Masonic Cancer Center

A comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute

Masonic Cancer Center Update Newsletter


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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, by noon on Friday for publication the following Monday.

NOTE: Update will be published bi-weekly over the summer and will resume regular weekly publication on Monday, 9/14/15.

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July 6, 2015

In This Issue


Clinical Trials

Professional Education



Welcome new staff
Matthew Polk joins the administrative team at the Masonic Cancer Center today in the position most recently held by Robin Toy.  Matt has several years of administrative experience working in governmental and university settings.  Please stop by and meet him in the MCC administrative office, 754 MCRB.  He can be contacted at 612-625-1405,

Members in the news

Kathryn Dusenbery, M.D., was quoted in a Star Tribune story about radiation errors at a St. Cloud cancer center.


Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari, Ph.D., Transplant Biology and Therapy Program, was featured on WZZM TV in Grand Rapids, Minn. discussing the potential of her laboratory’s bioprinter to revolutionize transplant medicine.


Douglas Yee, M.D., was quoted in the story “Top Takeaways from ASCO: Breast Cancer," in HemOncToday.


Research conducted in the laboratory of Ran Blekhman, Ph.D., Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer Program, has identified a single signature of colon cancer in the gut microbiome. Michael Burns, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Blekhman lab and former Cancer Biology Training Grant fellow, was quoted in articles in the Minnesota Daily, Health Canal, EndoNurse, Medical Xpress, GenomeWeb, VOA News (registration required). Timothy Starr, Ph.D., Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer Program, was also mentioned in the Minnesota Daily article. KSTP TV also reported this.


Ashok Saluja, Ph.D., who is the recipient of the medal of the Australian Society for Medical Research, was recognized in the Briefweekly U of M news digest

The Masonic Cancer Center was mentioned in a Park Rapids Enterprise story about the 125th anniversary of the Masons Park Rapids chapter.

Members receive grants
Sergio Gradilone, Ph.D., Cell Signaling Program member and leader of the Hormel Institute’s Cancer Cell Biology and Translational Research Section, received a five-year, $1.7 million NCI grant to fund research on cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) or bile duct cancer. His team is focusing on the role played during tumor formation by primary cilia, and hope to provide a link between cilia loss and tumor progression that will lay the foundation for the development of anti-cancer therapies that focus on rescuing cilia’s architecture and function.

Members speak at conferences

Dan Kaufman, M.D., Ph.D., Transplant Biology and Therapy Program, participated in a panel discussion for international journalists entitled “Promise, Progress, and Hype” at the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). Held in Stockholm, Sweden, the ISSCR meeting is the largest international interdisciplinary forum dedicated to stem cell. Dr. Kaufman and his co-panelists explored the complex issues around the marketing and sale of experimental stem cell treatments.


Jaime Modiano, V.M.D., Ph.D., Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer Program, Liz Pluhar, D.V.M., Ph.D., Immunology Program, Antonella Borgatti, D.V.M., Michael Henson, D.V.M., Ph.D., and Andrea Fahrenkrug represented the U of M at a workshop on the role of clinical studies for pets with naturally occurring tumors in translational cancer research held by the National Academy of Medicine.  The workshop was supported in part by the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Animal Cancer Research Program, and the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. A report from the workshop will be released in the coming by the National Academy of Medicine. Video’s and slides from the presentations are online.

Members in the journals
Ashley Rodriguez, a high school student from the Washington, D.C. area who conducted research in the laboratory of Jaime Modiano, V.M.D., Ph.D., Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer Program, is the first author of a paper in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, “Association of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P)/S1P receptor-1 pathway with cell proliferation and survival in canine hemangiosarcoma.”

Memorial Fund established for Julie Ross, Ph.D.
The family of Julie Ross, Ph.D., Masonic Cancer Center researcher who recently passed away, has indicated that if memorials are desired, she wished to direct them to the Masonic Cancer Center Digestive/Gastorintestinal Research Fund by way of the University of Minnesota Foundation, McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak Street  S.E., Suite 500, Minneapolis, Minn. 55455 or give online at .

Masonic Cancer Center members among Mpls.St.Paul magazine’s “Top Doctors”
Congratulations to members of the Masonic Cancer Center, who were among the Twin Cities’ “top doctors” named in Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.

Colon & Rectal Surgery
Robert D. Madoff, M.D.
David A. Rothenberger, M.D.

Maria K. Hordinsky, M.D.
Peter K. Lee, M.D., Ph.D.

Philip B. McGlave, M.D.
Mark T. Reding, M.D.
Marie E. Steiner, M.D.
Gregory M. Vercellotti, M.D.

Kathryn E. Dusenbery, M.D.
Edward W. Greeno, M.D.
Christopher L. Moertel, M.D.
Joseph P. Neglia, M.D., M.P.H.
Paul J. Orchard, M.D.
Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D.
John E. Wagner, Jr., M.D.
Brenda J. Weigel, M.D., M.Sc
Douglas Yee, M.D.

Peter A. Argenta, M.D.
Linda F. Carson, M.D.
Melissa A. Geller, M.D.

Orthopaedic Surgery
Edward Y. Cheng, M.D.
Denis R. Clohisy, M.D.

Bevan Yueh, M.D., M.P.H.

Pediatric Surgery
Daniel A. Saltzman, M.D., Ph.D.

Surgery, General
Maria R. Evasovich, M.D.
Eric H. Jensen, M.D.
Todd M. Tuttle, M.D.

Thoracic Surgery
Rafael S. Andrade, M.D.

J. Kyle Anderson, M.D.
Sean P. Elliott, M.D., M.S., FACS
Badrinath R. Konety, M.D., M.B.A.

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Clinical Trials

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

MT2014-33R: Continued Long-Term Follow-up and Lenalidomide Maintenance Therapy for Patients who have Enrolled on CTN 0702 (CTN 07LT)
PI: McClune, Brian

For more information on clinical trials contact Marva Bohen, R.N., B.S.N., or Rita Bouley, R.N., B.S., C.R.C.C.,  (, 612-624-2620).

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Professional Education

July 7, 2015: Center for Pain Research Special Seminar
11 a.m.-12 p.m., 2-101 NHH
Increased morphine efficacy of primary afferent responses after viral vector insertion of mu opiate receptor
Amanda Klein, M.S., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Minnesota, Duluth

Host: George Wilcox, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience

October 29-November 1, 2015: 17th Annual Lynn Sage Breast  Cancer Symposium
Fairmont Chicago, Millenium Park
Registration is now open.  Visit the website for more information.

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

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July 11, 2015: Masonic Cancer Center at Mill City Farmers Market
7:30 a.m.-1 p.m., 704 S. 2nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55415
Visit the Masonic Cancer Center at our booth at the Mill City Farmers Market. Pick up a brochure outlining the cancer prevention qualities of fruits and vegetables. Meet Rita Bouley, R.N., B.S., C.R.C.C., Oncology Resource Coordinator, and Marva Bohen, M.S., R.N., take a cancer prevention quiz and win a prize (your choice of a tote bag, sunscreen or pedometer). Talk to Kristin Anderson, Ph.D., a cancer center researcher who studies meat-borne carcinogens and their role in pancreatic cancer and meet Goldy Gopher from 9-11 a.m.

July 27, 2015: Rein in Sarcoma 25th Annual Party in the Park
4:30-9:30 p.m., Cafesjian’s Carousel & Como Park Visitors Center, St. Paul
Visit the website for more information and to register.

September 9, 2015: Varsity Team Rally: Make Hope Happen
Save the date for a unique, casual, insider's evening to learn from cancer researchers and meet other 'team' members dedicated to cancer research.

Visit the website for more information.

Visit the Community Events and Outreach page for more information.

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  • Last modified on July 6, 2015