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 Thursday for publication the following Monday.

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April 20, 2015

Tuesday's Seminar 

No seminar due to AACR meeting.


A peek at next week’s seminar:

Tuesday, April 28, 2015, 9-10 a.m., 1-125 CCRB
Peter Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Minnesota

This meeting will be simulcast in 450 MCRB.

View the calendar for a complete schedule.

In This Issue


Clinical Trials

Program Meetings

Professional Education


Funding Announcements and Opportunities


Town Hall forum to discuss human subjects research
Brooks Jackson, M.D., Dean of the Medical School and Vice-President for Health Sciences, will host a town hall forum on Monday, May 4, 2015 to discuss human subjects research. The program will be presented in the Mayo Memorial Auditorium, 5:30-6:30 p.m. Masonic Cancer Center faculty researchers are encouraged to participate in this public meeting.

Members in the news

Stephen Hecht, Ph.D., Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program, was interviewed by Wisconsin Public Radio for a story on the e-cigarette boom. The story was picked up by the Superior Telegram.

Todd Tuttle, M.D., Prevention and Etiology Program and  University of Minnesota Cancer Care surgical oncologist, was interviewed in a WCCO “Good Question” story about when to get a second opinion.

The Masonic Cancer Center was mentioned in at story about the Fools Five Road Race in Lewiston, Minnesota on April 12. Almost 3,000 runners took part and over $83,000 was raised for cancer research. The money raised will be donated to Gundersen Medical Foundation in La Crosse, as well as the Rochester Eagles Cancer Telethon, which donates to the Mayo Clinic, the Hormel Institute for Cancer Research and the Masonic Cancer Center, at the University of Minnesota.

Members in the journals

Kola Okuyemi, M.D., M.P.H., Prevention and Etiology Program and director of the Program in Health Disparities Research, co-authored the article, "Exploring cigarette use among male migrant workers in Nigeria", that was recently published in the International Journal of Health Policy and Management.

An invited review article, “New Approaches for Biomonitoring Exposure to the Human Carcinogen Aristolochic Acid,” by Robert Turesky, Ph.D. Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program, and colleagues at the University of Minnesota and Stony Brook University, was published online in Toxicology Research, a new journal of the Royal Chemical Society, UK.

Masonic Cancer Center members receive Minnesota Partnership grants
Three of the seven grants awarded by the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, a collaboration among the University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic and the state of Minnesota, went to teams that included members of the Masonic Cancer Center.

  • Pharmacogenomics and Prostate Cancer Treatments: Scott Dehm, Ph.D., Cell Signaling Program, and Manish Kohli, M.D., Mayo Clinic. Researchers will be using both clinical studies and a lab-based approach to discover what makes some prostate-cancer drugs ineffective for some patients.
  • Exploring New Drugs for Multiple Myeloma: Brian Van Ness, Ph.D., Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer Program, and Shaji Kumar, M.D., Mayo Clinic. Researchers will be checking genetic signatures of patients’ reaction to proteasome inhibitors, a new class of cancer drugs aimed against multiple myeloma. Not all patients respond equally well to the drugs. The team will be using genomic scans and clinical studies to find out why in hopes of finding the best treatment for each individual.
  • VSV-cDNA Therapy for Treatment of Glioblastoma: G. Elizabeth Pluhar, D.V.M., Ph.D., Immunology Program, and Richard Vile, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic. This research team will use animal models to study use of a virus to combat deadly brain cancers. The virus activates the body’s own immune system to fight the tumors.

Hormel Institute receives $1.7 million NCI grant
Zigang Dong, M.D.,  Dr.P.H., Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention member and Executive Director of The Hormel Institute at the University of Minnesota, will serve as principal investigator of a $1.7 million grant focusing on fighting colorectal cancer. Dong, along with Anne Bode, Ph.D., will focus specifically on targeting the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway for colorectal cancer prevention.

Members present at meetings

Anindya Bagchi, Ph.D., Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer Program, will present “Adverse consequence of loss of Hif1α in pancreatic ductal carcinoma,” to the Biology of Cancer: Microvenvironment, Metastasis and Therapy meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in May.

Mohammad Saleem, Ph.D., Tumor Microenvironment Program and leader of the Hormel Institute’s Molecular Chemoprevention and Therapeutics section will present “A novel nuclear transporter for androgen receptor and AR-variant-7 in castration resistant prostate cancer: Ideal therapeutic target” at the Molecular Endocrinology of Breast and Prostate Cancer mini-symposium at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Posters reflecting research projects in the laboratories of Zigang Dong, M.D., M.p.H., Ann Bode, Ph.D., and Shujun Liu, Ph.D., Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program, are being presented at AACR.

Call for applications to International Cancer Research Fellowship (iCARE)
Fifteen postdoctoral fellowship in oncological research are being offered by the Italian Association for Cancer Research and the European Union. The application deadline is May 19. Visit the website for more information.

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Clinical Trials

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

A Phase III, Open-label, Randomized, Multi-center Study of the Effects of Leukocyte Interleukin, Injection (Multikine) Plus Standard of Care (Surgery + Radiotherapy or Surgery + Concurrent Chemoradiotherapy) in Subjects with Advanced Primary Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oral Cavity/Soft Palate Versus Standard of Care Only
PI: Jha, Gautam

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

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Program Meetings

BMT Program
Monday, April 27, 2015, 1:15-2:15 p.m., 450 MCRB
BMT for metacrhomatic leukodystrophy
Weston Miller, IV,  M.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics

Professional Education

April 20, 2015: Department of Biomedical Engineering Graduate Seminar Series
3:35-4:30 p.m., 2-101 Nils Hasselmo Hall
Vascularizing Engineered (Cardiac & Tumor) Tissues In Vitro
Steven George, Elvera & William Stuckenberg Professor & Chair
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University, St. Louis

April 22, 2015: Cancer Biology Journal Club
12-1 p.m., MCB 2-120
Jenna Benson, Ph.D., Kelekar lab, will present “AML cells have low spare reserve capacity in their respiratory chain that renders them susceptible to oxidative metabolic stress,” Sriskanthadevan S et al., Blood 2015;125.

April 23, 2015: Inaugural John H. Kersey Lecture
4-5 p.m., 1-125 CCRB
“Precision Medicine for Cancer: Head and Neck cancer as a model system”
Jennifer Grandis, M.D., Associate Vice Chancellor of Clinical and Translational Research, Professor of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery, University of California San Francisco

Reception to follow in CCRB Atrium.

April 24-25, 2015: Cancer in Tanzania: Bring Technology and Care that Works
Friday: 7:45 a.m-5 p.m.; Saturday: 7:45 a.m.-4 p.m., Moos Health Sciences Tower, Room 2-650, 515 Delaware St. SE, Minneapolis
Join us as we explore the need for cancer care in Tanzania, the challenges involved in delivering care, and the opportunities for moving forward.
The intended audience of this two-day symposium hosted by the Foundation for Cancer Care in Tanzania is physicians, APPs, pharmacists, radiation technical professionals, health administrators, and anyone with an interest in global health. Rooms are available at The Commons Hotel; click here or call 612-379-8888.

Registration information and symposium agenda.

Questions? Email

April 30, 2015: Introduction to Crispr/Cas9 Genome Editing Technology
4-5 p.m., 450 MCRB
The Center for Genome Editing and the Mouse Genetics Laboratory invite you to
attend our seminar discussing applications and technical optimization of the
Crispr/Cas9 genome editing technology. Crispr/Cas9 genome editing can be used to
generate targeted mouse models including Knockouts, Conditional Knockouts and
Knockin models. Short presentations from Branden Moriarity (CGE), Beau Webber
(SCI) and Satyabrata Das (LHI) will highlight recent U of M projects using Crispr/Cas
9 targeting. After the presentations, we will have an extended question and answer
opportunity so that interested investigators can discuss their specific interest in
using Crispr/Cas9. Contact Sandi Wagner, for more information.

May 8, 2015: Department of Pharmaceutics Guest Seminar
3:30-4:30 p.m., Room 5-125 Moos Tower
Engineered proteins for visualizing and treating disease
Jennifer  Cochran, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering, Hitachi America Family Scholar, Schools of Engineering and Medicine, Stanford University

May 12, 2015: Conversation with the Director of Research Engagement
1:30-2:30 p.m., 260 Social Sciences (West Bank)
Join the Research Development Community of Practice group in a conversation with
OVPR Director of Research Engagement and Humphrey School of Public Affairs Associate Professor Carissa Slotterback.
Last fall OVPR created the new position of Director of Research Engagement to facilitate greater connections among researchers across the university and beyond. As this is a joint endeavor that for many of us constitutes a major goal in our own work with the research community in our respective units, we look forward to exploring how we can all work more closely with each other and the OVPR to advance research engagement initiatives at the University and within our own colleges and departments. Email questions to Ana Brailovsky,

May 20, 2015: 15th Annual BioResearch Product Faire
10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Great Hall, Coffman Memorial Union

June 8, 2015: Department of Radiology Grand Rounds
5 p.m., Leo Rigler Conference Room, May B-216
Images are data, not pictures: Radiomics of cancers
Robert Gillies, M.D., Moffitt Cancer Center, Vice-chair of Radiology, Director, Experimental Imaging Program

June 24, 2015: 24th Annual Mark E. Nesbit Lectureship in Pediatric Oncology
12:15 p.m., Conference Center, University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital
Speaker: David Malkin, M.D., Senior Staff Oncologist in Hematology/Oncology at The Hospital for Sick Children, Director, Cancer Genetics Program, Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Toronto

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

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April 22, 2015: Children’s Cancer Research Fund’s Just Imagine
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Golden Valley Country Club, 7001 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley, MN
Join us for a complimentary luncheon to learn about the impact Children's Cancer Research Fund has had in the battle against childhood cancer.

April 25, 2015: Foundation for Cancer Care in Tanzania Gala
6 - 10 p.m., Millennium Hotel Minneapolis, 1313 Nicollet Mall
Ticket information
The Foundation for Cancer Care in Tanzania (FCCT) is working to enhance cancer care in northern Tanzania, a region that currently has no designated cancer care facilities. FCCT plans to begin construction on a dedicated oncology clinic in June 2015.Learn more about FCCT and how you can

May 2, 2015: Cancer Survivorship Conference
8:30 a.m.- 1 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota, 200 Oak St. SE Minneapolis, MN 55455
The 10th Annual Cancer Survivorship Conference which will address topics important to cancer survivors and their families. Cancer survivors ages 16 and older, parents, spouses, significant others, health care professionals, school administrators and social workers can benefit from this educational conference. View or download the brochure. (PDF)

There is no fee to attend, but reservations are required. A free continental breakfast and lunch will be served. Space is limited, so please register early or call 1-888-CANCERMN (1-888-226-2376).

May 30, 2015: Break the Bank for Kidney Cancer
TCF Bank Stadium: Race check-in 15-45 minutes prior to heat near Minnesota Tribal Nations Plaza, (West end of the stadium).
Racing climbers and Burly Bank climbers start at 7 a.m. Participant climbers start at 9 a.m. 

Break the Bank- Climb 4 Kidney Cancer, is a professionally managed event with a chip-timed race early in the morning, and a non-competitive fun climb. Children under the age of 10 are welcome to climb with adult supervision, but are not allowed in the race portion of the climb.

View a video with Coach Jerry Kill.
Visit the website for more information and to register.

June 20, 2015: 13th Annual Time to Fly ® Walk/Run
Phalen Park, St. Paul

Visit the Community Events and Outreach page for more information.

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Funding Announcements and Opportunities

NIH Policy on Application Compliance Notice NOT-OD-15-095
The purpose of this notice is to remind applicants, both investigators and grants office officials, that to be fair to all concerned the NIH needs to consistently apply standards for application compliance, specifically references are the new biosketch format, page limits and resubmissions submitted as new.

Funding Opportunities:

Research Answers to NCI's Provocative Questions (R21 and R01)
NCI - RFA-CA-15-008 and RFA-CA-15-009
The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to support research projects designed to solve specific problems and paradoxes in cancer research identified by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Provocative Questions initiative. The current issuance of the PQ Initiative involves an updated set of 12 PQs.
Application Deadline: June 29th, 2015

Translational Product Development Fund
Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI)
Supports health research projects that intend to develop a novel therapeutic compound, device, diagnostic, or IT product. The Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the Mayo Clinic established the program with the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics.
Mandatory letters of intent are due May 1.
Full Application Deadline: July 8th, 2015
Tier One Funding: $50,000
Tier Two Funding: $200,000/yr, 1-2 years

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 April 23, 2015