck Surgery 1
The Cancer Center Minority Recruitment Task Force recognizes the following groups who enrolled minority patients in therapeutic clinical trials:
Medical Oncology 3
Radiation Oncology 3
Gyn Oncology 2
Pediatric Oncology 1
Thank you for your continued hard work and dedication in support of cancer clinical trials.
“Dovitinib Trial Expanded to Recruit Additional Patients”
Primary Investigator: Patrick Dillon, MD.
This study is an investigator initiated trial for patients with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare tumor of the salivary glands and occasionally of other sites such as the breast, trachea, nasopharnyx and Bartholin glands. The concept for the trial is the result of several years of research in the Moskaluk and Bender labs at UVA where a Myb mutation was identified as a characteristic finding in this cancer type. Based on the laboratory science developed at UVA, it was suspected that aberrant signaling through the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) was playing a role in the pathogenesis of ACC. With the advent of an inhibitor of the FGFR, a trial was proposed to investigate the effects of the FGFR inhibitor, dovitinib, in patients with progressive adenoid cystic carcinoma. That trial has since been opened to accrual at UVA in March 2012. Since March, 21 patients have been accrued to the study and the study met its interim efficacy milestone. It has since been expanded to allow accrual of an additional 14 patients to better define the response rate in this unique population. This trial is very exciting not only for bringing laboratory science to the clinic, but also for the ability to recruit patients from all over the country in a very short time. The accrual rate of 21 patients with a rare malignancy in under a year far exceeded all expectations and the results which will be presented at ASCO 2013 are very exciting for this population of patients.
Kwon-Sik Park, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology, specializes in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of progression and chemo-resistance of lung cancer. His overarching goal is to develop novel strategies for targeted therapy as well as early detection and prevention through understanding the mechanisms of SCLC development. For more information please visit Dr. Park’s site at http://bims.virginia.edu/faculty/kwon-sik-par
David B. Drake, MD, Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery. Research interests include the clinical use of acellular dermal matrices in breast reconstruction, and autologous fat transfer for the amelioration of radiation injury to the breast.
Hui Zong, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology, specializes in mouse modeling of human brain tumors (glioma and medulloblastoma). The Zong lab utilizes a novel mouse genetic mosaic system to study tumor initiation and progression at single-cell resolution in mice, with the goal to develop innovative therapeutic strategies based on deep insights from combined perspectives of cancer biology, developmental biology, and evolutionary biology.
Traci Hedrick, MD, Assistant Professor Department of Surgery specializes in the treatment of colorectal conditions, including rectal and colon cancer. Her research interests include discovering new treatment options for rectal cancer patients in hopes to decrease morbidity and improve quality of life.
Kumari Andarawewa, DVM, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Research, Department of Radiation Oncology, specializes in DNA damage, Microenvironment, chemo & radiosensitization, integrin signaling, melanoma and prostate cancer. Dr Andarawewa focuses on understanding how loss of adhesion mediated signaling contributes to tumor progression and how radiation could modify these processes.
Jeffrey Siebers, Ph.D., Physics Director, will begin at UVA on July 1, 2013 as a tenured Professor in Radiation Oncology with a secondary appointment in Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Siebers received a B.S. degree in Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics, an M.S. degree in Medical Physics, and a Ph.D. degree in Medical Physics from the University of Wisconsin. He has held faculty appointments at Loma Linda University, and most recently at Virginia Commonwealth University (since 1997). Dr. Siebers’ interests include enhancing patient safety through real-time dosimetry and developing automated treatment planning algorithms. These interests coincide beautifully with the Department's focus on hypofractionation, and compressing the time from initial consultation to the first treatment. Dr Siebers has received funding for these interests from the NIH, Philips and Varian. With his vast experience, and exceptional track record, we are confident he will help lead our physics division to new heights.
Parchayi Dalal, Research Compliance Manager, joined the Department of Radiation Oncology on April 22, 2013. Ms. Dalal has 7 years of experience as a clinical research coordinator here at UVA and comes to us from the Interventional Neuroradiology Division of Radiology. She is a certified clinical research coordinator and has a Master’s degree in Public Health from UVA.
Timothy Howland recently joined the Gyn Onc team as a Clinical Research Coordinator. He obtained his degree from Penn State in health policy and administration. Prior to joining UVA, Mr. Howland was a scribe and research coordinator in the ENT department at UPenn
Lisa Godwin, Clinical Research Coordinator, will be supporting the clinical research efforts of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Ms. Godwin graduated Magna Cum Laude from Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, Connecticut with a Bachelor of Science in Family Studies and a minor in Psychology. Ms. Godwin came to Virginia in 2006 and worked in the community coordinating early childhood services. In 2010, she began working at the University of Virginia's Department of Psychology as a Senior Lead Examiner and Assessment Coordinator conducting parenting research. She is looking forward to expanding Otolaryngology's clinical research trials and gathering valuable data to inform and improve future treatment options for head and neck cancer patients.
Diana Rexrode, RN, BSN joined the Stem Cell Transplant Program as a transplant coordinator. Ms. Rexrode has worked at UVA for 18 years. She comes to us from Colorectal Surgery, where she worked the past seven years. Ms. Rexrode graduated from East Tennessee State University with a BSN in Nursing in 1986. She spent the first year of her nursing career in hematology oncology in Chattanooga. She moved on to Duke the following year in stem cell transplant where she remained until 1995. Ms. Rexrode came to UVA in 1995 as a coordinator in pediatric bone marrow transplant. She transferred to the adult stem cell transplant program and then moved to hematology where she stayed until 2006.
Jin Morris, RN, joined the Rad/Onc team in February. Ms. Morris has been in nursing since 1987. She began her career in oncology, and then moved to the surgical/renal unit, followed by work with the developmentally disabled, psychiatric, and medical surgical areas. In 2005, she fell in love with Virginia and moved here from New Jersey. Most recently, Ms. Morris has been in the challenging role of staff/charge nurse at UVA’s L-Tach.
Amber Vargo, BSN, RN, joined in the Infusion Center team shortly after moving to Virginia in October 2012. Ms. Vargo received her BSN from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio in 2003. She began her oncology nursing career at University Hospitals of Cleveland (OH), where she worked inpatient on a surgical GYN ONC unit. Prior to moving to Virginia, Ms. Vargo was working in an Infusion Center at a local community hospital in Canton, Ohio. She also has experience in Hospice and Palliative Care.
Cheryl Miller, BSN, RN, is a Clinical Care Coordinator III, supporting Dr. William Grosh in the Cancer Clinic. Ms. Miller graduated from Wentworth Military Academy with an Associate of Arts degree in 1985, and then transferred to Missouri Western State University where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree. All but three years of her nursing career have been spent in Oncology. Ms. Miller came to us as a Traveler. Having been in that role for three years, she decided it was time to settle down
Keith Margrey, BME, MS is our Senior Software Systems Engineer in Radiation Oncology. Mr. Margrey comes to us from UVa Clinical Engineering where he managed the Technology Services area. After earning his B.S. in Physics from James Madison University, he worked for UVa’s Radiology Department and UVa’s Clinical Chemistry Lab. Upon earning his Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering, Mr. Margrey developed software and hardware for Inova Corporation and Protein Solutions.
Christina Shotts is new to the UVa Medical Center. Ms. Shotts joined our team in December as an Access Associate working with the Palliative Care and Radiation Oncology team through a CMS grant. In her role, she assists the physicians and nurses in coordinating and scheduling of patient appointments. Ms. Shotts is originally from Pennsylvania. She and her family moved to Virginia two years ago.
Tracy Johnson is an Access Associate in the Radiation Oncology Department in the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center. Ms. Johnson has worked at UVa for 25 years. Most of those years, 16 to be exact, were spent in Environmental Services. She comes to us from the Psychiatric Department on 5 East, where she had worked as an HUC since 2005.
Julie Williams, LPN is the newest addition to our Cancer Clinics staff. Ms. Williams recently moved back to her native Virginia following a two year adventure in Florida. Ms. Williams has been in nursing for more than fifteen years. She previously worked in the Dermatology Department of UVa’s Medical Center.
Medical Center Employee Council (MCEC) – Changing of the Guard. Drew Harrell, Radiation Therapist, has enthusiastically represented the Cancer Center. Most recently, he was instrumental in organizing the Holiday Food Drive to benefit the UVA MC Hospitality House. Cancer Center staff contributed over 1800 items, surpassing all other Medical Center departments. He accomplished this with all the right elements - acknowledgement of the kindness and compassion that Cancer Center staff exhibit each and every day; creating a fun environment; encouragement to develop teams, thus appealing to our competitive nature (there was a pizza party at stake). The Infusion Center ate pizza, but the real winners were our guests at the Hospitality House.
Newly elected to the MCEC are Anne Putnam, Representative and Tabatha Ferrell, Alternate. They look forward to representing you and welcome your ideas, concerns, and suggestions for making the Cancer Center and the Medical Center a great place to be.
James Larner, MD, has been appointed to serve as Chair of the Radiation Therapeutics and Biology Sciences Study Section at the NIH effective July 1. When grant applications are sent to NIH, they are reviewed by experts in peer review groups called “study sections” to ensure they receive fair, independent, expert and timely reviews so NIH can fund the most promising research. To chair and lead a study section is a prestigious and distinguished national honor. It is truly a source of pride for the Department of Radiation Oncology and for UVA that our Chair is considered a national expert in our field. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Larner!
The Virginia Cancer Network (VCN) took first place in a national contest held by the Prevent Cancer Foundation for their worksite colorectal screening awareness program, the Colon Cancer Free Zone Program. VCN will receive a $3,000 grant to expand their screening awareness program and a visit from the Super Colon. The Super Colon is a giant inflatable colon that serves as an interactive teaching tool and normally costs over $10,000 to have at an event. As part of winning, the VCN will also be featured on the Prevent Cancer Foundation website and in their newsletter.
Thanks in large part to outstanding participation by the UVA Health System, Charlottesville met its goal of 400 registrants in the Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3), sponsored by the American Cancer Society. The study will help researchers better understand the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that cause or prevent cancer. ACS is hoping to enroll 300,000 participants nationally by the deadline of December 2013. Enrollment numbers at the four Charlottesville sites were: UVA Hospital, 128; UVA Fontaine Research Park, 125; Hollymead Fire Rescue, 81; and Carver Recreation Center, 67 for a total of 401.
38th annual Oncology Nurse Society Congress: Congratulations to the following members of our team who have demonstrated a commitment to quality improvement and professional engagement. 3 abstracts were submitted for poster presentation and all 3 were accepted and presented:
1. A Collaborative Approach in Southwest Virginia: Developing a Targeted Nursing Research Workforce to Improve Rural Community Access to Advanced Cancer Care and Research. Co-Authors: Christina Sheffield, Linda Bullock and Camille Burnett.
2. Chemotherapy Classes - an Interdisciplinary Approach to Changing the Paradigm of Patient Education. Co-Authors: Tabatha Ferrell, Peggy Scott, Jody Reyes and Adrienne Banavage.
3. The Impact of Workflow Redesign on Patient and Nursing Satisfaction in an Infusion Area. Co-Authors: Michele Bascle, Leann Boyce, Dennis Haynes, Tamara Fisher, and Adrienne Banavage.
Congratulations also to Kristie Coles and Jenny Friend for acceptance into the Oncology Nursing Society’s ‘PEP Oral Chemotherapy Adherence Project’. PEP stands for “Putting Evidence into Practice”; such initiatives provide helpful, accessible evidence-based clinical information about the care of oncology patients.
We are so pleased that ONS has recognized their clinical acumen and deep commitment to oncology nursing of the UVA Cancer Center. These posters highlight the good work that goes on every day here at the Health System!
The Friday Seminar Series continues to successfully draw the attention of a varied group of clinicians, researchers, and students. We are currently scheduling the fall 2013 calendar, and there are still a few slots open. If you would like to present or host a speaker, please contact Carmen Garcia at email@example.com for more information.
Upcoming Seminars (12:30 pm in Sandridge Auditorium in McKim Hall unless noted otherwise.)
May 3: Ben Neel, Ph.D., MD, Director of the Ontario Cancer Institute; Senior Scientist of the Division of Stem Cell and Developmental Biology of the University Health Network in Toronto; Canada Research Chair Tier 1; Professor of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto; William B. Castle Professor of Medicine at Harvard University. Shp2 and its Binding Proteins in Health and Disease. This seminar is co-sponsored by the Cancer Center and the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology.
May 10: Mythreye S. Karthikeyan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Duke University. Beyond Coreception: TGF-β coreceptors in Breast and Ovarian Cancer.
The complete spring 2013 calendar is available here.
Save the Date for the 3rd Annual Cavaliers Against Cancer, A Texas Hold ’em Tournament. The event is scheduled for May 4th at the John Paul Jones Arena at high noon. Sponsored by the UVA Club of Charlottesville, the Cavaliers Against Cancer charity poker tournament supports the Rebecca Clary Harris MD Memorial Fellowship at the UVA Cancer Center. $50 registration fee for the Main or Beginners tournaments; $150 for the High Rollers Tournament. Food, drinks, and a behind-the-scenes tour of JPJ is included in this fun day. Space is limited and advance registration is required. For more information, visit the event website.
The Charlottesville Men’s Four Miler will be held Sunday, June 16th at 7:30 am at Scott Stadium. Join the Men's Four Miler Training Program starting Saturday, April 13th, continuing until race day, at the UVA Track. Then, either enter the race or come cheer as more than 400 men race to fight prostate cancer and other men's health issues. Watch this site for more information as it becomes available, or e-mail for more information.
Save these dates! The 31st Annual Charlottesville Women’s Four Miler is Saturday, August 31st. Registration opens June 22nd online at the Four Miler website. The Training Program will start on Saturday, June 15th, at the UVA Track. Please visit the Training Program website for more details.