Masonic Cancer Center

A comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute

MCC Update 3-12-13

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Update is an official newsletter of the Masonic Cancer Center for faculty, members, staff, colleagues, and friends. All submissions for the next issue must be sent to Sandi Sherman, sherm019@umn.edu, by noon on Friday for publication the following Tuesday.


March 12, 2013

In This Issue

Cancer Center Seminar

News

Clinical Trials

Program Meetings

Professional Education

Events


Cancer Center Seminar

 

March 12, 2013, 12-1 p.m., 450 MCRB
Unraveling the mysteries of hemangiosarcoma: Insights into cellular origins and treatment strategies
Erin Dickerson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Oncology Division, College of Veterinary Medicine 

Next seminar:
March 19, 2013, 12-1 p.m., 450 MCRB
Clinical perspectives for regulatory T cells in transplantation tolerance
Keli Hippen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology-Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation

See the Cancer Center Seminar calendar to see future seminars and to watch recorded seminars.

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News


Message from Harold Varmus to NCI-supported scientific community
The following is a message from NCI director Harold Varmus, M.D., regarding sequestration and its impact on NCI-funded grants:

As you have heard and read, the Budget Control Act (aka “sequestration”) has gone into effect as of March 1. All components of the NIH, including the NCI, are working diligently to assess the impact of this unprecedented budget reduction on our ability to manage the current research portfolio and to continue to award new and competing grants in this fiscal year. Knowing the anxiety that we all share about these developments, I am writing to report to you on our objectives, progress, and prognostications, even though a full account is not yet possible.

First, I must emphasize that we cannot provide a definitive and detailed account of our plans for the year at this time because we are currently operating on a so-called Continuing Resolution that extends only through March 27. Funding for the rest of the fiscal year (FY2013) will depend on Congress’s ability to propose and pass appropriations measures that carry us through September 30. This could be done through another Continuing Resolution, through a more typical appropriations bill, or through some kind of omnibus bill that bundles measures affecting many agencies.

At present, our Continuing Resolution provides funds to the NCI for the first six months of this fiscal year (October 1 - March 27) at 0.62% above last year’s level for the same time period. Under these circumstances, as in many other years that have begun with Continuing Resolutions, we are paying both new and continuing grants at about 90% of expected levels---a conservative measure that acknowledges our uncertainty about the rest of the year. Even in this especially difficult year, we anticipate increasing the funding level for those awards (by an amount still to be ascertained) once our funding for the full year has been determined. As I have described in earlier messages and as is detailed on the NCI’s web site (https://deaissl.nci.nih.gov/roller/ncidea/entry/2012_funding_patterns), we continue to evaluate our applications for new and renewing grants by a careful combination of peer and programmatic review. I urge you to visit the site to see the outcomes of that process for the past two years.

One of the guiding principles in our plans for adapting to sequestration is to maintain the number of competitive awards ---new grants and renewals---at levels similar to that achieved in the past few years (over 1000 grants, with success rates of 13 to 14 percent). These are, of course, fewer grants than we would like to make, and the grant sizes are often smaller than they should be. Moreover, to achieve this goal, we need to make reductions, modest but significant, in virtually all of our extra- and intramural programs, including non-competitive (type 5) grant renewals, cancer centers, and research contracts. In addition, we do not expect to reduce salaries, place employees on furlough, or take other drastic steps in making these adjustments. Yet in the plan we envision, we hope to protect, as best we can, the potentially most vulnerable parts of our community: fully trained scientists who are applying for their first grants, experienced investigators who are renewing their grants and maintaining their research teams, and the trainees we will need for cancer research in the future.

I intend to send you more details about plans for FY2013 once budgets for the rest of the year have been defined. But I want you to know that those of us working on your behalf at the NCI are making every effort to sustain the functionality of our research enterprise in difficult times.

Members in the news

Stories about the research conducted by Jatinder Lamba, Ph.D., Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer Program, and colleagues in the School of Pharmacy and Masonic Cancer Center, which idenfitifed a genetic variation that might help signal which patients might be successfully treated with one of the newest antileukemic therapies, have appeared in Hematology Times, FirstWord Pharma, Science Daily, MDLinx, as well as the AHC’s Health Talk.

Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D., Transplant Biology and Therapy Program, was quoted in a story in the Minnesota Daily about a new stem cell treatment for muscular dystrophy.

Zach Sobiech, a patient of Brenda Weigel, M.D., Transplant Biology and Therapy program, was featured in a story in People Magazine. Sobiech, who has been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, is using his musical talents in a joint effort with the Children’s Cancer Research Fund to raise money for the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund. Nearly $80,000 has been raised so far. Previously Sobiech was featured in a Pioneer Press story.

Kudos
Congratulations to Michele Allen, M.D., M.S., Prevention and Etiology Program, on her appointment as director of the University of Minnesota Medical School Service Learning Experience. Read more.

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Clinical Trials

The following clinical trials conducted by Masonic Cancer Center members were recently opened: 

2012IS038
Radium-223 Chloride (Alpharadin) in Castration-Resistant (Hormone-Refractory) Prostate Cancer Patients with Bone Metastasis-BAY 88-8223 Study 15995

PI: Jha, Gautam

For more information on clinical trials contact Marva Bohen, R.N., (ccinfo@umn.edu, 612-624-2620).

Program Meetings

BMT Program Meeting
Topic to be announced
Speaker: Rupali Roy, M.D.

Host: Daniel Weisdorf, M.D.

Visit the calendar for a schedule of meetings.

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Professional Education

March 13, 2013: Cancer Biology Research Club
12-1 p.m., 6-101 NHH

Annexin A2: 'Bringing together' oxygen, dendritic cells, and CD8 T cells for anti-tumor immunity
Brian Andersen, Cancer Biology Training Grant predoctoral fellow

Visit the calendar for a schedule of meetings.

 

March 18, 2013: Gynecologic Oncology Translational Working Group Annual Research Symposium
The Commons Hotel, 615 Washington Ave. SE, Minneapolis
The focus of the day will be cervical cancer and HPV, with special guests Philip Castle and Nicolas Wentzensen. Please mark your calendars and plan on joining us. More information to follow.

May 23, 2013: Save the Date: Chemical Biology Interface Training Grant Symposium
8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
The symposium will feature scientists from academia and industry speaking on their research at the intersection of chemistry, biology and medicine.

June 19-20, 2013: Cancer Disparities Summit: Moving Communities Towards Change
Sponsors: Minnesota Center for Cancer Collaborations (MC3) and Minnesota Cancer Alliance
The Cancer Disparities Summit will provide participants with a chance to learn about disparities that exist in cancer screening, treatment and mortality, to educate participants about how they can improve cancer prevention, management and survivorship, and to understand how they can participate in initiatives aimed at reducing the cancer disparities throughout Minnesota. One and a half day meeting in Twin Cities with plenary speakers and break-out workshops, poster session, possibly with an evening reception. For more information visit the website.

Registration is now open online.

Visit the Education and Training Opportunities web page for more conference and special lecture listings.

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Events

April 6, 2013: 8th Annual Survivorship Series
8 a.m.-1:30 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota, 200 Oak Street SE, Minneapolis, Minn.
This annual conference focuses on questions and issues survivors and their families may face after cancer treatment or following stem cell transplantation. Cancer survivors ages 16 and older, parents, spouses, significant others of cancer survivors, health care professionals, school administrators, and social workers can benefit from this educational conference.

Registration is now open. Click here to register or call 612-624-2620.

Visit the Upcoming Events page for a complete listing of events.

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  • Last modified on March 18, 2013