Masonic Cancer Center

A comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute

Masonic Cancer Center Update Newsletter

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Update is available on the web at

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,, by noon on Thursday for publication the following Monday.

October 27, 2014

Tuesday's Seminar

Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 9-10 a.m., 1-125 CCRB
Identification and biological function of ovarian cancer biomarkers
Amy Skubitz, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathology, University of Minnesota

This meeting will be simulcast in 450 MCRB. 

A peek at next week’s seminar:
Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 9-10 a.m., 1-125 CCRB
Breast cancer outcome disparities: In vivo models to investigate biophysiological determinants and mechanisms
Robin Fuchs-Young, Ph.D., Professor, Departments of Molecular and Cellular Medicine & Institute for Biosciences and Technology, Texas A&M Health Sciences Center

Host: Carol Lange, Ph.D.

View the calendar for a complete schedule.

In This Issue


Clinical Trials

Program Meetings

Professional Education


Funding Opportunities



Members in the news

Kola Okuyemi, M.D., M.P.H., was quoted in a Star Tribune story about the newly awarded grant from the National Institutes of Health to more than 50 institutions to develop training programs  to diversify biomedical research. The University received $20 million of the $240 million awarded over the next five years.

Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D, Transplant Biology and Therapy Program, was recognized and brought to the stage by Eddie Vedder, lead singer of Pearl Jam, during their concert at the Xcel Energy Center. Vedder and the band visited patients with Epidermolysis Bullosa at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. Read more in,  BringMeTheNews, and Star Tribune.

Paul Pentel, M.D., Ph.D., was mentioned in a Medical Xpress story about the development of a vaccine for nicotine addiction. 

Sarcoma research being conducted in the laboratory of David Largaespada, Ph.D., is featured in the Fall issue of Butterfly, the newsletter of the Children’s Cancer Research Fund.

Members receive grants

Melissa Geller, M.D., was awarded a three-year, $792,000 Research Scholar Award from the American Cancer Society for her project “Natural Killer Cell Immunotherapy for Ovarian Cancer.”

The Program in Health Disparities Research, led by Kola Okuyemi, M.D., M.P.H., Prevention and Etiology Program, will share in a $19.2 million award from the NIH to promote professional development of underrepresented minorities in biomedical research.  The funding will provide intensive grant writing workshops and professional development activities, especially for junior investigators and post-doctoral fellows pursuing biomedical, biobehavioral, clinical and social science research careers. Read more


Congratulations to the six winners of the “Outstanding Abstract” award from the Masonic Cancer Center’s Science Council. A record total of 147 abstracts were submitted to the 5th Annual Masonic Cancer Center Research Symposium! The following six recipients of the award met for a private lunch with the keynote speaker, Jonathan Samet, M.D., M.P.H.:

Byeong Hwa Yun, Ph.D. (Turesky lab): Formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissue: A new biospecimen for identifying cancer causing chemicals

Margaret Olson, Ph.D. (Harki lab): Development of small molecule inhibitors of the breast cancer oncoprotein APOBEC3B

Katie Leehy, Ph.D. (Lange lab): Increased progesterone receptor signaling in an in vitro model of high mammographic breast density

Leah Anderson (Largaespada lab): Targeting the extracellular matrix to enhance drug delivery in Schwann cell tumors

Rachel Vogel (Hatsukami lab): Sex differences in response to reduced nicotine content cigarettes

Venugopal Thayanithy, Ph.D. (Lou lab):  Long-distance intercellular transport of microRNAs via tunneling nanotubes

Congratulations  to Troy Lund, M.D., Ph.D., Transplant Biology and Therapy Program, who received the Children’s Cancer Research Fund (CCRF) Butterfly Award in the medical category October 10, 2014.  In the CCRF’s Fall newsletter, Butterfly, Lund’s impact was described. “Dr. Lund is a true physician-scientist who is helping children with cancer and related diseases locally and abroad. An assistant professor for the University of Minnesota’s Division of Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Dr. Lund has developed innovative research methods to understand  how to improve outcomes for patients undergoing bone marrow transplants. He’s been awarded a prestigious K award from the National Institutes of Health for his work. Dr. Lund also volunteers his time each year in Africa to help children with blood disorders.”

Kudos to Ashley Rodriguez, a high school student working under the mentorship of Jaime Modiano, D.V.M., Ph.D., on being named a regional finalist for the 2014 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. Out of the nearly 4,500 students who submitted projects to this competition, only five individuals and five teams in each of six regions advance to the regional competition, which will be held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology November 14-15, 2014. 

Congratulations to Sara Fritz, D.V.M., a third year resident in the Oncology Division of the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, who won second place in the resident basic science oral abstract competition for her presentation "Analysis of MIR-31 levels in bone tissues and serum samples in dogs with osteosarcoma," at the recent Veterinary Cancer Society meeting in St. Louis.

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Clinical Trials

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

COG ANHL12P1 - A Randomized Phase II Trial of Brentuximab Vedotin (SGN35, NSC# 749710), or Crizotinib (NSC#749005, commercially labeled) in Combination with Chemotherapy for Newly Diagnosed Patients with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) IND # 117117
PI: Gordon, Peter

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

Program Meetings

BMT Conference
Monday, October 27, 2014, 1:15-2:15 p.m., 450 MCRB
Clinical consequences of early chimerism in UCB transplantation
Nelli Bejanyan, M.D.

For a schedule of meetings, visit the website.

Tumor Microenvironment Program
Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 10:30-11:30 a.m., 3-150 CCRB
NK cell immunotherapy in ovarian cancer
Melissa Geller, M.D., Associate Professor, Department of  Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health

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Professional Education


October 27, 2014: Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholars Lecture: Women's Cancer: Making Sense of Hormones
4 p.m., Cowles Auditorium, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, 301 19th Ave. S., Dessert reception follows the lecture in the HHH Atrium
Speaker: Carol A. Lange, Ph.D., Professor, Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology

Presented by: Women's Center, Office for Equity and Diversity, Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, University of Minnesota Libraries

RSVP online at  This lecture is free and open to the public.

October 28, 2014: Department of Medicinal Chemistry seminar series
3 p.m., 1-450 Moos Tower
Estrogens and lung cancer
Jill Siegfried, Ph.D., Professor and Head, Department of Pharmacology

October 29, 2014: Cancer Biology Journal Club
12-1 p.m., 2-115 CCRB
Monica Akre, Harris lab, will discuss “Mutational Context and Diverse Clonal Development in Early and Late Bladder Cancer, Nordentoft et al., Cell Reports 2014;7:1649-1663.

October 29, 2014: Graduate Program in Neurosciences Colloquium Series
12-1 p.m., 2-101 NHH
Blood-brain barrier transporters in the treatment of primary and secondary brain tumors
William Elmquist, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pharmaceutics

October 29, 2014: Stem Cell Institute research conference series
4 p.m., 1-110 McGuire Translational Research Facility
U.S. clinics marketing autologous “stem cell treatments”: Ethical issues and regulatory concerns
Leigh Turner, Associate Professor, Center for Bioethics and School of Public Health, University of Minnesota

October 30, 2014: Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology Program student seminar series
12:15 p.m., 2-137 Jackson Hall
Regulation of breast tumor kinase (Brk/PTK6) expression in triple-negative breast cancer integrates cell stress and stress hormone signaling
Tarah Regan Anderson, Graduate Student – Lange Lab, Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology Program, University of Minnesota

November 4-5, 2014: Save the Date! Clinical trials conference: Working to close the gap on the most deadly diseases
November 4, Cocktail reception and dinner, November 5, Conference 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak Street, Minneapolis, MN

For more information contact Paige Von Bank,

November 5, 2014: Cancer Health Equity Conference
11 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Hilton Bloomington, Minneapolis
Sponsored by Minnesota Center for Cancer Collaborations.
For more information and to register visit the website.

November 6, 2014: 2014 Cancer Summit - Cancer Care: It's a Partnership
8 a.m.-7 p.m., Hilton Bloomington, Bloomington, Minnesota
Keynote Speaker: Julie Silver, M.D., Associate Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School
Visit the website for more information.

March 27, 2015: Transforming Cancer Survivorship Through Research and Best Practice
8 a.m.-4 p.m., Kingsgate Marriott Conference Center, 151 Goodman Drive, Cincinnati, OH
Keynote speaker: Julia H. Rowland, Ph.D., Director, NCI Office of Cancer Survivoship
Speakers include: Patricia Ganz, M.D. – UCLA; Michael Stubblefield, M.D. – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Kathryn Schmitz, Ph.D. – University of Pennsylvania; Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., R.D. – University of Alabama; Timothy Ahles, Ph.D. – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Registration information and abstract submission information is available on the website.

April 23, 2015: SAVE THE DATE! Inaugural Kersey Lecture
4-5 p.m., 1-125 CCRB
Jennifer Grandis, M.D., will speak.

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

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October 28, 2014: Living with breast cancer: How we can improve patients’ quality of life
7-9 a.m., DoubleTree by Hilton-Bloomington, 7800 Normandale Blvd. (located off  Hwy 100 and 494)
Emcees: Senator Kathy Sheran and Senator Carla Nelson
Dr. Jeff Dusek, Director of Research and founder of the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing, specializing in translational medicine research
Dr. Matthew Goetz, Deputy Director of the Mayo Clinic Breast Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence
Robianne Schultz, ACS CAN lead Minnesota volunteer and thirteen-year metastatic breast cancer survivor

Presented by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in partnership with the Women Legislators’ Lobby.
Please RSVP by October 21, 2014 at, or to Ellie Beaver at, 651-255-8107.

November 1, 2014: Dawn of a Dream
The Depot, Minneapolis

November 8, 2014: Save the Date! Community Dialogue on the Preliminary Study Results of Colon Cancer: iPrevent. iTreat. iBeat.
1:30-12:30 p.m., Lunch served to the first 125 attendees from 11-11:30 a.m.
Location to be announced

Registration is free. RSVP by Friday, October 17, 2014. Visit the website for more information on the program.

November 14, 2014: 2014 Westgate Pediatric Ethics Forum: Ethics and genetic testing of children – Who gets to know what, when and why
12-4 p.m., Children’s Minneapolis Education Center, 2525 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis
Holly Tabor, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Bioethics, Department of Pediatrics, Truman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics, Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington, co-founder of My46
Susan Wolf, J.D., McKnight Professor of Law, Medicine and Public Policy, Faegre Baker Daniels Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School; Professor of Medicine
Case examples and discussion presented by the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota Genetics Department

November 28, 2014: Remembrance Rock Friday Benefit for Pancreatic Cancer Research at the University of Minnesota
6:30-10:30 p.m., Minnetonka Country Club Ballroom
Remembrance Rock Friday- A benefit concert for Pancreatic Cancer-Wellner Fund

Fran Cosmo (former BOSTON leader singer)
Alex Ligertwood (former SANTANA lead singer)
HEADLINER featuring special guest Greg Armstong of Fabulous Armadillos
Special Opening Performance TBA
Special RIP Dedication for Jimi Jamison & Fergie Ferderiksen
Reserved Seats $40 advance/$50 door (if not Sold Out)
General Admission $25 advance/$35 door (if not Sold Out)
Table Sponsorship $300...VIP seating for 8-Table Sponsorship
100% of all proceeds go to pancreatic cancer research at University of Minnesota/Wellner Fund in honor of Gary Wellner and all of those affected by this deadly disease. Purchase tickets at or contact Mike Woodley at 612-386-0082 for more information.

December 11 and 12, 2014: KS95 for Kids Radiothon
Mall of America

Visit the Community Events and Outreach page for more information.

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Funding Opportunities

None submitted.

Visit the Funding Opportunities Web page to see listings previously published in Update. A list of organizations that provide funding for cancer research is also provided there.

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  • Last modified on October 27, 2014